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Summer 2021

THE DEFINITIVE RESOURCE FOR INDEPENDENT LIFESTYLE RETAILERS

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THE FUTURE OF RETAIL SOCIAL MEDIA SHAKEUP BEST FOR BABY

holiday décor,

tabletop and so much more

Tidings of Joy


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THREE WAYS TO ORDER

CORPORATE SHOWROOM

REPRESENTING THE BEST HOME, GIFT & LIFESTYLE LINES IN THE INDUSTRY

REPRESENTING THE BEST HOME, GIFT & LIFESTYLE LINES IN THE INDUSTRY

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CONTACT YOUR DESIGN HOME DIVISION 1 & 2 SALES REPRESENTATIVE ORDER ONLINE www.designhome.ca CONTACT US Design Home Gift & Paper Inc. 7580 Bath Road Mississauga, ON L4T 1L2 800-663-9950 sales@designhome.ca

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THE SHOW MUST GO ON! SIX BEST SELLING BRANDS - SANTA BARBARA DESIGN STUDIO, 47TH & MAIN, STEPHAN BABY, HEARTFELT, FAITHWORKS & SLANT COLLECTION

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FALL SHOWROOM DATES: FRIDAY, AUGUST 6TH TO MONDAY, AUGUST 16TH SHOWROOM OPEN YEAR ROUND OVER 18,000 SQ FT - LARGEST GIFT & HOME SHOWROOM, IN CANADA Design Home Corporate Showroom 7580 Bath Road Mississauga, ON L4T 1L2 800-663-9950 sales@designhome.ca

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THREE WAYS TO ORDER

CORPORATE SHOWROOM

REPRESENTING THE BEST HOME, GIFT & LIFESTYLE LINES IN THE INDUSTRY

REPRESENTING THE BEST HOME, GIFT & LIFESTYLE LINES IN THE INDUSTRY

CONTACT YOUR DESIGN HOME DIVISION 1 & 2 SALES REPRESENTATIVES TODAY TO BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT

CONTACT YOUR DESIGN HOME DIVISION 1 & 2 SALES REPRESENTATIVE ORDER ONLINE www.designhome.ca CONTACT US Design Home Gift & Paper Inc. 7580 Bath Road Mississauga, ON L4T 1L2 800-663-9950 sales@designhome.ca

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contents

inStore VOL. 07/NO. 04

THIS ISSUE

Summer 2021

36

51 72

55 inStock DEPARTMENTS

15 Hostess Gifts Come bearing great gifts 17 Stocking Stuffers Extra special little somethings 21 Cheers to the New Year The best for the bar and table

inStyle FEATURES

36 Tidings of Joy

The hottest holiday décor, tabletop and so much more!

23 Office Supplies Spunky supplies help put fun into mundane workdays

DEPARTMENTS

DEPARTMENT

12 Hello! Recovery

27 News & Notes New lines, launches and industry goings-on

87 Let Challenges Motivate You Independent retailer Diane Petryna is a firm believer that out of desperation comes great innovation. 89 Soliciting Customer Feedback Retail expert and business coach Barbara Crowhurst on how you can begin to understand your customers better by gathering their feedback through surveys

72 The Future of Retail

55 Girlfriend’s Gift Guide

The best gifts for all the ladies on their shopping lists

63 Best for Baby

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inForm

FEATURES

FEATURES

Our bi-annual gift guide for babies and kids

inSight

VIEW THIS ITEM ON PAGE 40

90 CanGift Connects Getting back to the future FEATURES

51 Social Media Shakeup

Major platforms are changing their algorithms. Find out how these changes will impact your store. By Natalie Hammer Noblitt

77 ‘Tis the Season to be Successful

How to get your business retail-ready for the holiday season

Technology was well on its way to revolutionizing retail in 2019, but the pandemic has launched us into the future like we’re riding shotgun in the DeLorean.

By Claire Sykes

81 Getting More from Social Media

Digital marketing experts share best tactics for today’s social media universe By Natalie Hammer Noblitt

By Andrea Hein

inStore. Summer 2021

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inSpire. inForm

RETAIL MAKEOVER I.T. 2021 will be without a doubt a challenging year for all retail sectors. In light of the evolving events surrounding COVID-19, we are helping Independent retailers and other small businesses survive. We have the plan for you. Your first meeting with us is free.

The COVID-19 Retail Emergency Strategy Survival Plan

Our survival plan is focused on what you must know if you want your Retail Business to survive through these uncertain times.

Plan Today

Barbara J. Crowhurst Leading International COVID Emergency Retail Business Coach, Author, Speaker, Sales Trainer, Retail Store Designer, Merchandising Specialist, Social Media Marketing Specialist Office Line Ext 1: 905.686.8898 Mobile Line: 416.522.8169 Email: retailmakeoverca@gmail.com Website: www.retailmakeover.ca

Website Design, Consulting, Training, Setup, Design, Customizing, Maintenance, SEO Optimization

Contributing Editors Barbara Crowhurst, Leslie Groves

Contributors Barbara Crowhurst, Castlerock Studios, Will Fournier, Leslie Groves, Andrea Hein, Natalie Hammer Noblitt. Diane Petryna, Claire Sykes InStore Magazine™ is published four times a year for independent retailers in Canada selling giftware, home décor, fashion accessories and lifestyle items. The magazine is mailed to 12,000 stores including gift, home décor, hardware, pharmacy and florist.

Printed in Canada Publication mail #40841587. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: InStore Magazine™, 103 Niska Drive, Waterdown ON L8B 0M8. Email: editorial@instoremagazine.ca

Office Line Ext 2: 905.686.8898 Mobile Line: 416.553.8056 Email: retailmakeoverweb@gmail.com www.retailmakeoverweb.com

inStore. Summer 2021

Advertising & Production Coodinator Tina Nicholl tina@instoremagazine.ca

© 2021 InStore Magazine™. The contents of this publication are the property of InStore Magazine. Reproduction or use of the contents in whole or in part, for any reason, is strictly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright owner. The publisher is not responsible for product claims made by the companies mentioned herein.

Stephen A. Crowhurst

RetailMakeover_W21.indd 1

Design & Layout Gerry Wiebe

Editorial Submissions editorial@instoremagazine.ca Mailing Address: 103 Niska Drive Waterdown, ON L8B 0M8

Barbara & Stephen Crowhurst

8

Editor & Publisher Erica Kirkland ekirkland@instoremagazine.ca

Advertising Inquiries ekirkland@instoremagazine.ca 905-690-0492

For more information please write or call us to set up your first meeting. At this time more than ever you want our winning approach to one-on-one business analysis and strategic emergency planning designed just for you and your business.

We are here to help you.

THE DEFINITIVE RESOURCE FOR INDEPENDENT LIFESTYLE RETAILERS

2020-12-18 4:15 PM

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BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT TO SEE TRUE BRANDS IN OUR TORONTO SHOWROOM

HOST

VISKI

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CONTACT US Design Home Gift & Paper Inc. 7580 Bath Road FALL SHOWROOM DATES: Mississauga, ON L4T 1L2 FRIDAY, AUGUST 6TH www.instoremagazine.ca TO MONDAY, AUGUST Back 800-663-9950inStore. Summer 2021 16THto Contents Page

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my fav...

inSight Hello

Recovery With a vaccination rate the envy of countries around the world, Canadians entered the summer months ready to return to “business as usual.” As rules relaxed across the country and limitations on consumer behaviour were removed, shoppers were eager to get back to the shelves while retailers were scrambling to fill them in the face of product shortages and shipping delays. And so, the saga that is retail continues – an ever-changing, constantly challenging career path which no one is every fully prepared for and for which there is no road map. Independent retailer and InStore columnist Diane Petryna encapsulates so well what life is like for an owneroperator in her column the Passionate Retailer (page 87). As for changes, expect even more when it comes to major social media platforms and how you’re able to interact with them as a business owner. In Social Media Shakeup (page 51) writer Natalie Hammer Noblitt helps you navigate these changes and then in Getting More From Social Media (page 81) she talks to a variety of digital marketing experts for the inside scoop on today’s best practices. We hope these, along with all the articles and advertisements in our Summer 2021 edition, combine to provide you with an invaluable resource for sourcing and surviving the upcoming fourth quarter.

