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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“STAY ON BOARD: THE LEO BAKER STORY – Takeaways From a Must-See Documentary” by Anthony Pappalardo via Artless Industria

My morning ritual begins by checking my text messages, followed by pruning my inbox from companies trying to sell me things and then setting my daily agenda. Today was no different but as I checked off empty white boxes next to eComms that would soon be directed to the trash, I received a scheduled email to myself, from myself to watch Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story which was released today on Netflix. Directed by Nicola Marsh and Giovanni Reda, Stay on Board is a powerful piece that packs an extremely complex and moving story over 1 hour and 13 minutes. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription I suggest getting a trial and ghosting or maybe finding an alternative way to view it. Today. Do it today if you have some free time. Before I get into a few takeaways and thoughts as to why I recommend you view this doc immediately, I thought I’d post a synopsis which I cut-and-pasted from its YouTube trailer: From Netflix, Pulse Films, a division of VICE Media Group, and Flower Films comes a raw and immersive feature film that follows competitive skateboarding icon Leo Baker in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics. As he faces the sharpening stakes and intensifying disconnect between how the world sees him and who he knows himself to be, the pressure to keep on the course or be true to himself comes to a career and a life-defining turning point. Stay on Board is Leo’s journey balancing the gendered world of sports, transition, society, and skate culture, which ultimately leads him to the most punk... read more

“Retail Check In: Ron Jon Surf Shop” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Ron Jon Surf Shop at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida – SES file photo By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Aug 2022 We speak to Ron Jon Surf Shop President Michele Goodwin, who provides very interesting details about sales and brand trends at the important retailer that has 13 high-volume stores along the East Coast.This article is available to our Executive Edition members. Click here to login or click here to sign up for a free 30 day Executive Edition trial. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Employee Perks: Are You Giving Too Many or Not Enough?” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Are you guilty of giving your employees too many perks? Or, are you not giving them enough? I read about a Canadian candy company looking for a Chief Candy Officer. The benefits? For a salary of up to $100,000, they get to taste 3,500 products every month. The most valuable perk though? It comes with “extensive dental coverage.” It can be tough to find the right balance between what you offer and what the employee wants, but it’s important to do so if you want to keep your team happy and productive. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the most common employee perks and how to determine whether or not you offer too many or too few. I’ll also provide some tips on how to create a perk program that works for your business. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to make changes to your current program, read on for some helpful advice! Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Perks: What are the benefits of employee perks and why should you offer them to your team members? Your employees will feel more appreciated and motivated when they know their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.Perks can boost morale by demonstrating every individual is valued within the organization – which encourages employees to feel responsible for its success.Giving employee perks shows that management cares about people beyond just their jobs – a reflection which has been shown time after again as being a critical factor in workforce retention strategies. How do you know if you’re giving your employees the right perks? The best way... read more

“Who is Strike Visuals and how can they help you to make your shop even more recognizable at events?” by Doug Works BRA Executive Director

Strike Visuals is one of the newest BRA Supporting Vendor Partner and has been leading the industry with high-quality promotional event products for years. Founded by the Stewart brothers in search of finding the best solutions for outdoor inflatable race arches and supplies at a reasonable cost, the business was born. Strike has been providing thousands of brands, teams, and companies with custom event products to help them stand out during their events. Strike strives to continue gaining the trust of many when it comes to quality, price, design, and guaranteed products. So why Strike Visuals? The answer is simple, if you want to get noticed during your events you will need custom products that represent your brand to its fullest potential. Strike Visuals has a wide variety of products including tents, table covers, flags, arches, and custom inflatable furniture. Designed to withstand any elements that you may encounter, every product is backed by the first industry-only lifetime warranty. Whether it’s two weeks, two months, or two years, if any product becomes damaged, we will repair it free of charge! What makes Strike Visual canopies different? Tents are an amazing option to help your brand get noticed during your next event. Most companies charge additional fees based on the number of sides printed and quantity of designs used. At Strike Visuals, all those fees are included in the price. No limit on how much you can print, what colors you can use, and how many sides you want to use. Strike tents are also built to last through any weather conditions. All canopies are weather sealed, flame retardant, and... read more

“The ‘Angriest Man in Surfing’ Proves the Days of Violent Surf Regulation Are Done” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Andy Lyon decided that a rock needed to be implanted into this surfboard and the consequences for his actions are proof that it’s not okay anymore. Photos: Screenshot/YouTube In the first week of August, a Malibu resident named Andy Lyon took off on a wave at First Point. But when he took off on that wave, he burned someone, as is very likely to happen there. A small collision occurred — which is also very likely to happen there — but what Lyon did next cost him his job. Violence in surf lineups used to be a little more acceptable when surfing was still just a fringe activity. But now that it’s a full-blown sport with its own league and a giant industry around it, the days of window waxing, leash cutting, and water boxing are vanishing in the rearview. Lyon has taken off on plenty of waves in his 50-some-odd years surfing what has now become one of the most crowded waves in the world, and he’s one of the few people who can actually be called a “local.” After the collision, the 59-year-old proceeded to chase the other man’s board into the beach, pick up a large rock, and bash a giant hole in the bottom of it. That wasn’t quite enough for Lyon to make his point, though. He then took the surfboard, paddled back out towards the pier with it, and let it go. The other surfer, who hasn’t, as of this writing, been identified, is described as “in his 20s.” In the comments section of a now-deleted Instagram account, Lyon claimed that the other man involved... read more

