The Importance Of Customer Experience To The Future Of Today’s Retailers

Today's Retailers

Due to the growing amount of commercial retailers providing an endless choice of retail outlets for customers, it is important to keep one fact in mind: the customer is always right.  Not necessarily always true, but in order to maintain a loyal customer base and ensure referrals it is the sensible creed to follow.

The question is: why do we need a loyal customer base?   The answer: to ensure a retail outlet’s survival in the commercial world.  For customers to return to an outlet it is important that they experience more than satisfactory customer service.  A returning customer should receive exceptional service emphasizing the importance of the individual when working with each customer.  At 18.21 Bitters, the customer experience is our number-one priority aiming to make your shopping experience an outstanding memory.

Here are a few ways we aim to make you at home in our retail outlet.

Hospitality Industry
1. Elevating Retail As Part Of The Hospitality Industry

At 18.21 Bitters, customers are not just consumers; they are seen as guests in our home.  Hospitality is important to us and we attempt to move beyond customer service to treat each individual as a personal guest.  Our staff show hospitality by greeting each customer as they enter and leave because, well, that’s just good manners.  It is seen that approximately 80% of retail outlets lose customers because they engage in the bad habit of not greeting a customer. In some cases price is not essential for keeping your customers.

Personal connections are essential in a hospitality industry and are encouraged at 18.21 Bitters.  This building of a personal service not only helps customers feel welcome but creates an enjoyable memory.  For example, as a service in the cocktail world we enjoy speaking with individuals regarding their drinking preferences and if they are searching for special cocktails for any upcoming events.

2. Treating Retail As An Educational Experience

Imparting knowledge is important as part of our service as it shows an interest in our stock and can provide you with some fact you may not have known before.  For example, do you know what is in an old fashioned cocktail?  Not many people do.  Sharing this knowledge helps provide some cocktail facts and build a personal connection with the customers.  Chatting about cocktails can also increase the pleasurable experiences had by customers and can lead to sharing news about future events.  Our aim is to make all customers feel as if they have been given attention and provided with something of value during their visit.

3. Allowing For Customer Choice And Convenience

Nowadays, customers are constantly surrounded by numerous options making limited choices in a retailer’s service a bad move.  For example, in previous years our service did not accept American Express Cards as a form of payment despite customers asking for it.  It was soon realized that changes must be embraced in order to provide customers with positive experiences; therefore, to accommodate choice and convenience, we accept all cards as payment.  The results are positive and customers are pleased to accrue miles with each purchase made.

4. Understanding The Customer Experience Begins And Ends With Staff

The behavior of employees is essential in determining whether the customer will have a positive or negative experience.  If staff are not enthusiastic and engaged, it is impossible to make customers feel welcome, connected, and satisfied with the service.

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Trends in Recent Corporate Suit Filing


Lawsuits Filed in Regards to the Environment

As far as cases involving environmental affairs one of the most recent and first cases is in regards to the catastrophe in Brazil involving the mining dam. A plaintiff shareholder filed a suit in New York’s Southern District on the 24th of February, 2016. The suit filed was a  securities class action lawsuit and it was filed against Read more »

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How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner

How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner

For the most part small businesses are run lean, what does this mean? Basically if an owner can do it, they do it. Quite a few years ago my spouse and I were owners of a franchise of Marble Slab Creamery, in order to save money we made the big mistake of managing the shop on our own.

Some of this may seem familiar to you, correct me if I am wrong: on top of managing the general store numbers as well as finances which includes of course expenses, revenue, payroll etc we were also:

  1. Made the schedules each week
  2. Handled complaints and whining from our crew who were teens.
  3. Requested needed inventory
  4. Handled business marketing
  5. We even scooped ice cream every day

Did I forget to mention we also ran our own business on top of the franchise? We had definitely spread ourselves out way too thin. As I look back over everything I am not surprised the business failed. It is crucial to hire a qualified manager if you want your business or franchise to be successful.

Begin By Understanding Your Needs
How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner
Although being the long term manager may not be in your plans it is crucial you spend some time playing this role so you can get a real sense of the needs of your business. Being aware of the details of the running of your business will not only be beneficial to any time you do spend there but also when you have to regularly check in on the manager you will soon be hiring.