Come January 2022 it will have been two full years since the Canadian Gift Association has held a trade show. After attending every January and August show for over two decades, it’s been really strange, and isolating, not being able to hit the aisles and reconnect with industry colleagues and friends. For full details on what the association has planned for the Toronto and Alberta Gift & Home Markets in 2022, have a look at CanGift Connects on page 90, a column submitted to InStore on behalf of the association, which aims to keep the lines of communication open in the industry as we work together to make it stronger.

Erica Kirkland Publisher & Editor

in this issue With the holiday season right around the corner this issue focuses on getting your stores stocked for the fourth quarter. Find out what trends you should be rocking in our Tidings of Joy feature (page 36)

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inStore. Summer 2021

where we outline the hottest tabletop, décor, scents and mugs for the holidays. Our baby and kids gift guide (page 63)

delivers with a sweet assortment of goods for playtime, bedtime and mealtime, while our Girlfriend’s Gift Guide (page 55) will help your customers select the best presents for the Nature Lover,

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Uptown Girl and Trend Setter on their holiday shopping lists.

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inStock

Hostess Gifts

What We’re Loving

2

Great hostess gift ideas for the holidays

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1/ Punky Up dessert tea from True Brands, $22.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca

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2/ Soleil Trinket Tray, $12 retail, Danica Studio, 888-632-6422, www.danicaimports.com 3/ Soleil Mango Wood Salad Servers, $30 retail, Danica Studio, 888-632-6422, www.danicaimports.com 4/ Eco-friendly food wraps, $7.50 retail for 8” x 8”; $8.95 retail for 12” x 12”, Z Wraps, www.zwraps.com

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5/ Candied Jalapeno Relish, $12 retail, SaltSpring Kitchen Co., 250-931-6000, www.saltspringkitchen.com 6/ Ochre Scattered Dot Trivet, $14 retail, Danica Studio, 888-632-6422, www.danicaimports.com 7/ Appetizer plates, $7 retail each, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com

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Stocking Stuffers

inStock What We’re Loving

2

Extra special little somethings perfect for stuffing into stockings

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1/ Duke Cannon Big Ass Lump of Coal Soap, $14.99 retail, SDS Distributors, 855-821-8777, www.sdsdistributors.com 2/ Naughty/Nice Swedish Dishcloths, $12 retail for set, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com

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3/ McSteven’s 2.5-ounce Gnome Mix Holiday Hot Chocolate, $5.99 retail, SDS Distributors, 855-821-8777, www.sdsdistributors.com

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4/ Sock Atomica Christmas Lights Socks, $8.49 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com 5/ Nutcracker tea towel set, $20 retail for three, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com 6/ Gloves, $9.95 cost, British & Irish Imports, 705-741-9449, www.biimports.com 7/ Be Well Soap Set, $8.50 wholesale, The Niche Marketing Group, 416-481-4387, www.thenichemarketing.ca

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Cheers to the New Year

inStock What We’re Loving

1

Ring in the New Year with the best for the bar and table!

1/ Hammered steel appetizer set, $74.95 retail, Burney Giftware, 800-446-8630, www.burneygiftware.com

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2/ Wine bottle carrier, $16 retail, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com 3/ Coffee mug and beer glass set, $27 retail, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com

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4/ Glacier Rock Basalt Stones from Viski, $35.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 5/ Vagnby’s Champagne Master Set, $114 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com

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6/ Stainless steel cigar holder and flask from Viski, $45 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca

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Contact Stortz to learn more 1.866.747.4191 | www.stortz.ca | orders@stortz.ca


inStock

Office Supplies

What We’re Loving

1

2

Spunky office supplies to help wile away mundane workdays!

1/ Primitives By Kathy notepad, $11 retail, Candym Enterprises, 800-263-3551, www.candym.com 2/ Work Sucks Pen Set from Fun Club, $15.99 retail, SDS Distributors, 855-821-8777, www.sdsdistributors.com 3/ Rheoscopic ‘Sworld’, $29 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com 4/ Molly & Rex pencil set, $11.99 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com

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5/ Space Stationery Set, $14 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com 6/ Solar System Magnets, $16 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com 7/ Marshmemos pushpin holder from Fred, $10 retail, 866-801-5543 www.fredandfriends.com

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Join us at the Fall 2021 CanGift Virtual Show August 5 – September 3 LIVE August 9-12, 2021 Discover Brand Innovation at Canada’s Leading Virtual Event

Ordering powered by

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inForm

THE GOODS

News & Notes

News & Notes Inside Track NEWS IN BRIEF

Frans Koppers Imports Celebrates 40th Anniversary In July 1981, Frans and Ria Koppers immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands with their three children. They brought with them a single 40-foot container, one half filled with their most valuable personal possessions and the other half filled with copper and brass planters. Frans Koppers Imports was thus founded and established in Mississauga, Ont., where the family first settled. During the late 1980’s sons Ron and Paul joined the business, the company continued to diversify into new product categories and grew extensively. In 2000 Frans and Ria retired while Ron and Paul took over running the family business. In 2006 having employed additional staff and outgrowing their Mississauga warehouse space, the business moved to a larger and more efficient facility in Guelph, Ont. Fast forward to 2017 and Frans and Ria’s grandchildren, Cameron and Kaitlin, joined the family business, and in 2018 the company was given the Large Supplier of the Year Award by the Canadian Gift Association. “We are so proud of what our family has accomplished over the last 40 years and could not have succeeded without the support of our loyal customers, fantastic vendors and valued staff,” said Ron Koppers, president.. For information on all of the company’s planned 40th anniversary celebrations visit www.koppershome.com and follow the Koppers Instagram and Facebook accounts.

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Tabletop Trends U.S.-based textile designer and manufacturer Kay Dee Designs is introducing a number of new, fun themes in its 2021 mid-year release. The Save the Gnomes collection (pictured) by Suzanne Nicoll combines two top trends – gnomes and bees and includes a variety of items and styles. Other novel themes include Cottage Core, Witty Wine and Sierra. 800-537-3433, www.kaydeedesigns.com

Soap on the Go! Michel Design Works’ line of personal care and accessories has been a bestseller for independent gift stores for years. Foaming soaps are among the company’s top sellers, but stores are currently raving about Soap on the Go. These sweet little tins are filled with eight scented mini soaps. Tuck a tin in your purse or gift to anyone as the perfect sendoff on a trip. Of course, it’s also a thoughtful little indulgence for houseguests. www.micheldesignworks.com

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Inside Track NEWS IN BRIEF

Feel-good Phenomenon Takes Hold in Canada

Black & Gray

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Olive

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klickdistribution.ca

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LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCED SALES REPRESENTATIVES.

