PROFILE

Art Suriano

Chief Executive Officer, The TSi Company
Art Suriano is a business development executive with expertise in retail sales consulting, business culture analysis, and process improvements. He is a forward-thinking business intelligence leader who knows what it takes to run a business and make it a success. Suriano has had an extremely successful and multi-faceted career path that has been anything but conventional. Suriano’s career has provided him skills as CEO, VP of Sales & Marketing, Patent Owner, Published Author, Award-Winning Composer/Arranger, and Public Speaker.

Suriano’s talent includes a keen eye for mining, analyzing, compiling, and presenting data that consistently boosts company value. His patented methodology known as LTraining® has put numerous businesses back on track fixing disconnect, improving performance, consistency, sales culture, sales, and customer satisfaction.

In addition, Suriano is the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience...The Path to Victory for Any Business...Any Size...Any Time.” His leadership style is extremely creative, energetic, motivational, customer-focused, collaborative and ambitious.

Suriano began his career accepting work as a freelance composer. Soon he was scoring original compositions for television and radio for such programs as As The World Turns and Another World, and jingles/soundtracks for companies such as Subaru, Ford and more. From his success working for media directly as well as advertising agencies, Suriano soon figured out he could offer clients better and more effective creative campaigns for less than what they were paying. This led to founding his own company, PMI in the late 1980’s, which in time, became a full- service ad agency billing over $5 million annually, with local and regional clients.

From the success of his winning agency formula, a few years later, Suriano was offered an opportunity to offer his talent directly to broadcast companies such as WABC in New York and Kiss 108 in Boston. His assignment was helping underperforming clients get better results. Suriano would write and produce a new ad campaign that included custom commercials, and oftentimes, a custom jingle. It was during this period that his peers and clients coined him, “Mr. Fix It,” as every client he was handed began to see improvements in advertising results within 30 days.

Suriano’s passion for advertising continued, but as deregulation affected broadcast media and how they operated, he felt the need to move on and in 1994, founded the company he has today, The TSi Company. Starting out as an in-store marketing/advertising program for retailers, Suriano created an exciting program known as RadioPlusTM. Simply a better in-store music program, RadioPlusTM provided retailers with in-store commercials, complete with a custom client jingle, stations calls and personalities, making their in-store sound system appear as if it was the company’s own radio station. Soon, The TSi Company was signing local and regional retail clients who liked the idea of the added opportunities to build sales with customers through Suriano’s effective commercials and concepts.

By 1997, Suriano’s creative reputation was growing and clients were asking for his help in what was becoming a strong need: training. He began by creating and producing an in-store “before and after” hour radio program that quickly helped store associates learn about upcoming events, in-store promotions, customer service, and policies and procedures. Starting with Stern’s Department Stores, he was soon asked to expand the product to Macy’s, and other divisions after such as May Company divisions and other retail chains. Next, he turned his attention to part-time employees and created what eventually became his patented training method, LTraining®.

Today, LTraining® has been used by over 4 million trainees and consistently outperforms any other training method, scoring over 90% retention after a single session. LTraining® sessions have been created for every training topic necessary from orientation, POS and systems training, product training, sales training, customer service, and more.

As time progressed and Suriano recognized the strong results his training method was achieving, he realized that in order to get maximum impact for any business, he had to take it one step further. He began to look at the other areas of a business that, regardless of how effective his training was, would prevent a business from reaching its full potential.

Suriano met and spoke with clients and requested the opportunity to perform assessments, asking the right questions from top executives to the field and then comparing answers. Soon he found that every business was experiencing serious disconnect from the vision and objectives of the senior staff and what was actually taking place with lower level employees, especially the employees dealing with the customers. Soon he created his TSi 360TM, which became the footprint for helping clients increase sales, cut costs and improve customer satisfaction. Clients experienced over 15% increases in comparable store sales, saved millions of dollars that were being wasted, and saw increases in conversion of 7% annually. Moreover, clients saw long term growth quarter after quarter due to the improvements in performance and consistency.

Today, Suriano enjoys his role as Chief Executive Officer of The TSi Company which has expanded into a full-service company providing branding/marketing, training, communication skills and technology. He also provides his expertise as a consultant, teaching companies what they need to know to grow their business.

As the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience”, Suriano follows the principles in his book that help clients achieve their goals. Furthermore, as a public speaker, Suriano has been asked to speak at various functions and events all over the world including the Intercoifure International event held in Australia.