Design a training manual which details the way you want each aspect of the business being handled. If it is a franchise there may be franchise mandates to include but the way the store is cleaned or perhaps the way your products are stocked may have a specific way you want them handled.

Once each process of your soon to be managers duties have been outlined you may then design the job description. The duties you previously outlined can be used as bullet points to reference the skills and experience which will be required to take the position.

Set The Bar High

When looking for a manager you want someone who can in essence be “you” while you are not around. He or she should be through when it comes to keeping your staff in check, maintaining customer satisfaction as well as managing shrinkage. A manager should also have experience with dealing with angry clients, managing financial care of any issues which may arise between the staff.

It is important to not settle, make sure you have interviewed plenty individuals before making your final choice, if not you may have some regrets. By offering competitive compensation you will allure high quality candidates. If you offer cheap you will more then likely get cheap and you do not want to slack off when it comes to choosing a manager.

Don’t Just Take Off

Even though you are sure that you have hired and properly trained a manager for your franchise it is important that you still be there. You should regularly check in and some of those check ins should be unannounced, this is a great way to see what happens when they do not know you are coming as well as stay caught up with what is going on. Although you yourself are not the manager it is important that you are in the loop so make sure you do not stop checking in.

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Check Out These 10 Mobile Business Ideas

mobile business

Setting up a traditional retail store can be extremely expensive, especially for people who are new to the business world. E-commerce sites tend to have low overheads, but some people actually want to meet their customers. A lot of people like to watch their customers view their products and use them first-hand.

Stacey Steffe, who is the American Mobile Retail Association‘s (an organization for mobile retailers) president, said there are hundreds throughout the United States. She founded the association back in 2011, and now they have more than 65 members throughout America, and the average cost to start a mobile retail business is around $20,000, but it really depends on how much work entrepreneurs have to put into the mobile vehicle and how much work they are willing to do. It tends to be cheaper to renovate a vehicle than it is to fix up a traditional retail business

There are many things people can do with a mobile retail truck. For example, some people sell designer shoes, while others sell knitting supplies out of their mobile vehicle. With that said, if you want to find out a few ways people are using their vehicles as their space to do business, then continue to read on.

1. ARTichoke Apparel Bus- This business was started in Cape Cod, MA, by Kate and Lizzy Escher, and they were selling men and women clothing that local artists designed. For two years, the sisters sold their clothing online, but they they turned their business into a mobile business, and before they knew it, they had a boutique on wheels in the form of a former bus. The bus can be found throughout the Cape Cod area, but people can find out where they are by following them on Twitter.

2. Bootleg Airstream- Sarah Ellison, who is a stylist, started her shoe store in 2011, and she named her shop Bootleg Airstream, which offers various types of eclectic footwear. She sells her items out of a trailer. The trailer features black and white stripes, and people can go to the South Congress Shopping district in Austin on weekends if they are interested in seeing what she has to offer.

3. Yarnover Truck- Barbara Pushies and Maridee Nelson are friends and they have a passion for knitting, and they wanted to start a yarn store, but financial commitment made them think twice. However, they started Yarnover Truck, which was a Little Debbie snack truck that they converted. In 2012, they launched their business and now they can be found throughout Southern California at various music festivals and art festivals.

4. The Flower Truck- Jenifer Kaplan started a mobile flower shop in 2011 after she converted a Dodge ice cream truck. Her mobile flower shop can often be spotted throughout various areas in LA. People will find that she has a great selection of flowers, and many of them are fresh and come with vases. If you’re interested in where this truck will be, then follow the business on Twitter.

5. Celebrities Boutique- Nneka Green-Ingram used to drive buses in NYC, and for years she sold accessories on a sidewalk in Harlem, but then she bought herself a former Frito Lay truck and she renovated it in 2012. Instead of snacks inside the truck, she places accessories such as statement necklaces and sunglasses inside the truck. She sells items that sell for around $5-$30, and people can find her truck parked in Harlem Thursday-Sundays at 125th Street.

