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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | January 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


JANUARY 15, 2022

Vail Health Gift Shop, Vail, CO

Vail Health Hospital Gift Shop, Vail, CO


Try setting New Year Goals, instead of resolutions

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I’ve been thinking that making New Year’s resolutions is a paradox. If we had the discipline to keep resolutions, we probably wouldn’t need to make them in the first place!
 
But goals are different. They are not a heavy chain around the neck but, instead, a bright challenge. Resolutions are forever – you’re not supposed to gain weight, smoke or live off your credit card ever again. But goals – aha! They last only as long as it takes to meet them and then set the next one – like organize your files, run a seven-minute mile, write a book, master a celestial chocolate cake, prepare a shop budget for 2022 and so on.
 
Have you set your New Years Goals for 2022?!



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 1 – Paczki Day & Mardi Gras
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day
APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day

What is your shop’s niche category?

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I recently visited a hospital gift shop that had a considerably big jewelry department. A large percentage of their shop’s sales came from jewelry. They offered an exciting and tempting assortment of jewelry and the shop became the place for hospital employees to buy their jewelry. I watched in amazement as employees flocked into the shop to purchase their favorite earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

A smart buyer determines the size of a category by its sales. If sales increase, then the buying and inventory should increase to meet the growing sales. Using an open-to-buy plan (OTB) is the sure way to know how much to buy. Open to Buy (OTB) is the difference between how much inventory is needed and how much is available. That includes inventory on hand, in transit, and any outstanding orders.

Many hospital gift shops have a “niche specialized category” that is hugely successful. Niche categories are usually the result of a very dedicated, attentive and talented buyer. The buyer researches then searches for the very best selling merchandise at the very best prices. They have one finger on the pulse of the shop’s unique customer (hospital employees) and another finger on what’s hot in the general retailing world.

If you’re using a POS system, sales per category numbers are automatically calculated usually. The information will help you determine available spending dollars and space allocations for each category.


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ARBA POS releases fully integrated online store

ARBA Online Store

ARBA Technology is rolling out online retail gift shop solutions that could work as apps on mobility devices as well as portals accessible from desktop devices. ARBA is responding to the hospital gift shop market and current Covid-19 pandemic which is impacting their revenues and demand. Healthcare providers that have a gift store on their medical campus more frequently leverage retired employees/volunteers to operate their gift shops.

ARBA Online Store accesses and updates customer inventory items the same way as the customer’s onsite POS kiosks. Periodic and daily revenue reports can also be run on online and onsite sales, along with inventory reports. Both the onsite and online applications access the same inventory databases, preventing rework in a dual inventory scenario which most other vendors offer.

ARBA’s Online Store is integrated with cashless payments to reduce the number of errors and eliminate cash handling altogether. Real-time inventory sync-up between the online store and the database will give back valuable time. ARBA Online Store can be added to your company’s existing website and use the same look and feel of your color schemes, fonts, and layouts.

  • Real-time sync online inventory to POS System
  • Payroll deductions
  • Designate areas for pick up
  • Declining balance accounts
  • Department charges 
  • Company charges

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Canada hospital opens pop-up gift shop in local mall

The gift shop at Great War Memorial Hospital in Ontario, Canada has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The closure has been a financial punch for the 123 volunteers who tried to find a way to raise funds for the hospital. They figure they have lost some $150,000 since the start of the pandemic, and more than 20,000 volunteer hours per year.

So, they decided to open a pop-up shop in the local shopping mall. Marilyn Litle, volunteer, said she hopes to extend their lease agreement past the end of January 2022.

The hospital intends to reopen the gift shop. “Unfortunately, it is difficult to establish a timeline for this return — especially when the increased prevalence of the COVID Omicron variant.

FULL ARTICLE/SOURCE: InsideOttowaValley


BEST SELLERS OF 2021

Q. What were your best sellers in 2021? Share your WINNERS AND LOSERS

It only takes a minute to share a few of your BEST sellers. Help your fellow shop managers succeed. Many are still struggling through the pandemic. Some are young or new to retail and just learning the job. You’ll benefit learning from others, as well. Feel free to share your WORST sellers too! : )

What were your best sellers in 2021?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Don’t just take, give back!

Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


How to escape your comfort zone

by Dave Wendland / Dec 30 2021

One of my favorite quotes is usually credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” The same can be said for a business.
A primary way to accelerate decision-making, rethink strategies and drive transformation is to move out of your comfort zones.

The comfort zone is the known, the familiar. It’s our default and what we can do automatically, without too much thought or difficulty. It feels comfortable, sheltered, reliable and pleasant, while keeping us out of danger. It’s also where we seldom need to try especially hard or expend much energy. Extending beyond one’s comfort zone is not for the faint of heart. It takes intentional effort. Here are four ways to think differently.

  1. Take a new route. I like to think of it similarly to Robert Frost’s famous words: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The discovery along this new pathway can open your imagination, provide new points of reference and free your mind up to invite new knowledge in.
  2. Read voraciously. It doesn’t have to be a book about your industry or leadership or any other business topic. Simply expanding your thinking with fresh words and different circumstances allows you to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
  3. Meditate. I have found that sitting quietly and granting myself permission to just be still is not only refreshing but also enlightening. Breaking away, in any way you can, opens your ability to invite invigorating thoughts in.
  4. Build your network. Learning from others and broadening your network can certainly pave the way to creativity.

My last piece of advice is to solicit ideas from your staff. They likely have more firsthand knowledge about what changes will actually improve their jobs or enhance your deliverables. Don’t dismiss ideas that don’t come from the top. Gathering ideas from all levels of your organization can further push it outside of its comfort zone and inspire you to accelerate growth.

FROM CINDY

Change is hard, and inertia can become a real barrier to change and discovery. The last piece of advice noted about engaging all staff for ideas is really powerful. Leadership does not mean that your ideas are the best. It takes humility and an open mind to be willing to engage all levels of staff for input and ideas.

Embracing change is difficult for most people, whether in their personal or professional lives. Speaking about retail in particular, it’s too easy to function along the lines of “we’ve always done it this way” or “we’re up against these sales from last year.” That sort of mindset leads retailers down the road of complacency, stagnation or worse.

Is there a tool that imposes the sort of self-discipline necessary for retailers to avoid these traps? The “product life cycle” concept provides an objective way to track businesses as they trend downward from their peak. It takes some of the emotion out of the change management process.

Consider:

  • Be gentle with yourself, especially when the learning curve is steep.
  • Get a “coach.” Seek out and embrace some kind of external accountability that will always be able to challenge your internal rationalizations and procrastination. The best athletes in the world have a coach. They might have some insight worth paying attention to.
  • You must create an environment that values and encourages creative ideation, and constantly ask “if we were starting X today, how would you build it now?”

SOURCE: RetailWire


Q. How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God Bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness

by Leslie Smart, Guest Columnist, The Sentinel Echo / Jan 5 2022

Over the past year, we at CHI Saint Joseph Health have formally recognized “A Year of Humankindness”. The special year served as a launch of our new brand promise, Hello humankindness, and celebrated the simple acts of kindness across our hospitals and clinics carried out by our employees and our communities.

Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness. They so selflessly give of their time and their experience within the walls of our hospitals, but also, especially during the time of COVID, out in their homes and the communities. They brighten the days of our patients and staff – playing piano in some facilities, helping our cancer care teams, connecting with patients and escorting them to their destinations, and working in our gift shops.

As we have paused volunteer services in our hospitals during surges in the pandemic, our volunteers continue to serve. Our crafters contribute handmade hope – making stuffed animals, cancer hats, prayer shawls and pocket prayer quilts to share with our patients. This allows them to stay connected to our ministry and to our community.

Our volunteers manage the gift shops in the hospitals throughout the ministry and, starting in February, will assume responsibility for our gift shops at Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East. This new opportunity will allow our volunteers to give back even more to our community as they make decisions about how to use proceeds in our facilities. For instance, at Saint Joseph London, our volunteers use proceeds from the gift shop, which they staff, to award scholarships for students of our employees. At Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, they’ve contributed to Giraffe Omnibeds to care for our youngest patients. The Flaget Memorial Hospital Auxiliary provided funding for 3D mammography.

We have around 300 volunteers across CHI Saint Joseph Health, many of whom are retired. Our numbers typically grow in the summer, as we welcome teen volunteers into our hospitals. Our volunteers say their work at our hospitals give them the opportunity to remain active and to give back to their communities. It gives them that human connection that we all need, especially as we continue to navigate a global pandemic.

We expect the same is true for volunteers at other organizations in our community. These interconnections are more than just a transaction of activity given by the volunteer, received by an organization. They highlight an important piece of the fabric of our society – allowing us to work together for a common cause of improving our communities and recognize the humankindness that lives inside all of us.

It’s been a difficult few years as we’ve navigated the pandemic, and we are grateful for our volunteers and for those who serve in other ways in our community. As we start a new year and you reflect on your New Year’s resolutions, consider finding a way to give back to the community. Whether it’s at our hospitals, your church, your school or another community organization, volunteering is humankindness.

SOURCE: The Sentinel Echo London, KY


Q. What snack vendor do you use?

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

What snack vendor do you recommend?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Who’s your favorite snack vendor? Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Check out this creative Valentine’s Day post from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC.



Shrinkage | PART 1. Preventing inventory shortages

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Inventory shortages is caused by multiple reasons: shoplifting, price tag switching, employee theft, shipping errors, lack of shop security, incorrect price tags, breakage, sloppy record keeping, items paid for but not received, and when sales are not rung-up. They all increase the cost of goods sold and shrink net profit!

watch for customers who:
Avoid eye contact
Appear nervous
Wander the store without buying
Carry item around for a long time
Leave and return repeatedly
Linger in a hidden/remote area that’s hard to monitor
Keep an eye on staff and other customers
Bundle items into smaller shapes
Wear bulky clothing
Take offense to offers of assistance

…stick with them like glue until they leave the shop!

Prevent shoplifting by having well-trained and alert employees who know how to spot a potential shoplifter. Remember, theft occurs because the opportunity presents itself. Curtail the opportunities and you’ll reduce theft dramatically.

Shoplifting Deterrents

  • Greet all customers as they enter the shop. Roam the shop.
  • Ask lingering customers if they need help.
  • Ask if you could assist by keeping the item(s) at the register until they have finished shopping.
  • Be aware of ploys, diversions and teams of shoplifters.
  • Know where shoplifting is most likely to occur in your shop.
  • Display signs that “Shoplifters will be prosecuted.” Hospital gift shops must make the decision that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Then they must stick with that decision and train all volunteers and paid staff the procedure to follow when they spot a shoplifter.
  • Reverse apparel hangers to prevent “grab and run”.
  • Maintain an adequate number (two or more) of well-trained, alert cashiers to be on duty during each shift.
  • Provide regular training sessions on how to deter shoplifting.
  • Consider installing electronic detection equipment at the entrance if evidence of high theft occurs.
  • Invest in rotating cameras and monitors.
  • Install a panic button near the cash register that will alert security officers.
  • The hospital security department and gift shop leadership or management team must have a detailed plan of action clarifying how to proceed in the apprehension of shoplifters.
  • Imprint the shop’s name on the price stickers to ensure that returned merchandise came from your shop. The printed name also personalizes your shop to the customer. Use the break-away (perforated) price label. Break-away labels tear apart if price switching is attempted.

