First Look: Zara unveils pioneering store concept


Global apparel giant Zara has taken the wraps off its transformed flagship at Westfield Stratford mall in London, debuting a format that revolutionizes the in-store shopping experience.

I read this article with great interest. Hope you do to .The two-story, 48,000-sq.-ft. store feature digital technology that integrates the online and offline shopping experiences, with such features as automated order collection points, self-checkout, interactive mirrors and mobile payment systems.

Marketing Tips for FaceBook

smart ideas Barb pic24 Ways To Market Your Brand, Company, Product, or Service Inside FaceBook


 fb_icon_325x325A large and growing portion of some of the most valuable demographics are spending more of their time and attention on Facebook and less on other social media channels.

Not only are  college students and teenagers fully engaged in Facebook, but adults, professionals, and people from around the world now constitute a substantial portion of the Facebook userbase as well. Most marketers lack a comprehensive understanding of the vast array of explicit and implicit marketing channels Facebook offers – most of which are viral.

The goal here is to provide an introduction to what’s possible on Facebook to the spectrum of marketers from brand advertisers to volunteer grassroots evangelists.

Facebook offers many ways to get the word out and bring the people in.

Here’s how to get started.  See link to complete article

Marketing Tips on FaceBook



Make A Web Design Look Good

Seven Key principles:

Seven-KeysVery excited to share  Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card  Shop ….. brand  new Website. Designed by Retail Makeover's very own Web Designer, Steve Crowhurst.

The Seven Key Principles:

  1. Balance
  2. Grid
  3. Color
  4. Graphics
  5. Typography
  6. White space
  7. Connection.

1. Balance

Balance is all about ensuring that your design does not tip to one side or the other. It is like the balance of weight in achieving symmetry or asymmetry.

2. Grid

The concept of grids is closely related to that of balance. Grids are a series of horizontal and vertical rulers that help you “compartmentalize” a design. Think of columns. Columns improve readability, making a page’s content easier to absorb. The Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio account for why sidebars. We won’t get into why this is, but it does seem to hold true in practice. It is also why the subject in professionally taken photographs is usually positioned not in the middle but at the intersection of an imaginary nine-square grid (three by three, with two horizontal and two vertical lines).

3. Color

Picking nice colors is as important as picking the right colors (that is, the right colors for the job).  Every color sends out a message, and it is up to you to get the message right. At first glance, the color choices may look somewhat arbitrary, but when you look closely you notice a strictly defined color palette, which is necessary to ensure that all of the elements get along well. The website, and especially its background, also demonstrates a good combination of colors and graphics, which brings us to number four…

4. Graphics

Okay, great design doesn’t need fancy graphics. But poor graphics will definitely hurt a design. Graphics add to the visual message.

 5. Typography

The art of type is a tricky subject to talk about because it encompasses so many elements. While it can be regarded as a branch of design, one can spend a lifetime mastering all of its aspects. This is not the place to provide a complete typographic reference, so we will limit our discussion to what will benefit you in the short term.Web typography is handicapped compared to print typography. The biggest difference is our lack of complete control over the appearance of type on the Web, due to its dynamic character. Obviously, dynamic rendering has its strenghts, but Web designers have little control over the results, at least for now. Missing fonts on the user’s computer, differences in browser and platform rendering, and generally subpar support in CSS make Web typography a daunting if not frustrating task. But while we may have to wait for CSS 3 for Web typography to reach its full potential, we have the means now to make it look interesting and, more importantly, pretty.A Word About Image ReplacementWhat about image replacement (the technique of replacing fonts with images)? We’ve talked about font stacks, but aren’t they inferior to image replacement? Well, that depends on what you think is more important: being able to display the exact font you want or having dynamic, accessible and SEO-friendly content? Certain image replacement techniques have gotten pretty advanced, but they still aren’t as flexible as plain text. Image replacement lends itself well to headers and excerpts, but it is hardly a solution for body text.

6. White Space

White space, or negative space, has to do with what is not there. Like measure and leading, white space gives text some breathing room and spatial peace. You can make elements stand out by adding white space around them. Copy, for example, shouldn’t look cramped. To ensure readability, make sure paragraphs have sufficient padding.