“USOPC moves to decertify USA Skateboarding” by Alyssa Roenigk via ESPN

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee has initiated proceedings to decertify USA Skateboarding as the sport’s national governing body (NGB), a spokesperson for the USOPC confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday. “We initiated the decertification process, citing section 8 non-compliance violations,” said Kate Hartman, USOPC Chief External Affairs Officer, referring to the USOPC bylaw that governs its process to revoke an NGB’s certification. Hartman added that the organization is “at the very start of the process.” USA Skateboarding chairman Don Bostick did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The decertification news comes on the heels of a USOPC audit of USA Skateboarding, published in mid-July, that evaluated the governing body against 48 compliance standards. The audit found USA Skateboarding to be compliant in only 12 standards and deficient in 28. The deficiencies included not requiring background checks for staff, judges, athletes, board members and contractors, having their tax status revoked by the IRS in June 2021 and not having an anti-doping policy. The audit also deemed the NGB deficient in child protection and found “a number of significant concerns raised during the review, including athlete representation, conflicts of interest, USOPC funding, athlete safety and managerial capabilities.” Within weeks of the audit’s publication, USA Skateboarding Chairman of the Board Gary Ream resigned from his role with the organization. USAS appointed Bostick, a former National Skateboard Association president, to replace Ream. Ream continues in his role as the chair of the skateboarding technical commission for World Skate, the IOC’s governing body for skateboarding and roller sports. High-performance director Mimi Knoop, men’s head coach Andrew Nicolaus, women’s head coach and 2020... read more

“Skate Leaders Discuss Inventory Glut and State of Market” by John Stouffer via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

By John Stouffer | Published Aug 8, 2022 The skateboard industry is struggling with excess hardgoods inventory that’s affecting manufacturers, distributors, and retailers around the world. We talk to leaders at Arbor, Carver, Element, Eastern Skateboard Supply, PS Stix and more about the outlook for the skate market. This article is available to our Executive Edition members. Click here to login or click here to sign up for a free 30 day Executive Edition trial. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Proactive Service is the Key to Consistent, Positive Customer Experiences” by Bulent Cinarkaya via Total Retail

It’s 2022 and everything, including the way we shop, is hybrid. The 2022 Shopper Experience Index shows that almost two-thirds of consumers have embraced hybrid shopping permanently. Customers are shopping in person for products they’ve likely already researched online. Thus, the experience customers have when they go to a store needs to be as seamless, straightforward, and easy as it is when they browse the website. Given that so much of a store’s operations, from point of sale (POS) to back-room service to employee management, requires technology, ensuring it’s all working properly is key to keeping customers happy. Retailers need to think differently about IT service and ensure that they’re anticipating and preventing digital roadblocks before they reach the customer, and that their technology teams are set up to do their best work. Traditional Approaches to Service Eighty percent of customers say that they’ve switched brands due to a poor experience. That means just one malfunctioning POS system or an incorrectly catalogued item can be disastrous for a retail store’s reputation. Traditionally, regional or contract IT teams manage tickets as they come in from employees, troubleshooting and scheduling service as available. But in the meantime, at least one customer has already been negatively impacted, with more likely on the way. Rather than using a break-fix model, some organizations have moved to cycle-based maintenance to avoid negative experiences. This is typically more effective for equipment uptime, but it can result in performing unnecessary maintenance and actually adding to downtime. Proactive monitoring and automation to maintain the technology and infrastructure at a store is the only approach that will help retailers get this right... read more

“Will the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model overcome economic and regulatory challenges?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) services, such as Affirm, Afterpay, Clearpay and Klarna, saw explosive adoption as e-commerce upshifted into a higher gear during the pandemic, but are now facing questions over their sustainability against a tide of rising interest rates, inflation and regulatory threats. The services let shoppers defer payments to a later date or break up purchases into interest-free installments. Rising interest rates narrow already-thin margins for BNPL providers. Their profitability is dependent on their own borrowing rates being much lower than the fees charged to merchants for their service. Soaring inflation and concerns about a possible recession are making consumers more apprehensive about purchasing the big ticket items best suited for extended payments. Finally, the fast growth of the largely-unregulated BNPL space has been drawing more scrutiny from state and federal authorities over concerns that consumers are not aware of the large late fees that can accumulate. Regardless, many consumers discovered the benefits of BNPL’s flexible payment options and avoiding the financial commitments involved with credit cards, even on lower ticket items. Experian’s “Global Insights Report,” based on a survey of 6,000 consumers globally in March, found that 18 percent had used BNPL in the past six months. Fifty-seven percent said they believe BNPL could replace their credit card and 71 percent perceive BNPL as secure. In the U.S, 80 percent of respondents use BNPL to avoid credit card debt. GlobalData’s report, “Buy Now Pay Later – Thematic Research,” which came out in late May, found BNPL expanding from $33 billion in 2019 to $120 billion in 2021, driven by greater adoption by merchants including Amazon and Shopify. GlobalData predicts BNPL sales will increase nearly five-fold to... read more

“Instagram rolls back some product changes after user backlash” by Kalley Huang and Mike Isaac

Celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian were among the upset users who said the updates made the app too much like TikTok. Instagram said on Thursday that it was rolling back several recent updates to its photo-sharing app after Kylie Jenner and other celebrities joined a user backlash against the changes and criticized the platform for trying to be too much like TikTok. Instagram said it would pause tests of full-screen photo and video posts, which the app had introduced to replace its typical look of posts that take up just a portion of the screen. The app, which is owned by Meta, also said it would temporarily decrease the number of posts in user feeds that its algorithm recommended, a new feature that it had been trying out. Kalley Huang is a technology reporting fellow based in San Francisco. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. @KalleyHuang Mike Isaac is a technology correspondent and the author of “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” a best-selling book on the dramatic rise and fall of the ride-hailing company. He regularly covers Facebook and Silicon Valley, and is based in San Francisco.  A version of this article appears in print on July 29, 2022, Section B, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: After Users Grumble, Instagram Rolls Back Product Changes.  The New York Times is dedicated to helping people understand the world through on-the-ground, expert and deeply reported independent journalism. This mission is rooted in our belief that great journalism has the power to make each reader’s life richer and more fulfilling, and all of society stronger and more just. Check... read more

“The Best Women’s Wetsuit Jackets of 2022, Reviewed” by Rebecca Parsons via The Inertia