When shoplifting is suspected, it’s crucial for your volunteers and employees to know how to handle incidents. Never try to physically stop a shoplifter. Call security! Never directly accuse anyone of stealing. Call security, instead. Give the person a chance to pay for the item they “forgot” to pay for by asking, “Are you ready to pay for that?” or “Can I ring you up?” Cooperate fully with security and the prosecutor if/when the time comes.

Click to enlarge

NEXT ARTICLE: February 15, 2022

Shrinkage | PART 2: Preventing inventory shortages


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DECEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #625
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • To our loyal readers
  • Do this the last 12 days of December
  • We are now on LinkedIN!
  • To-Dos for the first week in January
  • 12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

  • Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets
  • TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors
  • RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers
  • Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

Do you know a book distributor that sells the current best sellers?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Are book and magazine distributors are dwindling? Who do you use? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


SCRUB VENDOR

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

Q. To everyone that responded, do you purchase directly from Cherokee, Dickies, etc. or do you have a middle man supplier? If middle man supplier, please provide name. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 12/19/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here


PANDEMIC UPDATE

How are you and your shop doing with the pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


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As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


DECEMBER 15, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Dover, OH


To our loyal readers

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Wishing you the gifts of love, joy and smiles throughout the season and the new year. May your days be filled with everything and everyone you love.

Today is a good day to say THANK YOU!
Thank you for being a valued subscriber.
Thank you for telling others about my Newsletter.
Thank you for trusting me to deliver valuable content to you.
Thank you for clicking on the recommended links.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments and responses.
Thank you for being YOU!

Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!! And, my warmest wishes to those celebrating Kwanzaa.

After Christmas, take a few days of well-deserved rest to prepare for another challenging year of retailing.
 
Cindy & Nicole



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day

Click to expand image.

Do this the last 12 days of December

Send out an ‘email blast’ each morning to alert your hospital staff of the sale item for the day. Makes break time pretty exciting!!!  

Do things like, all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all ornaments, all mugs and drinking items. This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps hospital employees coming back. It also keeps buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise very carefully.

Here is a great example email from Stanford Health Care gift shop. It was sent out December 1st and showcases 22 days of promotions. They even included an online Promotion Calendar.

Click to view the calendar on Stanford’s website.


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is fast, easy, and affordable.

800-348-5545
www.mmhayes.com/giftshopPOS


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To-Dos for the first week in January

First week in January, put all Christmas merchandise on sale at 40% off. Hallmark did a study and found customers did not purchase differently whether the discount is 40% versus 50% off on after Christmas sales. So, just do 40% off for the first week after Christmas, and then go down from there.

Make judgment calls on certain lines whether or not to discount further after the first week. Then pack leftovers away or donate. Try not to hold over any product. If it didn’t sell this year, chances are it won’t sell next year. However, you might hold over items that sold well but perhaps you were a little too optimistic in your ordering. 

Here are additional sale ideas to jump start your planning for the year!

📆
Plan Now
Relax Later

🎉 FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE
Get out your 2022 calendar. Mark the months with five Fridays and hold a “FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE”. Qualify it by taking $5 off any purchase totaling $25 or more. That way you are only giving a 20% discount at the most, but usually it is less than 20% off because they often spend more than the $25. It’s also a good incentive to add on to a sale that might only be $20 initially. It helps to have a ‘$ off’ button setup on your POS register which pro-rates the discount off each item purchased. If a customer returns just one item, the sale price is listed by item on the receipt. Remember to advertise this event over email to all hospital employees.

🎉 SPEND $13 & GET 13% OFF
Mark every Friday the 13th with a “SPEND $13 | GET 13% OFF ” sale.

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SPONSOR

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A “Volunteer Friendly” NCR Point of Sale solution
for hospital gift shops. Easy to learn! Easy to use!
Payroll Deduction and Inventory Management available.
Take your gift shop to the next level!
Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.

887-809-9980
www.i3pos.com/retail


12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

Pre- and post-holiday sales can be the difference between a profitable holiday season or a bust. Here are some tips to grow your holidays sales!

#1 Survival Tip: Keep it light. Keep it funny. Keep things in perspective.
  • As we get closer to Christmas, have separate tables with bundled items along with a card, last minute grab and go items that make it easy for people to buy.
  • Get them in the door! Make sure to send out a reminder on Friday talking about the last weekend of the year to save big.
  • Greet them at the counter. You want to minimize customer returns as much as possible so train your cashiers to always ask the customer if they would like to look around for exchange items first.
  • Give in. Don’t plant your feet and refuse to give a refund if a customer has a receipt – especially if they paid with a credit card. They will get their money back either in front of you with a smile or behind your back with a chargeback. It isn’t worth the aggravation – give them a refund if there is any way possible.
  • Greet customers when they come in, and again as they browse, to let them know what is on sale.
  • For one week only after Christmas, neatness does not count. You will get a different customer after Christmas – the customer who enjoys the hunt for a bargain. But, cleanliness counts throughout the rest of the year. There is no excuse for a sales floor that looks like a herd of elephants just ran through. Rotate staff to do a “clean sweep” of the floor every couple hours.
  • After a hectic December, shops often look tired and worn out. Pack away the old merchandise and bring out fresh new merchandise. Brighten up your shop!
  • Sell! Sell! Sell! If all your prep work was done in advance, nothing should stop you from being on the floor helping customers and selling merchandise.
  • Stock and restock!
  • Schedule additional staffing to work from 10am – 2pm to handle the increased business during the last busy weeks before Christmas.
  • Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks and showings of gratitude to all the workers in the shop (volunteer and paid).
  • December 27, take a well-deserved rest. Soak your feet, read a good book and relax!

Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

Missed the survey? Submit your response


TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors

Houston Herald / Dec 6, 2021

The welcoming aroma of coffee and a sweet treat of cookies greeted patrons at the Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop last Wednesday. The occasion was its reopening since COVID-19 forced a closure in March 2020.

There is much to choose from, including floral arrangements, apparel, pillows, throws, coffee and cups, home décor, books, bags, jewelry and more. “It’s fantastic to be back,” said TCMH volunteer Doris Scheuer. “The gift shop has helped support the hospital auxiliary for the past 30 years. The auxiliary has contributed approximately $60,000 to different projects for the hospital, which were not in the hospital budget,” said Reese Bucher, president of the hospital auxiliary. Ammie Williams and daughter, Courtney Traw, of 2 Kinds of Krazy, a mobile boutique, provide and stock the inventory.

“Without their input, the re-open would have been difficult,” said Renina Pearce, executive assistant and volunteer services director at the hospital. Scheuer added, “And they make beautiful bouquets.”

The gift shop is open to employees and patient visitors; however it is still closed to the public. They do accept phone orders and a website will soon be available. The shop needs volunteers to help staff it from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SOURCE: The Houston Herald

Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, Houston, MO

RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or any good fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here.


Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees

Smart Retailer

Travel takes time and money, so when you visit Atlanta Market, you need to maximize that investment. We’ve compiled the best advice we can find, starting with what AmericasMart says. Here is a summary of the best tips assembled in two different articles.

1. Use the Market Magazine’s floor plans, feature stories and advertising to plan your trip. In summary, here are three links you need:

2. Start building relationships 

  • Remember that you are the purchasing agent for your customer and not the selling agent for the manufacturer. Keep your consumer in mind.

3. Make writing orders your first order of business

  • Don’t forget to do the retail conversion: sales in your store are always at retail prices. Always remember to “think retail.”
  • Most importantly, follow the steadfast rule: buy what sells… not sell what you buy. Keep your consumer in mind.

4. Pack smart

  • Your business cards and registration details.
  • A calculator.
  • A simple appointment schedule.
  • All credit information, including the name of your bank and financial trade references.
  • Your resale business license or local sales tax number.
  • A schedule of desired product delivery dates.
  • Comfortable shoes to wear while walking the showrooms.
“If you have a trusted business partner, divide and conquer. The market is huge, and you’ll need a detailed plan of action to accomplish your goals. Also, download the market app on your phone to make it easier.” – Maggie Hanus, A Wild Soap Bar“Have a buying plan, often called an open to buy. Know how much you plan to buy at wholesale by category. Do not overspend. Have a list of vendors and lines by category. Walk the first day and take notes. Try to stay in the section that has the categories that you carry.” – James Nola, Maggie Lane
“Pre-shop showrooms prior to placing orders. It’s the key to building complete statements between multiple vendors. Preselecting what you want also makes it much easier for both you and your sales rep when you return to place your order.” – Richard Hahn, The 800 Shop, Northwest Community Hospital“Book early. The cheapest and the best hotel deals are > here. Never stay south toward the airport or at the airport and plan to take the MARTA. It’s not safe unless you are always in a large group. Find your rep in each showroom. They can tell you what sells best in your area and who else close by may have that product.” – Setys Kelly, Copper Willow Gifts
“Avoid driving in Atlanta if possible. The shuttle service to and from the Mart is a great perk as well. Uber costs less than a taxi. It’s important to book way ahead for the best rates.” – Barb Miller, Interior Expressions by Design“However long you think you want to be at AmericasMart, add on one day or even two. You’ll be happy you did once you return back to your store.” – Gina Lempa, Gina Lempa & Associates
“Have a rolling bag to put catalogs, handouts, and a bottle of water in. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. This is not a fashion show; it is a test of endurance.” – Thelma Hamilton, Thelma L. Hamilton Designs“Study the building maps, review the category layouts, and map out your agenda by building. Download and use the app. It will help you do your work prior to arrival.” – Annette Conwell, Annettes Emporium

SOURCE: Smart Retailer


How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


Aultman Health, Canton, OH



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NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #624
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • Be prepared for the holiday onslaught
  • Record retail sales predicted for holidays
  • MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal
  • Truly creative holiday displays. Truly!
  • SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?
  • Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

  • Q: What are some good scrub vendors?
  • Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos
  • The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management
  • Top 6 hospital gift shop Facebook pages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

PROMOTION


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Bring joy to your hospital….

Carefully crafted activity kits to bring joy and fun to children. Gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more.

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STEAM Activity Kit
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I’m A Fighter Cape

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My Garden of Flowers


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This award-winning beautifully illustrated book, My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, by Dr. Manjeet Kaur is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

This invaluable resource for worried families gives parents knowledge and reassurance
that their critically ill infants will typically grow to adulthood and lead normal, healthy lives.


