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.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2019

    Will empathy training take Walgreens to a new level?

    Empathy training is a great idea, and when dealing with something as delicate as cancer, it can go a long way. The problem though too often is that those who sit high in the corporate office are quick to roll out new marketing campaigns and training campaigns, but by the time they arrive at store level they are quickly forgotten. Companies implement the training, but there is never any follow up, and most importantly, they neglect to integrate the concept into their culture. So as a result, once associates complete the training, everyone at store level goes back to their old habits of getting the tasks done before we even smile let alone say hello to a customer. Retailers just don’t understand that. Empathy can be a massive win for Walgreens and frankly for any retailer when and only when it becomes integrated into the culture, and that takes a lot more than any "quick fix" marketing or training campaign.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Will same-day delivery flexibility give Target an edge over Amazon and Walmart?

    If only more retailers would agree with us....
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Indochino bets big on showrooms

    Kudos to Indochino for being smart and developing a winning program. However, look one step further, and what we really are seeing is well trained, personable, and knowledgeable store associates able to "wow" the customer. This service is what every retail store has the opportunity to provide, and when they do, they win big. Indochino has a great product and can certainly satisfy the customer with their quality, design, and now service. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that with all the technology out there, there is no replacement for human interaction, and when done correctly, as Indochino is doing, it's a big win for everyone. Why other retailers can't see that I'll never know!
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Will same-day delivery flexibility give Target an edge over Amazon and Walmart?

    I think Target is smart in how they have developed their same-day delivery program. There are significant costs, and having the customer share in those costs is wise. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. There are not as many customers as retailers think that feel same-day delivery is that important. There are those “I have to have it ASAP” items now and then and for those situations same-day delivery makes sense. However, too many retailers are investing in fast delivery concepts when too often the product arrives sooner than the customer has a chance to open the package, which typically sits a few days until the customer can get to it. Here, Target is addressing that population that does desire same day delivery, but they are charging for it, and that makes perfect sense. Every time we find a way to keep the customer out of the store, we lose traffic and most importantly, impulse buying opportunities so having the customer share in the cost for delivery and the potential loss of business is smart. I don’t see this program as a game changer for Target, but I like that it won’t drive them into the red on same day delivery.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    Has Barnes & Noble found its savior(s)?

    I always get concerned when a private equity firm purchases a retailer. How many retailers did the “amazing” deal that was going to turn the company around only to find themselves going Chapter 7 a few years later because they couldn’t handle the debt and rather than save the company, the PE firm decides they can make more money liquidating and selling off the assets? Look at Toys "R" Us as just one of many examples. How much did the PE firm invest in Toys "R" Us vs. how much did they saddle them with debt that was next to impossible for them to pay. Barnes & Noble is a challenged business because of less demand for books. However, they still have an opportunity to be a successful business with the right blend of hardcover and paper books for the book enthusiast and technology for those who prefer the newest and latest opportunities for reading online. Music and Movies as well have become compromised because of streaming, but again B & N needs to find ways of staying in the game. All of this requires innovative thinking, commitment, and most importantly, investments of substantial capital. Selling the company is suitable for the short term, but if the buyer isn’t willing to invest in the growth of the company, then B & N will most likely be the next Toys "R" Us. I would think that Readerlink might be a better bet for the success of the company.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2019

    Will urgent care centers put a hurt on retail health clinics?

    Even though healthcare services at retail stores are growing, they have a long way to go before they can compete with urgent care centers. There is a perception that quality is not the same. For the moment I would agree with that for most of the retail clinics but, as the quality improves, the challenge will be to convince the general public. There are still millions of Americans without health insurance despite all the noise from Washington about how we need healthcare for all. Even Obamacare didn’t come close to what it was supposed to do so cost is a significant concern for those without insurance. If the retail clinics can offer less expensive services but still provide quality they will win in the end, but for now, they’re still ironing out the kinks. Perhaps it might be smart for retailers to add what looks like an urgent care center next to their store when, in reality, it can be a retail clinic. As costs continue to rise, the retail clinic in the future will become a viable option with urgent care centers right behind.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2019

    Stores have cut out-of-stocks. Why don’t consumers know that?

