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: 03/27/2020

    The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the online competitive landscape

    The best approach for retailers attempting to attract customers online during this time is to be smart and creative. Humor can be a great approach because putting a smile on someone's face may make them a bit more interested in reading the ad and, if it's a reasonable offer, make a purchase. The most challenging element everyone is dealing with about the coronavirus is fear and when people are afraid, they're not going to be interested in shopping. So any attempt to attract customers must be one that uses creativity, humor, and strategies that will stand out as being different. Most importantly, it needs to be something that will help take their minds off the virus, even if it's only for a few seconds.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2020

    Can Nike’s coronavirus playbook work for others?

    Unfortunately, no one knows when things will turn back to normal. Two weeks? A month? Two months? This makes planning for everyone difficult. I agree that Nike has the experience that they accumulated through dealing with China but, as the article points out, every country is dealing with the coronavirus differently. Retailers must be ready with inventory and be prepared for when things return to normal, and I believe we will see a massive surge in business from stores to restaurants in the beginning just because most people are going stir crazy during the quarantine. That opportunity cannot be lost by a company not being ready. Hopefully this will end soon, and businesses will get back to making sales.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Would bundled tech services spur the sales of smart home devices?

    Many smart home products are worth purchasing. The problem is the nightmare of getting each product to work. The manufacturers all say they're compatible with the products you already have but, when attempting to set up the new product, often there are issues. Then you try to call the company, but today most companies tell you to simply "go online" and look for what you need, which we know never exists. Then should you be lucky enough to get a live person in tech support, after a few "try this and that," suggestions too often we are told, "well it's not 'our' product, so you need to contact the 'other' company since you're having a problem connecting." Recently I bought a new 5K TV, and I'll admit I love it. It shouldn't be hard to get a universal remote that works the TV, the DVR, Bluetooth DVD, Surround Sound System, Wireless headphones, and the DirectTV unit. One would think -- right? I purchased it for Christmas and here it is in March. Does the remote work perfectly with any of the devices? No. So what have I done? I gave up! I am pretty savvy when it comes to technology, and following the instructions and dealing with tech support twice has led me to the conclusion that this issue will never be solved, so instead of one universal remote, I am forced to use two separate ones for different functions. It's not the end of the world but it is inconvenient. Now when you add the many other smart products one can purchase, it only gets worse. So I understand consumers' frustration and lack of interest. The solution? Manufacturers need to work together to make sure that what they sell is compatible before telling that to the public.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Should retail associates be treated like frontline health responders?

    Sadly, there is always that 5 percent of customers who are rude and disrespectful to store associates. That number today is probably higher because we are dealing with extreme panic with many consumers. They are hoarding products, pushing, shoving, and doing everything possible to make their way to get the item they want. So yes, store associates need every level of protection possible because it is those 5+ percent of customers who are making this worse than it needs to be. What is the need to buy excessive amounts of toilet paper? Things like that don't make sense. Yet when fear is the driver, people are prone to irrational behavior, and that's when problems occur because they are not listening or paying attention to the rules, like keeping six feet apart from one another. I feel bad for store associates who are out there trying to do their job and, of course, worrying about themselves getting the virus. These are real people with lives, families, and children, and we should treat them ALL with the utmost respect, and their employers should continue to do everything they can to make their jobs a bit easier and safer during this horrible time.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2020

    Are retailers and landlords destined to head to court over rents?

    As we are writing today, the government is closer to passing their stimulus package which, if it passes, should provide some help to businesses faced with financial challenges, including paying rent during these horrible times. That said, the first step is communication. If a company cannot pay their rent because their store or business is closed, they should reach out to the landlord before the landlord contacts them. Be upfront and do everything possible to negotiate a solution. Try to get a grace period of three months for not having to pay the rent and then work out an arrangement to pay that money back over time if the landlord is insisting on getting paid. Most court cases won’t be heard for a very long time, and I believe most judges will side with the tenants, so landlords should think through whatever legal action they may be thinking about taking. As for the landlord, it will be in their best interest to protect their tenant because when this is over, we will probably have much available space, which means renting the facility to another business may not be that easy. Be honest but be firm and, most importantly, spend every dollar like it is your last. Protect the vital needs of your business, such as the employees you cannot lose. Our economic recovery will happen as it also has in the past, but it will take time.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2020

    How should retailers guide staff through the coronavirus crisis?

    No doubt, the biggest issue to deal with is fear. Why? Because we have a country dominated by the media, and they learned a long time ago that sensationalism sells. Yes, we should ALL be concerned about the coronavirus and take ALL necessary precautions, but the amount of incorrect information combined with distorted and twisted facts causes tremendous panic in many people. The other day, a reporter who later had to remove his tweet, tweeted that 50 percent of all Americans could die from the virus. And we wonder why people panic. So for the businesses that are staying open and have employees working, I would strongly suggest at their morning meetings that a few minutes is spent on giving them the facts about how to protect themselves against the virus, such as:
    1. Maintaining excellent hygiene;
    2. Social distancing;
    3. What to do if they feel any symptoms;
    4. What to do if they suspect someone they are working with may have signs and is ignoring them.
    Stores should try at least once a week to have a local medical person attend the morning meeting to give accurate information, which will be better received than if management is doing it. These are hard times, and we will get through this, but we have to remain calm and avoid unnecessary panic at all costs.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items

    I commend Costco for taking this position. More recently many retailers, particularly grocers, are limiting the number of items consumers can buy. We have a pandemic, but we also have mass hysteria from a few people that cause this craziness. The other day I was in a store and overheard a conversation with two people. One was talking about how pleased she is that her husband finished building the bunker over the summer, and all they've been doing is stocking up. This behavior is nuts! So it's people like this that have got to be limited with what they can buy. In their minds, it's all about "their" survival. We will ALL get through this. Yes we still have a hard road ahead of us, but we're so much stronger together than independently. So if we have to limit quantities of an item and refuse returns on hoarded buying, that's fine because it's a matter of everyone getting through this and not just a foolish few.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    How will I pay my employees next month?