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The feel-good phenomenon is in full effect as Canadians tap into the power of their spending to navigate the pressures of the pandemic. According to a new nation-wide behavioural science experiment commissioned by Interac and conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Canadians are increasingly making feel-good purchases, defined as nonessential spending that boosts their mood, to access an array of positive feelings including satisfaction, confidence and pride during difficult times. The phenomenon is especially visible among younger Canadians. Two thirds of Gen Z adults (66 percent) and nearly three in five Millennials (58 percent) are more likely to make feel-good purchases today than pre-pandemic, outpacing older generations including Baby Boomers (35 percent). “Through this experiment, we are studying how human behaviour underpins key spending trends,” said William Keliehor, chief commercial officer at Interac. “The findings reveal the deeper emotions at play as Canadians adapt their spending habits to manage the stresses of the pandemic.” Interac examined the spending of debit-users through simulated shopping experiences and diary exercises, which revealed that feel-good purchases are likely to bring about intense feelings of excitement (85 percent) and pride (83 percent) when linked to our passions. The price of the purchase does not cloud this effect, with small purchases related to the activities we care about prompting powerful emotional reactions. “Canadians are increasingly spending their own money on the simple pleasures and pursuits that enrich their lives,” said Andrea Danovitch, associate vice-president of marketing and brand at Interac. “The experiment reveals that even a low-value purchase can trigger a significant positive emotional response if it’s linked to our passions – proving that the smallest things in life can often feel like the biggest.” The experiment demonstrates that feel-good purchases cause us to experience complex layers of emotions, and we may have to balance a combination of positive and negative feelings as the amount of money we spend increases. For instance, spending more than $50 of our own money on a feel-good purchase for ourselves makes us nearly three times as likely to be nervous as when we spend a lower amount (74 percent vs. 26 percent). Looking ahead to life after the pandemic, feel-good experiences are more likely to deliver happiness than material goods (68 percent vs. 58 percent). Two thirds of Canadians (67 percent) are excited to start purchasing an expanded range of feel-good experiences post-pandemic, including travel, concerts and sporting events. “The Interac findings come at an interesting inflection point as Canadians anticipate the feel-good experiences which have been off limits during the pandemic,” said scientist and happiness researcher, Dr. Gillian Mandich. “It’s important to remember that a happy life is a sum of small joys. Even something as simple as buying your morning coffee can add a burst of happiness to your day.”

Further key findings from the Interac behavioural science experiment: While all feel-good purchases tested in the experiment elicited happiness and satisfaction, other emotions were more pronounced according to the individual item. For example, we associate buying a candle with feeling calm, a lipstick with confidence and a TV with excitement and pride. Canadians speculate they are more likely to make a feel-good purchase when happy (65 percent) as compared with when they are sad (26 percent) or stressed (24 percent). However, when tested in the experiment, participants who reported feeling relatively happy, sad or stressed at the time were almost equally likely to want to make a feel-good purchase to increase their happiness.

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Inside Track NEWS IN BRIEF When an item costs less than $50 of our own money, giving it as a gift is more likely to be a happy experience than keeping it for yourself (47 percent vs. 37 percent). However, when an item costs over $50, keeping it for yourself is more likely to make you happy than giving it as a gift (63 percent vs. 53 percent) Introverts are more likely to report feeling happy about a gift purchase than extroverts. Interestingly, the type of gifts they purchase also differs. Introverts over index on clothing and beauty-related purchases as compared with extroverts. For more information about the Interac behavioural science experiment and to access a range of resources addressing Canadians’ changing spending habits during the pandemic, check out In The Know on www.interac.ca. Findings include a recent study examining how small spending can have a big impact, with 31 percent of Canadians sharing that they’re willing to pay up to $10 more for the same product if needed, to support local businesses instead of purchasing from major online retailers.

In Memory: Manuel Cardoso 1942 - 2021 It is with great sadness that Portugal Imports announces the passing of its founder, Manuel Cardoso. As some may know, Cardoso was struggling in a battle against cancer, and despite a valiant effort, he was unable to keep up with the rigorous treatment. Manuel will be fondly remembered by the many relationships he built as a long-standing member of the Portuguese community and at the helm of his businesses, Portugal Imports (founded in 1972) and ABC Cork.

Design Home Signs with Tealish Design Home Gift & Paper is the new Canadian national sales representative for Tealish. Since 2005, Torontobased Tealish has been creating and curating natural, stylish and benefit-driven tea and lifestyle products. “We are very excited about our partnership with Design Home,” said Laura Chodola, co-founder and CEO of Tealish. 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca

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THE GOODS Seasonal Gift Sets New for the holidays, Beekman 1802’s seasonal soap sampler sets feature a jingly farm bell along with goat-milk bar soaps. The company is introducing dozens of new sets including simple, sweet ‘Hello, Goatie’ themed soaps for children. www.beekman1802.com

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THE GOODS Brilliant Stars MyBrilliantStar, the Canadian distributor for Herrnhut, HUSS Incense and other fine European lines, is offering a variety of new items for the holidays. The Herrnhut special edition star in a staggering pink ($26.45 retail) and the smallest of all stars, the Ministar ($26.45 retail), are now available in North America. All Herrnhut’s star lights are handmade, and the company’s range includes a wide range of colours and sizes suited for year-round and seasonal decoration. New from HUSS Incense is a multifunctional candleholder ($109 retail). As a brand, HUSS specializes in incense cones and burners, so this candle holder can be used with candles and incense. 778- 251-9456, www.mybrilliantstar.com

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THE GOODS Pine by ADV If you’re looking for a seasonal line that offers high-quality products in the latest on-trend colourways, but which isn’t available in every other store, give the Pine by ADV collection a peek. A study of their offerings for holiday 2021 indicates this manufacturer is clearly tuned into the trends and takes great pride in product styling as well as providing a lot of merchandising inspiration which is always welcome. www.pineadvbovi.com

HANDCRAFTED IN CANADA ORDERS@KITRAS.COM CONTACT US FOR CURRENT SPECIALS AND PROMOTIONS!

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THE GOODS Karma Karma is offering a really cute and well-styled assortment for the holidays with a good variety of items and product categories. From lumbar pillows and patterned socks to a plethora of ornaments and seasonal décor, the holiday 2021 is impressive. We’re particularly fond of the sweet tea towel and spoon gift sets they’ve designed for the fourth quarter. www.karmagifts.com

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FREE GIFT when you mention this ad!

creating beauty since 1975 tel: 877.662.7745

email: wholesale@aprilcornell.net

visit us online: wholesale.aprilcornell.ca


Home

for the

Holidays

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Tidin of

J

The hottest holiday décor, tabletop and so much more! 36

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ngs

Joy

Styling by Leslie Groves www.instoremagazine.ca

Photography by Will Fournier Back to Contents Page

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Tidings of Joy

Party Favours

1

Stylish serveware and tabletop for chic holiday tables and kitchens 1/ Tray from Sullivans, $35 retail, Candym Enterprises, 800-263-3551, www.candym.com

2

2/ P. Graham Dunn tea towel, $10.99 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com 3/ Serving tray, $35 retail, Frans Koppers Imports, 866-604-0490, www.koppershome.com 4/ Oven mitts, $20 retail, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com 5/ Coasters, $13 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com

3

6/ Joyful Plaid Runner, $36 retail, April Cornell, 877-992-7745, wholesale.aprilcornell.ca 7/ Christmas Cottage tablecloth in Ecru, $58 retail, April Cornell, 877-992-7745, wholesale.aprilcornell.ca 8/ Tag tea towel set, $10.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca

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Tidings of Joy

Good Cheer From humorous to simple, a roundup of our favourite mugs for the holidays

2

1

1/ Christmas Movie Mug from Carson, $18.99 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com 2/ Mama’s Jingle Juice tumbler from Carson, $41.99 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com 3/ Silicone travel mug with lid, $13 retail, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com 4/ Peace & Love Mug, $9 retail, Now Designs by Danica, 888-632-6422, www.danicaimports.com 5/ Nutcracker coupe mug, $10.50 retail, Harman Imports, 800-363-7608, www.harmaninc.com 6/ Santa Claws Diner Mug, $10 retail, Danica Studio, 888-632-6422, www.danicaimports.com

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Tidings of Joy

Seasonal Scents

Wonderfully aromatic and sensuous fragrances perfect for imbuing homes with a holiday spirit 1/ Woodland Botanical Bath Soak 17-ounce bottle, $34 retail, Blooming Wild Botanicals, 506-328-3850, www.bloomingwild.ca 2/ Juniper and Mint Totem candle with matches from Skeem, $64 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com

1

2

3/ Tinsel & Spice candle from Capri Blue, $31.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 4/ Skeem Sweet Balsam fragrances for the home, $32 to $48 retail each, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com 5/ Woodland Botanical Bath Soak sachet, $12 retail, Blooming Wild Botanicals, 506-328-3850, www.bloomingwild.ca