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These inspirational shirts make great gifts for anyone needing a smile. For each shirt sold, one is donated to a kiddo fighting cancer. Sizing: 6 mo – 4XL

As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

Featured in Gift Shop and Wired Magazines

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | November 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


NOVEMBER 15, 2021


Be prepared for the holiday onslaught

With Thanksgiving and Christmas occurring in rapid succession, savvy hospital gift shop managers must take steps now to prepare for an onslaught of business. They must have the agility to shift directions quickly and seamlessly as one holiday morphs into the next. 

Flexibility is the key. Boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson could not have put it better: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” No matter how meticulous your plan, be ready to shift gears at a moment’s notice. How quickly can you respond to a rush on an unexpectedly hot item? 

Recognize your mistakes early and take quick and immediate action. Remember the first markdown is the best markdown. Keep marking it down until it is out of the shop!   

Spend as much time on the sales floor as humanly possible. Set an example in greeting people that come in the store. Set an example with your salesmanship and customer service. 

Do you know which item(s) are expected to fly off the shelves and be in high demand? Experience and past reports will help indicate which products are traditionally in high demand. But be warned that even the most tried-and-true products have a lifecycle and their popularity will eventually wane. 

What’s the next big thing? What is this year’s hot new item? 

What level of demand is projected? If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get this information and stock up. 

Create back-up plans for everything. Cross-train of your volunteers and staff so that operations will continue to run seamlessly in the face of an unexpected absence. This includes you. Make sure that you can perform all the duties yourself and that someone is capable of handling your duties as well.

Reconfiguration your floor space to maximize room for popular items to be  in the best locations.

Avoid carrying over anything from one season to the next!  It will not be worth as much next year! 

Buy Easter plush now. Include an over-sizedEaster bunny for a drawing just before Easter. (Remember that you have to register raffles with the state and they can cause tax issues).

Ensure that all Valentine merchandise has been ordered.



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month


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Record retail sales predicted for holidays

NRF Predicts Highest Holiday Retail Sales on Record
WASHINGTON, October 27, 2021 – Holiday spending has the potential to shatter previous records, as the National Retail Federation forecast that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% to 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with a previous high of 8.2% in 2020 to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4% over the past five years.

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Deloitte: Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase 7-9%
NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2021 – Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 7% and 9% in 2021, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. Overall, Deloitte’s retail and distribution practice projects that holiday sales will total $1.28 to $1.3 trillion during the November to January timeframe. Deloitte also forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 11-15%, year-over-year, during the 2021-2022 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $210 billion and $218 billion this season.

SOURCE: Deloitte

 


MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal

Abilene Reflector Chronicle / Nov 9, 2021

Caring Hearts Gift Shop, located in the lobby of Memorial Hospital [25 beds] in Abilene, MO, achieved its goal of reaching $4,500 in sales for the month of October. It surpassed the goal by reaching an amount of $5,535.06. This was the gift shop’s highest month of sales for 2021.

Leading the charge was McKenzie Funston, Volunteer Services Director and her volunteers. The gift shop offered weekly sales that helped bring business in. “The second Tuesday of every month, we have a sheet sale offering 20% off. For the month of October we sold over $1,000 dollars in sheets,” Funston said. There was also a Light-Up sale where they offered 20% off everything in the store that lit up.

Funston said the goal was born from a need to make room in her storage closet. “After starting as the Volunteer Services Director, I spent the first few months getting to know the customers and their wants and needs during the day. I had inventory that I wanted to move to make room for new items, and so I decided it would be exciting and challenging to set a sales goal for the month of October and watch the dollar amount rise. I was able to see what customers liked and what other items would be great to have in the shop.”

To help reach their $4,500 sales goal, Funston and her volunteers promised buyers that Christmas items would be put on the shelves starting November 1 if it were reached. To keep the enthusiasm going, Funston placed a Christmas tree on the gift shop door where all could see; as the sales grew, the tree was colored in. Customers found themselves participating in the fun to reach the goal and see the tree colored in.

“Around the first of November you start seeing Christmas décor out in stores, and people are in the mood to make a few purchases to start decorating their homes or use for gifts too!” After talking with other gift shop managers and listening to their advice, Funston knew that the incentive to put Christmas items out would help the gift shop meet their sales goal.

When asked how crazy the month of October was, Funston said, “Busy and exciting would be my choice to describe October in the gift shop. I had many new and returning customers in. It was nice to see so much activity in the shop as well as an opportunity to meet many people in our community. I was able to evaluate the items and make some decisions on additions to our inventory.”

Although the month was crazy busy for Funston and her volunteers, she commented, “Reaching a goal is always very satisfying, but overall I was proud of what we accomplished and I’m excited to try new things to continue the growth of our Caring Hearts Gift shop.”

SOURCE: Abilene Reflector Chronicle

ncr pos point of sale system

SPONSOR

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A “Volunteer Friendly” NCR Point of Sale solution
for hospital gift shops. Easy to learn! Easy to use!
Payroll Deduction and Inventory Management available.
Take your gift shop to the next level!
Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.

887-809-9980
www.i3pos.com/retail


Truly creative holiday displays. Truly.

Unique, clever, and humorous displays are powerful ways to draw shoppers in. They evoke emotion and entertain, which is marketing gold. We love these ideas! Many of them are DIY and cost little to make. We’ve included links to how-to guides below, when available.

Don’t go boring, typical, been-there-done-that-decor and displays this season. Pandemic-weary shoppers are prone and ready to soak up the “shopping experience”. Capitalize on this moment and wow them!

Click to enlarge


SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

(Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, New York)


Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year. Toys that are focused on emotional and social development have been big sellers during the pandemic and the trend appears to be remaining strong heading into the holidays.

“Right now the focus is on products that can help kids express their feelings, name their feelings and react appropriately,” said Sari Winick, chief marketing officer for hand2mind. “We’ve gone into overdrive developing toys to meet the needs of the times.”  

Big Feelings Pineapple by Hand2mind 

TeeTurtle reversible plushies 

Pawz the Calming Pup

Breathe With Me Barbie by Mattel

Pop It!

SOURCE: The Washington Post 


Q: What are some good scrub vendors or fundraisers?

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or any good fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company.
Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

Who is a good scrub vendor?

Which SCRUB VENDOR do you use? What is good about the vendor? Are the prices high or low?

Scrubs of thanks!

Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos

Retailers are reducing the number of promotions they run and the depth of their discounts in response to inflation, tight supply chains and a desire to rebuild profits previously lost during the pandemic.

Katrina O’Connell, Gap Inc.’s chief financial officer, said, “We’re already quite pleased with the fact that we’ve been able to really pull back on discounting in all of our brands.” 

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal

<span style=”font-size: revert; color: initial; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;”>How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales?</span>

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? Are any shops still closed? Leave a comment. Share a story.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management

FROM CINDY

I used to ask my audiences at hospital gift shop management seminars to describe the ideal hospital gift shop manager.

Here is what they said:

The ideal manager is service oriented, cheerful, self-motivated, open to new ideas, energetic, organized, responsible and forward thinking. They are risk-takers, good trainers, visionaries, delegators, sensitive, supportive and patient. They are proactive, change agents, bridge builders, financial wizards, Mother Teresas and they possess a keen sense of humor.


Top 6 hospital gift shop facebook pages!

Check out these terrific hospital gift shop Facebook pages! We’ve selected a few of the top pages using best practices for gaining followers and showcasing merchandise.

Nearly 80% of your customers will have a social media account on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. shop. Get your shop online and get on their feed so you’re “pushing” product to them on a regular basis.

Sprout Gift Co. at Pattison Children’s Hospital

Thomas Hospital Gift Shop

May Clinic Gift Shop

Heart Strings Gift Shop, Princeton Community Hospital (7,927 followers!)

Stanford Health Care Gift Shop

University of Michigan Health System Gift Shop

Honorable mention: Carris Health Gift Gallery, Rice Memorial Hospital

It goes without saying that the majority of your posts should showcase your merchandise. Just like highway billboards, you have 1-2 seconds of the viewer attention. Sometimes even less on social media, as they scroll feeds. Follow these general guidelines:

  1. Be concise. Use short, direct sentences. Include pertinent information only. (Remember, billboard)
  2. Don’t go overboard with emojis. Use no more than 2-3 in a post.
  3. Be creative, clever and even humorous.
  4. Convey excitement and energy, but don’t go overboard and look unprofessional, like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Posts should grab viewer’s attention, create interest and, hopefully, translate into action.
  6. Always use proper grammar and correct spelling. Triple check. Nothing will detract customers more quickly, especially your highly-educated patrons like MDs and PhDs!

Here is a fantastic video of the hospital’s President welcoming shoppers and showing their products:

Learn how to take professional-grade photos of your merchandise to post on social media. See how to make animated “scroll-stopping” videos of your products.



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Hot Tip!

Earn frequent flyer miles for air travel to gift markets by charging merchandise purchases, at wholesale, to the shop’s credit card. 


OCTOBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #623
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • How to create animated product videos + Free template!
  • All that you are to your hospital
  • When should holiday merchandise be displayed?
  • Do this one thing everyday before opening your shop
  • Is it time to renovate: Sample request letter

  • RESPONSES: Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?
  • Reopening after the pandemic: One shop’s story
  • Post-holiday inventory: stock up now
  • Shop Sign: 12 Days of Savings. Free Download
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


VACCINATION CARD HOLDERS

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


POST-PANDEMIC

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic?

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


POST-COVID MARKUP

Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21

I manage the flower shop in a hospital gift shop. I am a certified florist and used to work at a traditional flower shop. I saw that the markup for flowers is recommended 30%-35%. I personally think that is low if the arrangements are designed in-house. Flower shops mark up flowers x3 and hard goods (containers) at least keystone and then add another 30%-40% for the labor. If an order is placed at a flower shop and delivered to the hospital there is a delivery charge of $5-$10 per arrangement not per stop. We operate under the hospital’s umbrella and don’t charge tax. Free delivery and no tax are our selling points. We do well with flowers sales. I worked in a traditional shop for quite some time but I’m sure the mark-up and delivery have not deceased. I keystone everything at a minimum. As a paid staff member, if I am the one designing and not a volunteer I add a few $ for labor. – Noelle Boardman, St. Luke’s Floral & Gifts, Cedar Rapids. 300 beds. 9/21/21

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | October 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


OCTOBER 15, 2021


How to create animated product videos + free template

In this guide, we’ll show you a simple way (yes, simple) to create a social media post similar to this one by Sprout Gift Co. Using our free template, you’ll simply drag-n-drop your own merchandise image into the animation, instead of starting from scratch!

Click to start animation

There is a common expression in marketing: “You can’t buy a product that you don’t know exists”. It makes a brutally logical, straightforward case for marketing. So, if you aren’t regularly promoting your shop’s merchandise over social media, email, or website, we encourage you to start now. Even more since the ability to create eye-catching, professional content is incredibly easy with Canva, no design skills required. Yes, it’s actually that powerful! This stop-motion style animation makes for a great social media post.

