About Kim McCoy

Senior Managing Editor at AmericasMart Atlanta

Helpful Holiday Tips for a Successful Selling Season

Are you ready for the holiday selling season? Mercedes Gonzales of Global Purchasing Group has some tips to help set you apart from the competition.KO-Ice-Princess-Christmas

The U.S. public isn’t necessarily money poor, they are time poor!  They need a real reason to shop in your store that isn’t a guilt trip. We have come up with a few customer service friendly tips that are cost effective and will help you stand out from the price wars and the crowds.

  1. Carry unique products that are limited and well-crafted

This means buying from emerging designers. Look for them on the Premiere area of Floor 2 during market. And ask your market rep who is new and answer those emails from an unheard of designer.

  1. Offer free gift wrapping

This is a small investment in the purchasing of the wrapping paper and supplies. You can have your favorite local charity volunteers (I like animal shelters) do the wrapping for a donation to their cause. You are building good will in the spirit of the season and offering a service with a low cost.

  1. Accept phone orders and offer local same day delivery

Really make this known by having signage in the store and posting it daily on your social media. It is totally fine to charge for this service. You will find this to be most popular during the last few days. If you get to watch the movie, “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” there is a great part where on Christmas Eve, right before the store was to close, John Lennon (I know) calls and wants some fur coat bought over to the house. The poor sales guys waited for HOURS while John and Yoko went in to another room to look at the coats. Turns out they bought 400k worth of fur coats. It’s just an example of going the extra mile.

  1. Offer free Wi-Fi so the significant other can watch the game

I still don’t understand why so few stores offer this. It’s at no cost to have an addition password for the public. If the significant and/or the kids are occupied, the customer will feel more at ease to shop.

  1. Set up a children’s area with videos playing

This doesn’t have to be a fancy set up – it can even be a small sitting area with IPads. Most kids will use “mom’s” phone so they really just need a place to sit. Bean bag chairs are great and can be easily stored during off season.

  1. Extend and have flexible return policies

Oh the bitter pill of independent retail. You should take back returns. A fair and competitive policy is unworn with tags can be returned for a full refund within 14 days. It’s a math game, which you will win by having a competitive policy. OK, ready? For the month of December, I would extend it to 30 days to make a return for a full refund.

  1. Turn your staff into trained wardrobe and gift experts

You should have quick training every week during the holiday season. Come up with gift ideas for the most challenging person. Make it a contest to see what “forgotten” person gets a gift this year. I bought super warm gloves for the man at the transfer station at the suggestion of a sales person at my local boutique. Interesting it’s a women’s boutique that only offers men’s gifts during the season. Oh and I don’t even like the guy.

  1. Offer extended shopping hours

Again it’s a math game. You MUST have extended hours at least two nights a week during the season. You should be able to cover the extra payroll with the additional sales. Make sure you promote your extended hours.

  1. Keep a stash of universal cell phone chargers

You will be the place to go for this service the investment can be as small as buying a few different types of chargers to buying one of those locker types.

  1. Offer homemade holiday cookies (make them festive)

Have the team make their own family cookie and have a “bake off” with the winner getting a ribbon and photo to be displayed in the store. Or make a donation to a local group (church ladies make the best cookies) and have them make a batch for the store.

  1. Surprise them with a small gift with purchase

There are many accessories available on the 7th Floor that can be bought for $1. Place them in a nice organza bag for a great “wow” factor after a purchase.

  1. Host fun events like having a Santa or photo booth

Make a small investment in renting the costume or you might be able to hire a “Santa” to come to the store. Take photos on your smart phone and offer to email them to the customer…thus also collecting emails.

  1. Offer coat and bag checks

I don’t understand why more stores don’t offer this service. If I am sweating under my layers of clothing, I am not going to stay very long in the store. Use a simple deck of cards and clothing pins system and the stock room for this.

It might go without saying, but make sure you are fully staffed during peak hours and that everyone is properly trained to check out a customer.

I’ll be speaking on Saturday, October 17 at Atlanta Apparel about more ideas and sales training during Market.

How to Run a Successful Retail Shop
Presented by Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Group
11 a.m.  |  
Floor 11, 11-W357
9 out of 10 retailers don’t make it past their first year. This crash course was designed from an 8-hour workshop to highlight the most important key factors you didn’t know you needed to know.

Creating the Ultimate Sales Team
Presented by Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Group
3:30 p.m.  |  
Floor 11, 11-W357
Your sales team is the backbone of your store. Learn the five key training points every successful retailer should know for closing and increasing your sales, and hear how to avoid Internet showrooming.