Suriano is an accomplished composer/musician who won numerous awards through the decades for original scores for radio/television and corporate presentations. Today, he is under contract with two record labels in the UK as the songwriter/arranger for Circle of Faith, an up and coming Christian pop band.
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  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Five skills every retail manager needs to succeed

    Promoting from within is good for morale and something I like to see. However, if promoted from within, the individual still needs to have the necessary training as if they never worked for the company to make sure they have the skill set to do the new job effectively. Companies are always trying to cut corners, so the individual who was the assistant manager and has done a good job is now promoted to manager. Sounds fine but like the article points out, there are skills needed. Too often the individual in their former role may not have had an opportunity to develop those skills and without the proper training will not be effective in their new position. So whether you promote from within or hire from the outside, make sure that you have the right store manager training program, one that teaches the skills necessary to do a good job. You’ll save money in the long run, and your stores will do more business.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy, enters ‘new era’

    The problem I have with this is it’s another story of a retailer bought out by private equity and then years later filing for Chapter 11. Toys "R" Us should be the leaders in the toy industry in a big way, but while carrying so much debt they were not able to modernize their stores with an exciting reason for shoppers to visit them. Said simply, Toys "R" Us stores are old, outdated and tired. They need to be the "impressive in-store playground" for kids today, and they’re not. Their prices are a little higher than some of their competitors also making it difficult to compete. So filing for Chapter 11 is good; closing the underperforming stores is also smart. However, quickly bringing Toys "R" Us into the toy world of tomorrow with technology and stores we want to visit is the only way Toys "R" Us will survive long term.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Millennials, not Boomers, say associates are key to shopping experiences

    Technology is supposed to provide a convenience, and when it does, customers respond favorably. When it is a way for the company to save money and puts the onus on the customer, that’s when it is not successful. There is nothing better than real human interaction whether you're 18 or 65. When you call a company today and spend minutes on the phone with a computer trying to ascertain why you are calling, is that good customer service? Of course not. It's technology that’s replaced the human being who used to answer the phone. The same holds true with in-store experiences. Customers use self-checkouts because it saves them time, but often it is not a good experience. Opening more registers, with trained cashiers who can check the customer out quickly is a better solution, but retailers want to save money.As we get to the days of robots in the stores, it will be the same frustration. It will be many years until we have a Data from Star Trek in the stores. But what is sad is that retailers could be doing so much more business today than they are if they paid attention to customers' wants. That is, to staff up their stores with a few more associate, train them better and wow the customer. But since we are now all about being as profitable as possible down to the very last cent reducing store staff, cutting training and not caring about the customer has become the new norm because in the short run it’s more profitable.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Nike customizes shoes for ‘sneakerheads’ in under an hour

    There is no doubt that customization is appealing to many customers. And the fact that it is now becoming possible to have customized shoes is exciting. Eventually, I see customers having all their clothes including shoes custom made because with technology that will one day be possible. Everything we buy will fit better, and retailers will not have to be concerned about inventory and stocking shelves and aisles. However, the point to remember is we are not there yet and won’t be for some time to come. So whereas it is wise to look at these opportunities, in the meantime retailers still need to keep up with current needs like better-trained store people offering the best customer service and that is not happening in most retail chains. So is providing customized shoes exciting? Yes. Will it be successful? Yes. But how long until it’s the new norm because of the fully perfected technology? No one knows, but I would think many years from now.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2017

    Kmart ditches plus sizes for ‘fabulously sized’ clothing

    My immediate answer is yes. As for the marketing campaign, appealing to the plus-sized shopper is not new, and this campaign has some flashbacks to the 2015 Lane Bryant “Plus Is Equal” campaign. Large-sized people are people just like anyone else and catering to them is fine. They too want to look and feel good. Kmart has a price point that appeals to a particular audience, so I’m in favor of this and see it with great potential. My concern though is too often today what the company advertises and what takes place at store level are two different experiences. For example, Office Depot is running a great TV campaign “Taking Care of Business.” But go into any of their stores and you will not see or hear anything that relates to the TV ads. So if Kmart can deliver in their stores what the ad campaign presents, they should have a winning formula.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2017

    Survey says grocery has reached its digital tipping point

    Today it’s all about convenience, and there is no doubt that grocers offering shopping online are providing just that. However it is also true that most shoppers still prefer in-store shopping. Using digital is smart especially if you use it with methods and promotions to get the customer in-store because that’s where the impulse buying takes place. As technology continues to expand, it will continue to change our buying habits. In the meantime, grocers need to do everything they can whether it be in-store or digitally to stay connected to the customer in hopes of keeping them loyal to their brand.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Gap Inc. leans more heavily on Old Navy and Athleta

    What I feel is lacking in Gap stores and Banana Republic stores is a winning concept. Many specialty apparel chains today are suffering from too much “sameness.” Gap stores and Banana Republic are no different. It makes sense to consolidate, and if Old Navy and Athleta brands can remain winning formats for Gap Inc., then they should concentrate on continuing to build those brands. Just closing stores will not be the answer for Gap stores and Banana Republic but reinventing themselves with items today’s shopper wants would be. In apparel that’s always challenging so perhaps not just closing stores but eliminating some of their brands might be a better way to go -- and a move that they may make in the future.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Nordstrom tries a no-merchandise store

    I like this concept a lot and have predicted it myself. The store of the future will be smaller with less take-it-home-now items because of the continuing improvement in same-day delivery. This retail concept will keep costs down such as rent, staff and inventory. The only concern is how much ahead of its time Nordstrom may be. LA is the place to test this, but I feel we’re still a good 10 years away if not longer before the “go to the store to see it and touch but not to get it” concept becomes the norm.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Professor says price gouging is simple supply and demand at work