Photo: Christinamae Sheley. Nothing puts a damper on an epic surf session more than being cold. If you’re anything like me, being cold means it’s game over. Once the shivers start, it’s time for me to paddle in, regardless of how good the waves are. Although summertime delivers plenty of waves and warm weather, if it’s a dawn patrol session or the wind is up, I tend to get chilly. Wetsuit jackets are easy to throw on, making them the perfect way to combat the cold. After some testing, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite wetsuit jackets for women. For more gear guides written specifically for women who shred, check out our guide to the best women’s wetsuits, the best women’s springsuits, the best women’s surf suits and rashguards, the best stay-put women’s swimsuits for surfing, and the best surf leggings for women. What Are the Best Women’s Wetsuit Jackets? Kassia + Surf La Luna 2 MM Jacket ($158) Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Long-Sleeve Top ($129) O’Neill Bahia Full-Zip Jacket ($100) Sisstrevolution Summer Seas Long Sleeve Neoprene Jacket ($105) NRS Ignitor Jacket ($90) What Makes a Good Wetsuit Jacket? ComfortComfort is my number one priority for most clothing items and wetsuit jackets are no exception. I want my jacket to be cozy and comfy so I can wear it for marathon sessions and not have to worry about it bunching or causing chaffing. StyleIf I’m going to be wearing it often, I want something that looks good, so I feel confident wearing it for surfing, diving, and everything in between. DurabilityWhen I buy a wetsuit jacket, I expect it to last a few years... read more

“TikTok Live Shopping Is Booming In 2022. How Can Small Businesses Benefit?” by Catherine Erdly via Forbes Magazine

Live streaming is transforming some of the small businesses who have taken advantage of it’s powerGETTY “TikTok Shop LIVE has totally changed my business,” claims Sumayah Saadi, an LSE student who first set up her online shop aiming to provide affordable, modest fashion in February 2021 whilst still at university. With over 55,000 followers, Saadi’s business has seen significant growth since embracing TikTok Shop LIVEIVE -0.5%s. “The first time we went live, just to try it, we made £500 in 30 minutes. I figured that was a great result for such a short time, so we kept going. Now, it’s not unheard of for us to generate £50,000 from UK sales only during a 2 hour live and I would love to be selling live all day every day,” she explains, speaking via a video call. “Over the past year, we’ve seen merchants of all sizes transform their businesses through TikTok Shop, making the most of features like in-feed videos and livestreams to get their products in front of TikTok’s engaged community” says Patrick Nommensen, Senior Director, E-commerce Operations at TikTok. “It has been amazing to see the range of merchants now selling through TikTok Shop, from household names to small homegrown businesses.” Keen to encourage multi-seller events, TikTok has recently launched a series of TikTok Shop LIVE events. These have been hugely successful, with their recent Summer Sale event experiencing over 276 million LIVE views, and nearly 135 million views on associated hashtags. The interactive nature of live selling makes it perfect for almost any type of products – from jewellery, accessories, luggage and an unexpected hit – football trading cards. Nommensen highlights... read more

“USA Skateboarding chair resigns after audit finds multiple governance and financial problems” by Duncan McKay via Inside The Games

Gary Ream has resigned as the chair of USA Skateboarding (USAS) following concerns being raised over governance and financial misconduct at the national governing body. Ream, who played a leading role in helping skateboarding get on the Olympic programme at last year’s re-arranged Games in Tokyo, has been forced to step down following publication of a damning audit conducted by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). The revelations of the crisis that USAS finds itself in will be of concern to World Skate, the International Federation for skateboarding. Ream was appointed as chair of the World Skate Skateboarding Technical Commission in 2017 and oversaw the sport’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. As it stands, he will also be in charge of sport’s appearance at Paris 2024. The audit, completed last month, ruled that USAS was “deficient” in 28 of the 48 areas investigated. This included 13 of the 16 sections related to governance and compliance and all seven in financial standards and reporting practices. The USOPC audit found that USA Skateboarding was deficient in 28 areas ©ITG “Overall, Audit concluded that USA Skateboarding has only met 12 of the 48 compliance standards evaluated,” the audit, which insidethegames has seen a copy of, reported. “There were also a number of significant concerns raised during the review, including athlete representation, conflicts of interest, USOPC funding, athlete safety, and managerial capabilities.” The audit revealed that no financial reports had been presented to the USAS Board last year, that a budget for 2021 was never completed and that “there are multiple issues related to USOPC Funding”. This included paying unsubstantiated expenses, no documented... read more

“Surf Expo Attracts More Than 600 Exhibiting Brands to Upcoming September Show” via Shop Eat Surf (plus video of highlights from January Show & more)

Photo courtesy of Surf Expo PRESS RELEASES | Re-Published August 3, 2022 ORLANDO, Fla.– (July 25, 2022) Surf Expo, the premier watersports and coastal lifestyle tradeshow, returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on Sept. 8-10 in the West Concourse with a wide range of brands and a diverse floor plan.  Over 600 exhibitors are participating this September with an 18% increase in square footage compared to the previous September show.   “We are thrilled to return to Orlando this summer with an extensive and impressive list of brands to help retailers fulfill all their buying needs,” said Roy Turner, Surf Expo senior vice president and show director. “Coastal and beach related categories have been in high demand the past two years, and with our increased list of exhibitors, we look forward to introducing buyers to new brands as well as offering them a productive environment to connect with their existing brand partners.”  Brands exhibiting in the Watersports sections of Surf Expo include 4ocean, AVID Sportswear, Billabong, BN3TH, Body Glove, Brixton, Carve Designs, Carver Skateboards, Captain Fin, Dark Seas, Fair Harbor Clothing, Havaianas, HAYDENSHAPES SURFBOARDS, Hurley, IMSY, IPD International, Jetty, Katin,  …LOST, Lotus and Luna, Manhattan Beachwear, O’Neill, Otis Eyewear, Party Pants, POP Board Co., Psycho Tuna, Pura Vida Bracelets, Quiksilver, Rastaclat, Reef Apparel, Rhythm, Rip Curl, Roark, ROXY, RSVLTS, Rusty, RVCA, Saint Maddox, Salty Crew, Sand Cloud, SEATEC OUTFITTERS, Simbi, Sisstrevolution, Sun Bum, Surfer Dudes, Tahe Outdoors, Teva, Thread, Vissla, Volcom and YETI.   In the Coastal Life categories, brands attending the show include Beach & Barn, Bogg Bag, Dippin Daisys, ELAN, EXIST, Hang Loose, HUK, Kanga Coolers, Lakeshirts/Blue84,... read more