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Tidings of Joy

Deck the Halls

1

Canadian consumers crave the comfort of traditional holiday colours, patterns and themes 1/ Santa figurine from Raz Imports, $81.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca

2

2/ Wooden block, $10 retail, Stargazer Originals, 905-670-3346, www.stargazeroriginals.com

3/ Santa figurine, $17 retail, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com 4/ Polar bear planters, $7 to $10 retail each, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com 5/ Inspiration cards from Compendium with stand, $44 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 6/ Santa Claus pluggable fragrance warmer from Candle Warmers, $17.99 retail, SDS Distributors, 855-821-8777, www.sdsdistributors.com

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7/ Wooden block, $6 retail, Stargazer Originals, 905-670-3346, www.stargazeroriginals.com

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CMYK 25 32 52.2 2.11 # bea480

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Tidings of Joy

Winter Wonderland

From gnomes and a chic black and white palette, this collection highlights a modern approach to the holidays

2

1/ Gnome, $25 retail, Frans Koppers Imports, 866-604-0490, www.koppershome.com 2/ Black tree with bell, $6 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com 3/ Decorative cushion, $32 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com

1

4/ Metal wreath, $10 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com

3

5/ Green tree, $12 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com 6/ Gnome, $9 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com

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SALON-QUALITY, SOLID SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER BARS - FOR HAPPY CUSTOMERS AND AMAZING HAIR DAYS Today’s consumers care about their impact on the planet. According to an Accenture survey, “72% of consumers are buying more environmentally-friendly products than they were 5 years ago.” The eco-friendly, zero-waste movement is here to stay! Handmade in small batches by really awesome Canadian women.

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What’s new? What’s selling? What product categories are slowing down? Giftbeat tracks sales among hundreds of retail stores across the United States to learn what product lines are selling across more than 50 categories. This vital information is only available to subscribers.

Only Giftbeat Subscribers Receive: • Vital market research on the hottest selling product lines in the United States across 50 categories • Specific, actionable information from U.S. retailers on what to buy • Early insight into the product lines that are selling so you can cash in on the trends • Access to Giftbeat’s active online community board where you can post questions only a fellow gift retailer could answer

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Social Media

Shakeup

For many businesses, the appeal of social media is largely based on the ease of connecting with shoppers for a relatively small investment. However, now it takes more money and time to make an impact on Facebook and Instagram, and there’s also a learning curve to navigate, making it trickier to stay relevant. BY NATALIE HAMMER NOBLITT

S

ocial media engagement boomed in 2020 and platforms have become overrun with users and advertisers. “Facebook and Instagram have grown exponentially in usership,” says Abbey Hudetz, founder and creative director of Oyster Creative. In an attempt to increase revenue, Facebook and Instagram will integrate even more e-commerce, says Hudetz. “For product-based retailers, it’s important to start thinking of these platforms as an extension of your online store and another point of sale.” Expect announcements about new requirements for online sellers in the near future. User experience is a priority for social media companies wanting to keep user numbers high, says Samantha English, founder of Marketing Academy For Small Business. Sometime this year Facebook will roll out a new “favourites”, where individuals can choose up to 30 people or businesses,they feel are most important to have in their news feeds. “Retailers will be able to reach more people with their organic (unpaid) www.instoremagazine.ca

posts,” says English. “There will be less need to boost content or create ads to reach new audiences. Facebook users will start seeing page suggestions based on what posts their friends have liked, commented on or shared — and based on topics they engage within their feeds.” English says Facebook is also beginning to target geographically and show area business posts in nearby users’ feeds. Although it hasn’t gone into effect yet, she expects it to be a boon to brick and mortar retailers.

NEW PRIVACY PROTOCOL

Privacy concerns have forced platforms to adjust. Recently, Apple pushed an update to all their devices that’s changing how businesses use social media marketing, says Danielle Milne, CEO and lead strategist at Digital Hopper. “It has impacted Facebook, Instagram, Google and every app available to download in Apple’s app store.” Apple’s goal is to give individual users more control on how their information is used by social media apps

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and advertisers. “That means people’s interests and preferences can’t be tracked if they opt out of tracking. With less information on what people like and don’t like, it is more difficult to create targeted ads. This will make ad costs increase for those who sell online.” Because 68 percent of all cell phones in the United States are iPhones, Milne says decreasing tracking ability is significant. Less data will be available to target on Facebook and there will be fewer ways to splice data when running ads. “This change is not all doom and gloom,” she advises, noting social media is still an important tool. “Having a good offer, great product and appealing creative/copy will always entice people to shop. Social media remains one of the most inexpensive ways to compete for buyers.”

MAXIMIZE ORGANIC REACH More tweaks are coming to Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms, and English says the way you craft content for your pages will be critical to getting views. inStore. Summer 2021

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Facebook will reward creative, useful content that doesn’t oversell with better placement. “Don’t ask for likes, comments or to purchase items in your posts,” she advises. “Using those words will decrease your organic reach for your current post and for future posts as well.” Hashtags continue to be important, with Facebook and Instagram giving them more weight to help users find content. No more than 10 hashtags should be used at a time, but even fewer is better, English says. Place all hashtags

at the end of your post, not in the middle of sentences. Another important technique to maximizing your organic reach is to keep content fresh. Don’t cut and paste old posts or copy posts from other pages, English says. Facebook’s new algorithm will boost placement of new content and demote ones they see copied and pasted in several places. Shares from your customers, however, will boost a post to get greater views. All engagement will be rewarded. Every like, comment and share will count in this new system.

AN OWNED MEDIA FOCUS

Because Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. are less stable and now track less consumer behavior, it’s more critical than ever for a business to own its channels, says Milne. She describes owned media as your website, email lists, SMS contacts, blogs and print materials like newsletters or direct mail. Email marketing and SMS communication are on the rise.

READY TO TOK?

“TikTok it is currently a Wild West of organic growth,” says Hudetz. “Businesses are seeing explosive growth on the platform without ad spend. The nature of the ‘For You Page’ is content displayed to most relevant audiences so creators don’t have to worry about building up a following.” TikTok’s new advertiser platform even touts the slogan “Make TikToks, not ads,” says Hudetz, adding that it’s the number one social media scene for the under-25 crowd. “Before getting involved in TikTok, definitely play around with it as a user for about two weeks,” she says. “TikTok operates completely differently than other platforms and it is important to learn that content on there is distinct from what will perform on other platforms.”

COORDINATION COUNTS

No matter which platform you use, experts say planning ahead for posts, responding quickly to messages and creating positive content are all keys to successful free reach on social media. English suggests checking your insights on each platform to find the times when your audience is most engaged. These time frames are the best to use for future posts, she says. With the new algorithms coming into place, it will be more important to create consistent posts several times a week, if not every day. Her other tips include making sure your brand’s message is consistent across platforms. Ads can help support these efforts, but English advises not to waste your marketing budget “boosting” posts as you may have in the past. 52

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FREE SUBSCRIPTION! COMPANY

The magazine Canadian retailers turn to for advice, insight, products and new suppliers.

Subscribe online at instoremagazine.ca Mail your free subscription form to: InStore Magazine: 103 Niska Drive, Waterdown ON L8B 0M8 You may also scan or take a pic with your smart phone and email to editorial@instoremagazine.ca

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NAME

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Styling by Leslie Groves Photography by Will Fournier

Girlfriend’s Gift Guide Our guide to the best gifts for all the ladies on their shopping lists!