6. Third Man Records Rolling Record Store- Jack White, who founded the White Stripes in 2009, started this mobile record store, which is the mobile version of his brick and mortar record shop. The truck made its debut a few years ago at South by Southwest in Austin, and it is a mobile music store, as well as a pop-up performance venue. The mobile truck goes across the country and pays a visit to numerous record stores, as well as festivals, and if people want to know where the truck will be stopping, then they can follow the record store on Twitter.

7. Bath Petals- Patricia Filaseta and Julie Warnock, a mother and daughter team, turned a maintenance vehicle that once belonged to the city and turned it into a beauty supple truck that’s called Aromatherapy On The Go, and it is equipped with a sea salt souffle bar and a bubble machine.  This means their customers can try out some of their all-natural salts and scrubs. The pair started their online business in 2001 and then they eventually expanded it by turning it into a mobile business, which now makes trips to various art shows and food festivals in the LA area.

8. Wanderlust- This is a mobile vintage clothing store that was started in mint green trailer in Portland, Oregon. Vanessa and Dan Lurie own this business, and they added wood panelling to the trainer and opened their business in 2010. Wanderlust expanded and there is a brick-and-mortar shop people can go to, but the mobile store does appear at various art fairs and events that take place across America.

9. Bark Bathe & Beyond- This is a mobile dog grooming business and it operates out of , and Richard Caporizzo owns it. He turned his van into a doggie spa that has features such as a generator, electronic grooming table and water tanks. Richard and his son travel to people’s homes to blow dry their dogs, bathe them and trim them.

10. Street Car Cigars- A lot of restaurants don’t permit smoking, and the same goes for bars. This means cigar smokers can’t enjoy smoking inside such places, but one husband and wife team decided to solve this problem with Street Car Cigars. It is a mobile cigar lounge that is inside an old Airstream trailer, which has leather seats and numerous televisions. The lounge, which is located in Pennsylvania, sells cigars and people can rent it privately, and it has been used for corporate events and for tailgating events.

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What 3-D Printing Could Mean For Small Business

3d printing machines

When a company’s business is to manufacture its own goods it has a slew of options. For one, the company can outsource production to a factory. In some cases, particularly  in China where counterfeit and intellectual property laws are either overlooked or non-existent, it poses risks. The biggest risk is of teaching a factory how to make the company’s goods and then the factory staff selling the idea or making knock-offs in their free time.

The problem with knock-offs is that they did not have to put in the research and development. That means when they make the fake version of a bobbin, they can charge a lot less. In addition, the fake goods could harm the reputation of the actual inventor and their product. Because fake goods are also lower quality, and may faulty, they can also pose a threat to their consumers.

The Big Answer Is This
3-D printers produce a solution to this long-nagging problem for manufacturers who have often turned to China to produce its goods. In addition, it saves the costs of the other alternative — the cost of buying factories and taking back control of production. That is a costly option.

The power of a 3-D printer, also known as additive manufacturing, has its roots in the traditional printing process that uses papers. Instead of a 2-D printout, the 3-D printer spits out objects.

Reducing Production Times3d printing machines
Some companies make specialized products that conform to their individual customers’ own bodies. It means a labor-intensive and more time-intensive process for specialty milling companies. Though, 3-D printers mean that such equipment can now be created from 3-D printers, accurately, and much more quickly. Take a process that used machines that would break down very frequently. It would cost a company time to keep the machines running longer while paying millers to run the equipment for more hours.

Instead, with 3-D printing outputs are accurate, to specifications while producing goods in one-third the time it used to take. Such giant steps in manufacturing is good for business. It could help cut the costs of goods as well as save tremendous costs on square footage and on wages.

Methods To Produce Goods
Fused deposition modeling is similar to an inkjet. It heats the material and forces it through tubes. In this manner, it creates the object layer by layer, one at a time. 3d printing machines

The next style of 3-D printer provides its service through the use of selective laser sintering units. This SLS is the closest to the action of laser printers where 3-D printers are concerned. The output comes from a pile of resin powder whose final product is a hard material.

Stereolithography meanwhile is similar to this process. Though, it uses liquid resin to produce its results.