“How to Choose the Right Tow Tower – Picking the right tow tower for your boat.” by Jeff Hemmel via Wakeboarding Mag

Push a button and Nautique’s Flight Control Tower telescopes up or down with the Bimini top in place. Courtesy Roswell Tow towers have gone from wakeboarding one-offs to standard equipment on most tow-sports boats, as well as an increasing share of runabouts, deck boats and even pontoons. Chalk it up to the ability to provide an elevated tow point, store wake- and surfboards off the cockpit sole, and add just a touch of coolness factor. Here’s what to look for. Drop Top “Some people only lower their tower once a year,” says Darrick Wilson, chief of design at industry-­giant Roswell. “But for someone who lowers their tower daily for a bridge or to get in a garage, folding is an important consideration.” Look for features designed to offset a tower’s weight, including compression spring systems, hydraulic or gas shocks, or electric-gear or worm-drive actuators. Release mechanisms vary, from bolts and pull pins to cam-style levers or even a simple push button. Under Cover Some ­Bimini tops are ­surprisingly small to integrate with a ­tower. Options with greater coverage make a world of difference in hot, sunny climates. Ask for a demonstration on how to handle the Bimini when folding the tower. Some can be quite cumbersome, while others prove easier. For example, the Bimini on the Roswell-­designed telescoping Flight Control Tower, exclusive to Nautique, can remain fully in place when lowered and still shade the crew. A wake tower provides airflow ability, good looks, and practical mounting of board racks, speakers and Bimini tops. Courtesy Roswell Built Strong Aircraft-­grade, 6061-T6 or 6063-T6 aluminum tubing in a minimum 1.9-inch diameter is still... read more

“5 Ways to Boost Team Morale” by Mike Szczesny via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Sarote Pruksachat There may be a day when you wake up and simply don’t have the motivation to do your job anymore. When you think about going to work, you may feel helpless, trapped, detached or cynical. This lack of motivation or interest related to your job is commonly known as burnout. Managing this fatigue in the workplace is an increasingly important task for employees, managers and directors. So, how do you boost team morale to prevent job burnout from taking hold of your employees and your workplace culture? Burnout can be contagious and can spread throughout your organization without the proper prevention strategy. Here are five things you can do to tackle the issue before it takes hold: 1. Just ask. Presumably, you’re not a psychic, so asking your employees what’s most challenging about their work experience and what could be done to mitigate those challenges is advisable. Open communication between various team members will slowly create the perfect environment for everybody inside the building. When people feel like they can talk about what’s challenging without the fear of losing their jobs or being ostracized, they’re more likely to share their thoughts. And as hard as that may be for you initially, it will only accelerate your company’s health. Consider options such as an anonymous feedback box or Google form. Even if your employees know it’s safe to share, anonymity helps lessen the anxiety that can still arise when sharing thoughts openly. 2. Organize team-building activities. Full-time employees spend around 40 hours per week inside office walls. Those 40 hours are spent with relative strangers... read more

“Instagram launches payment-in-chat feature for businesses” by Dani James via Retail dive

Instagram launched the ability for U.S. businesses to complete transactions in chats with shoppers. Courtesy of Meta Dive Brief: In an effort to simplify the customer journey for small businesses, Meta on Monday launched the ability for users to pay for products within Instagram chat, according to a press release.Qualified small businesses on Instagram can directly convert customer inquiries and interests directly into purchases using Meta Pay, without users needing to leave the chat. Completed orders can also be tracked in the same chat, creating a dedicated space for follow-up questions, per the release.The feature allows small and medium-sized businesses who don’t have an Instagram Shop digital storefront to still transact with shoppers in app. Dive Insight: Buying and selling on Instagram for businesses of any size just got a lot easier. “We want to help people start conversations with businesses they care about and help them find and buy products they love in an easy, seamless experience, right from the chat thread,” said the release. The ability to pay for products in chat means that businesses can more easily convert curious shoppers’ questions and concerns into purchases and allows for a more personalized experience where businesses could give direct recommendations. This launch is a step forward in Instagram’s evolution to become a one-stop retail destination. One billion people message businesses every week across Meta’s apps, which include Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. According to a study from NPD last year, Facebook and Instagram were both listed among the top platforms where consumers discover and learn about products.  Social commerce is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, according to an Accenture report... read more

“5 Tips to Increase Retail Sales With Visual Merchandising” by Nick Gurney via Total Retail

As a retailer, you know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep your business running. And while there are many different aspects of your business that require attention, arguably the most important is your sales. Ninety percent of the information sent to the brain is visual, therefore, a key strategy to boost sales is to focus on visual merchandising. And while traditionally visual merchandising applied to a retail store’s physical environment, the science of visual merchandising is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar — retailers can now use the same tactics to create immersive online shopping experiences as well. Effective visual merchandising transforms a physical or digital environment into an extension of a brand’s image. As such, visual merchandising efforts must be consistent throughout both physical and digital environments. A simple example is using the same color scheme in-store, on your website, and in your app. Here are five strategies to help any retailer master the art of visual merchandising, both in-store and online: 1. Know your customer. Knowing your customers is the difference between being a successful visual merchandiser and an average one. Successful businesses know who they’re selling to, what kind of people buy from them, and how best to provide satisfying solutions for those consumers both in-store and online so that more shoppers will come visit or make purchases on any product offered by this company — not only improving customer experience but also boosting profits. Visual merchandising is most effective when it’s guided by customer data. Using a customer relationship manager (CRM) tool to track what, when, why and how people shop... read more

