Speaking of trends...

"At the core of all consumer trends is the new consumer, who creates his or her own playground, own comfort zone, own universe. It's the 'empowered' and 'better informed' and 'switched on' consumer combined into something profound, something we've dubbed MASTER OF THE YOUNIVERSE. At the core is control: psychologists don't agree on much, except for the belief that human beings want to be in charge of their own destiny. Or at least have the illusion of being in charge.

And because they can now get this control in entirely new ways, aided by an online, low cost, creativity-hugging revolution that's still in its infancy, young and old (but particularly young) consumers now weave webs of unrivaled connectivity and relish instant knowledge gratification. They exercise total control over creative collections, including their own creative assets, assume different identities in cyberspace at a whim, wallow in DIY / Customization / Personalization / Co-Creation to make companies deliver whatever and whenever, on their own terms".
Hmm, advertising through gaming. Could this be a portal to reach the next buying generation about framing?
Somehow make custom framing kewl ? Perhaps have part of the game’s reward system could be custom framing for their characters “home”.
Thanks, Betty! I knew someone would know where to look for trends!

I posted off the top of my head on Rob Markoff's thread pushing for support of research specific to our future market place. I was hoping others might put in their ideas of what we might be framing in 5 years, and how that framing might look.

It would be interesting in 5 years to see where we end up in comparison to where we think we are going.
Hey Terry-You know what might be a fun exercise?

Since we all know what changes we have seen in the last 5 yrs, it might be fun to write down what we have done to change/adapt in the last five years

"Crystal balling" can be fun, but doesn't help much if we don't do anything
In some respects it is difficult to compare what I've done in the past 5 years, to what I will do in the next 5 years, because the past 5 years have been filled with lots of family sickness, loss, and struggles, but...

That aside - and business-wise - I have taken a conscious step of creating the "experience" for customers who shop here. I've seen this "trend" coming for a long time, and began marketing the atmosphere of our rural location for a good while - yeah, about 5 years or maybe even a little longer.

In the part of the article I wrote on "It's All About the Experience" in January 05 that was left "on the cutting room floor" I talked about Starbucks selling music downloads and something one of the business magazines (I forget which right off the top of my head) called "luxury for the little people." (anyone want a copy of the uncut version - e-mail me.)

Everyone wants to feel important, and mostly are willing to pay for the "experience" that a particular shop provides. This is not just "customer service" this is something different.

While there is a lot I could say about the "youniverse" attitude, this is not the place for it - business-wise, in the past 5 years I have just worked to "scratch where it itches".
Betty-So much has written about "shopping experience" in the last 7-10 yrs. Seems everyone with an angle or oa seminar/book to pitch has written/spoke about it. I remember a campaign by Disney people (had to be in the 90's), then one about the same time Victoria's Secret had a campaign (these are internal programs designed to elevate the "experience" from assoiates) called "Small Indulgences"

The stuff has been around as long as I have and I could go on

The point? All these campaigns have great merit and all work just as sonn as the person closest to the customer decides they are worthwhile and "buys" into that philosophy.

Worth bringing up but certainly no "trend"
It was just very interesting to me that Decor was making such a big deal about Mr. McKenzie's speech touting "The Experience", saying that he "introduced" the topic during Decor Expo in Atlanta 2005, when as you said, it's been around forever.

Forever? Yep! I was just reading about "the experience" last night in my studies of New Testament History.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

I was simply replying to your question about the past 5 years. I didn't say I was original - just what I had done. Now, what have you done differently?
Great Idea, Bob!

I just finished paying the bills. The flyer that came along with the light bill has a screaming headline:

Success requires sustained effort

Which for me, should read:

Staying in business requires sustained effort

Since I am slow as molasses in making changes, not too self confident in change, and certain that I will always make the wrong choice, over the last five years I have:

Advertising/promotion area
1)Put up a website (which as many have pointed out is not very good) but it has brought in a little business.
2)Dumped the Yellow Pages books that didn't work.
3)Tried direct mail, which didn't work well for me.
4)Tried several different kinds of auction promotions, with lackluster success.
5)Sent out a special customer appreciation thank you, which worked well.

Product Lines/Suppliers:
1)Brought in sectional frames, which helped me not lose the customer who wanted something right now in an odd size, at a low price, nothing fancy, thankyou.
2)Brought in some gift ware/specialty items. Didn't work for me.
3)Compared vendors for price/service/quality of product line/dependability, and shifted much of my buying from my previous main supplier to another, after giving the original main supplier the chance to improve and keep my business. Shift to new suppliers resulted in better discounts.
4)Brought in fabric line. No success here. Don't have Baers great salesmanship skills.
5)Have always had low, middle, and upper end lines. Started monitering this better per Bob's suggestion. Have found that the upper and the low end lines have fallen off this year.

Store improvements:
1)Tore down 2 walls, moved the moulding samples to the end where customers look, turn to when they come in the door. Am working on tearing down a third wall, makeing more moveable panels, downsizing the framing part, and renting space to a couple of other compatible business and becoming something like a "creativity corner", instead of just picture framing.
2)Painted outside of store.
3)Paved parking lot.
4)Contracted to have outside pole sign redone. Made 1/2 deposit, but long time company went bankrupt before they completed sign, so I lost money and sign.
5)Made up sandwich board sign to put on corner. Works great.
6)Changed lighted open/closed sign to 6"white letters cut out of 2 ply, hung on fishline in same window where lighted sign was. Works great.
7)Tried to balance framed display items with ones that will appeal to women and men, since more men are coming in. Need to put up somethings that will appeal more to under 30's, and to the very culturally diverse community in which I am located.
8)Tried various window displays. None worked well. Building is too far back from street and traffic goes by at too fast of a rate to see displays.

Business stuff:
1)Trying to get computerized in POS. Not very successful for me.
2)Have found same trend as everyone else - few people buying, but paying more, so sales are relatively flat. Trying to figure out a way to increase sales by getting more customers.
3)Located in a poor, culturally diverse community - about the worst location to put a frame shop - so I looked at relocating. Since I own the building and rent out parts of it, made the decision not to relocate, but to develop the property.
4)Got an SBA advisor - not a good match, am selecting a new one.
5)Connected with university retail management program and was selected for a business makeover.
6)Tried extended evening hours. Didn't work as no one else in neighborhood is open except a restaurant around the corner.

Professional pursuits:
1)Remained on the board of our local guild to keep in touch with other framers, and to help get meetings and instructors that would be helpfull. Retired this March.
2)Returned as co-chair for communtiy organization to keep up on annexation issue for this area. Wrote and umbrellad several grants to benefit area.
3)Attended trade show, kept class information, and refer to it often as I try different things.
4)Try not to make too big a fool of myself on the g.

Now, Bob, your turn to correct me and show me how I missed the point completely!
Hey Terry-You left out a very important decision-the decision to seek (and listen to) help. I'll bet someone has told you recently that you need to give yourself more credit, a lot more credit, fo rthe efforts you exhibit.

If there is one thing that shines is your ability to look for things that might work

Too often, people will talk themselves out of trying things. The greatest thing for you is to try it, monitor it, validate it or scrap it.

The truth is there isn't a point at all except that you have to keep trying, keep adapting and keep changing

Your list alone is testimonial to your efforts