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  • Susan Dickenson

Retail Ideas That Work

Comparison-shop the deals. is a new online site that navigates the internet for shopping deals and presents its findings all in one place, showing not only where a particular product can be purchased "on sale" or at a discount, but also how many times that particular deal has been shared in the social media sphere.TikTakTo

The process is simple, streamlined and fast. A shopper in search of a chevron-patterned area rug, for example, types "chevron area rug" in the search box. Within seconds, the search results produce dozens of photos of chevron-patterned area rugs, offered in a variety of colors, price ranges and brands. If the shopper sees a rug she likes, a click on "Buy It" links her to the product listing on the retailer's website. If she's interested but wants to continue browsing, she can click "Tik It" to save the product listing in her "My Tiks" section for later consideration.

Retailers may want to look at TikTakTo from a strategy standpoint. Not sure how to price those new driftwood table lamps? If you'd entered "driftwood lamp" in the TikTakTo search box the morning of Dec. 6, 2013, your results would have included the brands Kenroy Home, Palecek, Uttermost, Cyan Design, Currey & Company, Arteriors Home, and a few you've probably never heard of. You can also get a feel for how popular the offer is with consumers - beneath each photo, TikTakTo provides button links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ and displays how many times the offer has been shared in social media circles.

Make the post a must. Have you ever thought about stocking something so off-the-wall it would just scream "tweet me, pin me, share me?" The idea came to us as we were exploring's "Popular" search button, where we discovered the Hairy Chest Sweater by Hirsute Couture. This one is truly tacky and, we discovered - after emailing it amongst ourselves, laughing about it and sharing it on Google Plus - an April Fool's Joke. But it's also something that was still pulling in web traffic in December. In fairness, TikTakTo's Popular category featured a lot of nice pin-worthy uniquities as well, like the 3-D printed Nuke Lamp by Veneri Design, and an impressive pewter Octolabra (octopus candelabra).January Retail Ideas

Raise the tea bar. Take the tea out of the back room and make it front and center. The Tea Bar is always open at Wilmington, N.C.'s Paysage Home, serving customers freshly brewed cups of Bellocq, or one of Vintage Tea Works' wine-inspired blends. Earlier this year, a tea specialist from Secret Tea Society gave an in-store tea tasting and tea talk. For the holidays, customers could gift "Twelve Months of Tea," a monthly delivery of different hand-picked organics that commenced in December with a special blend and silver tea strainer.

Deliver design all year long. While we're on the subject of gift subscriptions, here's one that caught the attention of our art director. Designer Box launched this year as a subscription service that delivers an original home décor design to the subscriber's doorstep once a month. The objects are designed exclusively for the Designer Box members by "stars of international design," and each comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by the designer. Designer Box launched with a "faceted diamond" table mirror designed by Sam Baron. Delivered in a numbered wooden box, membership begins at about $40 per month for a 12-month subscription.

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