Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 3: Smell

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 3: Smell

… the brick-and-mortar experience boils down to the five senses. Those are the only means your customers have to experience your business, so making sure each sense is catered to is vital…

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 2: Touch

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 2: Touch

When selling products, there are certain events that raise the likelihood a customer will buy a product. A customer sees the inventory, that’s step one. They walk over to it and stop to look, step two. But once a customer actually touches the item, the likelihood of them making the purchase increases dramatically…

"Choice Paralysis" and You: Managing Inventory Variety

"Choice Paralysis" and You: Managing Inventory Variety

In the world of retail, conventional wisdom has always said “more is better”, especially when it comes to choices. Offering a customer the ability to choose from more and more products is the right way to grow— isn’t it?…

3 Ways Your Inventory Is Trying to Get Your Attention

3 Ways Your Inventory Is Trying to Get Your Attention

We all get distracted sometimes. It’s natural, especially in the hustle and bustle of retail. Letting the occasional distraction turn into a pattern is where problems start to arise. Fortunately, you can use your inventory as a barometer for your business and take concrete steps to make sure the occasional distraction doesn’t end up sinking the ship...

5 Basics You Need to Know to Cash In On "Pokémon Go"

If you've been out in the streets at any point in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed people even more engaged with their phones than normal. You may also have heard or seen something about the summer phenomenon that is Pokémon Go...

16 DIY Stamp Projects For Your Retail Shop

When it comes to retail branding and packaging, we're a little bit stamp happy. Why? Custom printing is expensive! Stamps are an affordable way to dress up any sort of inexpensive boxes, tags, business cards and even tissue paper. The sky is the limit, so we've rounded up a few of our  favorite DIY stamp projects for small business owners. Whether you need a packaging overhaul or just want to personalize a few things, put your (rubber) stamp on it. fragile

1. Fragile stamp: Especially if your goods are easily breakable, you're gonna want to upgrade from the chicken scratch currently scrawled all over your shipping boxes. This cute feather stamp is perfect. (via Etsy)

biz card stamp

2. Business card stamp: Leave your calling card on more than just cards! This rubber stamp gives you added the benefit of never running out of business cards.

why thanks

3. Why Thanks stamp: Gratitude is important.

mae mae stamp

4. Little bags: Stamps aren't just for paper products—they work perfectly on little dust bags like these.

made in idaho

5. State pride: Promoting your local-ness is never a bad call. Hooray for shopping local!

stamp coffee bag

6. Coffee beans: These beans from Hoboken Coffee Roasters are all dressed up and ready to go home with your next customer.

package stamp

7. Gifting goodness: If you're wrapping up a gift, personalize it (or let the giver add their touch) to the wrapping!

stamped wrapping paper

8. Stamped wrapping paper: Don't wait until the holidays for this easy potato stamper project. It can be customized by season or simply something that works with your shop all year. You can also use a regular stamp, of course, but an old-fashioned potato is pretty fun too.


9. Stamped tags: Give your tags some foxy handmade flair.

do not bend

10. Do not bend: This little number is great for prints, artwork and photography heading through the mail.

baked by

11. Bakery nod: Are you warming up to the stamp idea yet? Hope so!


12. URL IRL: Keep it simple with just your web address to help people find you online later.

address form

13. Address upgrade: When you have time to hand address a package, use that time wisely.

stamped soap

14. Custom stamped soap: If skin care products are your game, they are begging for your name.

custom order

15. Special delivery: Your clients are unique—make 'em feel special.

oh hello friend


16. The whole package: This branding package is about as stamp-friendly as it gets.

What are you inking at your shop? Let us know in the comments!

13 Unique Price Tags For Retail

Whether you like to DIY or buy ready-made tags, using unique price tags can be a simple way to inject some personality into one of the simplest and most common customer experiences—checking the price. Your inventory deserves only the best to help it fly off the shelves. And if you're interested in learning a bit more about some pricing strategies for those new tags, Kiss Metrics put together a post on psychology of pricing that is quite interesting. Now... tag—you're it!

jewelry tags

1. Mini Jewelry Circle Price Tags (via Tag My Stuff): $7.69 for 200 tags

star tag

2. Star Tags (via EliseBlue): $4 for 50 tags

blue tag

3. Swirling Blue Tags (via KAPARA): $3.50 for 50 tags

chalk tag

4. Chalk Wooden Mini Tags (via britishislesartworks): $9.95 for 100 tags


5. Painted Neon Colorblock Tags (via Paper & Stitch): DIY

paint chip tags

6. Upcycled Paint Chip Tags (via looneyjoontees)

wallpaper tag

7. Shabby Chic Tags (via PolkaDotInvites): $15.95 for 30 tags


8. Handmade With Love Tags (via seasprout): $4 for 20 tags

price tag stamps

9. Price Tag Stamps (via brownpigeon): $5.95 for a set of four stamps

admit one

10. Carnival Gift Tags (via perfectpackage): $6 for 20 tags


11. Neon Tags with Twine (via Knot & Bow): $20 for 3o tags and baker's twine

neon stickers

12. Neon Heart Stickers (via Knot & Bow): $12 for 144 stickers

kc printables

13. Geo Tag Printables (via KCPrintables): $3 for printable files

Inspired to change up your tags? Let us know if you have any other ideas to share!