Who is Earthpack and how can they help me with my custom shopping bags and other packaging needs? + free sample kit by Doug Works via BRA

Founded by Dave Bock in 1989 in Irvine, California, Earthpack has since taken recycling to a higher level by supplying recycled bags, boxes, tissue, labels, and more to eco-conscious businesses. Earthpack works with each client individually to custom design cutting-edge, repurposed packaging. By providing comprehensive distribution services and inventory management, we can supply quality materials for businesses of all sizes. Earthpack has implemented production and distribution services localized to retail locations so that companies can continue their environmentally-friendly packaging purchases from start to finish. FULL SERVICE CAPABILITIES Earthpack strives to provide businesses with the best and most cost-effective outsourcing solution for offsite warehousing, distribution, and inventory management needs. We provide a full-service backroom without the fixed overhead cost.  WAREHOUSING With more than 15,000 square feet of Earthpack warehousing space in Irvine, CA, we offer clients bulk discounts on retail packaging storage and eliminate the need and associated costs of maintaining their own facilities. ORDER FULFILLMENT Earthpack aims to process and ship orders with speed, accuracy and efficiency. Our service enables clients to order products at corporate levels and distribute at retailer level. We offer easy order access through email, phone, and online. FORECASTING We pride ourselves at Earthpack on expertly understanding and assessing clients’ retail packaging needs. We design automatic distribution plans based on analysis ranging from initial corporate bulk orders down to individual retail store needs. Today, Earthpack continues meeting the changing needs of the environmentally aware retail community, making it an industry leader in eco-friendly packaging. Furthering these efforts, Earthpack proudly supports and promotes Board Retailers Association. All BRA Retail Members will receive a free sample kit... read more

“What 5G and Edge Computing Mean for Retail” by Dan Picker via Total Retail

With the media and analyst attention 5G and edge computing are getting these days, it’s easy to sense they’re very important technologies. However, it’s not always easy to figure out what they mean for your retail business, or why they’re so often talked about at the same time. My goal is to help you connect those dots. I’ll start by describing what 5G means for retail, explain how edge computing fits into the picture, then outline how the two can be used together. 5G Accelerates Every Aspect of Retail Operations 5G wireless connectivity is extremely fast, reliable and secure, and it provides the low latency needed to support the most demanding, real-time retail applications. So, it gives you everything fiber gives you. However, because 5G is wireless, you can extend its benefits to the mobile and portable parts of your business, such as delivery trucks, kiosks and pop-up shops. Now you can bring the same level of high-speed connectivity and real-time operations to every aspect of your business. You have instant access to all transaction data, no matter where it originates, so you can immediately update inventory status. Furthermore, you can easily keep track of mobile fleets and distributed assets. You can also take advantage of a private 5G network that’s dedicated to your operations. Many feel that a Wi-Fi network is sufficient for business operations, however, there are some key differentiators: Related story: 2023 is Retail’s Pivot Point for Digital Innovation 5G works over licensed or semi-licensed spectrum, so it’s much more reliable than Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies.5G is more secure than Wi-Fi.5G supports a capability called network... read more

“Retail braces for the second half of the year, as cautious shoppers pay more but get less” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Banoart/ Dive Brief: In the segments tracked by Retail Dive, retail sales in June rose 7.7% year over year, as e-commerce regained some momentum with a 20.6% rise, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.The gains are undermined by record inflation of 9.1%, reported the same week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Consumer sentiment remains near all-time lows and wariness around prices is enduring despite some relief at the gas pump, although inflation expectations may be improving, according to a report from the University of Michigan released Friday. Dive Insight: A nearly 8% jump in retail sales year over year would usually be good news for the industry, but this report requires a specialized lens: Higher prices mean consumers are spending more, but getting less. That’s leading households to prioritize essentials like fuel and food over discretionary purchases, as seen during Amazon’s Prime Day sale. “Total growth continues to run a little way below inflation which indicates, broadly, that volumes are in negative territory,” GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said in emailed comments. “In simple terms, consumers did not buy more stuff in June — they bought less product but paid more for it. This is not a comfortable position as it makes consumers feel downbeat, which is one of the reasons confidence is sliding.” June’s retail sales rise does show that consumers so far “are powering through price pressures,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement, noting, however, that “inflation is eating away at savings built up during the pandemic and is wiping out recent income gains.” The situation is especially challenging for consumers already struggling to make... read more

“Sustaining Profitability and the Environment: A Retail Necessity” by Nathan Smith via The Robin Report

Industry Reality Check To set the context for new emerging retail crises, allow me to set up the situation we find ourselves in as a result of the pandemic. From my perspective, Covid-19 did not start any new trends; instead, it accelerated one that had already begun, which is, that people were starting to do more and more of their shopping online than at brick-and-mortar establishments. Not only was there an acceleration in those who were already comfortable in buying online, but something even more interesting happened. People who were not used to shopping online were forced to do so due to the various lockdown policies implemented by government. They quickly got comfortable with online shopping and started to embrace its ease and convenience, even if it came at an additional cost. Now, as Covid case numbers continue to ebb and flow, shoppers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores, but not at the levels we’ve seen prior to the pandemic. Some of those pandemic “forced” behaviors have stuck; from my own experience I never thought I’d see the day when my parents ordered groceries online, but now after having been forced to do it, they realize how much easier and more convenient it is and it is now their primary way of shopping. While this situation may seem like a boon to online retailers, it also comes with some unprecedented challenges. For one thing, there is extra risk built into the buying process as consumers can’t see, touch, or try on items before they purchase, leading to much higher return rates. Our research at Appriss Retail has shown that consumers... read more