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Girfriend’s Gift Guide

Nature Lover 2

1

1/ Bird nest box, $25 retail, Wrendale Designs, 855-518-9370, www.wrendaledesigns.com

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4

2/ Nesti Dante soap bars, $11.99 retail each, Upper Canada Soap & Candle Makers, 800-548-4097, www.uppercanadasoap.com 3/ Foot Remedy Kit packaged in decorative box not shown, $15 cost, The Niche Marketing Group, 416-481-4387, www.thenichemarketing.ca 4/ Decorative pillow, $35 retail, Wrendale Designs, 855-518-9370, www.wrendaledesigns.com

5

5/ Bee Well honey soap set, $8.50 cost, The Niche Marketing Group, 416-481-4387, www.thenichemarketing.ca

6

6/ Tree earrings from Frankly Scarlet Designs’ Botanica jewellery collection, 866-638-6794, www.franklyscarletdesigns.com 7/ Platter, $24 retail, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com 8/ Winter Balm, $12 retail, Blooming Wild Botanicals, 506-328-3850, www.bloomingwild.ca

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Girfriend’s Gift Guide

Uptown Girl

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1/ Ink & Alloy cuff, $66.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 2/ Gloves, $9.95 cost, British & Irish Imports, 705-741-9449, www.biimports.com 3/ Howard’s cubic zirconia square-cut tennis bracelet, $45.99 retail, Edenborough, 800-265-6398, www.edenborough.com

5

4/ Seamless Alpaca scarf, $33 retail, Pokoloko, 844-476-5656, www.pokoloko.com 5/ Temple Sunrise Totem candle with matches from Skeem, $64 retail, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com

7

6/ Gold eyeglass holder, Abbott, 800-263-2955, www.abbottcollection.com 7/ Noteable candle from Bridgewater, $34 retail, Candym Enterprises, 800-263-3551, www.candym.com

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Girfriend’s Gift Guide

Trend Setter 2

1

3

1/ Shampoo and conditioner bars, $18.95 retail each, Jack59, 780-270-0706, www.jack59.ca

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2/ Sheep by the Sea slippers from Ireland, $19.95 cost, British & Irish Imports, 705-7419449, www.biimports.com 3/ Wanderflower Foot Therapy Kit, $29.99 retail, Upper Canada Soap & Candle Makers, 800-548-4097, www.uppercanadasoap.com 4/ Eco-friendly food wraps, $7.50 retail for 8” x 8”; $8.95 retail for 12” x 12”, Z Wraps, www.zwraps.com

5

5/ Ink & Alloy beaded hair clip, $26.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 6/ Dream Collection soap set, $34.95 retail, Soap So Co., www.soapsoco.com 7/ Fearless Female Necklace, $30 retail, Foxy Originals, 416-439-0887, www.foxyoriginals.com

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8/ Floyd bracelet from Anne-Marie Chagnon, $88 retail, SRM Sales Consultants, 647-342-4422

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Styling by Leslie Groves Photography by Will Fournier

Best for

Baby

Our bi-annual gift guide for babies and kids

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1.

2.

4.

3.

6. 5.

8.

7.

10. 9.

12.

11.

14. 15.

13.

18.

16. 17.

1. RaZbaby - Razberry Teether 2. Fridababy - Grow-with-me Training toothbrush set 3. FlapJackKids - Knitted Fingerless Mittens 4. Stonz - Rainboots 5. Bright Starts - Ford F-150 Raptor Teether Keys 6. YogaSleep - Pocket Baby Soother Portable Sound Machine

7. Avanchy - La Petite Mini Silicone Cup 8. Penny Scallan - Large Bento Box 9. Avanchy - Toddler Stainless Suction Plate 10. Ingenuity - Cozy Spot Reversible Duvet Gym Loamy 11. FlapJackKids - Knitted Toque 12. Baby Einstein - Chilly Mitt 13. Stonz - Baby Mitts 14. ZOOCCHINI - Everyday Square Backpack 15. ergoPouch - Bamboo L/S Sleeper

19.

16. Bumkins - First Feeding Set 17. Mary Meyer - Silky Bunny Lovey 18. Lulujo - Swaddle 2 Pack 19. WubbaNub - Little Lamb

Everything for Baby at kidcentral.ca Talk to a live agent today! 416 530 7529 or info@kidcentral.ca


Bestfor Baby

Bedtime 3

1

2

1/ Sloth doorstop, $42.85 retail, North American Country Home, 888-303-2221, www.northamericancountryhome.com 2/ Mary Meyer Octopus, $32.99 retail, Kidcentral Supply, 877-218-0395, www.kidcentral.ca

4

3/ Night light, $24 retail, Nostalgia Import, 800-785-7855, www.nostalgia-import.com

5

4/ One Love bodysuit from About Face Designs, $25.50 retail, Design Home Gift & Paper, 800-663-9950, www.designhome.ca 5/ Little Cheeks ring teethers, $18.99 retail, Kidcentral Supply, 877-218-0395, www.kidcentral.ca 6/ Green muslin blanket, $42 retail, Pokoloko, 844-476-5656, www.pokoloko.com

6

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7/ Lulujo muslin blanket set, $29.99 retail, Kidcentral Supply, 877-218-0395, www.kidcentral.ca

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Bestfor Baby

Dinnertime

1

2

1/ Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish, $23.99 retail, Kidcentral Supply, 877-218-0395, www.kidcentral.ca 2/ A to Z Placemat, $4.50 retail, Candym Enterprises, 800-263-3551, www.candym.com 3/ Bumkins Starter Bib Pack, $21.99 retail, Kidcentral Supply, 877-218-0395, www.kidcentral.ca 4/ Bamboo Dinner Set, $25 retail, Frans Koppers Imports, 866-604-0490, www.koppershome.com

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5/ Plant-based and biodegradable silicone serveware from Miniware, available through Klick Distribution, www.klickdistribution.ca 6/ Enchanted forest dinner plate from Fred, $20 retail, 866-801-5543 www.fredandfriends.com 7/ Stainless steel utensil set, $22.95 retail, Burney Giftware, 800-446-8630, www.burneygiftware.com

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Comfort Crawler Leeing and Socks Set

We put the fun in functional!

At FlapJackKids, our goal is to thrill parents and kids alike with high-quality, durable hats and accessories in playful, kid-friendly designs. Visit us at our website: flapjackkids.com

Contact our distributor to see the entire collection.

Kidcentral Supply Canada Kidcentral.ca info@kidcentral.ca 1-877-218-0395 Instagram: @kidcentralsupply


Top-quality Mediterranean sea sponges: a sea of all-natural nurture for your daily bath.

The perfect gift! Natural wellness for delicate skin and for the environment. Produced by Bellini Let’s BE natural srl

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Distributed by: Kidcentral Supply Inc. T. 1-877-218-0395 www.kidcentral.ca

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lulujo

boho collection

A collection of essentials in earthy, bohemian tones and subtle prints that compliment today's nursery trends and baby fashion. Order through Kidcentral Supply info@kidcentral.ca www.kidcentral.ca

Canada’s top-selling baby care brand* Available through Kidcentral Supply info@kidcentral.ca

*Philips calculation based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its MarketTrack Service for Baby Care for 52 weeks ending Feb 27, 2021 for the Total National excl NFLD GB+DR+MM + Canadian Tire channel, according to the NielsenIQ Client Database. Copyright © 2021, The Nielsen Company

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With the warmth of a lovey and the soothing properties of a pacifier, this trusted companion is the original plush pacifier loved by babies (and parents!) everywhere.

Baby’s First Friend for Life

January 26-30, 2020 wubbanub.com

Easy to grasp, nearly impossible to lose, and instantly comforting! CONTACT: Kidcentral Supply info@kidcentral.ca


Bestfor Baby

Playtime

2

1/ Floating koi fish from Fred, $15 retail, 866-801-5543, www.fredandfriends.com

1

2/ Dinosaur-shaped chopsticks, $8 retail, Fred, 866-801-5543, www.fredandfriends.com 3/ Areaware puzzles, $46 retail each, The Tate Group, 416-504-8047, www.thetategroup.com 4/ Ocean Pals Colouring Socks, $4 cost, Living Royal, 312-906-7600 www.livingroyal.com

4

3

5/ Indigenous Art 72-piece puzzles from Canadian Art Prints & Winn Devon Group, 800-663-1166, www.indigenouscollection.com 6/ Indigenous Art Colouring Books from Canadian Art Prints & Winn Devon Group, 800-663-1166, www.indigenouscollection.com

6

5

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The Future

of Retail

Flying cars and hoverboards by 2015? Not so much. Animated billboards and video chat were as close to Marty McFly’s future as we were getting . . . before the pandemic hit. BY ANDREA HEIN

T

echnology was well on its way to revolutionizing retail in 2019, but the pandemic has launched us into the future like we’re riding shotgun in the DeLorean. In my last article, I spoke with the team at Danica regarding how they implemented technology into their virtual showroom with the help of 360-degree camera technology. Some stores are taking this a step further by using virtual reality and augmented reality tools to sell products.

