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    eNews:  April 24,

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Shopper Tsunami

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

You’ve heard that the “customer is king” for a long as you have been in business. Whether we like it or not the customer is still in charge, and today’s customer has some new demands. Consider those demands a tsunami that has already landed and every business it touches will be changed.

Retailers are being pushed by consumers who are digital natives with increasing demands. They can shop anywhere and everywhere, in-store and online, television and catalogs; they are redefining retailing as they go along. Here’s the point: Before a customer ever enters your store they have had the opportunity to examine your products and services, and have read reviews about you before deciding whether to visit you or not. It’s called a Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT).

ZMOT allow customers to know more about you than you know about them. They are clicking around the internet looking for the best deal and the best experience. They choose where to shop based on ease, reliability, price, convenience, the store’s reputation, availability of product, and the ability to interact with you online and via mobile device. Over 45 percent of participants in our focus groups said they buy items monthly online, with their mobile device. Think smart phones and tablet devices. Convenience is big on the list of purchase decisions.

Zero Moments Of Truth requires that you consistently monitor your reputation online. These days there’s a lot of talk about retailers on the internet, so you need to devote time to reputation management.

Yelp, for example, is the go-to review site for many customers. Restaurants used to be the top reviewed businesses, but now that spot is held by retail stores. Some of you don’t like Yelp, we get it, but putting your head in the sand and ignoring it because you think it doesn’t matter will only hurt you in the long run. So bite the bullet and claim your Yelp business page. Fill in all of the spaces, and add your hours, photos, philosophy – whatever you like, but do it. People can still review your store even if you don’t claim your page. Why would you want that? Bad reviews live forever online; it’s better if you acknowledge a complaining customer. When someone posts a positive review, thank them – engage and connect, remember?

Google your store.
Don’t stop with what you find on pages 1-4, the good stuff is deeper. Do this exercise at least once a month to see what is being said about you. Monitoring services that might be of interest include and

So, what can you do to engage and connect with customers?

Make your sales floor memorable. Take this test:
Walk outside your front door. Close your eyes, count to 30 and walk back in. Stop in your Decompression Zone – about 5’ inside – and just look around. If you were a customer would you be excited about what you see, feel, hear or smell? Would you want to come inside and stay a while?

We live in a world of texting, tweets, and snaps – everything happens quickly. In a store, shoppers decide whether they like you or not in the first 10 seconds inside your front door. How does your store’s first impression stack up?
If the experience on your sales floor doesn’t unfold immediately, these savvy, time-sensitive shoppers may start to remove you from their list of favorite places. Your displays need to entice the shopper to play as well as buy. Install a TV or an iPad in a prominent place that continually shows all you have to offer. Upcoming classes, in-store events, promotions, customer testimonials, video clips of customers having fun painting, what you saw at Namta – the list is only as long as your imagination. The goal is to show customers that your store is a show stopper, and the place to go for all their fine art needs. Create your videos with PowerPoint, or try, a site that lets you easily use the power of video to share what matters most.

What can you do to make the display more exciting than product housed on a fixture? Have fun with props. You want to encourage customers to touch the merchandise – that’s engagement and you can’t do that online. You also want them to buy more than they had intended. Each time you set a display, add additional items that can be sold with the focal point product.

Increase focus on associate training.
Your customers want more than smiling faces – although in some stores they are lucky to get even that. They are looking for a personalized experience that includes engaging with a knowledgeable sales staff.
  • Host training meetings where you talk about what it means to engage with a customer, covering what to do and what to say. Even your most seasoned pros need to revisit this every once in a while.
  • Cross-train all associates so they all know the entire sales floor and what you sell. Knowing about paint, brushes, and everything else you sell is important when you are in front of a customer.
  • Start now to create a staff of knowledge experts. Sales training should be on-going in your store. Make articles, websites, promotional materials, podcasts, and DVDs from vendors available – create a reference library associates can refer to when necessary. When new product comes in have a 10 minute meeting right on the sales floor to talk about it. What is unique or unusual about it? Why did you decide to buy it? Which projects will it be best for, what can be sold with it? Quiz your team every so often to make sure they know their stuff.
Customer service has given way to customer advocacy. You’ve read the stories: associates at the Ritz Carlton hotels can spend up to $2000 to enhance a guest’s experience. If the guest asks an associate in valet parking for something, that valet owns it until the guest’s request is taken care of – everyone is empowered. That’s how the Ritz consistently remains at the top of the hotel ladder.

You aren’t going to give $2000 to each associate to care for customers, but you can empower them to follow through on every customer question or request. That’s what customer advocates do every day – build it into your store culture.