Thank you to Sprout Gift Shop at Jim Pattison Hospital who created this post for their Twelve Days of Christmas sale (see template signage below). It was the inspiration for this tutorial. View the post directly in Facebook.

Canva’s intuitive interface, template selection, and built-in features make it easy for the average user to create social media posts, flyers, posters, coupons, gift certificates, basic photo edits, invoices, product tags, and more. They have free templates for all of these!

We mentioned Canva in our recent four-part series on how to Create an Online Store. The entire platform is web-based and the free version has plenty of pre-formatted templates for creating quick and easy social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. You can even publish your designs directly to these platforms from within Canva, or download them for use on your shop’s website or promo emails. Canva also offers an array of simple animation options, out-of-the-box.

We’ve also included a second template to get you off and running! 


In this example, we’re going to be replacing Deglingos’ Rototos Panda with their Kezakos Weekend Bag. We downloaded these images directly from the Deglingos website by right clicking on the image and selecting Save Image As.

Continue with the steps below using an image of your shop’s merchandise.

  1. Create an account at canva.com if you don’t have one already. Select the Pro plan for the full set of animations and features. You can downgrade at any time.
  2. Go to Home > All your folders > Uploads. Then click the grey Upload button (top right of screen) and upload the image of the product you want to animate. Always use professional images. Learn how to photograph merchandise correctly, get them from the vendor, or download from their website. Images require a transparent background for this design. You can use the Background Remover tool in Canva (requires Canva Pro).
  3. Next, get the template design. Click the link below or cut-and-paste into a separate browser window.

Product Animation #1
https://tinyurl.com/drywydk3

  1. Click Use Template at the bottom. The design will open in Canva’s editor window. (Be sure you are still logged in or you’ll just get a preview.)
  2. The design is automatically given the default name Copy of Product Animation #1. You will need to rename it with something describing your product. In this example, we use’d Deglingos Weekend Bag – Animation. Click in the title box above the editor to rename it. Note, changes are automatically saved as you work in Canva.
Renaming the design
  1. Select Uploads along the left of screen to view the product images you uploaded in Step #2.
  2. Next, click your product image and drag it directly over the template image. It will snap into place when you unclick. Scroll down to the next slide (Page 2). Repeat by dragging your product image over the current image. It will snap in place with the same tilt applied. Repeat on the remaining slides (Page 1 – 9). Leave the last one, Page 10, blank. Click the play icon ▶️ to preview your design. It is 3.5 seconds long, perfect for social media posts.
  1. Your short product animation is now ready to post using the Publish to Facebook button. To publish on Instagram, Twitter, or other platforms click the ••• button on the top corner of the toolbar above the editor and select a platform. Alternatively, to download the design click See all > Download > GIF and save it on your device. Then add it to your website, marketing emails, or blog.

Duplicate and use with other merchandise

Create a copy of the design to use for other merchandise. Go to Home > All your designs. Hover your mouse over the design you want to duplicate. Click the ••• button that appears. Select Make a copy and rename it (e.g., BeeLine Jewelry Ring – Animation). Repeat the steps above to add the new product image.

🎯 TIP Create shortcuts to your “Uploads” folder for easy navigation. Canva’s navigation isn’t that great. Go to Home > All your folders > Uploads. This is where your uploaded images are stored. Click the star ✩ near the word Uploads, just above the images. It will turn yellow ⭐️ . A shortcut to your images will appear at bottom left.

TEMPLATE #2

Here is an additional design to use with a group of products. Edit the text and replace the images to customize it as you like for your shop.

Click on the link or cut-and-paste into a separate browser window. Remember, you must be logged into Canva for it to open in the editor. Continue from step #4 above.

Product Animation #2
https://tinyurl.com/fjzd4ms2

Product Animation 2
Click to start animation

FAQ

Where are the images I uploaded? Go to Home > Folders > Uploads

Where are my designs? Go to Home > All your designs

I’m in the edit screen, where are the images I uploaded? Click on Uploads on the far left of screen.

How do I replace an image in my design? Go to Uploads. Then, click and drag the new image over the one you want to replace. Unclick and it will snap into place. Note, if you drag the image over anywhere else in the design it will snap into place there.

I made a mistake! How do I undo it?! Click the undo icon ⟲ in the toolbar at top. Click repeatedly to go back more than one step.

Leave your questions or comments on product animations, Canva, or social media marketing.

How did it go? Do you have questions or got stuck? Let us know where you need help and we’ll answer here!

Share your designs! Provide the link to your animation.


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

October
Oct 10 – Handbag Day
Oct 11 – Columbus Day
Sep 15 – Yom Kippur
Oct 16 – Boss’s Day
Oct 16 – Sweetest Day
Oct 31 – Halloween
November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 3 – Martin Luther King Day


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All that you are to your hospital

Submitted by Myke Ondek, former Gift Shop Manger, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

I hope you all remember how important you are to the hospital you represent. I often feel that hospitals are not truly aware of just what it is we do.  On a personal level I know more people by name than most other hospital personnel.  I see people from every department every single day of the year.  We help make our employees feel connected to the medical center by being the “common ground” where they can all meet and run into one another. I also feel that shop workers have the ability to do more for the image of the facility than just about any other staff does on a regular basis. 

Let’s face it, we answer more questions than most hospital departments do. We are located right in the middle and people look to us for information. When it comes to compassion, we are key to making patients and families feel they have had a good experience at our hospital. We are here morning, noon, and night and seven days a week. 

There is always a kind and polite shop worker to guide, assist, suggest. Sometimes we are the only people that many family members ever come in contact with. When I hear one of our clerks approach a family member and say, “You doing ok”? I know in my heart that they mean it. If it takes them a few extra minutes to help somebody, then the rest of us can cover the register. We are all about compassion. We are the human side, the contacts, the point persons, and while we may not know all the medical stuff, we suffer along with each and every person who comes in here.

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

I am so very proud of the work we all do. We make a difference in many peoples’ stay at our facilities. I want to have “everything” (within reason) that somebody might ask for because it reminds me that part of doing a good job is listening to what customers want. It makes good business sense, too. 

Don’t ever feel that you are not just as important as any other professional in the hospital. We may see 3-500 people a day. A huge impact is inevitable. Big smiling faces, a warm touch on a crying shoulder. That’s what we do!

Plus, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the money we raise is going to a greater cause.  A patient program, research, or whatever the case may be, it is not just going into a fat cat’s pocket! I am proud to do what I do and I know what some people go through in life.

Sometimes, we feel hand-tied by administration. Sometimes we feel left out but I am finding that my facility treats me with the same respect they treat all other department managers. I am lucky to have a boss who goes the extra mile to get things done on our behalf. It makes it all worthwhile.

While I have been here for many hours this week and on both my days off, I still look forward to showing up bright and early tomorrow morning to face another day at a worthwhile job

Thank you Myke!

 

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When should holiday merchandise be displayed?

Remember, you want at least eight weeks of regular price selling to maximize profits. So, begin displaying holiday merchandise (your higher priced items) at the end of October.


Do this one thing everyday before opening your shop

Inspect your shop every morning before you unlock the doors for business. It only takes about five minutes to complete and can prove to be invaluable. Make it a requirement. The first few times you won’t notice much, but the more you do it the more things that need attention will pop out. Store associates should also do this exercise each day at the beginning of their shift. Here’s how: 

  1. Begin outside of your shop. Is the common area outside the shop cluttered or in need of clean up? Can customers easily see your window and exterior signing? Are your windows clean? Are the window displays current, neat, and fully accessorized? Does the shop require paint or repair?
  2. Assess the decompression zone. This is the 5’ to 15’ area just inside the front door of the store. Its job is to slow down rushed and distracted customers so they can concentrate on shopping. It should be inviting and not cluttered.
  3. Walk through each area of your shop. This includes the checkout and service areas. Make sure that each area is clean and neat and properly set to reflect the caring professionalism of your store. 

Is it time to renovate: Sample request letter

You might find that, regardless of all your efforts, your shop looks tired and outdated. Or, maybe it’s also just too small. Sometimes, the only solution is a shop renovation. It is best to plan shop renovations for January or February when sales are slow.

Here is a sample letter requesting additional gift shop space:

Dear Hospital Administrator,

The ____ Hospital Gift Shop requests additional space to meet their customer’s needs and wants. With almost ____#____ employees working in the hospital, the potential for increased sales and service is great. In a recent survey, ____% of the hospital employees commented on the limited size and crowded conditions in the existing shop. It is also important that we become ADA compliant.

The Gift Shop’s actual selling space is presently ______ square feet. During the past fiscal year, gross sales were $_______. Annual sales per square foot were $_______. Therefore, a shop of 1,200 square feet can feasibly generate approximately $___________ in gross sales.

This past year the shop’s net profit was _________% of gross sales. With ______ square feet in selling space, the gift shop could provide the hospital with approximately $_________ in net revenue annually. Over a period of many years, revenue to the hospital would be substantial.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
<name>
<title>


RESPONSES: Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?

Q. Our shops have struggled with our online presence, especially through the pandemic and for a variety of other reasons. We are considering outsourcing to HospitalGiftShop to provide online access to our customers. Does anyone have experience with them? Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Thank you! – Judi S, Gift Shops/Espresso Cafes. 7/8/21

No, we do not use a 3rd party website, but do operate online in house. It was work on the front end loading photos/descriptions, but has paid for itself 100x over in sales. – Michaela Kanoski, CHI Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, Omaha, NE. 390 beds. 9/27/21

We do not use them however I receive calls quite often from upset customers who have ordered through them thinking they ordered directly from our hospital’s gift shop. They call because the patient did not receive their gift. – Linda Armstrong, 9/21/21 

We have not used HospitalGiftShop for our shop. I would be interested in finding out more and reading comments. Thank you.  – Michelle Suggs, The Shop at WhidbeyHealth 9/18/21

I’d love to learn more about them, too! – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan Gift Shop, Vincennes, IN. 158 beds. 10/11/21

I have not used HospitalGiftShop for online service, however, my goal for 2021 will be to start up an online shop to cater to family & friends of our patients, in-house employees, employees from our offsite clinics as well as our immediate neighborhood & local/rural community. There is much work to do, but I am willing to pull up my sleeves. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/24/21

We do not have an online presence yet but are planning to keep it in house. Getting capital money next year! – Traci Gerdes, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA. 500 beds. 9/18/21

Hospital Gift Shop is a Healthy Commerce company based in San Diego, California. We mention hospitalgiftshop.com in our recent article Creating and Online Store: Parts 1-4 as a way to outsource your entire online operation. But, there are pros and cons to doing so. We’d like to hear from any shops that are using their service!

Do you use hospitalgiftshop.com? Why or why not?