“Maya Gabeira Wrote the Most Beautiful Children’s Book: ‘Maya and the Beast’” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Maya’s first book is available August 2. Images courtesy of Abrams Books. For the last few years, Maya Gabeira has been working on something very different from her normal gig. She’s been writing books. You know Gabeira, of course, as the two-time Guinness World Record holder for big wave surfing and seven-time World Surf League Big Wave Award winner. She’s been tackling large surf for years now, battling not only the waves themselves but the detractors that inherently shout from the sidelines when a woman dips her toe into a place that’s traditionally been a testosterone pit. But through it all, from her childhood to present day, Maya has simply put her head down, done the work, and accomplished exactly what she decided she wanted to accomplish. And her books — two children’s stories and a young-adult memoir — have reflected that resilience. Her first picture book, Maya and the Beast, releases in hardcover and e-book editions on August 2. Next year, in the spring of 2023, her young-adult memoir hits shelves. Then, in the fall of 2023, her second picture book will be available. A three-book contract is an impressive feat for an established writer, let alone someone who, by her own admission, hadn’t thought about being a writer until a good title for a book hit her while she was on a walk. The idea for Maya and the Beast came to Gabeira while on a walk with her dogs. Image courtesy of Abrams Books. “It happened right there,” she told me over the phone on a July morning. “I never thought about it before… I was hiking with my dogs every day... read more

“YouTube, Shopify Partner to Offer Creators Livestream Shopping Option” by Marie Albiges via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Courtesy of YouTube Creators and merchants on the Shopify e-commerce platform can now feature their products across their YouTube channels, thanks to a new partnership between the two businesses. The new collaboration allows creators to link their Shopify stores to their YouTube channel, offer livestream shopping, and enable viewers to purchase their products without leaving YouTube. Shopify users can get started by visiting the “Shopping” tab in their YouTube Studio. In a press release Tuesday, Shopify said merchants would reach over 2 billion monthly logged-in users on YouTube through this partnership. Total Retail’s Take: Shopify is used by millions of merchants across 175 countries who will now have another way to sell their products, provided they have a YouTube channel. That, combined with the millions of people who go on YouTube every day, means more eyeballs than ever on businesses that have a Shopify account. As Shopify’s Vice President of Merchant Services Kaz Nejatian told Fast Company, “Hopefully what we’re doing is creating a new venue for entrepreneurship in a way that didn’t exist before.” Google, which owns YouTube, has been expanding access to shopping features for some time now. It has streamed live events like Coachella and Brazil’s Paulistão soccer tournament and made them shoppable for viewers, Variety reports. With this latest update, the company is also introducing a new shopping destination in “Explore” for viewers in the United States, India and Brazil, which features relevant shoppable content. It plans to expand this feature into other countries later this year. About Marie Albiges Marie Albiges is a senior editor for NAPCO Media’s Retail & Travel Group, including Total Retail, Women in Retail, and... read more

“Remarkable BRA Distinguished Retail Member shipping benefit plus video elaborating on this significant savings opportunity and link to upgrade” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Push play to learn more about PartnerShip (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) and how you can benefit BRA strives to be the definitive resource for active sport retailers and we’re always looking for ways to help your business be successful. We’re excited to announce a brand-new benefit available to BRA Distinguished Retail Members that will save you money by spending less on shipping. With the BRA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you save 50% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground. If you’re receiving inbound freight shipments from your vendors, you’ll also have access to competitive rates with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, XPO, and many others. To take advantage of this free benefit, enroll now. To learn more about the BRA Shipping Program, call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or email     If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form (choose the Distinguished Retail Membership option).  Immediately after you submit your completed join form, you will receive a prompt with payment instructions for the $100 Annual Dues (100% tax deductible). Shortly after receiving the completed form, we will email you the the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and summary of additional Supporting Vendor Partner benefits for BRA Retail Members. Once your payment is received in our system, we will notify the good people at PartnerShip who will approve your enrollment and enable you to take advantage of the savings in a timely... read more

“Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department” by Daphne Howland and Caroline Jansen via Retail Dive

Photo Illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images The department’s Census Bureau tracks estimates each month. Retail Dive provides the numbers for key segments, and their year-over-year progress, or decline. Editor’s Note: Comparisons for individual segments are updated each month to reflect the government’s revisions to its year ago figures. A full methodology for how Retail Dive tracks retail sales figures is included at the bottom of this page. Every month, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, releases its first calculation of the previous month’s retail sales. At Retail Dive, we report these figures by grouping the key segments that define “retail” in a way that we hope is most meaningful to the industry. We use unadjusted, advance numbers and year-over-year comparisons, with the government’s most recent revisions to its year-ago estimates. And although we of course include e-commerce, captured in the federal report as “nonstore retailers,” readers will note that the government includes sales from businesses not generally thought of as “e-commerce.” YoY sales performance by sector Monthly retail sales How key retail sales fared year over year Total sales+8%Non-store+21%Furniture & home+2%Sporting goods, hobby, bookstores0%General merchandise-1%Clothing & accessories-3%Electronics & applicances-10%Retail Dive calculates “total retail sales” of core segments, as well as what the Commerce Department calls “Nonstore retailers.” That includes e-commerce, mail order and infomercials, but also revenue from subsectors not generally considered traditional retail, including vending machines, home delivery (including newspapers and home heating oil), door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstrations and portable stalls like non-food street vendors. Year-over-year comparisons use the most recent revisions to estimates; year-to-date numbers use only advanced numbers. Data from U.S. Census Bureau, Advanced Monthly... read more

“Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Model Wakesurfing and Wakeboarding Legislation” by WSIA Staff via WSIA Newsletter