    The first issue with out of stock items is that too many retailers do a poor job of keeping the shelves full of the inventory they do have. How many times do we walk down the aisles of a store and see hole after hole on the shelves? Then when you ask an associate for an item, you get that frustrating answer, “If it’s not there, we must be out of it.” I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out, but it doesn’t make the customer feel any better. The second problem is that too many retailers, despite all the technological advances do a poor job of managing their stock. Have you’ve ever heard that great phrase, “ According to the computer we’re supposed to have the item, but I checked the stock room and it’s not there.”? So retailers, use your stores as the advantage for customers who want to shop but do everything you can to make them happy, and that begins with making sure you have the items in stock and when you don't, use the opportunity to make ordering directly from the store quickly and easily. Customers more often than not will understand when an item isn’t available, but you can soon remedy that by getting it to them quickly without any more inconvenience. When you do, you won’t lose the business.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2019

    Walmart’s checkout pilot puts shoppers in the fast lane

    We are still in the infancy stages with this technology, and it will take time before the technology gets perfected. The problem is if I take the time to scan my items while I’m shopping, do I really want to have to wait while some store associate examines what I purchased and checks to see if I scanned everything? I understand the need to control theft, but it feels like a violation of privacy with a suspicion that I wasn't honest with my purchases. Moreover it takes time, especially if the person in front of me has an issue. We need to get to the point like Amazon is doing with their Go stores where we can scan everything safely and accurately and leave the store. Eventually we’ll get there. Of course, the real issue is that retailers do not want to spend the money to staff the registers. They’d rather spend the money on technology. However, when they are successful, and we no longer need store associates for anything, I wonder how many will complain about the lost sales and loss of impulse buying because there will be no one around to make recommendations. So to all retailers, like the adage says, ”be careful what you wish for.”
  • Posted on: 06/05/2019

    Are Wegmans, Giant Eagle and Tops wise to drop in-store childcare?

    There is no doubt that finances are a big part of the decision to close these facilities. However, there is also today’s concern with lawsuits with lawyers quick to sue a company over the slightest issue and, when parents are not present, the company is taking a considerable risk of exposure should an incident take place. Moreover, it does make sense to provide more opportunities for the children to occupy themselves under the parent’s care, such as fun shopping carts with games, toys, and technology to keep the child busy. I would think that parents would prefer keeping their children with them as long as they can continue to shop. There will always be the few who prefer to drop the child off and let someone watch their child but, as the article said, those numbers today are not making sense. Closing in-store childcare spaces is nothing more than keeping up with the times and focusing on where the money gets spent wisely.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2019

    Consumers are changing – or not – in ways that retailers may not understand

    There have been many changes in the generations. The one that stands out the most is employment. Those from past generations were expected to work for a company their whole career. Changing jobs was not typical. If they worked their way up the corporate ladder that was a tremendous accomplishment, but they did so for one company and stayed there until retirement. This pattern also was consistent with young married couples buying their first home staying there until one or both passed away. Today it is entirely the opposite. Many companies frown upon job applicants who have remained at a company too long feeling that they have outlived their usefulness with ideas and productivity. Too long for some HR directors is more than five years. Moreover, because of the changing jobs for advancement, tremendous relocating needs are causing those young married couples to purchase many houses during their career. The point is that loyalty has changed and this is something too many retailers do not understand. If you are no longer loyal to your employer or where you live, how can you be loyal to a retailer or a brand? The article mentions less disposable income due to college debt. Has any retailer used that as an advantage? When have you seen an ad targeting young people paying off student loans with a particular discount or buying opportunity or even a contest to enter to have their college loans paid in full? Retailers have to wake up and get with the times and understand not just that things have changed but why and how to benefit from those changes.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2019

    What if unwanted online purchases didn’t have to be returned?