    Excellent points, Mark. There are many businesses concerned about how they will survive, and a significant part of the problem is that no one knows how long this situation will last. The one suggestion I would make is for all business owners to do their best to help prevent their employees from panicking. Most employees are worried about their jobs, how long they will have them, and what happens if their company goes out of business. The steps you suggested from speaking and being upfront with vendors to attempting a bridge loan can be positively shared with employees, letting them know that the company they work for is taking the necessary steps and that together they will get through this. Another option, when possible, is to attempt to defer payments. Yes, I agree with the pay raise, but not everyone is in the same situation, and some employees work because they want to and not necessarily because they have to. If a company has that type of employee who would be willing, they can work out a deferred payroll maybe taking half now and, when things get back on track, making up the difference then. It may be risky for the employee but, if successful, it can be another way for the company to hold onto more cash during the period they need it.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    How can indie restaurants survive the coronavirus?

    I feel horrible for the restaurant industry. Guestimates are saying about 30 percent of the restaurants will never reopen, and that is very unfortunate. There is no simple answer. I have seen many local restaurants advertising for take-out on Facebook, and if a restaurant has an extensive mailing list, they can continually send e-blasts with special offers, but it will not be enough for them to survive. Takeout or having dinner delivered is an entirely different experience than dining out, and right now too many consumers are more focused on not getting the virus, their own survival, and less interested in saving their local restaurants. I would suggest that all the local restaurants work together through the local chamber of commerce. The can offer promotions and set up their own delivery services to keep costs down. Create incentives to achieve points to be rewarded and used when the restaurants reopen. Rather than try to compete with one another, work together. Their survival is more important right now rather than who makes the most profit.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    Will GameStop lose more than it wins keeping stores open during the coronavirus outbreak?

    There are no words GameStop can write to make this action look justified. Even if they sincerely believe they are staying open for the good of the public, which I doubt, no one will believe them. Yes they will do some business because many people feel the coverage of the coronavirus has been blown out of proportion, but I think any sales they make will be outweighed by the tons of negative press and employees who will refuse to work. This will, in turn, do severe long-term harm. I have a feeling that GameStop will be open for now, but because of significant pressure both internally from employees and externally from the media, if these shutdowns remain in effect, GameStop will have a complete change of mind within two weeks if not sooner.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2020

    Does Dick’s Sporting Goods need to hunt for customers?

    It appears that Dick’s decision to pull guns and eliminate the hunting department in almost all the stores was more business-related than to please the activists. A business has to make money, and if sales and profit margins are not healthy, any smart business person is going to cut back or eliminate the category. What is getting the attention is the fact that we’re talking guns, and many people in this country support guns, the 2nd amendment, and their right to have a weapon? I do not own a gun, have never fired a gun, and have no interest in purchasing a gun. So the publicity Dick’s is getting can be misleading, but there’s nothing wrong with positive press. I’m sure the anti-gun folks are happy with the decision, and as for the gun enthusiasts, they weren’t doing much shopping for guns at Dick’s anyway, so very few sales will be lost.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2020

    Food retailers go on a hiring spree as coronavirus numbers grow

    This is a difficult time, a scenario we have never experienced before. All retailers can do is to do their best. Make sure they have enough employees, try not to overwork them because that will only cause more stress and make employees unhappy, which means less productivity and, most importantly, find ways -- not just monetarily -- to reward them. Acknowledgment goes a long way. The problem we are faced with is that no one knows how long this situation will last. If we all knew it was two more weeks and that was it, we could all make the necessary adjustments. It’s the not knowing which is making it much harder to plan and, for many people, extremely hard to accept.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2020

    Is blockchain the answer to supply chain visibility?

    If done correctly, combining blockchain and RFID technologies may make things a lot easier for retailers. Today we have tons of data. But how much of that data is being read, understood, and used in a benefiting way? We need to find ways to streamline data, simplify it, and make it a usable tool that will help businesses make the right decisions. We have come a long way in finding out how to identify customers, their shopping habits, their likes and dislikes, and how we can market to them. I see this through technology as only getting better and better. Through combining blockchain and RFID technologies and having retailers share data, it will make the whole process more manageable and a lot more cost-effective.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2020

    Is Bookshop.org a compelling Amazon alternative?

    I think it could be beneficial for independent stores to work with Bookshop.org if it helps them develop a more robust presence than going it alone. There is no doubt that Amazon has and will continue to have the lion’s share of the book business, but independents can cater to specific needs better than Amazon. For example, many people prefer to read a book the old-fashioned way, rather than on a tablet. An independent bookstore can offer not just the book, but an evening with the author for book signings and a meet and greet, giving the readers a chance to ask the author questions. Little things can go far, sometimes giving the customer an enjoyable experience. Of course, service is the most significant opportunity the small independent bookstores have to offer. Be creative and be different. That is how one finds their niche in today’s competitive business world.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Instacart just leaves deliveries at the door as customers hole up against the coronavirus

    Instacart’s leave it at the door policy is excellent. Many people are concerned about the coronavirus, and taking all precautions possible is wise. Recently, many archdioceses have suspended priests offering Catholics the blessed cup and have banned shaking hands during the sign of peace. There is nothing wrong with precaution. This virus will end, and hopefully it will end soon. When that happens, the majority of people will resume the life they had prior, but a few will continue their new practices not so much because of fear of contracting an illness but most likely because they prefer it, as in the case of shopping more online for the convenience.

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