Are you – our would you – use hospitalgiftshops.com for an online store? What is your experience? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Reopening after the pandemic: One shop’s story

Submitted by Deb McKenzie, General Manager, Moose Ledge Gift Shop, Littleton Regional Healthcare, New Hampshire

Deb McKenzie, Shop Manager

Our gift shop, located in a 25-bed, critical access hospital, was abruptly closed on March 11, 2020 due to the ensuing pandemic. For the next 16 months, staff and patients would walk by the windows and see everything just as it was the day we closed. St. Patrick’s Day merchandise was still displayed on the shelves and our old, aging cash register sat collecting dust as well as everything else in the dark, seemingly abandoned shop. We were so happy when we learned we could finally reopen!

We learned in early May that we would be allowed to reopen July 1st. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the shop to a 2.0 status, so we made plans for a major shop makeover. The walls were painted in fresh, new colors. A new sign was installed. Our old clunker cash register was replaced with a new Square Register POS. A training video on using the new POS was created and a link to that video was emailed to all the volunteers so they could gain some familiarity with it prior to hands-on training, which was hugely successful and very appreciated!

During July and August (typically our slowest months of the year), we held a massive and very successful clearance sale of all the old shop merchandise that the hospital employees and patients had watched sitting on those dark shelves for so many months. We began with a 40% off price reduction and added weekly reductions until it was gone. We were also able to clear out old merchandise from our stockroom as well, giving us a clean slate to begin our buying for the coming months.

Following an event such as the pandemic, we knew there would likely be changes requiring us to make adjustments. Our gift shop is 100% staffed by volunteers, including our buyer/merchandiser and myself as general manager. Since reopening, we have lost about half of the shop staff we had prior to the shutdown requiring us to reduce shop hours and days we are able to open.

Since the hospital is still limiting visitors and other activity on campus, we are currently seeing a reduction in foot traffic into the shop from the pre-Covid days. This is compounded by some restructuring that has occurred in the hospital which re-routes some patients to areas away from the shop, thus creating the challenge of keeping the gift shop visible as well as adjusting inventory levels to volume without over-buying and being left with surplus. We are constantly trying to think outside the box and come up with solutions for these new challenges.

Our volunteer staff is so happy to be back in the shop and hospital staff and patients are thrilled to have the gift shop open once again!

Out of the ashes a new day is born!

Thank you Deb!

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic?

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? Are any shops still closed? What’s your best seller right now? Are you going to gift shows? Leave a comment. Share a story.

Connect. Share. Grow.

Post-holiday inventory: stock up

⏳ BUY

Nothing looks worse and hurts business more than a shop with left over remnants.

Don’t forget to have fresh, new merchandise in stock for right after Christmas!

Purchase adequate quantities and assortments of new merchandise so your shop looks full two days after Christmas (which is a Monday this year).



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Shop Sign: 12 Days of Savings (download)

Click to download. Created using Canva

Get more sale ideas in the 50-page Twelve Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers.


SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #622
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • October action plan
  • Trend report for Spring/Summer 2022
  • RESPONSES: What is your markups in this post-COVID market?
  • Men’s holiday gifts
  • Q. Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?
  • SURVEY RESULTS: Do you have staff payroll deduction?

  • 5 ways to get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie
  • RESPONSES: Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?
  • Social Media Tip: Create animated product videos like this!
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


VACCINATION CARD HOLDERS

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


POST-COVID MARKUP

Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21.

I manage the flower shop in a hospital gift shop. I am a certified florist and used to work at a traditional flower shop. I saw that the markup for flowers is recommended 30%-35%. I personally think that is low if the arrangements are designed in-house. Flower shops mark up flowers x3 and hard goods (containers) at least keystone and then add another 30%-40% for the labor. If an order is placed at a flower shop and delivered to the hospital there is a delivery charge of $5-$10 per arrangement not per stop. We operate under the hospital’s umbrella and don’t charge tax. Free delivery and no tax are our selling points. We do well with flowers sales. I worked in a traditional shop for quite some time but I’m sure the mark-up and delivery have not deceased. I keystone everything at a minimum. As a paid staff member, if I am the one designing and not a volunteer I add a few $ for labor. – Noelle Boardman, St. Luke’s Floral & Gifts, Cedar Rapids. 300 beds. 9/21/21

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

ONLINE STORE

I am currently working on launching an online store. It has been several months in the making but this topic came up at the best time and has helped me so much with all the other shops providing information, tips and tricks. I will be look in to purchasing a photo box and using canva! I have saved all the previous articles to continually reference. Thank you to everyone for all the great information that has been provided. – Sarah, 7/30/21

Hi Sarah, we’re happy to hear that the article was helpful! Please let us know how the launch of your online store goes. On the interim, let us know what issues you run into…or questions. I’ll answer what I can and put it out for comment in the next issue. Good luck! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

First of all, thank you for deep diving into this subject. I wanted to know if having a POS is imperative to having an online presence? Is there a work around? Currently we do not have a POS, but we would love to explore the online possibility. Thank you. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, 5/20/21

A POS is not required to have an online store. You can sell, process payment, and fulfill orders entirely through your eCommerce software. You’ll need to coordinate your in-store and online sales, plus financials, and inventory. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Cindy, this is absolutely the best newsletter that you have published. I will use as a reference over and over. We too realized that we were fortunate to have an online shop. We continue to update it as part of our hospital website. The big website will be new and fresher soon. We have been waiting a long time for this. Our on line business continues to grow even as we have opened our gift shop. We will send in our good news for you to publish. Have a great weekend – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Childrens Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

Congratulations on launching your online shop. It is terrific. The landing page image with the teddy bear is really effective. Did you set up and launch it yourself? What software are you using? Several managers are wondering how to coordinate online with in-shop inventory. Are you having the same issue? – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Our gift shop is part of the hospital website. We are continuing to upgrade our part, as well as, the hospital having a new site. We do struggle with the inventory—as we are on Arba systems. We continue to keep up with inventory the old fashioned way, counting each week. We do keep the inventory separate from the shop back stock. Hope this part helps. – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

We do not have a web site but will be building one this summer. My question is, I do not want to offer delivery beyond our campus (no shipping). Anyone had success doing this? – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St Louis Park, MN. 4/16/21

Yes! Our sole purpose of an online store is for Patient Delivery Only and our opening welcome message on the site reads: Through this site, you may order gifts for delivery to patients staying at our hospitals”. We advertise “pre made bundles” to simplify options. We have a binder kept at the register that lists all of our online gift bundles and what items are needed to fulfill the order so that all staff members can work on gift building. We recently added phone chargers as an option online as we get a lot of phone calls from customers looking to send a charger to a patient. Well now they can order that charger online as an “add-on” item!
For inventory purposes, we ring up each item at the point of sale and use “eHit” as our mode of tender; it’s an arbitrary tender that has its own line on our reports so that these sales are not getting mixed into credit card or cash sales. – Meggen Heuss, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI. 500 bed. 4/21/21

We do not yet have an online store however, this information is quite timely in that I am just beginning to explore one. I look forward to the next parts of the series as I am sure there are so many parts and pieces to consider. Without question, I believe it would be worth it, but getting it up and running and having manpower to keeping it going may prove to be more difficult. The shipping pieces is something that really worries me… Thank you all for your time to compile this information, it is appreciated. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 4/16/21

Remember, you don’t have to offer shipping. You can limit your fulfillment options to only those you feel are feasible: Patient Room Delivery, Office Delivery, In Store Pickup and, Lobby Pickup, Curbside Pickup. Phase in additional options, like shipping, later on when ready or not at all. We’ll discuss fulfillment methods in Part III. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

I am so interested to hear what others are doing, the pro’s and the con’s to having an online store. Who are you targeting? What merchandise will you sell? Where will the merchandise be stored? Delivery, mail out, curbside pick up etc. Who will manage it? Who will manage it when you are on vacation, nights and weekends etc. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 3/18/21

I’m not 100% sure so maybe Cindy could help us, but someone told me that if you are not for profit that you have to be very careful with online shopping because it could forfeit your nonprofit status. Cindy, can you help? Is this true? – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan, Vincennes, IN. 232 beds. 2/16/21

FROM CINDY
It is a myth that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can‘t make a profit. Most hospitals and their subsequent gift shops are for profit. They charge sales tax and operate as a business. The shops then donate all their profits to the hospital for patient benefit and equipment. Look for our upcoming article on how to start an online store. We’ve found some terrific online gift shops and currently interviewing their managers to share with our readers. In the meantime, here is a helpful article on launching an on-line store Overcome Common Problems Launching a Hospital Gift Store Website  2/17/21

We are a volunteer only hospital gift shop. No visitors in almost a year. We we closed for 7 months and now are only open in the afternoons. We’ve been having a 30% off sale and the store is still full! An online shop would be great but it would fall on one person to create it and manage and would be a full time job.  – Martha Burke, Rome Hospital, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 2/9/21


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | September 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2021


October action plan

Buy

Be on the lookout for trendy items that will add zest to your holiday merchandise presentation. Act and react to what’s happening in the marketplace! Read, ask your vendors, and network all you can to discover last minute best sellers as you move closer to the holidays. There’s still time to buy hot items.

Begin buying Valentine’s Day merchandise. 💘

Order male-specific gifts for the holidays: pro/collegiate paraphernalia, barbecue tools, aprons, wall clocks, auto tag frames, travel mugs, flashlights, work lights, digital tire gauges, roadside emergency kits, aluminum wallets, golfers tools, pocket screwdrivers. It’s really hard to buy for men. Be the shop solves this challenge for your customers.

✂️ Mark Down

After Halloween, weed out “lemons” and put them on sale. You may make less profit, but there will be no profit if you’re stuck with them. Pack away remaining Halloween for next year.After Halloween, weed out “lemons” and put them on sale. You may make less profit, but there will be no profit if you’re stuck with them. Pack away remaining Halloween for next year.

🧸 Display

All Halloween merchandise should be on display in the shop by early October. Be sure to check your stock rooms to ensure all items have made it to the selling floor. 🎃

Display Thanksgiving merchandise. 🦃

Display calendars and date books in October in order to sell through before Christmas. This is prime time to sell calendars. 📆

October 16: National Boss’s Day. Create a display of desk accessories, candy and flowers. 🎯

Sweetest Day is always held the third Saturday in October. Set up a display with cards, gifts, candy, and flowers. Sweetest Day is a strong holiday in the northeast and central states. 🍬

📝 Plan

It’s time to begin developing your holiday buying and marketing plan. Plan your holiday displays for the next eight weeks. 

Meet with the flower vendor to ensure that the cooler will be well stocked with holiday plants and flowers throughout November and December.

