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: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    I have said it before, and I am repeating it, I am not at all convinced that the consumer is all about how fast they can get their package. There are facts in this article that support that. If consumers were in such a rush to get their item, I believe the 70 percent number provided by MIT researchers would be less. Most of us are busy. Today we have become swamped. How many times has the package of what we ordered arrived only to sit for a couple of days before you have a chance to open it? Perhaps you’re on a business trip or working 14-hour days preparing for a conference. I think retailers have it all wrong, and it costs them dearly. They were better off when they provided the customer with a faster delivery when needed for a premium. The customer, if they needed the item ASAP, was happy to pay for it, and the rest of the customers didn’t mind waiting a couple of days for their package while the company saw higher profits. But somewhere we were led to believe that the customer doesn’t want to wait and the game of "how fast can we deliver it" began. Add to that Mark’s point about excessive waste with all the boxes, and we have created a real nightmare. Putting climate change aside, I, for one, live in a rural area, and we have to bring our recycling to the town dump. The boxes pile up and pile up, so I am definitely in favor of shipping consolidation. We need more accurate customer surveys confirming that most consumers are concerned with price, quality, and service and not as worried about how quickly they get it. Then we can begin to look at the methods to combine packages and deliveries, saving waste, time, and money. It would be a win-win for the consumer, the retailer, and our environment.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Walmart has a too much grocery problem

    Walmart has been successful primarily because they do everything right. Why? Because they’re not afraid to take risks and, when something does not work out as intended, they quickly react and make the necessary adjustments. All grocers are struggling today with making shopping online and home delivery profitable, and no one has yet to figure that out. Shopping online and using home delivery keeps the customer out of the store, and with that is a lost opportunity for added sales and impulse buying. Walmart was one of the first retailers to introduce shopping online and pick up in the store, which did and continues to help store traffic. If any chain can make shopping online and home delivery profitable, it will most likely be Walmart with store shopping incentives for future visits or other methods to continue to get their customers in the store. Moreover, they’ll continue to find ways to control costs to make shopping online and home delivery profitable.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Shoptalk makes a statement with a conference featuring only women speakers

    I think Shoptalk’s plan for a conference with all-female speakers is excellent. However, that will not be the game-changer in the workplace. The problem is this: time. It took centuries for this country to elect a black president, and we’ve yet to elect a female, which will happen -- it is only a matter of time. Women did not begin to enter the workplace as career women until the 1970s. Before that, women were mostly secretaries that, once married, usually quit their job. Today we have most families as dual-income families, which means most women are working. Since the 1970s women have slowly advanced to higher-level positions, including CEOs. It’s taking a long time because, unfortunately, things typically change slowly. There is no doubt that women are as capable as men in every role. It took centuries for women to be accepted in the military. So time is the issue, and each company will move at its own pace. The good news is that we, as a country, are recognizing women and supporting them in every opportunity possible.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2019

    Can J.C. Penney reinvent itself with its offbeat lab store?

    I do not see this concept in any way as a game-changer for J. C. Penney. The brand has a huge identity problem caused by years of poor leadership, not knowing who they were and doing a horrible job of communicating to customers why they should shop them. But let’s look at the pattern. Was Marv Ellison that strong as a CEO? He was right getting the company’s finances in order but not the man for creating a new “buzz” about the brand. And now he’s at Lowe's. How are they doing? Marginal at best. Jill Soltau was not a great leader at Joann Fabrics and did very little to build their brand. At best, the chain survived and now she’s the CEO of J. C. Penney. I see a more significant problem today with CEOs who are borderline at best as leaders shifting around from one chain to another and accomplishing very little. J. C. Penney has a considerable presence because of the number of stores they still have. In many malls, they are still an anchor store. But why would I shop them? What is needed is a complete revamping of their business, top to bottom, with better merchandise, better staff, better marketing, and exciting promotion, all with consistency and enough time given to turn things around. I doubt that will ever happen. I’m sure in a couple of months when this program fails; we’ll be writing about the next venture J. C. Penney is taking to "turn the business around."
  • Posted on: 11/07/2019

    Kroger to make fresh marketing start with a new logo, tagline and ‘Krojis’

    I think the tagline and logo are excellent. Short, easy to understand, and indeed easy to remember. If Kroger promotes the message well as stated in the article with in-store radio, in-store signage, and full out of store communication, they will find success. Unfortunately, too often, what a retailer says they are going to do and what they do are two different things. However in the case of Kroger, I see them living up to their commitment. It is smart for every brand to have an identity and something that consumers to relate to when choosing where to shop. As the article states, there is too much grocery sameness, and this campaign should help Kroger stand aside from its competitors.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Should the recent Instacart strike concern retailers?

