the forum

27 June, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:


Q How often should I send out email alerts to my customers? I don't want to appear too pushy

or unenthusiastic. Is once a fortnight about right?

A It all depends on how much you're expecting your customers to read. If the email alert is simply a few paragraphs of special offers, mailing it out every Thursday, in time for the weekend, is a good idea. But

anything more in-depth

should go out monthly.

LP, Herts

A How about emailing your customers only when you have a genuinely interesting and out-of-the-ordinary offer for them? If you're constantly pestering them with boring messages, they'll just delete your emails without reading them.

Geoff, Aylesbury

Q I am thinking of putting a gravel floor in a small room at the end of my main sales area because it will be quick, cheap and maybe even look good. Is this a good or bad idea?

A Gravel floors remain cool in summer and draught-free in winter, making them a good choice for a wine cellar. The added advantage

is that you will be able to hear

customers crunching about, which helps

to deter shoplifters.

Janine, Great Yarmouth


like the appearance of gravel floors

- and they do n 't need

sweeping. However, there are two hazards. First, it's

difficult to retrieve pieces of broken glass

(although, admittedly bottles do n 't

tend to shatter on impact with this surface) Second, the rest of the shop will

become infested with ston es walked across by your customers , which can cause accidents.

Errol, Cheshire

Q I have been offered some beautiful old cigarette advertising posters. Is it legal for me to display them - they make improbable claims about smoking which are now outlawed.

Bob, Halifax

Q Am I allowed to post video footage of shoplifters on my website or does this infringe the "rights" of the thieves?

Carl, Maidstone

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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
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