Get sales, promotions and events ready to roll out.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Create a pink themed display with specialty items for breast cancer patients. Hold a fundraising event for the month and donated the funds to the hospital’s breast cancer charity. Include signage or flyers on breast cancer programs at your hospital. Merchandise includes:

  • Novelty socks with the pink ribbon motif. It’s a great item for any patient going through treatment or simply hospital staff wanting to call attention to cancer events
  • Hydration items such as water bottles are a great item for organized breast cancer walks and events
  • Caps and tee-shirts
  • Novelty jewelry
  • Anything “pink” can also be used in the display to make a statement.

Excerpt from A Twelve-Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers and Buyers

UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

October
Oct 10 – Handbag Day
Oct 11 – Columbus Day
Sep 15 – Yom Kippur
Oct 16 – Boss’s Day
Oct 16 – Sweetest Day
Oct 31 – Halloween
November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 3 – Martin Luther King Day


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Trend report for Spring/Summer 2022

Atlanta Apparel’s in-house fashion office has released its semi-annual trend report, previewing the upcoming Spring/Summer 2022 colors, prints and styles retailers can expect to see while sourcing at the upcoming Atlanta Apparel, October 12-16, at AmericasMart Atlanta. “These trends reflect a year and a half of living through a pandemic. People’s priorities change and fashion evolves from what’s happening in our lives,” said Morgan Ramage, Atlanta Apparel Fashion Director. “Spring/Summer 2022 will showcase mood-boosting colors and styles as we transition from a period of uncertainty to cautious optimism.”

KEY COLORSMust-have apparelAccessories
Butter
Bubblegum Pink
Atlantic Blue
Preppy strong reds
Greens and brown to reflect outdoor lifestyle
Mango Sorbet to Golden Peach
Bubble-hem tops
Positive-message tees
Scalloped, lace, crochet blouses
Summer knit vest
Statement jewelry
Pendant and beaded necklaces
Chunky hoops
Nostalgic vanity-style bags, bucket bags, beaded bags
Soft-rectangle sunglasses, oversized retro sunglasses

SOURCE: AmericasMart Atlanta


SURVEY RESULTS: Do you have staff payroll deduction?

The results are overwhelming! Do you have staff payroll deduction? Seventy-six percent (76%) responded “Yes”.

The swipe of a badge is much easier than carrying around cash or a credit card, especially for hospital employees who are popping in while on break. Employees appreciate the convenience of buying without cash up front and interest-free! It’s all about removing barriers to sale and bringing value to your hospital employee’s lives by making the buying process quick and easy.

If you still don’t have payroll deduction learn how with the guide How To Implement An Employee Payroll Deduction System for Hospital Gift Shops

 

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RESPONSES: What is your markups in this post-COVID market?

Q. Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21.

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

THANK YOU READERS!

Wow! Thank you to all who contributed your comments here and in past newsletters. We are so fortunate to have such a great community of readers, collaborating every month towards a common goal.

Gift shop managers really are AMAZING people! Strong, resilient, driven, creative, ingenious and BETTER TOGETHER!


Men’s holiday gifts

From a buyer, “It’s really hard to find men’s gifts that sell! Customers will ask if we have any men’s gifts and when we ask what they are looking for, they really can’t tell me. This is an ongoing challenge! Guys just don’t like “stuff” as much as women do!” Here are two ideas to start with: pro or collegiate paraphernalia from Jenkins Enterprises and American Expedition. They carry items that are masculine and tasteful and are nicely packaged and easy to display! Mud Pie has a “Him” category with a nice selection.

A few more things that have had some success are barbecue tools, aprons, wall clocks, auto tag frames, travel mugs, flashlights, work lights, digital tire gauges, roadside emergency kits, aluminum wallets, golfers tools, ‘7 in 1’ pocket screwdrivers, and magnifying glasses. A top seller for men is Joey Series by Outback Flashlights. It has a super-strong magnet in the base which allows the user to see under the hood of a car.


Q. Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?

Q. Our shops have struggled with our online presence, especially through the pandemic and for a variety of other reasons. We are considering outsourcing to HospitalGiftShop to provide online access to our customers. Does anyone have experience with them? Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Thank you! – Judi S, Gift Shops/Espresso Cafes. 7/8/21

Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Would you use them?

Are you – our would you – use hospitalgiftshops.com for an online store? What is your experience? Don’t just take; give back. Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Hospital Gift Shop is a Healthy Commerce company based in San Diego, California. We mention hospitalgiftshop.com in our recent article Creating and Online Store: Parts 1-4 as a way to outsource your entire online operation. But, there are pros and cons to doing so. We’d love to hear, first hand, from shops that are using their service!


5 ways to get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie

We’re down to the wire! You continue to fight the effects of COVID-19 on you, your business, your customers and your staff. You have closed your store, reopened, pivoted 27 times, and have figured out new ways to grow sales and to get product to your customers. You deserve a break! But not just yet. 

We have assembled five strategic actions you can take right now to help you get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie. Each of these five easy to implement ideas will help you entice customers to buy. 


five holiday sales tips
Front door “speed bumps”
Set the tone…. a lot!
Sell gift cards in-store & online
Sign the store like never before!
Daily team meetings

Begin at the front door 

You want your sales floor to scream “Holidays!” when shoppers enter. The perfect place to set the tone is at your “Speed Bumps”. These are the entry displays that give shoppers a taste of what they can expect when they shop your store. Try these for your speed bump displays: 

  • Pre-wrapped items
  • Cross-merchandised product that can be worn or used together
  • Items at the same price point
  • Gift suggestions by gender and age
  • Themed display of related items 

Remember to re-merchandise key parts of your sales floor, including the impulse items at the cashwrap, frequently. When the product remains stagnant – especially during the holidays – frequent shoppers think “I have seen this before” and keep on walking. So, move around new goods and things that have been with you for a while.

If you have to do pre-holiday markdowns do it while the sales floor continues to be busy with shoppers. The first markdown you take is the always the most important and the cheapest. 

Markdowns allow you to maximize your invested dollars. When you get those dollars back you can reinvest into newer items that will yield higher margins and better inventory turn. Packing product away for next year isn’t the answer because it never looks as fresh as it looked when it was initially received. Customers know. 

Set the tone 

Decorate the windows and the store for the holidays and put a Christmas spin on your dress code. And even if you hate holiday music, play it anyway because Christmas carols set the tone for the season. They also remind shoppers of the task at hand and puts them in gift-giving mode. 

Sell gift cards 

This is the precise time to focus on gift card sales. Statistics show that 75% spend more than the value of their card and 55% of gift card recipients require more than one shopping trip to the store to spend the balance of their card. This is great news! The more visits to your store the more likely they are to spend. Offer online gift cards as for those who like to shop from home or the last-minute shopper. 

🎯 TIP: Want to increase gift card sales? Include bonus cards for the shopper: “Buy $50 in gift cards and receive a $10 gift card for free”. Remember to make bonus cards valid after January 1 so they can’t be used to purchase holiday gifts. 

Sign the store like never before 

70% of purchase decisions are made in-store so signing helps shoppers make the decision to buy. Add signs to displays that read: New Arrivals, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and add price points where applicable. Include product details to the signage like features, country or city of origin, the designer, materials, and the like. 

Meet daily with your team 

Make sure all associates are ready to provide excellent service. Meet with everyone for a couple of minutes in the morning. Share what’s new, changes on the sales floor, talk about what’s happening on social media, and what was sent to customers via email and direct mail. Talk up gift cards and gift ideas, do a Q&A – share whatever is important that particular day. 
Work just a little harder these months because your competitors will. We wish you a safe, wonderful, and prosperous holiday season. And remember, we are always here if we can help!

SOURCE: KIZER & BENDER’s Retail Adventures

How do you get ready for the holiday season? Do you have a tried-and-true cheatsheet? What are some imperative strategies you implement every year?

What are you doing to get ready for the holiday season? Do you use a checklist? Must-have strategies or tasks? Don’t just take; give back. Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

RESPONSES: Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, So sorry for the delay, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


Social Media Tip: Create animated product videos like this!

Creating animated videos of your merchandise is easier than you might think, thanks to Canva. We’ve mentioned Canva in the recent four-part series on how to create an online ecommerce store.

Canva has a terrific set of intuitive, pre-formatted tools that you can use to make quick and easy content for social media posts….graphic design skills not required! Short looping videos like this one here are called GIFs.

Check back next month when we’ll show how to create a merchandise video like this one!

Canva.com

Click image to animate or view in browser.



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AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #621
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Rev up your holiday planning now
  • Top 10 display tips
  • SURVEY: Do you have employee payroll deduction?
  • Q. What is your current markup in this post-COVID market?
  • Promo: Summer Sizzler Father’s Day Raffle
  • Job Openings
  • Guelph General Hospital gift shop launches online store

  • Product Pick: LEGO flashlight keychains
  • Q. Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?
  • Marketing Tip: Motivate hospital employees to shop
  • Social Media Example: Dot Sale Promotion
  • RESPONSES: What are some good plant vendors?
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


CUSTOMER REWARD/LOYALTY PROGRAM

We are interested in starting a customer reward/loyalty program. Requesting any advice on a system that has worked well in your hospital gift shop. – Stephanie Byrom, SJRMC Gift Market, Farmington, NM 194 beds. 5/17/12

We have a punch card that I got through Vista Print. For every $5.00 spent they get a punch. It takes $100.00 to fill. Once full, they get 30% off 1 items. It works well and the employees love it. As we require a minimum of $5.00 purchase to use payroll deduct, this is another encouragement to spend at least that amount. – Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager, Volunteer Services, Springfield, MO. 6/22/21

We do punch cards for every 5$ spent they get a punch, after the card is full, 9 punches, they get 10% off one item with that card. – Ann Payne. 6/17/21

We currently have a customer loyalty program that was easy to implement through our POS (VEND). Customers are able to provide their contact information which automatically enrolls them in the loyalty program. This has been a great bonus for return customers (mainly staff) as we do not offer employee discounts. – Shellee Laubersheimer, Stanford Health Care Gift Shop, Stanford, CA. 2300 beds. 6/16/21

We currently utilize MM Hayes Quickcharge POS. They have a built in Loyalty system that has several options and customizations. – Shea Fowler, Unity Point. 6/16/21


ONLINE STORE

I am currently working on launching an online store. It has been several months in the making but this topic came up at the best time and has helped me so much with all the other shops providing information, tips and tricks. I will be look in to purchasing a photo box and using canva! I have saved all the previous articles to continually reference. Thank you to everyone for all the great information that has been provided. – Sarah, 7/30/21

Hi Sarah, we’re happy to hear that the article was helpful! Please let us know how the launch of your online store goes. On the interim, let us know what issues you run into…or questions. I’ll answer what I can and put it out for comment in the next issue. Good luck! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

First of all, thank you for deep diving into this subject. I wanted to know if having a POS is imperative to having an online presence? Is there a work around? Currently we do not have a POS, but we would love to explore the online possibility. Thank you. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, 5/20/21

