Best reading for small-business gift shops that we’ve seen in the past few weeks.

Master the Art of Upselling and Cross-Selling

1. Do have appropriate inventory. In order to upsell, you’ll need similar products at varying price points. Keep them within the same general range — for instance, carrying a $20 shirt and a $2,000 shirt at the same store wouldn’t make sense, but carrying a $20, $40 and $100 one would. In order to cross-sell, you’ll need accessories or related products that work with the primary products you carry.
2. Don’t jump right in to suggest products. 
3. Do educate employees about your products.
4. Don’t be afraid to use a little peer pressure. “If you’re looking for a white shirt, this one is one of our best sellers. We have trouble keeping them in stock!”
5. Do focus on benefits, not features. Always focus on how the product you’re trying to upsell or cross-sell will benefit the customer — not on its features. “Since you’ll be taking your phone to the beach, you might want to look at this waterproof case that also keeps sand out.”

Read more detail and learn about tips Nos. 6-10 on the Small Business Trends website. Source: Small Business Trends

16 Best Password Manager Apps for Your Small Business

Smart Retailer uses LastPass. Does your company? Did you know there are at least 15 other options for password management at your company?

There are plenty of options. The goal is to not have passwords on sticky notes or pinned on bulletin boards.

How Retailers Are Sharing the Benefits of New Tax Law

For years, the retail industry called on Congress to pass comprehensive tax reform to jump start the economy, grow wages and advance U.S. competitiveness on the global stage. Fortunately, a more competitive tax code is finally the law of the land, and retailers are beginning to assess what it means for their businesses and ways to incorporate savings.

For the retail industry, which previously paid the highest effective tax rate of any sector of the U.S. economy, the estimated savings amount to $171.4 billion over 10 years. So, how are retailers responding to a fairer tax environment? As NRF has said all along, the lower corporate tax rate will free up money to reinvest in businesses and employees.

It’s only been a few weeks since the new tax law took effect, and we are already seeing those predictions come to fruition. Source:

Entrepreneurs Upbeat About 2018

Small business owners began 2018 upbeat about how their companies will fare over the course of the year, according to a quarterly survey by Wells Fargo and Gallup. The two companies’ index of owners’ expectations for the next 12 months rose to 65 in the survey taken Jan. 2-9. That compared to 60 percent in a survey three months earlier. An overall index of owners’ optimism rose to 107 from 103.

The latest survey, which questioned 603 owners, was taken more than two weeks after the enactment of the new tax law. The law raised the prospect of lower taxes for small customers as well as company owners.

Source: Associated Press

Consumers to Spend Near-Record $19.6 Billion on Valentine’s Day

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day as 55 percent of the population celebrates this year, an increase from last year’s $136.57, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year. The numbers are the second-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, topped only by the record $146.84 and $19.7 billion seen in 2016. Source: