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Changing Channels

July 1, 2014

When I was at the ABC Spring Education Conference and Trade Show in Orlando in May, I got the chance to meet with and talk to a number of juvenile retailers about their businesses. What really struck me during those conversations was how differently those retailers have to think about their business strategy as opposed to those running stores as recently as 10 years ago.

Today’s consumer is more plugged in than ever, and in order for businesses to succeed, retailers have to be available to and actively engage customers outside the traditional brick-and-mortar store. This means utilizing multiple retail and communication channels and offering customer service beyond the sales floor.

In our June/July issue, we talked to some retailers—specialty, big box and online—who have done a good job managing multiple retail channels and making them work for their businesses. These retailers have some really great insights on what works and what doesn’t, and their comments really reflect how business owners must think to survive and thrive in today’s retail climate.

It was really fascinating to hear what each retailer had to say about what worked for their business, and especially to hear similar sentiments expressed by specialty, big box and online retailers. Even without a huge corporate budget and large staff enjoyed by big box and online outlets, smaller retailers can still employ some of the same techniques used by the bigger guys to compete and reach their customers.

What are you doing in your store to manage multiple retail channels and reach customers in new ways? I’d love to hear your success stories (and maybe even what didn’t work) and share those insights with our readers in a future post. Send me your thoughts at