7. Connection

“Connection” is a bit of a made-up term here, but it seems to be the best one for what we mean. Connection here refers to a Web design that has both unity and consistency. These two attributes demonstrate the profesionalism of a design (and thus its designer). They are very broad attributes. A design should be consistent in its use of colors, in its range of fonts, with its icons, etc. All of these aspects count; a design can look great and still suffer from inconsistencies.When a design is inconsistent, its unity can be lost on the user. Unity is slightly different from consistency. Unity refers to how the different elements in a design interact and fit together. For example, do the colors and graphics match? Does everything contribute to one unified message? Consistency, on the other hand, is found between the pages of a design.Unity is perhaps the more important of the two. Without unity, having a good design is hard. Inconsistency, however, may look a bit “sloppy” but may not make the design “bad.”Of the seven principles addressed in this article, connection is the most important. Connection has to do with how all elements come together: balance, grid, colors, graphics, type and white space. It is sort of the glue that binds everything together. Without this glue, the design falls apart. You could have pretty type and a brilliant and meticulously chosen color palette, but if the graphics are awful or simply don’t match or if everything is crammed together without thought, the design will fail.


Good Web design is not limited to the seven key principles discussed here. Aspects such as accessibility, readability and usability play a part, too.This is the reason why Web design is so difficult. But truly mastering all of the facets of Web design takes time and, let’s be honest, talent.  Congratulations Roxanne. Your website is a very  effective on line sales and marketing tool. Best:Barbara

Day #149 - Effective Use of Signage

Order you Shoppetalk window signage today :Shoppe Talk  will be featured at the Wall Talk Booth   at the  CGTA August Show from 11- 15 , 2012Please visit and meet with Ronda Pegman to review product line.Booth # 8118 in Hall 8 Toronto Congress Centre .BestBarbara

Day #125 - Take A Hike Receives Business Excellence Award

Please join me in congratulating one of our own:Retailer Diane Petryna, owner of Take a Hike in Thunder Bay

Take A Hike Receives Business Excellence Award

Medium (7-25 Employees)THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - May 6, 2012 - Nine years after having won the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce's Business Excellence Award for small sized firms (1-6 employees), Take A Hike was once again recognized for its excellence. At last evening's 18th Annual Business Awards Gala held at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, the retail store received the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for medium sized companies (7-25 employees).Take A Hike's continued business expansion and diversification, exemplary customer service, innovative staff training initiatives, and history of community involvement impressed the judges.In accepting the award, store owner Diane Petryna acknowledged the on-going support her company has enjoyed from customers, employees, suppliers and the community.  She also suggested that with her company's track record, the Chamber should expect Take A Hike back at the podium in 10 more years. "By then we'll be ready to pick up our award in the large sized business category," she said with a smile.Take A Hike is an independently owned and operated outdoor lifestyle store located at 309 Bay Street in Thunder Bay. Since 1996, Take A Hike has been offering shoppers a unique collection of quality gifts, toys, clothing, footwear and gear.As a leading retailer in Canada, Petryna is a member of the Retail Council of Canada's Independent Retailer Advisory Committee and is often cited in industry journals about best retail management practices.For more information, contact:Diane Petryna at 1-807-474-4220  or or go to

Day #124 - Strange Weather

Strange weather is playing havoc with retailers’ plans. Here is a great article about weather and the effects on retail.

"Retailers are at war with the weather"