11 DIY Pallet Projects For Your Shop

As a retail business owner, you are thrifty. We know you are. When you're setting up your shop displays though, they need to look like a million bucks. To help you save money while maintaining a polished presence, we rounded up a whole mess of inexpensive DIY inspiration to help you amp up your merchandising window displays, tables, shelving, seating and even your checkout counters. Whether you're going for the upscale industrial warehouse look or the sweet shabby chic vibe, your customers will be floored by what you can create with reclaimed wooden pallets. Roll up your sleeves—let's do this. pallet sighs

1. Pallet Letters: So cool! These would be great for pop-up selling, hanging on the wall or even for your main signage.


2. Leaning Pallet Bookshelf: This simple shelf is perfect for displaying books, magazines, greeting cards and artwork.


3. Steel Pipe Garment Rack: These minimalist industrial garment racks definitely need wheels so you can try different shop layouts when you get bored.


4. Pallet Boutique Overhaul: This French blogger used reclaimed pallets to create the rustic whitewashed wooden walls, built-in shelving and the register counter at this shop! The result? Beautiful.

light installation

5. Pallet Light Installation: An easy accent piece that will add a lot of character to your boutique, this lighting display is a focal point.

pallet divider

6. Pallet Dividing Wall: Use this to separate different sections of your store, or simply for a creative statement piece that can be done in any shape you can imagine.

pallet display

7. Pallet Wall Display: Inspired by Anthropologie, this display would be amazing for hanging towels, throw blankets, or even jewelry with a few hooks added.

pallet counter

8. Pallet Counter: We are loving this brick and wood design, that's complete with a repurposed pallet counter.


9. Pallet Stairs: Going up!


pallet wood

10. Pallet Wooden Arrow: Is your store's location hard to find? Point this sucker right to your front entrance.


11. Pallet Shelving: It looks like a break-the-bank designer shelf, but it's actually made from recycled shipping pallets and a bit of elbow grease.

Any other bright ideas to give your shop an inexpensive makeover with pallets? Let us know in the comments!

Awesome Inventory Photos On A Budget

In the world where pictures speak louder than words, decent inventory photos are a crucial component to a successful eCommerce shop, as well as brick and mortar businesses. And not just decent photos—pinnable, 'grammable, shareable photos. Professional commercial photographers can make just about anything look like a million bucks, but unfortunately they come with a large price tag that many small business owners can't afford. However, with a little ingenuity, good lighting and oodles of patience, you can snap your inventory photos in a flash. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your photos on a budget.


1. Find the light—the natural light. Natural light is your best friend, because it saves you from renting or buying potentially expensive lighting equipment and also can save editing time. The best light is going to be indirect but bright enough to keep your images sharp without using a flash. Move around your shop, experiment with different locations and try shooting at different times of day to find your favorite light.

2. Set the scene. If you aren't able to take your photos during the day for some reason, it might be worth investing in a white photography box. Amazon sells a few different starter kits that are great for capturing products and maintaining good light when natural light isn't an option. If you prefer to make your own, check out this DIY  light box tutorial. If you aren't using a box, bendable white backgrounds are still a classic, consistent and easy to put together with a few supplies from the craft store.

3. Use a camera you love—and most importantly, a camera you know how to use. It doesn't have to be the fanciest or most expensive DSLR on the market, but it should be able to take high-resolution, close-up photos. A tripod will also come in very handy because you'll be busy styling your "set" and a steady camera will maintain consistency and avoid blurry images.

4. Take a basic photo editing class. This is the single most effective way to polish your images and make them look professional, so it's worth investing in either online or inexpensively through a community ed class. We recommend learning the ropes of free (or nearly free) photo editing software options like Adobe Lightroom, Pixlr and PicMonkey before you put a lot of money into expensive software that might be overwhelming for your needs.

5. Hire a photography student. For the folks that simply never want to DIY anything photography-related, local schools are full of budding camera junkies. Students have a chance to add to their body of work and you have a chance to make friends with an affordable, but likely still very talented professional photographer before they make it big. If your budget is thin, barter!

Let us know if you have any other great tips for product photos—we'd love to add to this list!