    From Uber to Lyft to Airbnb, we are in a new world of businesses, independent contractors, and “gig” workers, and with that comes a new set of rules that are continually changing. Whether Instacart is wrong or right on changing workers' pay is yet to be determined, but the bad press won’t help because most people are sympathetic to anyone striking and tend to feel sorry for them. I would expect over the next few years to see legislation, more articles about the conditions of working for a particular company as an independent contractor, and even the possibility of more gig workers unionizing. This will lead to more changes in how these companies work regarding fees, employee pay, employee job requirements, restrictions, etc. The companies are becoming extremely large, and the bigger a business grows, the more challenges it is going to have. Instacart will resolve their issues and probably soon, but it won’t end there. We are at the beginning of a new era, and we will all have to wait and see how it pans out.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Food halls drive mall traffic, not clothing sales

    This is an old argument with a new twist. Since the beginning of shopping centers in the 1950s, malls have been a place where consumers go but not just to shop. Patrons are also there to browse, walk for exercise, and to check out the exciting promotions. When looking at malls today, they are bigger and full of a lot more exciting opportunities to spend time, with food courts, movie theaters, arcades, and amusement park rides. But the difficulty has always been ... “sure we saw mall traffic, but no one came into our store.” The problem is that the retailer is not giving the customer a good reason to visit them. When looking especially at apparel, we see today more than ever an abundance of “sameness” with clothing store after clothing store all being practically identical in their merchandise, selection, and price. There is hardly any difference from shopping one brand to another, and that is the fault of the retailers. There is no creativity, or any desire to be different for fear that the competitor will get the business when, in reality, all the competitors are getting it because most customers aren’t loyal to a single clothing brand. Department stores are even worse because at one time they were truly department stores with many different departments allowing a customer to see many items. Through the years they have focused only on apparel, jewelry, housewares and a few other items making them forced today to compete with specialty stores. So there is only so much the mall can do to get people in the mall, but if retailers want to get customers into their stores, they need to focus on being different and giving the customers something unique that makes them want to shop their stores.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Will customers get the ‘social proof’ they need from Fomo Storefront?

    I do not see Fomo Storefront doing much to drive sales for the following reasons. 1.) People don't typically spend much time on store kiosks. Kiosks can be slow, uninteresting, and customers like looking for themselves. 2.) Well-trained associates who know how to engage customers should have the ability to help the customer by asking the right questions and then making good recommendations. That will have more value than looking at a kiosk. 3.) Too often, in-store technology is not kept current and has issues causing it not to work correctly. This frustrates the customers who attempt to use in-store kiosks and, once they are discouraged, they typically stop using the device. 4.) Customers shopping stores prefer service. I can imagine how the customer will feel when they ask an associate a question about a product, and the associate says. "You should log onto the kiosk to see what other customers are buying." I'm sure that will not be received well. This is no different than when a customer asks an associate if they have a product and the associate, while walking away from the customer, tells them to go online. Technology is excellent and has many uses. But this is not one service I expect to have much success at the store level.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Walmart creeps on Christmas with promo deals before Halloween

    Walmart continues to do many things right, which is why they remain unbeaten. Starting holiday shopping early with offers is smart because the old mindset of: “I start Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving” ended years ago. People today are busier and have less time. Christmas shopping, unfortunately, is viewed by many as a burden, which is why gift card sales continue to increase. Here Walmart is providing everything imaginable to help the consumer buy a gift and to get it quickly. It doesn’t get better than that. As we get closer to the holidays, Walmart will see great value with more customers using these excellent, convenient services. I’m sure other retailers will catch on as well.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Do angry shoppers make happier customers?