VIRTUAL REALITY

First, let’s break down the difference between VR and AR. VR stands for virtual reality, a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. Does this mean we need a headset to get a virtual view of things? Yes and no. 72

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For a truly immersive experience like diving with sharks in the open “ocean”, yes, you would need a headset, but to tour around a retail shop from the comfort of your home, a computer, tablet or smart phone will work just fine. Virtual reality allows us to feel like we’re in a physical place without actually being there. Imagine testing out your vacations this way; being transported to Hawaii or Italy through a headset to immerse yourself in those locations before you even book your flight. This is the power of VR.

AUGMENTED REALITY

AR, or augmented reality, is an adaptation of technology that allows a device with a screen (smartphone, tablet, eyewear) to have a computer generated image superimposed on a user’s view of the real world – ultimately providing a composite view that “augments” or improves the experience for the user. If you’ve ever used a Snap Chat filter to turn your face into a dog or wear a flower crown or played Pokémon GO,

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then you already know what AR is. AR brings animation into the real world through the lens on a smartphone or tablet. If you’re not exactly tech savvy, picture this: You’re standing in front of a virtual mirror in a fashion boutique. Instead of physically trying on the stack of clothes you brought into the change room and having to get undressed each time, the virtual mirror will try on outfits for you, fully clothed. You select items from the store (similar to scrolling through products online) via a touch screen and each item you select can be dragged over to your body. You may not get the exact fit and experience you get from physically trying on each item, but you can certainly test them out and cut down the time you would have spent in the dressing room. This technology can work the same for home décor and furniture items. Imagine scanning a small piece of furniture, like a bar cart, and wanting to see what it looks like in your home. Well now you can do that without actually bringing that piece into your home. For inSpire. inForm. inStore.


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stores that carry fashion accessories, like hats and sunglasses, this may provide your customers a safer way to try on these personal items. How about at Christmas when you want to see what items would look best on your mantle or even your tree? Upload them right onto your space virtually and give them a try.

QR CODES ARE BACK

This year Harlequin Design in New York City created immersive and interactive windows through the use of AR and QR codes. Yes, QR codes have made a serious comeback. They were a hot novelty in the early 2000’s and quickly lost their flare because of the complicated steps it took to get to whatever promotion you were scanning for. Thanks to COVID-19, and a few years of technological advancements, the QR code can now take you directly to the information you’re looking for without all the mess in between. Roya Sullivan, the vice-president of projects and client services at Harlequin Design, explains to me how her company used QR codes to activate AR animation in their window displays. There was a QR code on the ground in front of the 74

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windows, and when you scanned it and looked through the camera of your phone, it would show hundreds of butterflies floating around all of the other guests. Animation like this emotionally connects people through interactions, creating the ultimate customer experience, and all of this was happening before guests even stepped foot inside the door. “People were starving for content during the first lockdown of the pandemic,” Sullivan told me, and Harlequin saw an opportunity to make their windows interactive during a time when people were hesitant to touch anything and couldn’t always physically go inside stores. It provided something to do while they waited in long lines to get into stores with limited capacity or just waited for a curbside pick-up order. Roya also explained that this was an opportunity to entice people to come to their brick and mortar store.

FLIP THE SWITCH

Before the pandemic, independent retailers were battling with the convenience of the online world, but COVID-19 has helped flip that switch, for the time being anyway.

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People are lining up to get back into stores, so why not take advantage of that? Give your customers something to get excited about and build some of that brand love while you’re at it. Just how attainable is this technology? Is it something smaller boutique stores could implement? According to Sullivan this is absolutely something that any small retailer can implement. Like most technology, there are varying levels of quality, so your budget will dictate what your level of interaction will look like once you scan that QR code. For example, there are simple Instagram filters that are activated via a QR code which is an affordable option for smaller budgets, whereas a three dimensional AR character coming to life on your phone, like the butterflies in Harlequin’s last installment, are a bit more of an expense. “People are loving the action and the interaction they are getting to experience with this, even when they are just temporary installations,” said Sullivan. “That adds to the fun of it, knowing it won’t be here forever.” With QR codes, you’re also able to track your customers engagement, such as how often they use the code, what times of day have the most views, etc. It’s the kind of quantifiable metrics that the visual merchandising community has never really been able to calculate before. Andrea Hein is the coordinator of Conestoga College’s Visual Merchandising Program as well as the owner of Andrea Hein Occasions which specialises in custom décor for various sports clients including the Buffalo Bills. Andrea began her career at Walt Disney World and has worked for both boutique and big-box stores. (andreaheinoccasions.com) inSpire. inForm. inStore.


*Spectral Analysis Tested in high-energy short-wavelength 400 to 450 nm visible light


‘Tis The Season

to be Successful How to get your business retail-ready for the holiday season BY CLAIRE SYKES

F

or many people, shopping is the main recreation of the holiday season, so the pressure is on gift retailers to present the most entertaining, informative and economical purchasing experience for their customers. The December holiday season is also the key retail sales and profit time of the year. Consumers have saved money or rely on their credit cards for gifts, rewarding many retailers with their highest sales. If there’s any time that demands the greatest effort and expense from retailers yet can offer the highest income from sales during the year, it’s the holiday season, so be sure to have a strategic plan in place early on. The most successful gift store owners do. You need to think in terms of your store operations, merchandising, promotions and customer service programs — and plan everything from your mailing list to window displays. In this article, the first of two parts, we’ll look at the importance of planning, in general, and then what it takes to prepare your budget, merchandise, social media, direct mail and advertising.

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GET YOURSELF READY

Don’t hope, wish and pray. Plan! Design a specific program that will give you every opportunity to achieve your fourth-quarter goals. • Start early. Ideally, you should begin in January to plan for the end of the year. But even if it’s already nearing fall, don’t let another day go by before you prepare your store for the holidays. Look at last year’s holiday season for what worked well and what didn’t. • Schedule yourself. Whether you make a general or specific plan, write it out. Set up dates when you intend to accomplish tasks and expect results, so you can be sure to attend to everything you need. • Plan communications with your vendors. The holiday season breeds busy times and it seems everyone is overwhelmed and in a rush. When it comes to special requests with your vendors, be ready to provide them with all the pertinent details. • Have a backup plan. If the product you ordered doesn’t arrive or the event you planned to hold is cancelled, what are your back-

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up plans? Two weeks before the holidays is the wrong time to come up with a solution.

BUDGET YOUR FINANCES

Since you’ll likely make a good portion of your year’s sales during the holiday season, you’ll probably spend the most money for that period, too. If you buy more merchandise, increase advertising, send direct mail, hire more staff, hold instore promotional events and decorate your store, you will need to plan an expense budget well ahead of time. To assure yourself enough funds, start as early in the year as possible and plan your entire budget for the holiday season by the day, week and month. Savvy store owners begin their yearly planning with the year-end holiday-season budgets first, because they want to make sure the most important business season is not left to the last.

