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August 2014

Worth Waiting For

Dear friends,
Imagine a line eighteen customers deep at your check-out counter—all day long. Time, one of their most precious commodities, was obviously worthy of your discriminating product selection and hospitable service.

Why Would People Wait 30 Minutes For Coffee
Why would people wait
30 minutes for coffee?

Although exhausted, you'd most likely be doing the happy dance at the close of each business day. Sure, with a never ending stream of customers, you might have some occasional staffing and inventory issues, yet the day's substantial revenue would be a bit exhilarating, wouldn't it? To a retailer with big dreams and a bank note due, it could feel like paradise found. Dreams are good. So is reality.

In building 3, at this summer's Americasmart Atlanta Gift and Home Market thousands of individuals were rushing throughout the lobby as if on an adrenaline high. Buyers were seeking the next big thing and exhibitors were eager to man their temporary exhibits.

Yet despite the obvious chaos, peace and calm existed in the lobby. At one place. Starbucks.

And not just in the morning. Throughout the day I observed the line of customers at Starbucks was exceptionally long—very long—despite Starbucks brand coffee served in three different nearby locations.

I stood back and thought to myself, "What would make anyone wait 30 minutes for a cup of coffee?" My second thought was, "How can we, as retailers, create an overwhelming demand for our product and service?" Frankly, I wouldn't stand in line at Starbucks for more than ten minutes, yet I would at Chipotle in anticipation of enjoying a much loved chicken burrito bowl. So what's the secret sauce of places like Starbucks and Chipotle and what can we learn from them?

No risk, no surprises - Customers know what they're getting. Every single time. Quality product offerings. Service with a smile.

Can your customers always count on hospitable and gracious service? Do most of your product offerings reflect a consistent quality? Is your gift wrap unique? Does it reflect your brand?

Personalization - At Starbucks, speciality coffee drinks are customized to your liking. Double Vente Latte with skim milk and a half shot of peppermint and a half shot of chocolate, anyone? Although Chipotle's product offering is narrow, you have the opportunity to customize your topping ingredients. Have lunch or dinner, your way.

No wonder products offering customization are so popular today. Many jewelry and accessories lines offer a variety of adornments and charms. Oils and vinegars can be combined to create culinary masterpieces. Individual letters create wall art with your own unique message. Is it time to add even more products offering personalization?

Somethings never go out of love - Unlike most food venues, Chipotle infrequently changes their menu, if ever. They don't have to. Why not? Their existing ingredients offer the palette, when mixed, a variety of tastes and flavors.

Let's face it, we often tire of product long before customers do. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have "new." You should! Yet, you might be doing yourself (and your customers) a disservice when you quit carrying long-loved and much cherished product lines. Think about it. Many of these products are what made you successful in the first place.

Find an on-trend category you're passionate about and make a statement with it - Consider creating a "boutique within a boutique" in your store. Become the go-to spot for accessories, candles, gourmet food, clothing, books, or stationery to name a few.

Here's what I know for sure. When today's time-pressed, and overwhelmed consumers wait patiently for a surprising amount of time, they are speaking loudly. Very, very loudly. It's a place, product, and service that's worth waiting for. Is yours?

Wishing you a lifetime of long lines and happy customers.


Cheryl Karpen

As a speaker, author and product developer, Cheryl Karpen thrives on telling stories that inspire the heart and mind. With nearly a million gift books sold, her self-publishing company, Gently Spoken, is best known for the Eat Your Peas Collection ( Cheryl can be reached at 877-224-7886 or at

Quick Industry News


LaDean Diercoff shows off her Sassy Stuff line at the Atlanta Market. Sassy Stuff has UNIQUE girly gifts, embellished with rhinestones, embroidery & hand printed “attitude” phrases. Wine tipsies (to keep wine cold), “boobie” wine glasses, mink flip flops, flasks, wine bottle covers - to name just a few. Many zebra, leopard, camouflage (some guy stuff too!) & western styles. Most retail under $25.

New (or New Look) Wholesale Websites

Toland Home GardenToland Home Garden opened its new OmegaNet B2B website this month. Since 1976, Toland Home Garden has delivered style & substance with art flags and decorative garden products packaged to attract sales. Toland has brought production home to the USA! All of the company's new sublimated flags are printed in the Toland facilities in Port Townsend, Washington. Toland flags are produced with outstanding color, quality, and designs.

Banded has a new CAMEO EZ wholesale websiteBanded has a new CAMEO EZ© wholesale website. BANDED headbands are the original no slip, automatically adjusting headbands that fits both children and adults. The company's patent-pending design allows you to wear your BANDED headband all day long without getting a headache and prevents the headband from pinching or pulling your hair. Due to the soft velvet lining that keeps the headbands on, you can focus on the day and not worry about looking in the mirror to adjust it.

CAMEO EZ© is the B2B e-commerce system developed by OmegaNet Inc., publisher of this newsletter, for use by retailers in ordering inventory for their stores. A partial list of CAMEO EZ sites can be found at the company's portals such as,,,,, and A complete list of sites is available in the "Directory" on