Already reeling from the winter that wasn’t, many stores in Canada now find themselves struggling to match their inventory to the spring that came too soon.Tom Johnson, co-owner of Tall Tree Cycles in Ottawa, delayed bringing in new stock at his Ottawa bike store this year because last year’s spring was so “horrible.”“Now because of the early start in the season, there are long wait times for certain bikes,” said Mr. Johnson, whose sales are up about 10 per cent this month from a year ago. “We can’t keep up. Orders are coming in. You’re filling them but you can’t get the new product on the floor to show it.”The inability of some smaller- to mid-sized retailers to get shipments into stores faster comes after already suffering through poor sales last spring in cool and rainy weather, prompting some to delay or scale back inventory purchasing this year.And larger retailers, though better positioned to respond to inventory challenges, are racing to recoup painful losses from a mild winter that melted away sales of such items as coats, boots and snow blowers. Anticipating a cold, snowy winter, many merchants were forced to clear out merchandise at heavy discounts, slashing profit margins.For retailers of all sizes, the pressure to keep up with fickle weather patterns highlights the challenges of planning merchandise and reacting quickly to shifting demands in order to stay competitive.Today, retailers are enjoying a welcome lift in sales of shorts, sandals and other warm-weather merchandise – up as much as 30 per cent or more in some categories from a year earlier. But keeping up with demand has been a challenge, especially for smaller players.Part of the challenge is that retailers make many of their purchase orders six to nine months in advance, with little flexibility on deliveries from overseas.“We’ve been working with our suppliers to try to get delivery dates moved up,” said Steven Cross, owner of Threads Lifestyle, an outdoors clothing and gear store in Toronto. “The biggest challenge is just having the goods on the floor.”Mr. Cross, whose store is enjoying double-digit sales growth this month, said he “just gave up on winter” in early February and ran heavy sales of up to 70 per cent off to clear out inventory, which wiped out profits. On the flip side, he’s brought out many spring products 60 days earlier than last year – and 30 days earlier than he typically does – which is bolstering his bottom line.Large chains, such as Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Sport Chek (owned by Canadian Tire Corp.  and Rona Inc.,  say they’re in good shape to profit from record temperatures in much of Canada. But after having missed out on many winter sales, they’re now racing to bring in spring inventory to help cut their cold-weather losses.“Demand is up, whether it’s consumables like water and sport drinks or … T-shirts and sandals and shorts,” said Evan Gold, a senior vice-president at Planalytics Inc. in Philadelphia, which advises retailers such as Canadian Tire, Starbucks and Payless Shoes on business weather intelligence.“From a retailer perspective, they may be struggling individually, retailer to retailer, to make sure that they have enough product in the right place. … But over all it’s been good.”This month so far in Canada, retail sales of T-shirts have shot up 16 per cent, women’s capri pants, 21 per cent, and barbecue supplies 33 per cent from the previous year, according to Planalytics. Restaurant traffic gained 3 per cent while retail traffic over all rose 5 per cent. Still, retailers wrestled with declining winter sales – boot sales fell 20 per cent, outerwear dropped 17 per cent and snow removal  products fell 24 per cent, Planalytics data show.The early spring hasn’t arrived in all parts of the country. In Vancouver, retailers are still operating in cool conditions, Mr. Gold said. “They’re still getting rid of winter product and the spring product isn’t moving.”Spokespeople at most large chains said they’re generally ready for the warm spell. “We’re set for customers in nearly all of our seasonal areas, including patio furniture, barbecues, and lawn and garden tools and products,” Home Depot Canada’s Michael Langdon said in an e-mail. “We even have live goods available in certain Western Canadian markets.”marina strauss — RETAILING REPORTER From Thursday's Globe and Mail Published Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012 7:30PM EDTBest;Barbara

Day #121 - Partnering With Canadian Cancer Society

I am very proud to let you know that:

WALLTALK is Partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society

Ronda Pegnam, president of Walltalk, a leading manufacturer of decorative quotes and words for walls, announced that the company will partner with the Canadian Cancer Society commencing with the April Daffodil Campaign. This initiative, which will run until the end of 2012, aims to raise both awareness and money by manufacturing and selling two specially marked inspirational wall décor quotes to their retail customers.Ronda Pegnam, president of Walltalk, a leading manufacturer of decorative quotes and words for walls, announced that the company will partner with the Canadian Cancer Society commencing with the April  Daffodil Campaign. This initiative, which will run until the end of 2012, aims to raise both awareness and money by manufacturing and selling two specially marked inspirational wall décor quotes to their retail customers. From the sale of each quote sold, $1 will be donated to the society in support of cancer information and support services.WWW.WALLTALK.CADon't forget to have a look at Shoppetalk today;BestBarbara

Day #120 - In Style Trends

I picked this up from a recent newsletter from Retail News;

In Style Trends:

Five days, 1000 plus exhibitors, one million square feet, 17,000 retail buyers – the Toronto Gift Show is the most comprehensive market in Canada for sourcing giftware, home décor, jewellery and fashion accessories along with housewares. It's here that suppliers unveil their newest collections and their latest distribution agreements. As we travelled the aisles of the 10 halls at the show, we were on the lookout for over-arching trends. There were plenty to be spotted, but here are four of the most prevalent. Enjoy!


From antiqued leather couches to the dapper 1960s style of Mad Men, unabashed masculinity is on one big power trip at the moment. 


Savour a perfect Parisian macaroon or the scents of Provence, as products reminiscent of French patisseries, hotels, restaurants and apothecaries are plentiful.


An anatomical take on the nature trend, Botany is about an appreciation for the minutia of natural beauty like the detailed intricacies of a butterfly's wings.


We've broken free from the repressive constraints of “greige” and are now lusting after bolts of bright colour. Read more...Retail News | Retail News Now! | Current IssueAs always,BestBarbara