Re-Inventing Retail

From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.
Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.

Quick - Imagine an Online Shopper Bookmark

Quick - Imagine an Online Shopper

Quick: Imagine an online shopper. Did you imagine a man or a woman?

Full disclosure: We thought that online shopping would be dominated by tech-savvy males. Didn't you?

Well, we thought wrong!

Oh Those Returns Policies Bookmark

Oh Those Returns Policies
We read recently of a service that enables retailers to essentially outsource their decision-making regarding refunds and customer returns.  Yes, to an algorithm.

Used especially by large national chains, it applies technology to accept or reject attempted returns.

Have questions about your return being denied? The store employee directs you to contact the return authorization service. 

Well, that's one way to handle returns, isn't it? And it may be very appropriate for large national chains that are particularly susceptible to fraud or so-called "returnaholics."

But for local retailers, return policies are one of the most complex management issues in retailing.

Timeless - and "Towering" - Lessons Bookmark

Timeless - and
At one time Tower Records was the "superstore hangout for music lovers," a $1-billion worldwide chain of 200 stores in fifteen countries, and the nation's largest privately-held music retailer. We're reminded of Tower Records as its founder, Russ Solomon, passed away in March at age 92.

Reading about Solomon, we were struck by the relevance for today's specialty retailers of many of his basic concepts.

Wait! Only talking about weather? Bookmark

Wait! Only talking about weather?

Every minute, some shoppers in your market are checking the weather forecast on their smart phone.

But here's the deal: Immediately, that inquiry is being captured by The Weather Company, which now turns this mass of Big Data into usable information (that it sells, of course.)

And here's what that means for those smart phone users:

Landlords: The Power Has Shifted Bookmark

Landlords: The Power Has Shifted

You know them all, right? 

Warby Parker, eyewear; Everlane, apparel and accessories; Casper, mattresses; Harry’s, razors; Untuckit, button-down shirts; Allbirds, tennis shoes; Boll and Branch, bedding.

All began online-only, then started to open brick-and-mortar locations.

Now, they are coveted tenants by the malls.

Avoid "Distracted Driving" Bookmark


Running retail businesses these days is a lot like teaching a teenager how to drive. "Look son; keep your darn eyes on the road!"

Predictions by the "experts" tell us that the economies of the world are remarkably strong right now. And given that, retail sales this year are expected to be up between 4% and 5%. Maybe the best year in a generation!

It's a time when independent retailers could – and should! – "Go for the gold!" 

All they have to do is keep their eyes on the road.

Enjoying Sales Growth? Bookmark

Enjoying Sales Growth?

Sales ticking up? Here's why – and how to pick up the pace even more 

Have you noticed? We may be making progress in this economic turnaround. Many retailers now are being buoyed by upticks in sales.

Aside from being relieved, have you given any thought to "Why?" your business is experiencing sales increases?

We can tell you in advance: it will be driven by one of these three basic reasons:

  1. More customers
  2. Higher prices
  3. More items-per-transaction

With Apologies to IKEA Bookmark

With Apologies to IKEA

Doing retail has always been a challenging and fascinating and evolving exercise. As the old Chinese proverb states, “It’s easy to open a store. However, it’s tough to keep it open.”

And today, seemingly more than ever, people are drawn to retailing. Consider:

  • Vendors and manufacturers who decided that they would rather open their own stores than continuing to deal with “failing” retailers. It would be so much easier.

Missing the Point? Bookmark

Missing the Point?

It's that time of year when all the talk is about all that's new and different for retailers.

As the trade show season gets into full swing, there is no shortage of reminders of all the elements you need for your business to "keep up". From technology to customer expectations, competitors, vendors, landlords, employees, Amazon, payment systems,  Alexa and Siri, taxes, legal, etcetera, etc, etc.

We get it. Keeping pace with the relentless changes in retailing is not easy. 

About The Co-Founders

Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, The Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have been called "The Zen masters of retail finance!"

Since 1999, they have been assembling  their proprietary content into a unique self-help website. The Retail Owners Institute is an unmatched resource that assists retailers worldwide with basic financial training, assistance and easy-to-use tools.

Their engaging and empowering how-to resources about the financial levers in retailing are informative, fun(!), and retailer-friendly. Their promise: "Everyone will 'get it'!"

Pat and Dick are recognized experts in strategic retailing. Working only as a team – Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC – they have been consulting, publishing, and speaking professionally throughout North America since 1990.

They focus exclusively on retail, or wherever retail is involved. They work with CEOs, CFOs, boards and owners of retail operations, as well as manufacturers or wholesalers expanding into retail. And they also are Retail Turnaround Experts.

Browse Around

There's lots more for retailers to see and use! Available nowhere else.

 go to Inventory & Turnover go to Cash Flow Control go to Sales & Profits Management

See for yourself why thousands of busy retailers from around the world use and love The ROI!

Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"