mcnett_msa-booth-pittsburgh

Time to Connect!

July 10, 2017

By Donna McNett

Recently, out of the clear blue, a vendor emailed me for MSA membership advice. Surprisingly, she actually found me through an MSA blog. She is an artist/craftsman and her work is beautiful — at least what I could tell from the photos she attached. Her sales have been successful but only with one particular museum store — and they have re-ordered from her three times within the last six weeks. The issue is…. she is having a very difficult time getting in the door with other museum stores and wanted to know if joining MSA would make a difference. Should she take the plunge and join?

Even though I am a vendor member of MSA, I’m still relatively new to all of this.  I could easily identify with the difficulty in getting museum store buyers to take a look at your products. You might have tremendous success with one buyer — which makes it hard to understand why you’re invisible to others. Pittsburgh was only my second MSA conference so I was scratching my head a bit as to what I might say to encourage her.  When I joined MSA I didn’t really know what to expect and was concerned whether my small company could justify all the expenses; not just the membership but the show booth plus all the travel expenses.

Read more

pittsburgh-skyline-3

How Effective Is Your Store’s Customer Service?

May 8, 2017

At MSA Forward 2017, we were surrounded by colleagues and connections so willing to offer insight, guidance and open minds. Some of those individuals sat next to us during the educational sessions and some led the discussion from the podium.

To close out MSA’s 62nd annual Retail Conference & Expo, we welcomed Louis Roden, founder and lead facilitator of Inspire Consulting Group, to the stage during the Closing Keynote Session, sponsored by Popcorn Custom Products. His presentation, “Creating Customer Loyalty for Life!” resonated immediately with MSA Forward 2017 attendees, who walked out of the ballroom buzzing with excitement and inspiration, and striking up conversations with fellow attendees to discuss immediate actions they could implement upon their return to their institutions.

In case you were unable to join us in Pittsburgh, had to catch an early flight or would simply like a refresher on the great material Roden shared, here’s a snapshot of his dynamic insight.

Read more

botelho-new-front-page

Case Study: Rebranding Newport Mansions’ Online Store

February 27, 2017

The Preservation Society of Newport County in Newport, Rhode Island, is an organization of historic house museums, including The Breakers, Marble House, the Elms, Rosecliff and others. The retail team at Newport Mansions operates six stores, a website, and a warehouse/distribution center in Newport. Bringing in more than $3.6 million last year, the largest store is 2,000 square feet, and the smallest is 645 square feet.

kate-botelhoMSA member Kate Botelho is one of the faces behind the retail operation (alongside MSA members Laura Murphy and Cynthia O’Malley). While Kate’s position lists her as “Systems Admin & E-Commerce Store Manager,” she wears a few more hats than two.

When Kate came to Newport Mansions 15 years ago, she worked nights part-time at the downtown Newport Mansions store while she was in school. Now, she manages the Newport Mansions’ retail website, serves as the lead on all stores’ technology- or computer-related issues, maintains the stores’ inventory, organizes the stores’ social media, creates general graphics, oversees the wholesale program and contributes to buying for the website store.

After a complete rebranding of Newport Mansions’ online stores five years ago, she also became a fount of knowledge on the subject. Always willing to help fellow MSA members who find themselves in similar situations, Kate shared her expertise with us. Read on to learn more!

Read more

schureman_store

Visitor Service Standards: Go for 100 Percent

October 31, 2016

By Kate Neumiller Schureman

It doesn’t take much time on TripAdvisor to find the following review, “Great museum, horrible customer service!” I would guess that many of you might be thinking to yourself, “I am sure that is not part of a review for my museum,” or maybe, “That’s not about our museum store.” Well, you are not alone. More than 80 percent of American businesses, including museum stores, think they provide “superior customer service.”

If that is truly the case, then how do we explain the $41 billion per year that American businesses lose due to poor customer service?

Read more

Saroyan_GroupShotMSA_reception

Seeking Your Unique Content for MSA Blogs!

August 29, 2016

MSA is seeking content for our weekly blog, and we hope you are interested in sharing your skills and experiences with the MSA community. MSA knows that our members and friends have interesting, personal, and relevant material that our community would find useful. Our most recent blog posts, by MSA members Barbara Lenhardt, Julie Steiner, David Duddy, Blue Anderson, Chris Michel, Stacey Stachow and Pam Edwards, proved us right. We also revamped the MSA blog to include a photo of the MSA blogger’s business and an image of the author to personalize the post.

We are eager to see more blog posts from respected museum store industry leaders – store operators, vendors and business partners – such as you.
Read more

6.5.16 Tiger Blog Image

Five Steps for Contented Content

June 6, 2016

As you have been expanding your marketing to increase your presence online, you may have added a blog to your website. Of course now that you have your blog, you’re probably struggling to maintain a high level of high-interest content. For everyone who’s ever been faced with producing a regular blog, content is probably one of your biggest challenges (along with just maintaining a regular schedule). Read more

Group Of Multi-Ethnic Group Of Business People Holding Placards Forming Customer

Managing Your Customer’s Experience

May 16, 2016

If you Google “customer experience” you’ll be surprised by the number of hits you get labeled customer experience management.  Who knew your customer’s experience needed to be managed?

It wasn’t that long ago that you simply put merchandise on the counter, turned on the lights, opened the doors and… voilà, instant customer experience.  Oh sure, somebody would throw in some clever visual merchandising to spice things up, but in the end the customer’s experience was pretty much unmanaged. Read more

Woman successful hiking climbing silhouette in mountains, motivation and inspiration in beautiful sunset and ocean. Female hiker with arms up outstretched on mountain top looking at beautiful night sunset inspirational landscape.

4 Ways to Define Personal Success

March 28, 2016

Are you successful? Hopefully, you’re running a successful operation and you come to work every day with a smile on your face. But defining true personal success is often difficult.

You could be running a massively successful operation, while your personal life is crumbling all around you. Or, just the opposite may be true. Your personal life may be nothing but endless joy, and at the same time, you can barely keep the front door of your store open.

Life, both professional and personal, seems to be an endless balancing act. You often feel like a juggler, trying to keep a dozen balls in the air. It might work for a while, but it doesn’t work all the time. Read more

Vintage Typewriter With Phrase "A long time ago..." Typed in Blue Paper

Storytelling

February 22, 2016

It’s been said that you should write about what you know.  Occasionally, I have been accused that I don’t know what I am talking about, but in truth all of us are experts in some way or another.  If you do your job well, you’re probably an expert.  If you’ve been doing what you do for a while and have developed good methods to do what you do, you’re an expert.  This can be writing, managing people, cleaning, budgeting, working with customers, curating items for your store, and on and on. Read more

several donuts on a white background

Social Media Explained

February 8, 2016

A while back, I came across an image that went viral that explained social media using donuts. Naturally, the use of donuts caught my attention since donuts are at the top of my nutritional tree… and social media seemed kind of important, too.

As it turns out, the social media explanation, ala donuts, has been knocking around the Internet since 2013. It’s a simple, yet effective way to visualize the social media food chain. It’s easy to see why it caught the imagination of anyone who is trying to figure out a way to take advantage of all that social media has to offer – especially for businesses. I guess that’s why I keep a copy of these nine definitions pinned to the bulletin board near my desk.

Read more