6 Shop Window Display Ideas To Show Off Your Inventory

That's a phrase we're sure you could stand to hear more often around your store. Major retailers employ merchandising experts to design their shop windows, but small business owners are often tasked with this exercise alone. It's easy to take a few cues from the pros to make your inventory pop. We've rounded up six eye-catching store window display ideas to inspire you!

neon triangles

1. Neon Triangles: All you need is cardboard and paint (or washi tape!) to create a modern and colorful backdrop like this one for your inventory. We love the added touch of the hand-drawn border. (via  Haley Ann for Galore)

cass art shop

2. The Writing's On The Window: Inspire the people passing by to stop and read something that will move them or let them know what's new with you—or, of course, to come inside and buy something. Hiring a local illustrator or calligraphy artist can be a great investment for a window display. For a less handmade vibe, custom vinyl decals from your local print shop are great too. (via Cass Art)

living wall

3. Living Things: Green thumb? Try adding plants to your display or make a living wall like this one. Succulents need a lot of sunshine and are easy to care for, so they are the perfect greenery to throw in the window! (via Liz Marie Blog)

negative space shop window

4. Negative Space: In design, negative space is a positive. Use negative space wisely like this boutique did with large silhouette cut-outs of any form or shape that floats your boat. Hey, maybe even a boat cut-out! Show just enough to make your window-shoppers curious. (via La Casita)

franc franc

5. Light It Up: We realize that this particular display is fairly complicated since it involves the entire facade of this building, but, scaled down, any shop owner can implement these cool backlighting and framing tricks to highlight their space. (via FrancFranc Store)


6. Recycle: When it comes to shop windows, Anthropologie legendary for creating crazy and impactful displays with recycled materials like egg cartons, popsicle sticks and even cutlery. Take a cue from them and rummage through your trash for styling treasure. Your imagination is the only limit. (via Trend Hunter)

What works (or doesn't) for your shop windows? Let us know in the comments!

How To Price Handmade Goods

Every business owner out there sells something or other, but then there are the makers. At Shopventory, we're lucky enough to have clients all over the world who are truly makers—of everything from watches to screen-printed art. When you work your behind off to create something truly one-of-a-kind—how do you possibly put a price tag on that special handmade product? How to price handmade goods

To price this tricky (but amazing) type of inventory, try this simple formula from Etsy:

Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail

The Breakdown:

Materials: Include all your most insignificant materials, packaging, shipping, etc. for each item. It adds up!

Labor: What would you (or do you) charge per hour? Multiply your hourly rate by the hours it takes to create each item for your labor cost.

Expenses: Include studio rental, utilities, repairs, web hosting, office supplies, product donations, promotional materials, advertising, meetings with wholesale clients, gas to deliver products, processing fees for PayPal Here or Square, and every other cost to run your business. Divide those monthly costs by the number of items you sell each month (or plan to sell) for your expenses/item cost.

Profit: How much profit would you like to make on this product? Be honest. Don't be stingy with yourself.

Add the above up to get your wholesale price. Multiply that by two for your retail price. Easy-peasy.

Other considerations:

Higher prices can either turn customers off or turn them on. Your packaging, branding, quality of work and price will determine the perceived value of your goods. Pricing your products too low can make your customers question the value, so try to find a happy medium. When in doubt, estimate a little high. MAKE zine cites a the owner of a wedding stationary shop that raised her prices in order to focus on what she thought would be fewer clients. Instead, pricing herself as the most sought-after designer in town made her the most sought-after designer in town.

Is your craft your full-time job? Do you want it to be? Here's where that old saying comes in: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Price for the business your want, not the business you have. Yes, you might still be sending dozens of free lotion samples to beauty bloggers to generate buzz and build your client base, but it also means that you are confident enough in the quality of your products that you will charge your friend's cousin's dentist full price.

Why You Should Buy Inventory For Your POS Area

Think about the line at the grocery store. When was the last time you didn't at least consider buying a pack of gum? Big retailers experiment with the positioning their goods constantly and small business can implement a few of their merchandising tips too. The global beauty chain Sephora, for example, is a master of maximizing these mini purchases. Their checkout line is like a corral filled with trial size goodies. Just small and cheap enough to inspire people to throw a few into their basket on the way. These are products you'll find all over the store (a store that will give out free samples of everything, no less), but miniaturize them and throw them near the register and they become irresistible.why you should buy inventory for your pos area

1. The people buying things are already there. Your customers have already decided to make a purchase, so it's the best time to subtly encourage them to make more purchases by prominently displaying the things they might want. Try showing off some of your newest products near the register so that your regulars will take notice of something they might pass by while browsing.

2. It adds urgency to the purchase. While wandering around a store, it's easy to put something down and pick it up later. But it doesn't feel that way while waiting in line at a register. Simply being in line creates a mental time limit for a person's buying decision, which is often the difference between "maybe another day" and "I'll take it."

2. The extra $2 adds up. People get excited when they see little "deals." They are also more likely to buy easy edibles or drinkables like candy or a bottle of water or even a day-old danish, so don't be afraid to stock some chocolate bars near the counter even though your bread and butter might be fair trade home decor.