A POS is not required to have an online store. You can sell, process payment, and fulfill orders entirely through your eCommerce software. You’ll need to coordinate your in-store and online sales, plus financials, and inventory. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Cindy, this is absolutely the best newsletter that you have published. I will use as a reference over and over. We too realized that we were fortunate to have an online shop. We continue to update it as part of our hospital website. The big website will be new and fresher soon. We have been waiting a long time for this. Our on line business continues to grow even as we have opened our gift shop. We will send in our good news for you to publish. Have a great weekend – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Childrens Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

Congratulations on launching your online shop. It is terrific. The landing page image with the teddy bear is really effective. Did you set up and launch it yourself? What software are you using? Several managers are wondering how to coordinate online with in-shop inventory. Are you having the same issue? – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Our gift shop is part of the hospital website. We are continuing to upgrade our part, as well as, the hospital having a new site. We do struggle with the inventory—as we are on Arba systems. We continue to keep up with inventory the old fashioned way, counting each week. We do keep the inventory separate from the shop back stock. Hope this part helps. – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

We do not have a web site but will be building one this summer. My question is, I do not want to offer delivery beyond our campus (no shipping). Anyone had success doing this? – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St Louis Park, MN. 4/16/21

Yes! Our sole purpose of an online store is for Patient Delivery Only and our opening welcome message on the site reads: Through this site, you may order gifts for delivery to patients staying at our hospitals”. We advertise “pre made bundles” to simplify options. We have a binder kept at the register that lists all of our online gift bundles and what items are needed to fulfill the order so that all staff members can work on gift building. We recently added phone chargers as an option online as we get a lot of phone calls from customers looking to send a charger to a patient. Well now they can order that charger online as an “add-on” item!
For inventory purposes, we ring up each item at the point of sale and use “eHit” as our mode of tender; it’s an arbitrary tender that has its own line on our reports so that these sales are not getting mixed into credit card or cash sales. – Meggen Heuss, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI. 500 bed. 4/21/21

We do not yet have an online store however, this information is quite timely in that I am just beginning to explore one. I look forward to the next parts of the series as I am sure there are so many parts and pieces to consider. Without question, I believe it would be worth it, but getting it up and running and having manpower to keeping it going may prove to be more difficult. The shipping pieces is something that really worries me… Thank you all for your time to compile this information, it is appreciated. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 4/16/21

Remember, you don’t have to offer shipping. You can limit your fulfillment options to only those you feel are feasible: Patient Room Delivery, Office Delivery, In Store Pickup and, Lobby Pickup, Curbside Pickup. Phase in additional options, like shipping, later on when ready or not at all. We’ll discuss fulfillment methods in Part III. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

I am so interested to hear what others are doing, the pro’s and the con’s to having an online store. Who are you targeting? What merchandise will you sell? Where will the merchandise be stored? Delivery, mail out, curbside pick up etc. Who will manage it? Who will manage it when you are on vacation, nights and weekends etc. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 3/18/21

I’m not 100% sure so maybe Cindy could help us, but someone told me that if you are not for profit that you have to be very careful with online shopping because it could forfeit your nonprofit status. Cindy, can you help? Is this true? – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan, Vincennes, IN. 232 beds. 2/16/21

FROM CINDY
It is a myth that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can‘t make a profit. Most hospitals and their subsequent gift shops are for profit. They charge sales tax and operate as a business. The shops then donate all their profits to the hospital for patient benefit and equipment. Look for our upcoming article on how to start an online store. We’ve found some terrific online gift shops and currently interviewing their managers to share with our readers. In the meantime, here is a helpful article on launching an on-line store Overcome Common Problems Launching a Hospital Gift Store Website  2/17/21

We are a volunteer only hospital gift shop. No visitors in almost a year. We we closed for 7 months and now are only open in the afternoons. We’ve been having a 30% off sale and the store is still full! An online shop would be great but it would fall on one person to create it and manage and would be a full time job.  – Martha Burke, Rome Hospital, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 2/9/21


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | August 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


AUGUST 15, 2021


Rev up your holiday planning now

12 Month Action Plan for Hospital Gift Shops
Twelve-Month Action Plan for Hospital Gift Shops

It’s time to begin developing your holiday buying and marketing plan! Retailing is like gardening. You must plant the seeds in the fall for blooming sales during the holiday season. You need to plan for those sales; they don’t just happen by themselves.

  • Create announcements for exciting holiday merchandise, special sales, and promos right now, when you have time.
  • Outline your schedule for the announcements in hospital publications, social media, and website. Then, in the frenzy of the season, you just have to more-or-less execute it.
  • All summer merchandise goes on clearance NOW!
  • Integrate cross-merchandising into displays.
  • Begin displaying higher-priced holiday merchandise and Christmas collectibles.
  • Begin displaying Halloween merchandise NOW!
  • Order and display next year’s calendars and datebooks.
  • Mark down slow selling merchandise to acquire space for just-arriving items.
  • Request that all staff and volunteers indicate when they will be out of town during the holidays.  Ensure that their job responsibilities are covered while they are gone.

Check out Cindy’s Twelve-Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers and Buyers!

UPCOMING 2021 HOLIDAYS

September
Sep 6 – Labor Day
Sep 12 – Grandparents Day
Sep 22 – First Day of Fall
Sep 7 – Rosh Hashanah
October
Oct 10 – Handbag Day
Oct 11 – Columbus Day
Sep 15 – Yom Kippur
Oct 16 – Boss’s Day
Oct 16 – Sweetest Day
Oct 31 – Halloween
November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve

Product Pick: LEGO flashlight keychains

Here’s a fun product for your gift shop from one of the world’s most beloved brands, LEGO! The fully posable, officially licensed LEGO minifigure flashlight keychains are for LEGO fans of all ages. Push a button on the character’s belly to activate bright LED lights in the feet. Batteries are included. The keychain lights shown here are available in eye-catching 16-count counter displays to make merchandising easy. These are great for hospital gift shops and can brighten the way for patients and medical professionals. They are available from Santoki, the exclusive US distributor of LEGO licensed LED lights. Contact Nikki at nikki@santoki.com to order.


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Top 10 display tips

by Michelle Sherrier / GiftShop Mag, Spring, 2021

I consider myself a creative curator. Spending the last 41 years in retail, I have learned a lot about merchandising and design. Between seven years at the iconic Fred Segal to another seven years at the mecca of retail, Anthropologie, I was able to hone my eye and business sense alike, and grow a deeper understanding of the intricacies of retail and the key role visual merchandising plays. Here are my “Top 10 Tips” that I learned along the way!

#1 WHEN IN DOUBT COLOR IT OUT

I know you know what I’m talking about…you just finished re-working your shelving unit and it looks chaotic…a lot of merchandise; some of it works together, a lot of it doesn’t. This is where this rule of thumb comes in handy. Try pulling together items by color. The color on label, maybe it’s the packaging or the product, you will see a common thread. Start pulling them together, little by little you will see it come to life. I often start with my groups and then start shopping the store for more that will create a more impactful statement.

#2 MERCHANDISE BY CONCEPT

The cohesiveness you see at Anthropologie is very deliberate. Merchandising by concept creates an impactful statement while telling a visual story. Our “Camp Concept” was a combination of books, Pendleton inspired games and campfire scented candles. Props to embellish your concept can be anything from tree slices as risers to an oversized marshmallow on a twig (they dry beautifully, by the way).

#3 BINNING

Bin “smalls” like lip balm, loose crystals, small books, and jewelry on cards in glass jars. A lot of vendors ship smalls in “displayable” case packs. I prefer to take them out of the packaging. By placing them in a glass jar, basket, or bowl you add value to the item and make them look so much more important and inviting.

#4 THE HARDWARE STORE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND

Take a walk through a hardware store. There are so many things that are cost effective that create amazing risers, backdrops and displays. We created multi-levels for a jewelry case out of 2×4’s that have been cut different sizes and sanded down. I liked them raw but a coat of paint or stain would give them a whole new life.

#5 DON’T TREAT YOUR WINDOW LIKE A GARAGE SALE

Pick a theme, color or category. A lot of people think “more is better” but in the case of windows, putting everything you sell into a small window isn’t better, it’s just busier. The other rule of thumb is, never leave a mannequin undressed or without hair in the window. This should go without saying but I see it all too often. No hair? No problem! Throw a scarf on her head for a chic look or a hat. Just don’t leave her bald.

Read the other five display tips — #6 Show Items as You Would Use It; #7 Get Inspired; #8 Cross Merchandising; #9 Risers, Think Outside the Box; and #10 Lifestyle Props — in GiftShop Mag.

Stanford University Gift Shop
Stanford Health Care Gift Shop

SOURCE: Gift Shop Mag, Spring 2021


SURVEY: Do you have employee payroll deduction?

Do you have employee payroll deduction?

Employee payroll deduction can account for up to 40-50% of shop sales. The swipe of a badge is much easier than carrying around cash or a credit card, especially for hospital employees who are popping in while on break. Employees appreciate the convenience of buying without cash up front and interest-free! It’s all about removing barriers to sale and bringing value to your hospital employee’s lives by making the buying process quick and easy.

 

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Q. What is your current markup in the post-COVID market?

Q. Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21.

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more
What is your current markup right now, post-COVID? <– Click to comment!

What’s your take on markups right now? Give back. Do your part. Sharing is caring. Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

PROMO: Summer Sizzler Father’s Day Raffle

Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager at CoxHealth in Springfield, MO recently shared a terrific Father’s Day promo event that she’s held since 2010. She said the staff really look forward to. We know timing isn’t right, be it end of summer, but we wanted to be sure and share it. Archive the article and set a reminder on your calendar for Spring! Huge thanks to Ginger for sharing this great sale idea!

“At the end of the season or on Black Friday I purchase some sort of a grill plus a table and chairs set, fire pit, etc. We then sell raffle tickets from Memorial Day through the Friday before Father’s Day. The raffle tickets are sold in-store and over email. The price of the tickets varies year to year based on what we offer. This year, since we have two stores plus some items stocked up after being closed last year, we offered two different options – one for each store location. Tickets can be purchased for one or both locations.  The email for tickets made up about 50% of our sales.  Here’s what we offered: 

Summer Sizzler Prize #1
$3.00 each or 2 for $5.00

  • Pit Boss Pellet Smoker ($198 Wal-Mart. Basically $0 using Sam’s Club cash back from candy purchases)
  • Patio Heater  ($87 Menards. Black Friday sale)
  • Jack and Jill Table & Chairs ($99)
  • Two bags of flavored pellets ($10 Wal-Mart)

Summer Sizzler Prize #2
$2.00 each or 3 for $5.00

  • 3 piece bistro table chairs (close out $59.00)
  • Stainless Steel Fire Pit ($27 Wal-Mart. End-of-season sale plus Sam’s cash back)

When you factor in the Sam’s Club cash-back, total promo expense were around $255 resulting in total sales of $3,757 – even with limited COVID hours at 40 hrs per week. We change it up sometimes with a charcoal grill, gas, or combination depending on what’s the best deal available at the time.

