By Joe Vanden Plas
In the 10 years since Carol “Orange” Schroeder published the third edition of Specialty Shop Retailing: How You Can Succeed in Today’s Market, social media has exploded in terms of adoption and variety of uses, so it was obviously time for a fourth edition. That would be the case whether or not Amazon was eating brick-and-mortar retailers alive, and this unprecedented challenge is another reason Schroeder hopes the new edition will give independent retailers some coping strategies and tools.
The previous editions have sold over 40,000 copies, but in this Take Five interview, the proprietor of Madison’s Orange Tree Imports explains how this updated 450-page version can help retail “Davids” keep Goliath at bay.
IB: You come right out and say that because Amazon is such a major threat to small businesses, you have chosen not to publish or promote the new edition through the online behemoth. Since then, another major retailer, Boston Store, has bitten the dust, and Amazon looks more menacing than ever. What’s in this new edition that will help small retailers, or any small business, compete with Godzilla.
Schroeder: [Laughs] There is room in the world for both in-person shopping experiences, especially when it’s a locally owned and curated business, as well as online shopping. I don’t think any of us can make Amazon go away, but we can present something to the public that they can’t get when they shop online and make our communities richer by offering alternatives that encourage people to get out of their homes and get off of their phones and have a social experience that also involves viewing and purchasing merchandise.