Where should you place the products in your store? Or, more precisely, which product categories should be next to one another to optimize shopping? Your choices can grow or shrink sales.

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The concept of a workplace has changed for many companies lately, moving toward a more casual and flexible experience. One word that may be a bit odd to see thrown around, though, is “fun,” but as it turns out, making your store more fun may be exactly what you need.

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Is retailing a dead-end job? Many people think so. But if you were one of them, you wouldn’t have opened your store. So, how can you communicate your enthusiasm to current and prospective employees, most of whom likely work out of necessity, not aspiration?

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The natural products industry is home to numerous family businesses. While many families love working together, friction can surface when several family members are involved in the business and everyone isn’t on the same page.

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In February, Nestlé announced it would clean up its ingredient list on its signature chocolates, followed about a week later by Hershey, with a similar announcement to use “simpler” ingredients in its ubiquitous candies.

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In today’s busy world, people often forget to say “thank you”; it’s a courtesy so commonplace that it gets overlooked. According to a recent study, a simple thank you cannot only brighten someone’s day, but it can also increase your future sales as well.

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Running a retail food store is a young person’s gig. Lots of heavy bags and boxes to move around, staying active all day, relatively low pay. The generation now coming through your doors to apply for work is digital native; wired differently than baby-boomers. How can you relate? How do you inspire folks used to operating at the speed of light when the job requires meticulously facing shelves?

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For small business owners with limited marketing dollars, it’s a common conundrum: Should you focus your marketing budget on generating new customers, or should you focus your time and efforts into cultivating repeat customers? Which is going to have a stronger impact on the bottom line?

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In this issue we present our 37th Annual Retailer Survey Overview, which breaks down the results for independent natural products retailers for the 12 months ending June 30, 2014. In addition, I hope you’ll feast your eyes on Retail Insights’ 2015 Retail Universe for Premium Natural, Organic Food, Supplement, and Personal Care Sales, my company’s latest estimate of total natural products industry size through all eight channels of retail food distribution.

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Shoppers can be picky about produce. A slightly bruised apple or misshapen tomato can sometimes be enough to let a perfectly good item go to waste. Vig’s Health Food Store of Lewiston, ID, recently decided to do something about it by introducing the Imperfect Produce Bin. The store has deep roots in selling produce, though it is strong in supplements sales today.

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