    I see this as a possible marketing campaign more than an active policy. For starters, not every business could use this program, especially when selling high ticket items. Second, any company offering the customer the opportunity to keep the unwanted product and still receive a credit has to be careful to control the returns. Once customers learn of this opportunity, many will attempt to take advantage regardless of whether they are happy with the product or not just to get away with not having to pay for it. If a company wanted to use this concept as a marketing campaign, they could do so stating something like, "we are so confident you'll love our merchandise, we let you keep it if you're unhappy and we'll still refund the money." Then the company could provide a healthy disclaimer in how the program works to deter those whose only motive is to take advantage of the opportunity and get the product for free. As a marketing campaign, the company could run it for 60 - 90 days and see how it goes before making it permanent.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2019

    Abercrombie & Fitch CEO says ‘stores matter’ – particularly the smaller ones

    A&F is on the right track looking to shed the big stores and focus on smaller ones. That is the future of retail. The consumer today is perfectly happy shopping online and having items shipped to their home. However, there are those times when many of us still like to visit physical stores to see the product, try it or try it on if it’s apparel, and then decide if we wish to purchase it. The future is going to see a further blend of online and physical stores, becoming one shopping experience. Stores will be smaller by necessity, and consumers will get used to the idea of seeing the item and trying it but not bringing it home because the items in the store will not be purchased. The purchase will take place via technology online, and with the speed we see today with delivery, the item will be waiting for us by the time we get home. This is where it’s all going. Those who do not understand the value of the physical store will not be the big winners. Customers will always want to browse, shop, try new items, and then decide if and when to purchase. However, when we are online only, we lose out on many selling opportunities. Today many retailers recognize the power of both online and in-store and A&F is one of them.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2019

    How can retailers help employees improve? (Hint: Not by criticizing them)

    There are some excellent points in the article however when dealing with store employees too often the environment is one of speed, get the tasks done, do as I say not as I do and if you don’t like it ... quit! The employee experience at store level usually comes down to the store manager who is capable of creating a pleasant working environment or not. Most retailers do not invest enough in training, let alone hiring enough staff, so the store manager is the one responsible for making or breaking the situation. He or she, if they’re smart, understand that to create a positive work environment they have to support their staff, make them feel part of the team, pay them compliments when applicable and if criticism is necessary, begin with something positive first. These concepts are not "rocket science" techniques, but too often you find the store manager who yells at employees, threatens their jobs if he or she is not satisfied with their performance and can make the job atmosphere completely unenjoyable. Corporate HR execs can do all the philosophizing they wish and talk about new strategies, but without support from the rest of the C-suite with dollars and action, nothing will change.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    Are Apple’s classes getting in the way?

    When one looks at the many retailers struggling to try to find ways of generating store traffic, one has to agree that Apple’s problem is a nice one to have. Yes they have some issues to deal with but, knowing Apple, they are most likely already looking at ways by either changing the scheduling of their classes, limiting attendance, and/or shortening the length of the classes. They may opt to hold more courses off-site, but they lose the impact of other customers seeing the class which might inspire some to sign up as well as those taking the class to after the course go shopping for more Apple product immediately. In an industry that changes rapidly with new ideas and concepts, Apple has been able to maintain a strong presence and massive success, and it is doubtful that it will change any time soon.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    Amazon to set small suppliers adrift

    I see little impact on Amazon with this change, but there could be serious issues for the small third-party vendors. Unfortunately, the phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” applies here because companies today are not just interested in making a profit, they’re determined to make as much money as possible without concern for whom they harm along the way. Focusing on the 20 percent of products that cover 80 percent of their sales makes sense, and that is just smart business. If a small third-party vendor can’t adapt to the new program selling to one customer at a time, they’ll have to look for business elsewhere and leave Amazon. Amazon, however, won’t even feel a bump because there are so many other vendors out there ready to take their place. Today big isn’t big enough; companies aspire to be huge and to be the biggest. That has always been Amazon’s plan, and nothing so far has been able to stop them.

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