3. You'll engage with your customers. There's nothing that solidifies a good customer experience than actually having a conversation, so put those conversation pieces near the register or get creative with your display. Even if they don't buy anything extra, you've made a personal, hopefully memorable impression.

What successful strategies do you use at your register? Let us know in the comments or say hi on Twitter or Facebook!

9 Laws of Price Strategy Based on Customer Psychology


Pricing can be a bit tricky until you get the hang of all the formulas that help you decide what each item costs. But what about when you add psychology to it all? Thomas Nagle and Reed Holden, authors of The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing, determined the nine principles, or "laws," that affect consumers' psychology in regards to their purchase decisions. With these laws, you can better adjust your price strategy knowing the psychology of your customers.

1. The Framing Effect Customers are more aware, or price sensitive, when they consider the price as a loss instead of a worthwhile gain. They also are more aware of pricing when prices are not paid as part of a bundle, but separately.

You've seen the infomercials that eagerly tell you to purchase their product for only five easy payments of $49.99, right? We know that it's really just $249.95, paid in full or in parts. But marketers rely on this trick because they know customers are likely to veer away from the higher number if it is displayed. By doing this, marketers are reducing the "loss" which customers perceive.

2. Reference Price Effect When a customer can directly compare the price of a product with a competitor, price sensitivity increases.

Knowing that stools at Wal-Mart and Target are cheaper than at a small shop, a customer may be wary of the price difference. This effect is difficult to work with because each customer has their own priorities and values when it comes to products.

This is why you shouldn't bother making an argument that your product is better. Rather, you should talk about why your product is different.

3. Fairness Effect Customers are more price sensitive when they consider a product's price to be past the point of "fair" or "reasonable" depending on the context of the purchase.

Similar to the Reference Price Effect, this concept of fairness and what the customer feels they should be paying is relatively unpredictable. Customers may have an average price they are willing to pay for a product, but there are always outliers above or below the average.

4. Shared Cost Effect

If you and three friends have a barbeque, the price of all the food appears lower because the amount you pay is only a fourth of the total price. The smaller the amount of the product price customers pay for themselves, the less price sensitive they tend to be.

Difficult Comparison Effect

If a customers feels that the effort required to find information about the best price, competing products or best solution is excessive, they'll less likely to be sensitive to the price. Similarly, if they have to compare an unknown product to a familiar one, and it take a long time for them to discern the difference, they'll probably select the familiar one regardless of price.

Customers may also be less inclined to find alternatives on the fly if they are short on time or are given a sense of urgency. This is exactly why limited-time offers work so well.

6. Switching Costs Effect The higher the inconvenience a customer must make to switch providers, the more price sensitive the customer becomes to look for alternatives. Switching costs take many forms - investment of time, resources, complexity of purchase, number of people a buyer needs to convince (like their husband), etc.

7. Price-Quality Effect Customers worry less about the price if higher prices denote higher quality. Creating a perception of exclusivity, rareness or quality will persuade the buyer to be ok spending more. The product itself doesn't need to be of the highest quality. If the branding denotes a high-quality ethos, customers will spend.

Do you truly believe that a shirt with a Nike Swoosh is worth on average $15 more than one without? It's the perception of Nike being a quality brand that convinces customers to pay the higher price.

8. Expenditure Effect

Customers are more price sensitive when the purchase accounts for a significant percentage of a customer's available income or budget.

When customers are on a tight budget, they will think harder about whether or not the product is worth the purchase, compared to a spendthrift or a person with enough money to spend wildly. Knowing your ideal customer will help you decide pricing; delving deep and considering his or her spending means and income is the sort of detail that will help direct your business.

9. End-Benefit Effect Customers look at the overall big picture of their purchase: the end benefit. There are two parts to this:

  • Derived Demand - The more sensitive customers are to the end benefit price, the more sensitive they tend to be to the prices of the products that make up or contribute to that benefit.
  • Price Proportion Cost - This refers to the percent of the total cost of the end benefit determined by a particular component that contributes to the end product. The smaller the components share of the total cost of the end product, the less sensitive customers will be to the end benefit's cost.

This applies to high-priced products that have multiple components contributing to that cost (ie. Computers, entertainment centers, exercise packages/programs, etc.). A customer considers what warrants that high price and decides if that is worth it for them in the end. As you've probably read, some of these effects overlap. One effect can lead to another. Hopefully you have a better idea of the purchasing mentality of customers and can use it to your advantage. These will not help you predict the perfect prices that will make some buy every single time, but you can understand why someone may not purchase one thing. And also, it should be encouragement to look into your competitors so you can outwit their prices.

For more information on price sensitivity and consumer psychology, read Holden and Nagle's book, The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing. Or leave a comment below!