We have a customer advocacy form called the Super Quick Service Response. Drop us an email at [email protected] if you’d like a copy.

Talk about what you can do in-store to create emotional experiences for customers.
Your team will have lots of ideas so turn their creativity loose! Maybe even assign specific areas, like specific classes and events, to individual associates to give each one an added pop. 

Connect and engage online to bring shoppers to your store.
They are already clicking around; show them what they’re missing.
  • Use your free YouTube channel to post videos of your store’s latest adventures, to house helpful how-to videos, and more. Link these videos to your website, email blasts and social medias.
  • When a customer gives you a compliment ask if you can record them to post online. Customer testimonials are 10 – 20 times more powerful than what you have to say about yourself.
  • Become a broadcaster! Facebook Live lets you instantly stream live to your followers and interact with viewers in real time. It’s fun and easy! We save our broadcasts on our phones after we shoot so we can share them later on YouTube, other social medias, and in email blasts.
  • Facebook Groups gives you the opportunity to connect with an exclusive group of people to share a common interest – your store. It takes work because you are required to throw out topics and monitor the group, but it’s worth it if you have the time. It won’t work if you don’t have the drive to keep it going.
Facebook Groups are like having a daily focus group with people who know and love your store.
Use them to establish your expertise and collect feedback, to talk about product, techniques, and preferences. Use it to launch and/or test new programs, post polls, and ask open-ended questions. You’ll build better relationships with your core customers while spreading the word about your store. Bonus: Your members will tell their friends who will want to join, too – you’ll definitely increase your exposure.

It all comes down to this: The digital age and the rise of electronic merchants will always be with us. Their presence can create opportunities for brick and mortar retailers who are willing to think beyond their comfort zone. Your fabulous, physical selling space has a big advantage. People can come in, shop, have a great experience, and walk out with their heart’s desire. No waiting for a package to arrive in that mail. So, are you ready for the wave? Surfs up!


Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place. KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in national newspapers, national and international industry and consumer publications, and on radio and television programs across the U.S. You can learn more at


Namta’s Art Advocacy Grant Program was launched in 2018. The program awards grants in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000 to applicants who support the arts in any of four categories - Public Art, Art Education, The Military, and Health & Healing.

     You can help with a donation to the 2019 Art Advocacy Grant fund. Contact Sue Cohen at Namta with donation questions at 704-892-6244 or [email protected].

Retailers and Companies - 
Print a stack of these flyers
(left) and leave the where your employees and customers can pick one up - help Namta get the word out!

See the 2018 Grant Recipients - Funds for the 2018 Grants came from contributions from colart and Fredrix Artists Canvas, along with Namta and sales of Art Matters Merchandise.

Take a look at this list of organizations and people that have ideas about, or are actively involved with, Public Art, Art Education, and Art Therapy.

Notable Quote 

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one."
- Erma Bombeck

Erma Louise Bombeck (1927 – 1996) was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck published 15 books - most of which became bestsellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, using broad and sometimes eloquent humor, chronicling the ordinary life of a mid-western suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.


Interesting Statistics about Email Sales

from  by Aja Frost  @ajavuu

The average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day. This task takes them just five minutes.

The vast majority of prospects want to read emails at 5 and 6 a.m.

According to Boomerang's analysis of 300,000 emails, an all caps subject line hurts response rates by approximately 30%.

Don't just provide information -- request some, too. Emails that contain one to three questions are 50% likelier to get replies than emails without any questions.

These Web articles may be of interest to you and your staff.

Tapping Customers for Company Success

from by Stefanie Guzikowski, April 2019

Customers are obviously critical to the success of any business in terms of growing revenue. While we depend on customers to buy our products and services, there are a number of other important ways that customers can help drive business growth and maximize a company’s success – such as through feedback, ideas, suggestions, loyalty and recommendations.

Here are some guidelines:

Prioritize CRM. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is crucial to establishing long-term, lucrative partnerships with customers. CRM leads to better customer service and stronger relationships along every touchpoint throughout your company which, in turn, boosts innovation, sales, revenue and profits.

Leverage WOM marketing. It’s been proven that word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is the most effective way to engage customers and drive sales. WOM recommendations influence our purchasing decisions: which car to buy, which restaurant to try, which physician to see. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, according to marketing guru Jay Baer. Per a Nielsen study, 83 percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness.

Secure (and retain) customer loyalty. Companies have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling to an existing customer versus a much lower 5 percent to 20 percent probability of selling to a prospect, according to Marketing Metrics. Statistics (and experiences) prove it’s far easier to retain current customers than it is to recruit new ones. Securing customer loyalty should be an ongoing priority.