Dropping Prices
Rather than purchasing and running their own 3-D printers, many small and medium-sized outfits outsource the process to specialized printing companies. While the cost of a 3-D printer has dropped since their inception from $200,000 per printer to now a more reasonable $15,000, it is still risky for businesses to take on that cost.

In addition, outsourcing the 3-D printing process means that companies can work with printing companies that have the type of printer needed to best complete a job.

For companies, it allows for locking down of the production of its products. In addition, companies can create prototypes to keep up with constantly evolving and upgrading products, such as smartphones. Making prototypes is no longer a months-long process. Armed with a solid design team, and a 3-D printer, companies can spend the morning hammering out a design, and seeing how it works by evening.

3-D printing is very versatile because it includes printouts in many different materials. It could include glass, metal, ceramic, and plastic. Many print shops offer a low threshold to get into 3-D printing by charging customers for materials for production. They may charge a small fee for the service of the whole order.

3-D printing provides a real service to all of humanity right now. Printers have come down a lot in price, and make it much easier to produce prototypes. In addition, 3-D printing lets companies maintain control over their proprietary design, which helps to successfully thwart off knockoffs. Fake goods steal from the company’s bottom line, its brand, and its overall good name.

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When Clients Think You Are Too Expensive

Too Expensive

You’ve likely heard it before, and you know you’ll hear it again, clients sometimes think that you charge too much. Of course, your first reaction is to become offended, after all, your work should be valued. However, many clients believe this because they’ve come to believe misconceptions about the industry and they don’t realize what you actually put into their job. So, before you get into a tizzy about this, let’s find out why your clients think you charge too much and see if you can find a better way to negotiate with them so that you’re paid what you’re worth and so that the clients remain happy. You can also analyze why they think you’re charging too much and find ways to navigate around that accusation.

Price Reflects ValueToo Expensive for you

Clients see value in your work in one of two ways.

It’s an excellent price when the value of your work is higher than what you charge.

It’s too expensive and your fee is too high when compared to the value of your work.

There’s a delicate balance between what you do and what you charge. You don’t want to undercharge and you don’t want to overcharge. If you’re charging too much, there is always someone around that will charge less and deliver more. That’s just how this market works. However, while you’re trying to earn a living, you must charge the appropriate amount for your services. You don’t want to lose clients, but you don’t want to undervalue your work either. Anyone can go online and find at least 20 other people that do just what you do. They may even charge less, but they may not deliver like you do. It’s a risk that many clients are willing to take. If you’ve not had a client tell you you’re charging too much, you’re likely not charging them enough money to do what you do.

Don’t lower your rates right away if you do hear that you’re overcharging clients. Take a moment and consider what it would take for you to give a steady client a discount. You don’t want a pushy client always trying to lower your price and you don’t want to devalue your work. Take a moment and ask why they think you’re charging too much. Find out the real reason they believe this.

If clients have never told you that you charge too much, you probably aren’t charging enough money.

Respond: When compared to what?

This is a great way to deal with the comment that you charge too much. Find out what they are comparing your work to. Is it even equivalent to what you are doing? Many times clients are misconstruing another company and what they do for what you do. Find out exactly what they are comparing it to. You can’t control what another company charges, so explain why you charge what you charge. If the client chooses to move on without you that is fine, you’ll have other clients and remember that clients get what they pay for.

Respond: Ignore It

No one has said that you must defend what you charge. You can ignore their complaints. If you’re full of work and doing well who cares what a potential client thinks about your prices? You’re busy so don’t stress over it. You don’t have to waste your time telling someone that may cause you a lot of stress why you charge what you charge. Let it go.

Respond: Find Out Their Budget
Too Expensive for you
When you have a client complaining, ask what their budget is. It might shock them to hear this. Besides, it may also help you to negotiate what they can get on their budget. A good example is to tell them what they can get for their budget. This way, they are going to see what that budget will get and know ahead of time. Perhaps they’re not quite ready to buy yet. They can either save for what they do want, settle for less or move on.

Respond: Do They Really Need This Service?