PLAN YOUR MERCHANDISE If possible, give yourself time to order merchandise gradually, so you can distribute tasks, such as pricing and stocking, over several months, evenly. While you decide which products to inStore. Summer 2021

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carry in your store during the holidays, know the strengths and weaknesses of both your and your competitors’ merchandise. • Take stock of your stock. Consider the products you sell during the year. Determine which items and brands you’ll continue, discontinue or add to for the holiday selling season. Next, how do your prices compare with those of your competitors? Based on your merchandise selection and special holiday promotions, decide what you’ll charge your customers. • Establish a timetable for ordering. Stay in touch with your vendors regarding product availability and be sure to confirm shipping dates and terms. • Be prepared for reorders. For those last-minute customer requests, have a purchasing plan in place with your vendors. Assure the highest sales of basic merchandise and predictable bestsellers when you set up tight reordering procedures. • Make a detailed floor plan. Since you’ll be purchasing more merchandise for the holiday season and filling up the store with decorations, make proper room for both. Consider your sales space and how you can best display those greeting cards and giftwrap, while leaving enough room for your customers.

PREPARE A MAILING LIST

Ideally, during the year you will have added to, or built from scratch, a mailing list of people who have shopped with you, using a POS system to organize customers by name, street and email addresses, as well as types of purchases. This information is invaluable when it comes to targeting customers, especially during the holidays. If you don’t already have a mailing list set up, now is not too late to start one for the holiday season. Whether you use a POS system or not, you can create or enhance your mailings when you: • Know who shops your store. Get each customer’s name, street and 78

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email address, phone number and products they’ve bought from you. Join efforts with other retailers. Combine your mailing list with that of a neighbouring, compatible business. The two of you can share promotional costs together. Make postal mailings easy. For snail-mail promotions, get postcards printed up or purchase pre-stamped envelopes from the post office. Plan a mailing schedule. Decide whether to mail promotional announcements weekly or just once during the holidays. Budget your time and expenses accordingly. Be creative. The holiday season demands special sales and beckons festive in-store décor and promotional events. This is not the time to be ordinary; make sure your store stands out.

PLAN YOUR ADVERTISING

More ads populate newspapers, social media, the internet, and radio and television air waves during the holiday season. Be prepared to compete for space and attention. To make the most intelligent use of your advertising budget and determine the strategy that will best work for you: • Evaluate your year-round advertising. Take a look at which advertising methods and media have brought you the biggest successes during the year, then increase your holiday exposure with these. • Take advantage of co-op funds. Negotiate with product sales representatives for the best advertising possibilities. • Hire an agency or a freelancer. It’s worth the expense should you recognize that you simply don’t have the talent or time for designing and writing ad copy, social media blasts or radio and television spots. • Maintain consistency. Whoever creates your advertising, make sure it’s in line with your store’s brand, image and other advertisements that you present all year long. • Inform the buying public. In your

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advertisements, give the information that people need to make buying decisions at home. Don’t forget business hours; street, email and website addresses; and phone number. • Include the creative. Incorporate photographs and other visuals with your print and online advertising and maximize music and sound effects with radio and television promotions. Add a store holiday logo or jingle. But don’t overdo it, since too much stimuli makes for clutter. • Study other ads. Scour the internet, visit your public library and review local and out-of-town newspapers to research how other retailers, especially gift ones, advertised during the holiday season last year. These will help you generate ideas. Look at your own ads, too, to determine changes you’ll make this year. • Use words that sell. Convey your holiday sales message within a context of exclusivity, to let customers know how special your business is. Imply a sense of urgency to stress the season as a “time-dated” event.

GET READY

When you plan your budget, merchandising, mailings and advertising well ahead of time, you’re that much closer to achieving a successful holiday season full of sales. But it doesn’t end there. In Part II of this article, coming in the Fall 2021 issue of InStore, you’ll learn how to prepare your staff, store displays, in-store promotional events and customer-service programs for the upcoming holiday season. Examine every element of your business under the fourth-quarter microscope, and you’ll clearly see what you have to do to make the holidays work successfully for your store. Claire Sykes is a Portland, Ore.-based freelancer who writes on a variety of business topics. www.sykeswrites.com inSpire. inForm. inStore.


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Getting More from Social Media

After Facebook and Instagram told brands to drop sales pitches if they wanted better viewership, many small businesses wondered how to effectively gain attention. In this article, digital marketing experts share best tactics for today’s social media universe. BY NATALIE HAMMER NOBLITT

N

o matter what the new trends are in social media, the advice I give my clients is to know who your target audience is and where they reside online,” says Lisa Apolinski, CEO of 3 Dog Write. “Will TikTok help you reach your target audience? Or will you be paying for ads and creating content f or audiences who have no interest in your products?” During 2020, while many stayed home, social media use significantly increased. But the social media channels your target audience are now using may have changed. Consider your current social media channels. Find the two to three channels that generate the most likes, comments and shares among all your posts. “If you aren’t sure what channels your shoppers browse, then ask! You can do a poll on most social media channels to get this information or use your email list and send a quick survey,” Apolinski advises. www.instoremagazine.ca

HOW TO RANK HIGHER

Samantha English, founder of Marketing Academy For Small Business, says retailers who have a long history on a social media channel will be favoured, helping to give them more reach with audiences. But what’s more important, she says, is a page’s activity and interaction with its audience. Changes to Facebook’s algorithm now favour pages who post consistently and that have a high percentage of followers interacting with their content. The algorithm is what determines your organic reach, which are audiences you get without paying for ads. English tells retailers to stay active on their pages each day, making sure to answer messages on Facebook or Instagram within 24 hours. If you let messages go for days, she says Facebook and Instagram will begin to lessen your organic post reach. “Platforms want to see you are replying to users’ comments, even if it’s not something that really requires a

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response,” she says. “Find a way to say something positive and reply whenever you can.” Staying on top of your interactions doesn’t mean you must constantly be on social media responding, she adds. Check on your pages at least every 24 hours, reply to messages and see what posts are getting the most response.

QUALITY INTERACTIONS COUNT

Create relevant content for your audience to encourage them to spend time viewing your stories and posts. English finds inspiring and funny content that people like to share with their friends to be effective for creating engagement. While in the past many stores could repost from other pages or cut and paste posts from another source, content is now favoured when it’s original. “Create content that makes your audience feel positive and as if they are the first to know this information because of your business.” inStore. Summer 2021

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The longer you can get a viewer to engage with your video content, the better your future organic reach will be with potential customers. This is because algorithms on channels like Facebook and Instagram take length of viewing into consideration as they determine your ranking. English recommends videos be at least three minutes long, featuring valuable content to keep viewers watching. Post videos with keywords relating to your business and your city. This allows the algorithms to pick up your content and suggest it to audiences with similar interests or geographic location. Creating short videos and offering recorded testimonials from your customers can be a way to get noticed on social media, says Sam Shepler, a filmmaker turned marketer who is CEO of Testimonial Hero. Firstperson testimonials about your products or services can help alleviate any hesitation or concern a shopper might be feeling. This, combined with appealing aesthetics in your images and videos is key to keeping shoppers connected to your brand. “Instagram, in its position as a 82

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lifestyle app, is still the king for clickthrough and shopping platforms,” he says. “Many people look to Instagram for visual stimulation, and it is the place most likely for them to have addto-cart trigger fingers.” Videos create an effective way to sell without a traditional sales pitch, says Danielle Milne of Digital Hopper. Use video to encourage engagement on your social media channels as well as actual in-person visits. Create videos with concepts like “Learn To Do X,” “Hear Expert Play/Teach/Read” or “Bring a Friend and Do X In-Store.” You can pair these videos with events you are holding to create interest before they happen, she says.

STORES NEED COMPLETE STRATEGIES

While Milne is a firm believer in the power of social media, she also encourages retailers to connect what they do digitally with offline marketing. Your efforts online should support the promotions you’re doing in the store, on your website, topics in your blog, events in your community and your email or print newsletter, she says. Some of the best campaigns she sees

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for marketing during the 2021 holiday season involve using email and SMS text messaging. Email provides a longer format to give shoppers more details and information while SMS is a quick hit of information that usually asks the shopper to take action. Stores should cultivate the audience themselves, asking for permission to communicate with the customer. “The smart money is on building up an owned email list — and using paid traffic [on social media] to do so,” Milne says. English, however, reminds retailers that social media posts shouldn’t directly ask people to subscribe or buy something. Content needs to be subtle in its approach. Facebook users now have the ability to see why they are seeing your posts and to snooze your business if they get tired of your page. It’s now easy for them to control their content right from their newsfeed and select favourite sources they want to see first. “Because social media users can tune you out more easily than ever, it is critical to create engaging posts so your audience doesn’t unfollow you right away,” says English. inSpire. inForm. inStore.