    There are some things we can control and some things we can’t. Yes, it’s supply and demand but also greed; a chance to make a “killing.” I don’t see price controls being effective any more than our "Do Not Call" lists because the scammers and the greedy always find ways to succeed. If the individual can live with themselves taking advantage of someone else’s misfortune, so be it. It happens every time we have a tragedy. It’s sad and it’s wrong but, unfortunately, it is what it is. The problem with a hurricane is that we don’t know how bad it will be until shortly before it hits landfall. It would be smart for retailers to stock up on extra items and have promotions but that’s just not realistic because we have had many false alarms. We knew a week ago that Irma might hit Florida, but it wasn’t until two days before it got there that the public paid close attention.Hopefully the solution going forward is not price gouging but a better understanding of these storms, how to prepare for them and a more accurate projection of time so that people can get out safely with an opportunity to buy what they need before the price gouging begins.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Will lower everyday prices boost Target’s traffic and sales?

    Remaining competitive is important, but all businesses need to be careful with how low they make their prices. Store traffic has declined, and the only way to make up the difference in lower prices is by selling a lot more items. So the challenge becomes, can I generate more sales when I reduce costs to the consumer? We have seen many retailers slash prices significantly during the holiday season and other key selling periods, and they sell a lot of merchandise, but then we look at overall sales and realize they did not do well. When you use price alone as the reason for customers to shop you, you run the risk of losing the customer once prices go up.Find other reasons to attract customers, keep the prices competitive but not necessarily the lowest and you’ll have a better opportunity to build customer loyalty. It always comes down to "wowing" the customer and giving them a great customer experience. Do that and you’ll win. Think that price alone is the answer and you’ll lose every time.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Dr Pepper targets a digital promo to Walmart’s customers

    Gamification has been around a while, and it’s another clever way to attract customers and generate sales. I don’t see this as a significant marketing shift but more of another method to try -- one that will have a large amount of success for some and limited to no success for others. There is SO much of everything today, and the customer’s attention span keeps getting shorter and shorter so if we don’t grab them within two or three seconds they move on. The program that Dr. Pepper put together was successful, and I congratulate the team for their creativity. It’s always a win-win when you generate sales and store traffic.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    Will CVS’ sales take off in airports?

    I think CVS will experience some success, but I don’t see this as a big win for them. Vending machines have been around for a long time and have served a purpose, but they are never the customer's first choice -- usually the last. Consumers often have questions when buying OTC products such as medicines so I would not invest too heavily in this concept. I wouldn't be surprised if it's something CVS tries and within a year or so discontinues. The vending machines have to be stocked and maintained, and that will eat into whatever profits they earn. Keeping the products private label gives CVS better control and a higher profit margin but I still don't see this as a big money maker.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Should retailers rent fans to create buzz for their businesses?

    Crowdcasting is just another way of creating hype which is something marketers and promoters always try to do for an event. However, when it’s not genuine, it doesn’t work well because the hype is short-lived. The immediate attraction is there drawing in customers because of the energy and excitement taking place but once the paid folks leave, if there isn’t enough benefit for the "real" customers to come back and share with friends it will soon fall on deaf ears.So if a business is going to invest in crowdcasting, they must make sure they have strong reasons for the customers that do come in to enjoy the experience and eagerly come back on their own. As with all advertising; you can bring people in, but once they're there, if you can’t "wow" them they won’t come back.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Is Kohl’s giving away the store to Amazon?

    I think Kohl’s is implementing smart "if you can’t beat them, join them" logic. Amazon is not going away and if retailers can find ways of partnering with them successfully where they both win then they should do it. It’s hard to project years from now where this will all lead. No one thinks back to the 1960s and 1970s when Walmart was the Amazon of its day going into many small towns and taking over the majority of the mom-and-pop businesses. That led to additional discount chains likes Ames, Jamesway and more, and it changed the retail business as it was known back then. It’s something no one can control.Amazon is pushing all retailers to the edge. Many of them have had years to get ahead of where they are today but chose not to invest in their companies. Now Amazon is making many of them wake up. I think as time moves on, we will see a healthy blend of the brick-and-mortar stores of the future working hand-in-hand with the e-commerce retailers of the future.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Do grocers need to reset the center store?

    This article makes excellent points and suggestions. The two biggest issues are change and uncertainty. The grocery business continues to shift, moving so fast with new concepts and ideas it is challenging for grocers to keep up. Some grocers are adding additional healthier food choices and some are not offering enough.Going forward, I see more niches created with grocers catering to select customer preferences. This concept is ideal for the small local store, which has more control. And I do agree with Bryan that a re-design of the store layout would be wise, offering a better mix of healthier products with other choices. It will be something the customer will have to get used to, but in time they will and, for all shoppers, it might make in-store grocery shopping easier.

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