    Well, there you have it -- show this study to all the retail CEOs and now they can justify having horrible customer service! I don't buy it, and I am afraid I have to disagree with the study. Sorry, call me old-fashioned if you like. One's emotions can indeed affect their shopping. If they're not in a great mood and worried about something, they may very well buy something quicker with less interest than if they were in a good mood. But they'll also not remember the shopping experience because they are preoccupied. So if a store associate goes out of their way to assist the customer, the chances are that too will quickly be forgotten. So let's do a better job of making the customer feel good while shopping and use that time to get them in a better mood, hopefully. If it's in-store, make sure you're playing upbeat and well-known music. Make sure you have a friendly and engaging staff. Arrange your merchandise with items easy to find. If online, make your website appealing and fun to browse with secure options for making a purchase. Everyone is going to have a bad day, but I think we'll gain a lot more if we do whatever we can to make that day a bit better for them.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Best Buy is ready for Christmas with free next-day deliveries for almost everyone

    There definitely seems to be a delivery race with online purchases, but I don’t see that being the game-changer unless the consumer has waited until the absolute last minute and needs the merchandise now. My more significant concern is that stores are doing everything they can to keep the customer out of the store. BOPIS makes perfect sense, especially when there is a shipping charge for delivery, and the customer can pick the item up for free. It gets the customer in-store, and there’s a chance they make another purchase while in the store. Now we’re doing away with that as well. The best way for brick-and-mortar to compete with online-only businesses is with their stores when appropriately used. Yes, they need a robust online presence as well and need to compete with prices and services with the online competitors. But doesn’t it make more sense to offer a discount off the price when picking it up in-store or some other way to connect the stores with the purchase? And we wonder why more and more retailers are going out of business because we have kowtowed to the online merchants without looking at better ways to compete. So get next-day delivery, offer same-day delivery and do it all for free and watch how your store traffic, already down, continues to decline.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    This situation is not good news for Target or its employees, and I’m sure other retailers who have significantly increased hourly wages are facing the same problems. The more significant issue is minimum wage jobs and how we, as a nation, are getting off track. Is it fair to be paying a store associate who is working hard $8 an hour when the top executive is making millions of dollars? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes,” but why? Because the system of the minimum wage was the understanding that these jobs were designed to be entry-level positions for those going out into the workforce for the first time. The jobs were to allow the new hire to gain some experience as they began their journey up the corporate ladder. And those jobs were also designed to help students earn some money while in school. Also, those jobs were to give the stay-at-home parents an opportunity to work a couple of hours while the kids were in school as well as retirees who wanted to do something to make themselves still feel useful. But today, we have too many individuals stuck in a system that only allows those individuals minimum wage jobs with no opportunity for advancement. That is what needs to change. We have to provide training for these people, and surely a company as big as Target should have a program for employee advancement that contains all the steps for those wanting the chance. Yes, they have the employee management trainee program, but it’s not enough. As we continue to advance with technology, those stuck in the minimum wage jobs are going to find it even more challenging to keep their jobs, and we need to address those issues now.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Will shoe swapping be the new shoe shopping?

    We’ve all heard the phrase, “I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.” Well, I guess that is no longer the case. However, although the idea appears novel, I don’t see it as being one that will be a huge success. It’s true that Rent The Runway has had some success, but clothes can be dry cleaned and shoes cannot. Some people are very rough on their shoes, and they can have odors caused by several foot issues. So while I see some people giving this a shot, I don’t see it as a service that will be used by a majority, and I doubt it will have much staying power.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2019

    Will Sam’s Club CEO lead Walmart’s U.S. business to greater success?

    One thing that has changed in the business world today is the length of executives keeping jobs. Many of them jump ship after only a few years, especially when they have had some success they can boast about for their next job. Mr. Foran has had tremendous success at Walmart and, after only five years, he is leaving. This concept seems to be the new norm. The problem with that is that it usually takes at least two years to learn the business, another year to try new ideas, another year to see results, so five years is not a long time at the helm. What I like about John Furner is his long relationship working for Walmart and working his way up to the top. Today that is very rare. When a top executive has gone through the ranks, they have a better understanding of what takes place in the lower levels, what works and what does not. I see Mr. Furner having great success. I commend Greg Foran for the success he had, and I would expect John Furner to keep in place what is working. Through his experience, I am sure even better things are to come.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2019

    Can retail ease automation’s impact on African American workers?

    Sad but true, but I don’t see businesses doing much to address the issue of how technology will impact the workforce. Why? Because it’s all about money, and much of the technology being developed is to replace humans with AI. It will become someone else’s problem when we once again lose jobs. However, our country went through this phase many times when machines replaced factory workers; machines replaced farmhands, and voice mail replaced phone operators. Unfortunately, people will feel the impact. Some of the employees who will lose their job will learn other trades and find work while many will not. What we do need is a well thought-out program that can train workers for services that will still be required, and that is something we need sooner than later. There are some programs out there funded by the government, but they are very limited in what they offer and who can qualify. If we use our heads, we can look forward to a future where a population that is still able to work, supported by technology, can adapt to a changing society and provide the services we will need.

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