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inSight The Passionate Retailer

Challenges Motivate Us to the Next Level

I

was feeling pretty good about how well I was able to transform my women’s clothing and accessory business during the COVID-19 pandemic. With my doors closed to walk-in shoppers for most of the past 16 months, my weekly Facebook Live shopping shows, personalized front-porch shopping events, outdoor markets and curbside pick-ups were really starting to show results. Not only was my new format fun and safe, but I was also able to reduce costs, turn new product around quickly and steadily grow my sales month after month. I was equally impressed by how well other businesses were able to rework their models to handle unexpected growth or pivot to rebuild lost sales. Companies everywhere began moving their businesses online, setting up virtual and/or in-store appointments, offering curbside pick-ups, home delivery, contactless payments, and subscription box services. Out of desperation came great innovation. I truly believed that I’d continue operating this way throughout the summer, but my plan came to a crashing halt in late June when governments across the country started announcing that many of the restrictions previously imposed on shopping and other activities would be lifted almost immediately. I knew the day was coming when things would begin reopening, but for some reason I was caught off guard, even shocked, by the speed and magnitude of the rules being relaxed. Almost overnight it seemed that what people needed, wanted and expected had changed. Many shoppers expected stores to be fully stocked, staffed and ready to go the moment rules were eased. Others, being more cautious and/or enjoying the new alternatives to in-store shopping, expected retailers to continue making these options available. For several days, I was totally overwhelmed by what was unfolding. The number of people watching and ordering from my Facebook show started to drop off and long line-ups of shoppers formed outside larger stores. I bitterly accepted that I had to pivot again. In one afternoon, a new plan was devised. We would reopen the store to walk-in shoppers the first week in July, continue doing weekly shopping shows but with fewer products, have online customers pick-up purchases when the store was open, offer curbside pick-ups only on days when the store was closed and in lieu of large outdoor markets, host small events

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on our front porch. In a matter of days, our store was converted back into a beautiful boutique. Our studio and on-line order processing areas were made mobile with new fixturing. And, by the time this article is published, we will have a screen installed in the store so customers can watch the latest weekly episode of my “Shop with Diane” show. Over the summer, we will get a better understanding about who our customers are, what they are shopping for and how their shopping behaviours have changed. This will be valuable information as we begin making our plans for the fall and winter. Yes, those plans will likely need a revision or two. There’s no question in my mind that if we remain committed, flexible, creative, engaged and if we work together, we’ll move our businesses forward. It sure won’t be easy, but the opportunity for us to learn, grow and become wiser has never been greater. Stay strong, stay well and stay in touch. Diane Petryna is the owner of Take A Hike + Take 2 Boutique in Thunder Bay, Ont. She has won numerous community and business awards and in 2012 was inducted into the Retail Council of Canada’s Retail Hall of Fame. Prior to becoming a retailer, she was a selfemployed research and planning consultant. Diane leads the Passionate Retailer Facebook page (@passionateretailer), a place designed for independent retailers and industry partners who are interested in coming together, supporting one another and learning from one another during these difficult times.

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inSight Barbara Crowhurst

Understanding Customers Through Surveys

F

or over a year now, we’ve unlearned and relearned how to shop. What will return to normal and what will be forever changed? To understand how today’s retail and consumer shopping climate has impacted your customers, you should start by asking them.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONDUCT A SURVEY

Surveys allow retailers to efficiently collect honest opinions and responses from customers and use that information to improve different areas of their business. Survey responses often confirm or provoke discussions on strategic business decisions and provide unbiased data to guide the decision-making process. They also help give customers a voice, letting you hear what matters to them.

CREATING A SURVEY

All the major automated marketing services companies (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Snap Retail etc.) offer survey templates. Pick the format that suits you and then start to work on your questions. Typical question categories include general satisfaction, demographic, product-related, servicerelated, along with place, time and location-related questions. General satisfaction questions ask customers to rate their shopping experiences (either in-store or online), the behavior and support of staff, the ambiance and cleanliness of the store, the agreeableness of the return policies, fairness of exchange policies as well as the ease and quickness of shopping. Product-related questions could range from ‘Are you able to find what you’re looking for when shopping with us?’ and ‘Do you feel our items are fairly priced?’ to ‘What type of products do you like the most at our store?’ and ‘How relevant are our products in your lives right now?’ Service-related questions should focus on rating how satisfied shoppers are with your staff, after-sales service and their feedback on the effectiveness of www.instoremagazine.ca

your marketing and outreach programs (newsletters, advertisements, social media, etc.). When it comes to the questions related to place, time and location, try to elicit whether shoppers find your store to be conveniently located and easily accessible? How frequently do they visit your store? How would they rate your store’s layout, signage, décor and lighting? Are they comfortable and satisfied with your parking facilities? Keep in mind that a survey of 20 questions or less will generally improve your response rate.

CIRCULATING THE SURVEY

There are many ways to get the word out about your survey including through an email newsletter, your website, social media posts, signage and more. When sending out an email you can expect to see almost half of all your respondent activity within the first three days. Using social media, the bulk of your responses will come within the first 24 hours of posting. Sure, you will see responses flow in after, but they will come in more slowly until they are just a trickle.

NOW WHAT?

You’ve done the survey and you’ve heard from your customers. Now, listen to them. They’re telling you what they like and don’t like about your products and services. Act on the results ASAP. Barbara Crowhurst is a retail business coach who practices internationally. She specializes in retail store design, sales training, merchandising and social media marketing. Learn more about Barbara and the services she offers to independent retailers at www.retailmakeover.ca.

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inForm CanGift Connects

Back to the Future By Anita Schachter

O

ptimism is in the air as we plan to return to our face-to-face events in January 2022, making it two full years since we’ve seen each other. While our aisles will be a little wider and our hair a little longer, our core values remain the same. Our Toronto and Alberta Gift & Home Markets aim to provide buyers the exclusive opportunity to see new products, feel the quality of merchandise and discuss bestsellers in a safe way. Since the start of the pandemic, in the spring of last year, CanGift has successfully coordinated a series of virtual shows and introduced Canada’s first online businessto-business marketplace, CanGift 365. As we return to our live markets, we will continue to have thousands of products from hundreds of CanGift members available to source and order anytime, anywhere on CanGift 365.

This pandemic has taught all of us that to be successful, business must be done on more than one channel. Currently, we’re hosting a month-long virtual show from August 5 to September 3 with live online dates running August 9 to 12. Retail buyers can access the show ondemand, at the most convenient time for them and take advantage of business tools such as Zoom meetings and chats in real-time during the four live online days. We’ve added brand-new feature areas that will enhance buyers’ strategies for discovering products for their stores including New Product, Canadiana and CanGift 365 Showcases. The virtual show also boasts ample show specials from

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exhibitors and a must-see collection of featured exhibitor videos where buyers can view showroom tours and product demos. Retailers actively looking to place orders during the virtual show can do so by making appointments on the platform with exhibiting companies or by clicking the “order now on CanGift 365” button in participating exhibitors’ booths to connect directly to CanGift 365. This pandemic has taught all of us that to be successful, business must be done on more than one channel. CanGift is here to support you and empower you with the tools you need to stay competitive both face-to-face at our markets and year-round, online on CanGift 365. We can’t wait to welcome you back to our Spring 2022 markets! Submitted by CanGift President and CEO Anita Schachter on behalf of the association’s board of directors. For more information about the association, visit cangift.org.

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