We also offer tickets for a large TV (60” or more) following Christmas for Super Bowl. The cost is around $200-$300 on Black Friday. It is successful, but not as much as the Father’s Day event, probably because it’s too close to Christmas.” – Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO


Job Openings

Volunteer Services and Retail Gift Shop Manager
MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Medford, MA

Gift Shop Manager
SSMHealth DePaul Hospital – St. Louis, Bridgeton, MO

Gift Shop Manager
Christian Health, Wyckoff, NJ

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA

Gift Shop Coordinator
Munson Medical Center, Traverse City, MI

Gift Shop Manager
Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, MA

Gift Shop Retail Manager
Adventist Health System, Tampa, FL

Gift Shop Manager
Univ of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA

Gift Shop Manager
Blessed Sacrament, Scottsdale, AZ

Store Manager
Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, Philadelphia, PA

Associate Manager
The Ohio State University Hospital, Columbus, OH

Gift Shop Manager
Joseph-Beth Gift Shop, Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, OH


Guelph General Hospital gift shop launches online store

GuelphToday.com / Jul 25, 2021


Courtyard Boutique
Guelph General Hospital, Ontario
Website: gghcourtyardboutique.ca
Hospital referring page
Ecommerce: SquareSpace
POS: Stripe
Facebook Page
Instagram Page

Friends and family members of patients at Guelph General Hospital can now shop online and have gifts delivered right to their loved ones’ hospital room. The Hospital’s volunteer-run Courtyard Boutique recently launched its new online gift shop.

“The online boutique seems to be blossoming,” said Erica Bite, Retail Manager of the Courtyard Boutique. “We have made more than a dozen patient deliveries which are from the patients themselves or family and friends gifting to a patient. The deliveries are brought to patients by a staff member and packaged up for them in a way that always seems to put a smile on their faces. One of our patients let us know that they were happy for the inpatient deliveries because they were able to satisfy their sweet tooth rather quickly.”

Items available at the online gift shop include a variety of gifts for adults, children, new parents and newborn babes, flowers and foil balloons. Personal care items are also available such as contact lens solution, ear plugs, lip balm, gifts and batteries. Mints, gum, chocolate, candy and other snacks can also be added to the gift packages (if permitted in a patient’s nutrition plan).

Same-day delivery is available weekdays if the order is made prior to 1 p.m. No weekend deliveries are available at this time. Deliveries are made right to the patient’s room or to the nursing station if the patient is in isolation. The Courtyard Boutique is located in the hospital’s main lobby. The GGH Volunteer Association Board has been meeting remotely to develop the on-line gift shop. “We hope this new service will make it easier for friends and family to support their loved ones while the Hospital has visitor restrictions in place,” said John Steggles, Board Chair, GGH Volunteer Association. “When visitor restrictions are lifted, the online boutique may remain as a permanent service if we find people are making good use of it.” To visit GGH’s Courtyard Boutique online store, go to www.gghcourtyardboutique.ca

Click image to expand

SOURCE: Guelph Today


Q. Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Are you selling vaccination card holders/protectors? If so, who’s your vendor?

Do you find the comments helpful? Then do your part and leave your comment here or at the bottom of the newsletter. It takes a team!

Thank you!


Click to expand image

Marketing Tip: Tap into what motivates hospital employees

Hospital employees often say their main motivation to shop in the gift shop is to keep money in the hospital to support patients and for medical equipment. It matters to them that each purchase they make helps promote excellent patient care.

Remind your shoppers of this regularly with frequent messaging across social media, your website, at the register and other marketing mediums. Here is some sample language from Sprout Gift Shop.


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Social Media Example: Dot Sale Promo

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Click image to enlarge


JULY 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #619
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • PART 4. Creating an Online Store:
    • Full and partially outsourced options
    • Getting help pro bono
    • Student volunteer, intern, work study
    • Ecommerce agency, developer, freelancers
    • Bundled ecommerce and POS services
    • Ecommerce managed services
    • Online resources and tools

  • Summer action list
  • How does loss occur
  • What is ‘Open to Buy’?
  • Merchandise mix Scratch-off card promotion (DIY Tutorial)
  • Protocol for reinstating volunteers
  • Plant vendors
  • Customer reward/loyalty programs
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


PLANT VENDOR

Is there a wholesale plant vendor you use to stock your gift shop? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT, 5/19/21

We have a flower business come in to deliver arrangements with an agreement that we receive a 20% commission from the flower sales. This business will also maintain or take back arrangements that do not sell. – Melina Dixon, Community Healthcare System, Hobart, IN. 225 beds. 6/16/21

Not sure what kind of plants you’re looking for, but a few years ago we ordered succulents wholesale from this nursery in Florida, Morning Dew Tropical Plants, for a succulent bar. They were great to work with and plants arrived in fantastic shape. Morning Dew Tropical Plants morningdewtropical.com – Shea Fowler, Unity Point


CUSTOMER REWARD/LOYALTY PROGRAM

We are interested in starting a customer reward/loyalty program. Requesting any advice on a system that has worked well in your hospital gift shop. – Stephanie Byrom, SJRMC Gift Market, Farmington, NM 194 beds. 5/17/12

We have a punch card that I got through Vista Print. For every $5.00 spent they get a punch. It takes $100.00 to fill. Once full, they get 30% off 1 items. It works well and the employees love it. As we require a minimum of $5.00 purchase to use payroll deduct, this is another encouragement to spend at least that amount. – Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager, Volunteer Services, Springfield, MO. 6/22/21

We do punch cards for every 5$ spent they get a punch, after the card is full, 9 punches, they get 10% off one item with that card. – Ann Payne. 6/17/21

We currently have a customer loyalty program that was easy to implement through our POS (VEND). Customers are able to provide their contact information which automatically enrolls them in the loyalty program. This has been a great bonus for return customers (mainly staff) as we do not offer employee discounts. – Shellee Laubersheimer, Stanford Health Care Gift Shop, Stanford, CA. 2300 beds. 6/16/21

We currently utilize MM Hayes Quickcharge POS. They have a built in Loyalty system that has several options and customizations. – Shea Fowler, Unity Point. 6/16/21


ONLINE STORE

I am currently working on launching an online store. It has been several months in the making but this topic came up at the best time and has helped me so much with all the other shops providing information, tips and tricks. I will be look in to purchasing a photo box and using canva! I have saved all the previous articles to continually reference. Thank you to everyone for all the great information that has been provided. – Sarah, 7/30/21

Hi Sarah, we’re happy to hear that the article was helpful! Please let us know how the launch of your online store goes. On the interim, let us know what issues you run into…or questions. I’ll answer what I can and put it out for comment in the next issue. Good luck! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

First of all, thank you for deep diving into this subject. I wanted to know if having a POS is imperative to having an online presence? Is there a work around? Currently we do not have a POS, but we would love to explore the online possibility. Thank you. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, 5/20/21

A POS is not required to have an online store. You can sell, process payment, and fulfill orders entirely through your eCommerce software. You’ll need to coordinate your in-store and online sales, plus financials, and inventory. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Cindy, this is absolutely the best newsletter that you have published. I will use as a reference over and over. We too realized that we were fortunate to have an online shop. We continue to update it as part of our hospital website. The big website will be new and fresher soon. We have been waiting a long time for this. Our on line business continues to grow even as we have opened our gift shop. We will send in our good news for you to publish. Have a great weekend – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Childrens Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

Congratulations on launching your online shop. It is terrific. The landing page image with the teddy bear is really effective. Did you set up and launch it yourself? What software are you using? Several managers are wondering how to coordinate online with in-shop inventory. Are you having the same issue? – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Our gift shop is part of the hospital website. We are continuing to upgrade our part, as well as, the hospital having a new site. We do struggle with the inventory—as we are on Arba systems. We continue to keep up with inventory the old fashioned way, counting each week. We do keep the inventory separate from the shop back stock. Hope this part helps. – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

We do not have a web site but will be building one this summer. My question is, I do not want to offer delivery beyond our campus (no shipping). Anyone had success doing this? – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St Louis Park, MN. 4/16/21

Yes! Our sole purpose of an online store is for Patient Delivery Only and our opening welcome message on the site reads: Through this site, you may order gifts for delivery to patients staying at our hospitals”. We advertise “pre made bundles” to simplify options. We have a binder kept at the register that lists all of our online gift bundles and what items are needed to fulfill the order so that all staff members can work on gift building. We recently added phone chargers as an option online as we get a lot of phone calls from customers looking to send a charger to a patient. Well now they can order that charger online as an “add-on” item!
For inventory purposes, we ring up each item at the point of sale and use “eHit” as our mode of tender; it’s an arbitrary tender that has its own line on our reports so that these sales are not getting mixed into credit card or cash sales. – Meggen Heuss, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI. 500 bed. 4/21/21

We do not yet have an online store however, this information is quite timely in that I am just beginning to explore one. I look forward to the next parts of the series as I am sure there are so many parts and pieces to consider. Without question, I believe it would be worth it, but getting it up and running and having manpower to keeping it going may prove to be more difficult. The shipping pieces is something that really worries me… Thank you all for your time to compile this information, it is appreciated. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 4/16/21

Remember, you don’t have to offer shipping. You can limit your fulfillment options to only those you feel are feasible: Patient Room Delivery, Office Delivery, In Store Pickup and, Lobby Pickup, Curbside Pickup. Phase in additional options, like shipping, later on when ready or not at all. We’ll discuss fulfillment methods in Part III. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

I am so interested to hear what others are doing, the pro’s and the con’s to having an online store. Who are you targeting? What merchandise will you sell? Where will the merchandise be stored? Delivery, mail out, curbside pick up etc. Who will manage it? Who will manage it when you are on vacation, nights and weekends etc. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 3/18/21

I’m not 100% sure so maybe Cindy could help us, but someone told me that if you are not for profit that you have to be very careful with online shopping because it could forfeit your nonprofit status. Cindy, can you help? Is this true? – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan, Vincennes, IN. 232 beds. 2/16/21

FROM CINDY
It is a myth that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can‘t make a profit. Most hospitals and their subsequent gift shops are for profit. They charge sales tax and operate as a business. The shops then donate all their profits to the hospital for patient benefit and equipment. Look for our upcoming article on how to start an online store. We’ve found some terrific online gift shops and currently interviewing their managers to share with our readers. In the meantime, here is a helpful article on launching an on-line store Overcome Common Problems Launching a Hospital Gift Store Website  2/17/21

We are a volunteer only hospital gift shop. No visitors in almost a year. We we closed for 7 months and now are only open in the afternoons. We’ve been having a 30% off sale and the store is still full! An online shop would be great but it would fall on one person to create it and manage and would be a full time job.  – Martha Burke, Rome Hospital, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 2/9/21


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