Often a client will tell you that you’re too expensive to see if you’ll give them a discount. They may not want to make a decision so they leave this in your ballpark. This is an easy way for them to opt out if they change their minds. They may say that they don’t really need you right now but that they are just pricing. They may think it’s a huge hassle to get the job done. Give them your card and tell them to stay in touch when they are ready.

A Cheap Client Will Get Cheap WorkDo They Really Need This Service?

Many clients simply don’t value their work so they want it for nothing. They aren’t doing well overall and they are pushy. This is a huge red flag so heed it. Give them your card and know that they won’t likely pay you if they did hire you.

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Most Interesting Gadgets For Selling In The Year Of 2016


The world of technology is advancing and those who are in tune with the trends are reaping the rewards when it comes to earning money. It is essential to sit down and focus on what is selling in order to get it out in front of the market as soon as you can. There are too many people who are just not focusing on what works and what does not. It is essential to remain focused on the task at hand because that is what matters most. Here are some of the most interesting gadgets to consider.

4K Drones

These drones have been making the rounds for a long time because 4K Droneof how nice they are and the value they have to offer. You never want to go with a solution that does not get the job done and this is unique.

A drone is able to fly around and take 4K shots that were just not possible in the past.

This is not the case any longer. Those who are making the most of these drones are going to appreciate the value they are getting.

These gadgets are tremendous and truly will be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

Virtual Reality Headsets

The next gadget would be virtual reality headsets that are being sold Virtual Reality Headsetson the open market. These are great because they are able to take you into a whole new world without moving from your seat.

This is exciting for those who have always wanted to get involved with such gadgets.

This is the way of the future in the eyes of experts and people are moving towards these gadgets more and more as time goes on.

The reality soware that is out there is getting better as well which adds sto the value of this option for sellers.

Wireless Headphones

These are in trend at this point in time and a lot of consumers are in Wireless Headphonessearch of these headphones. Those tangled wires are not fun to deal with and most people get annoyed when they have to wear them. Why not sell them something that is going to be easy to put on moving forward? This is key when you are trying to figure out what works and what does not.

Wireless headphones are a great way forward and will sell as you want them to.

These are the most interesting gadgets to sell for those who are trying to pinpoint what the market is in search of. There are so many things that are out there for you to select from and that is what makes it tough in the end. You don’t want to put something out there that is not easy on the mind and is not going to sell. This would be a real waste of money, but if you take a look at these key gadgets, you are going to see how well they are going to sell now and in the long-term as well.

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Choosing The Right Excavator For Communal Work


On communal construction jobs, the scale of work to be performed often demands the use of heavy equipment. “Heavy” is a relative term, though, and you can usually handle all of the tasks you need to do on a communal job with a compact excavator. Here’s how to go about selecting and renting one.

The Range Of Options

For the very smallest jobs, like basic small-scale earth-moving and trenching, your needs may be met by a skid steer. These wheeled units weigh less than a ton, but they can be equipped with a vast range of attachments to handle whatever kind of job you have. They can even be used for digging moderate excavations by operating inside a hole.

Most communal projects call for the use of a compact excavator. These tracked vehicles are miniaturized versions of conventional excavators or backhoes. They can weigh up to 8 tons, although 3-4 tons is the most common weight class. Most modern compact excavators are easy to operate and have features which are very useful for communal projects, like zero tail swing (i.e. the operator’s cab and counterweight does not extend past the tracks in any orientation).

Assessing Your Needs

Of course, the ruling factor the influences your choice of equipment is exactly what you intend to do with it. Work to define your needs as carefully as possible before you start looking at rental options. Try to gauge the overall depth and reach you need your excavator to have. If you expect to do additional work besides ordinary digging and dumping, define the extra attachments (e.g. auger, breaker, etc.) you’re going to need.excavators

Consider the restrictions of the site before renting, too. Take a look at where you’ll be operating your excavator to see how much clearance the machine will have. Note the ground surfaces you’ll be using it on; you may need to get a unit with rubber treads to protect delicate ground.

Don’t be too conservative in your estimates. Overall it’s more cost-effective to rent a machine which is a little overpowered than to rent one you’ll need to replace with a bigger unit to get the job done.

