The Ultimate Retail Wish List



Boost your business, spruce up your store, and even stock the supply closet with these 25 store-centric holiday gifts.

Sure, you want customers to fill your store during the holiday season and buy, buy, buy. But let’s not forget that as a retailer, you too deserve a few nice holiday gifts. And while another pair of house slippers or winter gloves might prove personally useful, why not get explicit with your requests and land a few practical presents? Our list of accessible, workplace-oriented items—which accounts for any and ­every budget—is the perfect place to begin.

Shinola interior

Gifts to Attract—and Keep—Customers

Useful for promoting a current sale, noting an upcoming special event, or ­simply sharing a special message, A-frame chalkboard signs remain a whimsical and economical advertising solution. (sidewalksigns2go.com, $56–$219)… Provide your business with a fresh dose of curb appeal: Filled with vibrant flowers or lush ­greenery, planter boxes will add dimension and color to your storefront. (lowes.com, $8–$200)… The big sibling to the sidewalk chalkboard sign, a portable marquee sign allows retailers, particularly those located on automobile-dominated strips, to communicate messages loud and clear. (alphabetsigns.com, $320–$875)… Reject tired, traditional window signage carrying your thank you cardsstore’s hours of operation—­namely, the plastic sliding sign with press-on letters and numbers—in favor of custom ­window graphics that offer a crisp, upscale look and communicate necessary store information. (stickeryou.com, $10+)… Welcome your customers with a branded floor mat. It should be durable and tough enough to handle harsh weather conditions. (floormatsystems.com, $158+)… Another simple branding tool, a custom stamp carrying your store’s logo can be used on correspondence, gift boxes, receipts, and more. (etsy.com, $17+)… Though published 24 years ago, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles’ parable-infused tome Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service remains relevant today, offering practical tips and a commonsense approach to winning—and keeping—customers. (amazon.com, $13) Let your best customers know how much you appreciate them—and stand out from others in the digital age—with simple, handwritten thank-you cards (pictured, above) on thick, elegant paper. (hallmark.com, $10–$12 for a box of 50)

Gifts to Improve the Store

Roomba robotic vacuumStreamline daily cleaning with a robotic vacuum. The Wi-Fi–enabled iRobot Roomba 960 (pictured, left) works on ­carpet and hard surfaces. Simply set it and go. (irobot.com, $699)… Quality, high-resolution store photos—­exterior, interior, staff members, and products—would go a long way toward enlivening your website, social media, and other marketing materials. Maybe a loved one hires a pro photographer for the work, or perhaps it’s a gift from your artistically talented though cash-strapped niece. Or someone could gift you the tools to set up your own in-house studio: a DSLR camera with a macro lens, tripod, desktop light box, and tent-style vase of flowerslight shed. (bhphotovideo.com, $675+)… From dramatic, framed black-and-white photographs ­featuring jewelry products or local landmarks to colorful abstract paintings or an antique city map, original artwork can add personality and flair to any retail showroom. (art.com)… When filled with fresh flowers like jasmines or lilies, ­vases peppered around the showroom can deliver splashes of color and pleasing ­aromas. (target.com, $2–$50)… With cardstock and mini easels, you can highlight prominent details of your most unusual ­jewelry and tell the distinctive story behind each design. ­(www.usartsupply.com, $19 for a pack of 24)

Gifts for Entertaining

crowd control postsWhether offering complimentary cookies to everyday customers or presenting hors d’oeuvres during an in-store VIP event, serving platters ensure a sophisticated presentation. (worldmarket.com, $6–$40)… Like serving platters, glass drink dispensers, pitchers, and carafes provide a more polished look anytime you serve beverages to shoppers. (worldmarket.com, $5–$20)… A practical piece of office furniture such as the Cosco 8-foot centerfold table can accommodate staff brainstorming sessions or food and drink during a ­party before easily collapsing for space-savvy storage. (walmart.com, $60)… If you host events in your store or showcase your business outside of the physical storefront (think: art fairs), a ­custom table cover carrying your store logo, address, and website info brands your business in a professional way. (premiertablelinens.com, $130 for 8-foot table cover)… Will you use crowd-control posts (pictured, above) every day? No. But could they come in handy to direct customers during in-store special events or a big sale? Absolutely. (uline.com, $119+)

Gifts to Make Your Life Easier

Admit it: That desk chair you sit in daily is the same one you planted yourself in during the Clinton administration. A change could do you—and your body—good. (staples.com, $79–$300+)… Get your morning caffeine fix and give employees a small back-office perk with the Keurig K140 Series Commercial Brewing System, a single-cup coffee brewer. (officedepot.com, $157)… Small-business ­owners have to balance many tasks effectively and efficiently each day. A handy employee delegation notepad helps ­retailers set priorities and get their day organized. (etsy.com, $15)… Inject efficiency into your social media marketing. With a Hootsuite subscription, business owners can manage their social media from a single dashboard to find and schedule effective content. (hootsuite.com, $19/month for the professional plan)Printers remain an oft-overlooked tech tool, but HP, Brother, and many others offer a range of reasonably priced printers from which retailers can produce their own high-quality posters, images, postcards, and other promotional materials. (staples.com, $150+)

When You Can’t Decide What You Want

An office-supply store gift card can buy anything from cardstock to register tape, from ink cartridges to copy paper, and more retail necessities. (officedepot.com)… Don’t laugh. A dollar-store gift card can undoubtedly come in handy. Whether you need bathroom soap, invisible tape, balloons, or seasonal knickknacks, a cornucopia of economical finds awaits at Dollar Tree and its regional discount-store brethren. (dollartree.com

Top and below: Take a cue from Philadelphia’s Egan Day and Shinola in NYC’s SoHo and deck your walls with artwork and photos.

(Egan Day: Jonathan Pushnik; Roomba: Shutterstock; thank-you cards: Samael334/iStock/Getty; flowers: Webb Chappell)