Show you care. Elevate your CRM efforts by going above and beyond with your customer interactions – regardless of whether your customer is making a huge purchase (like a new appliance) or a minor one (a loaf of bread). While huge companies like Nordstrom and Wegman’s are well-known for their extraordinary customer service, it’s equally important for smaller, local businesses to make their mark in this arena, as well. Case in point: an independently owned grocery store gained cult-like popularity for helping every guest load their groceries into their cars. This seemingly small gesture went a long way in making customers happy and loyal (especially during torrential rainstorms).

Solicit customer feedback. Sometimes brilliant ideas come directly from customers, who appreciate being heard and recognized. Listen to customer suggestions and you may get some great insights that your internal teams hadn’t considered. Being open to new ideas (even if they’re not from “inside” the company) is key to successful innovation and growth. Request customer input on new product lines (features, price points, etc.) or inquire about their service needs and consider how your company might evolve with new offerings accordingly.

Inform them. Show your ongoing appreciation for your customers by making them feel connected to your company. Treat them as an important partner – which they are! Without them, you’d have no business! Keep them informed about your company’s “new news” – a new product or service line, new staff members, altered business hours, an upcoming sale, and/or a new incentive. Make them feel special with “inside scoop.”

Encourage social media chatter. Ask your customers to follow, like, Tweet and share about your company and what makes it special. If they have compliments, praise your outstanding customer service, and/or comment on how you’ve gone “above and beyond” for them, ask them to share it on social. Regularly interact with your customers by replying to their comments, thanking them for their patronage, and telling them you appreciate their feedback.

Offer rewards. Show loyal customers how much you appreciate them. This could be as simple as providing a punch card for a free coffee (or sandwich or workout) for every 10 visits. Offer referral bonuses or discounts for every new customer they send your way. Rewarding their behavior makes them feel valued and appreciated, and encourages them to keep coming back.

Taping into your customers as part of your overall PR strategy can significantly boost your company’s success so be sure to add a customer PR program to your strategic marketing/PR plan.

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The Robert E. Gard Award celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life. It aims to raise up projects from the last year lead by individuals or organizations working to cross the arts into other aspects of community life in meaningful, measurable ways.

Click here to see the 10 finalists from 2018.

If you are a member of Americans for the Arts, you’re eligible to vote for your top three projects, and the winner will be announced at the Annual Convention! Voting for the 2019 is open until May 3 at

Judy Lesczinski

Judy Lesczinski passed away early this month. She met and began dating Mike Lesczinski in middle school and they were married for 42 years. Mike is President of Enkaustikos and Rochester Art Supply. Judy was the rock of her family and grandmother to Grace, William, Olivia, Charlotte, Liam, Jack, Albina and Roman.

To share a memory or send the family a condolence, please visit


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POSITION AVAILABLE   Posted 4/9/2019


Contact:  Megan Spellman     [email protected]

Position Title:  Director of Sales

Position Location:  Greater Atlanta

Position Description:
American Tombow is seeking an experienced, highly motivated Director of Sales to join our team. This candidate would be experienced in the craft and creative industries with proven success to drive business. The Director of Sales would be responsible for resellers across a variety of channels to include; craft, fine art, office, mass and e-commerce. The Director of Sales would have the leadership skills needed to manage, coach, and develop a team that includes 5 direct account managers and outside sales representatives. The right candidate would have a strong pulse on the market with the experience to lead the strategic and tactical business development that drive and increase sales volume.

  • Develop and implement sales strategies
  • Oversee the management, learning, and career development of the sales team
  • Oversee account activities including managing and direct selling to promote business development of key clients
  • Perform other duties as assigned, as well as duties that are unique and/or specific to the department
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Sales Management & Business Development experience with proven success across a variety of channels including art, craft, office, e-commerce and mass market
  • Minimum 10 years experience in sales

Estimated Start Date of Position:  May 2019

Namta Members get access to special pricing and more with a Store Purchasing Card. Click here for more info!

Namta Member Account #: 8012 806 1458

Click here to open a Namta Office Depot/Office Max account

Questions - Contact:
Randy Bock
[email protected]
855-337-6811 ext 12716


Namta Members Can Save on FedEx® Shipments - and More!

Many of your fellow Namta members know an easy way to save on shipping. It’s the Namta Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®. Through this free member benefit, you can save up to 27%* on select FedEx services. Don’t miss out on the savings – enroll today!

Visit for complete program details.

Shipping program can be used in USA only.