Choosing Your Rental Company

As long as you have a good understanding of your needs, your choice of rental company is far more important than what brand or model of excavator you wind up with. You shouldn’t select a company based on financial considerations alone. The very cheapest options will provide you with minimal guidance and may even expose you to unacceptable levels of risk.

It’s much wiser to work with a company that gives you a proper level of customer service, even if you end up paying a little more. If you’re a first-time operator it’s especially important to work with a company that will show you how to operate your excavator safely. Good rental companies can even help you to define your needs properly and guide you towards a machine that will meet them fully. Be on the lookout for unscrupulous salespeople who will attempt to over-sell you, though.

A compact excavator can play a huge role in a communal project. It’s so important to the job that doing a little extra research on your options is well worth the time it takes. Making a smart selection will give you the equipment you need at a price that fits your budget.

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Which Forklift Is Best For Small Business?


If you have a small business, you need to be very careful with your expenses, at least in the beginning, when you don’t have too many clients. This is why you have to do a price comparison for all things you want to invest in. For instance, if you need a forklift, you shouldn’t invest in a very expensive one you may not use at its full capacity. You need to do an accurate estimation of the type of jobs you need your equipment for and buy something that satisfies these requirements. If your business develops, you can always sell your used equipment and buy something new to match your new needs.forklifts

Another good tip is to avoid buying new equipment. There are companies wanting to upgrade their machines, so they are willing to sell their current ones in order to use the money for getting what they need. This is common practice, so you won’t have problems in finding some good forklifts to suit your actual needs. They are going to do your job, and besides, you are going to have them for only a fraction of their price from new. This can be a good idea for a new business with limited budgets to invest in technology and machines. You can also consider renting such equipment, but this solution works only if you only have short term projects that require this kind of machines. If you need a forklift on longer term, it makes more sense to try to purchase one instead of renting. Just do a market research, gather some offers and some prices, and do a side by side comparison of your options.

If you don’t know where to start your research from, you can make an inquiry to all major forklift and heavy equipment manufacturers. Many of the offer buy-back programs, so they might have refurbished equipment you could use. Besides, they may be willing to give you good payment terms, especially if you can prove you are honest and trustworthy.

Managing a small business and leading it to success can be a matter of knowing when to compromise and when to be inflexible. You need to be assertive and pursue your best interest. However, you also need to know when you have to make the best out of what you have rather than invest foolishly in equipment beyond your possibilities.

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Buying A Second Hand Forklift: What Are Your Options?


As you already know, buying a forklift is no small expense. When you need this piece of machinery, though, there are really are no substitutes. Luckily, there are options for buying a forklift second hand. By choosing to buy a forklift that isn’t brand new, you can save yourself quite a bit of money while still getting the tool that you need for your business or personal use. Continue reading to learn more about purchasing a forklift that has been previously used.

First of all, you should learn what you can about forklifts. If you do not know much about them, it will be helpful to educate yourself, or find someone who does know about them so they can help you with the buying process. Knowing about this machine or finding someone who does will help you as you look at different second hand forklifts and purchase one. The more you know, the better able you will be to buy one that is in great shape.FORKLIFT

Next, consider what size and type of forklift you are interested again. Knowing your needs and wants will help you narrow your search as you shop for a second hand forklift. It is best to shop for forklifts that will fit your needs so you don’t waste your time looking at forklifts that will not be adequate for the job.

Once you have learned about forklifts and decided on exactly what you need, you can start shopping for second hand options. You can look at local companies, dealers, and other options where forklifts are used. By taking time to search for forklifts, it will help you find exactly what you are looking for.

As you start finding second hand forklifts that interest you, you should ask questions, and lots of them. Asking questions allows you to learn about the different forklifts that you are coming across. By learning about them all, you can better make your decision. If you are handy with mechanic work or have a mechanic on staff, you may choose a forklift that may not work like it should, but one that you can fix. This can save you a lot of money.

Shopping for second hand forklifts is a smart option if you need this type of machinery for personal or business use. By making smart decisions in your shopping venture, you can end up with the forklift that fits your needs.

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