Best of Atlanta 2015

Last week at The Atlanta Gourmet Market®, we celebrated the gourmet industry’s finest with our annual Best of Atlanta awards. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Fox Point Farm’s Fabulous Fudge Sauce for Best Chocolate and Goat Milk Caramels in Salted Vanilla for Best Candy (Non-chocolate)
    Fox Point Farm 2 Fox Point Farm 3



  • Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Tapas Cheese Stuffed Baby Squash for Wild Card
    Sable and Rosenfeld

  • Plentiful Pantry’s Thai Coconut Soup for Best Soup
    Plentiful Pantry
    In addition to top gourmet products, excellence in visual design was celebrated by the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and The Atlanta Gourmet Market® BEST OF SHOW award, presented to Never Lose Hope Designs.

best booth IMG_4519

Welcome to VOW 2015

vow banner
VOW New World of Bridal opens its doors today to buyers from across the country. With unmatched showrooms, runways and essential trends this is the bridal market not to miss. Here are just a few of the top brands you’ll find at Market this week.


  • Watters and WTOO
    Watters is a treasured name in the bridal wear industry thanks to hand-stitched details, luxurious fabrics, and innovative designs. They’ve been designing wedding dresses for 30 years, and continue to evolve with changing bridal trends and style influences. WTOO offers affordable bridal gown and bridesmaids options. (12-E318)
  • Enzoani
    Merging traditional and modern European styles into exquisitely handcrafted gowns, Enzoani is a young, vibrant company that focuses on cutting edge design demonstrating a full understanding of high fashion with rich detail. (12-N100B)
  • Justin Alexander
    Inspired by the 1950s and 60s, Justin Alexander offers the finest vintage and couture wedding dresses updated with modern twists to make them perfect for contemporary brides. (12-W367)
  • Badgley Mischka Bridal
    Design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka have made their name over the past two decades with elegant, stylish, and wearable evening gowns and accessories. Now they’re dazzling the world of bridal with their signature style. (12-N100B)

Watters2EnzoaniJustin Alexanderbadgley mischka

Saborama  ·  Tarik Ediz  ·  Terani  ·  Eleni Elias
SaboramaTarik EdizTeraniEleni Elias

Nicole Bakti  ·  Kourosh  ·  Allure  ·  La Femme

atrium shot wide

Find all these lines and so much more September 16-18, 2015 at Atlanta Apparel.

Celebrity Sightings from Children’s World


This gallery contains 11 photos.

With more than 700 children’s lines open for orders during Atlanta Apparel, there’s something for everyone – even the children of Hollywood. Take a look at some recent celebrity sightings. Find all the lines at Atlanta Apparel at AmericasMart Atlanta. Next … Continue reading

Kids Trends for Fall/Winter 2015


This gallery contains 7 photos.

During March market at Atlanta Apparel, It’s a Kidsworld magazine’s Caryn Salomon shared the top children’s trends for Fall/Winter 2015/2016. We took those insights and found examples in showrooms across the 13th floor. Here’s a peek at some of our favorite fashions. Wildly … Continue reading

Must-Haves for Fall 2015

It may be time for Spring Fever, but we’re feeling the love for Fall at Atlanta Apparel. Be sure to stock up on these key pieces for your store.

The Turtleneck
Cut with a slim, high neck, wear as a classic staple layering piece. Or opt for a chunky, outsized neckline to wear as a standalone item.

Paul & Joe, Atlanta Apparel at AmericasMart

Paul & Joe

BCBG Max Azria, AmericasMart.com

BCBG Max Azria











Sachin + Babi

Sachin + Babi










The Wide-Leg Flare

Cut from fluid fabric to accentuate the flare. Look for added masculine details at the waist.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor












The Nipped-Waist Coat
Cut in a classic, tailored silhouette. Add darts or a tailored belt for a nipped-in, modern and feminine shape.

Trina Turk

Trina Turk











The Sweater Dress

Constructed in fine-gauge ribs for a slim silhouette. Graphic contrasts add interest to elongated proportions.

BCBG Max Azria sweater dress fall 2015

BCBG Max Azria

Sita Murt sweater dress fall/winter 2015

Sita Murt









See all these brands and much, much more at Atlanta Apparel, March 19-23, 2015.

Trend forecasting and images courtesy of WGSN


Earrings – Beyond the Stud

Earrings are making a statement this season. During January Market at Atlanta Apparel, we saw a stunning selection of bejeweled earring jackets, front-and-back peekaboo earrings, ear climbers and cuffs from several of our exhibitors. Take a look!

Earring jackets, earring cuffs. House of Harlow at Atlanta Apparel. AmericasMart.com

House of Harlow

SUCCARRA Showroom (Melanie Auld)

(Melanie Auld)

CC Skye jewelry at Atlanta Apparel

CC Skye

Judson & Company

Judson & Company