Last week, representatives from the recreational boating industry – including NMMA, WSIA, Heyday, Indmar Marine Engines, and MasterCraft – joined Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for an official signing ceremony of the industry-backed model wakesurfing and wakeboarding legislation. The new law entered into force on July 1, 2022, and marks the first state to adopt the industry’s model legislation.  “We appreciate the leadership of Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly in passing this legislation,” said Lee Gatts, Director of Government Affairs for WSIA. “This commonsense legislation enhances safety and maintains the ability for every user group to share the states’ waterways while alleviating environmental impact concerns.”  Sponsored by Senator Ken Yager and Representative Dennis Powers, the bill enhances safety requirements for those engaging in wakesurfing and wakeboarding by: Requiring operators to stay at least 200 feet away from all shorelines, docks, piers, or other structures. This means that a channel needs to be at least 400 feet in total width to be considered an appropriate area for these activities.  Riders engaging in towed watersports must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Prohibits wakesurfing and wakeboarding between the hours of sunset and sunrise.  Prohibits wakesurfing from a boat with an exposed (beyond boarding platform) propeller. Prohibits wakesurfing and wakeboarding on a body of water less than fifty (50) acres in size.  “Working in the boating industry and being an avid boater and wakesurfer myself, I personally cannot thank the WSIA and the NMMA enough for stepping in and successfully amending a bill, that that was originally intended to ban wakesurfing in my home state, into a positive piece of... read more

“The Raglan Surf Report: Why Surf Judges Keep Their Identities Secret” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

There’s a lot of hate out there in the world, no small amount of which is often leveled at competitive surf judges. No idea what I’m talking about? Go check out any of the WSL’s Instagram posts from the El Salvador Pro, scroll through the comments, and if you still don’t know what I’m talking about shoot me an email and I’ll happily clear things up by sending someone over to give you a two-by-four to the cabeza. As such, the WSL and any competitive surfing organization does a lot to protect the anonymity of its judges. We wouldn’t want an angry Italo Ferreira doing this to the boards in front of their beachside cabanas now would we? Much less a band of angry surf fans doing the same. Here’s how the surf authorities that be make sure the above never happens. Push Play Be sure to visit The Inertia website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. Speaking of helpful articles from the good people behind The Inertia, you may want to click on the following link to learn about how BRA Supporting Vendor Partner SurfCare can help you generate additional revenue from Surfboard Sales without increasing inventory: If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“3 Tips to Grow Your Business With Short-Form Video” by Melissa Oppenheim Lano via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by fizkes The average person’s attention span has decreased over the years — with some experts saying it’s now under 10 seconds — due to the large amount of information constantly vying for their attention. Not only is it harder to keep people engaged, but it’s now also harder to retain their loyalty, as pandemic constraints have increased people’s willingness to experiment with new brands. This shifting landscape can present challenges for businesses’ marketing efforts, but companies are investing and finding value in short-form video as a tool to gain attention, build community, and differentiate their brand in an increasingly saturated marketplace. Video has now become a critical part of any modern marketing strategy. More importantly, customers are asking for it. Nine out of 10 people said that they wanted to see more videos from brands and businesses. As short-from video continues to grow in importance, here are some best practices on how to create engaging video content to grow your business and create value for your customers: 1. Engage your customers in a conversation around your content. You can invite your community to get to know your brand by filming behind-the-scenes content and interact with them by asking for their opinion and responding to the conversation in the comments. When brainstorming, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think of what content you’d love to see or learn about from your favorite business. Related story: Reels vs. TikTok in the Fight for Video Commerce Market Share 2. Use audio to excite your customers and inject some personality into your brand. Select a trending song, try a new sound effect, or... read more

“Office Depot Exclusive BRA Member Savings Program now available for all BRA Regular (no cost) and all BRA Distinguished Retail Members plus video elaborating on this outstanding Member Benefit”

The Mission of Board Retailers Association is to consolidate the voices, the experiences and the visions of Board Specialty Retailers into a cohesive organization. We do this by identifying ways to lower day to day expenses, to increase profit margins and to create more remarkable customer experiences for our Retail Members. Speaking of lowering expenses, this video may help you realize that there is one place where you can save on a ton of products and services just because you are a BRA Retail Member. Push play to learn what BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Office Depot can provide to all BRA Retail Members As a BRA Retail Member, you will have a voice, you will benefit from BRA relationships and you will have access to a number of BRA programs and resources including the new Office Depot Exclusive Preferential BRA Member Savings Program. The image and video above elaborate on this outstanding Member Benefit, which is available to both Regular (no cost) and Distinguished Retail Members ($100 annually, which is 100% tax deductible). If you are interested in improving your business, click on the following link to learn about both BRA Retail Membership options: Soon after you complete the following super simple join form, we will email you the link to gain access to this remarkable program and begin saving on over 20,000 Office Depot Products and Services (way more than just pens and paper clips): #boardretailersassociation... read more

“TikTok creates program for small businesses” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Mario Tama / Staff via Getty Images Dive Brief: Joining other social platforms in releasing tools for small businesses, TikTok has created Follow Me, a six-week educational program from July 11 to Aug. 19 for small and midsize companies seeking to increase sales using the platform, according to a Monday announcement. The Follow Me guide will outline how businesses can set up a business account, use the Creative Center to generate content ideas and learn how to use the app’s ads manager and promotion tools for rolling out TikTok campaigns, per the announcement.The company has chosen Cassie Sorensen, owner and founder of Tassel Amor and Jacob Zander, owner and founder of Feel Your Soul, to serve as its small-business ambassadors and share tips with program participants for using TikTok to increase sales.  Dive Insight: In its announcement, TikTok said it wanted to shepherd more small businesses onto the platform to reach more consumers and, in turn, achieve their goals. Last summer, the platform hosted its Small Biz Block Party virtual workshop series, which aimed to help small businesses reach consumers and grow their businesses. It cited a report from Hello Alice indicating that 81% of small businesses say that TikTok is fun, and 73% say it is easy to use. TikTok is looking to prove its worth to businesses of all sizes based on its consumer data. The company cited a study from Material noting that TikTok users are twice as likely as users on other platforms to recommend a product or service they found on TikTok. They are also 1.5 times more likely to influence consumers to purchase that product or service, Material found.... read more

“Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

Sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts may soon have a new brick-and-mortar store to visit. YZYSPLY, the sneaker and apparel company of sometimes-controversial rapper, producer and fashion entrepreneur Kanye West, has filed a trademark hinting that a physical storefront for the brand could be on the way. The trademark provides the foundation to let the brand expand from “online ordering services” and “online retail ordering services” to brick-and-mortar “retail stores” and “retail store services,” according to Hypebeast. In addition to sneakers, the filing mentions the availability of clothing and accessories, such as lingerie, t-shirts and hats. Mr. West’s branded Yeezy shoes and clothing are produced via partnerships with Adidas AG and Gap Inc., and in 2021 the brand was worth between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. His exclusive, collector-oriented sneaker line is known in particular for its limited-release drops. The sneakers are so sought after that purchasing most releases requires winning a raffle, according to Sneaker News. Physical sneaker retail has undergone a big shakeup over the past few years, as top brand Nike began withdrawing from some of its biggest wholesale relationships and significantly throttling back what is available through others. Nike has stated that its move away from wholesale is intended to pare down its “undifferentiated” retail partners as it simultaneously focuses on selling via its direct-to-consumer channels. The brand has long had a footprint of standalone Nike stores through which it sells its products. It also orchestrates drops and other exclusive selling events through its popular Nike SNKRS app. Nike’s change in plans earlier this year left Foot Locker, a major sneakerhead destination and Nike co-opetitor, looking for other partnerships to... read more

“Top 10 Visual Merchandising Secrets” by Melissa Stivale via Independent Retailer

Visual merchandising plays a pivotal role in converting sales at the store level. The concept seems simple: display inventory in an organized way that engages and informs customers. However, there should be a lot of thought and purposeful planning that goes into designing everything from the store layout and signage to the proper lighting and product arrangements.  Here are some tricks of the trade that retailers will want to keep in mind when implementing visual merchandising strategies for your store that work no matter what you are selling: 1. The Rule of Three: Not only is this persuasive as a writing principle, but the rule of three is also a smart technique for grouping products. The small amount prevents customers from being overwhelmed by too many choices, and the asymmetry effectively captures their attention since the brain takes longer to process odd numbers.  You can use this strategy to group similar competing products together or cross-sell related items from the same brand. Clothing retailers benefit from placing a trio of mannequins styled in coordinating color palettes in display windows, while electronics stores can use it to emphasize their range of gaming consoles. 2. The Pyramid Principle: While seemingly like the rule of three, the pyramid principle deals more with height and balancing the dimensions of your displays. The goal is to create a visually appealing triangle by placing the largest or tallest items at the center and surrounding them with smaller products on either side.  Display tables come in handy here, as do acrylic risers and pedestals, which all allow you to vary the height of merchandise to build the right... read more

“True Employee Engagement is a Two-Way Street: Here’s How to Build It” by Gys Kappers via Total Retail

When it comes to nurturing a successful frontline team in a retail environment, employee engagement has to be a top priority. However, many employers find engagement to be a slippery, elusive quality. According to a 2021 study, 73 percent of employees would consider leaving their current jobs. The struggle to engage and retain employees is one without a single cause. Employee engagement wanes for a variety of reasons. For a start, retail can be a difficult place to find community. With scattered locations and a geographical disconnect, not only do employees feel disconnected from each other, but more importantly, they feel far away from the head office and the heart of their company. This can also coincide with a more ideological gap. Frontline retail employees often feel uninformed about what goes in their company. They’re separated from the company’s critical communication and major business decisions, and the information they do receive is removed from the bigger picture. Related story: 3 Data-Backed Ways to Drive Worker Retention, Productivity, Revenue and More Why is Information Crucial to Employee Engagement? Disconnected employees will be more likely to feel underappreciated and unheard. This can lead to a lack of motivation, a sense that nothing they can do will matter to the organization at large, and makes employers ignorant of the actual needs of their frontline. All of this adds up. It should come as no surprise that companies with a poor information-sharing chain will soon face problems with customer service delivery, dips in productivity, and a level of despondence that negatively impacts their bottom line. Sharing information with employees should go way beyond simply relaying facts and figures. Information and... read more

“The Best Advice I Can Give Retailers Right Now” by Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys

It would be easy to start this article by talking about how we’ve all been through the craziest times in our lives.  But you already know that.  I could also talk about how challenging things can be now, with the extreme difficulties in the supply chain causing many to struggle to keep up with increasing demand.  On top of all that, we’re dealing with mask mandates and all kinds of political noise that affects retail.  But you know about that too, and you’re already navigating that. So let’s get down to something important.  In times like these, the winners are those that can become hyper-focused on the truly important things.  It’s very easy to get distracted by the problems that exist in our industry, to throw up your hands and just hope that things work out.  You could do that, but you’re also better than that. At this moment in time, my most successful clients are focused on 2 things, and 2 things only: Their customers and their inventory.  It could be argued that staying hyper-focused on those 2 things has always been the key to retail success, and that’s true.  That said, it’s especially true today, given everything I wrote in the first paragraph, the fundamentals of focus are more important today than ever before. But how do you do that?  The nature of our business is such that there seems to never be enough time to get everything done, and lots of small details seem to block our ability to focus on the things we want to focus on.  Push play to hear about how Dan Jablons... read more

“‘Femme Ocean’ Tells the Stories of Four Women Breaking Boundaries in Surfing” by Staff via The Inertia

Maryam El Gardoum tears into a blue Moroccan wall. Photo: Femme Ocean. ‘Femme Ocean’ Tells the Stories of Four Women Breaking Boundaries in Surfing The ocean nearly took my life,” says filmmaker Annika von Schütz. “Now it’s giving me life.” Premiering July 9 at the International Surf Film Festival in Anglet, France, Femme Ocean profiles five women from Portugal, Morocco, and Sri Lanka, who fell in love with a sport long dominated by men. They are pioneers, athletes, adventurers, activists, and artists who share a unique bond with surf and the sea, pushing the limits of social convention. “Our relationship with the sea is a relationship of vitality,” von Schütz continues. “We take risks on the water. We trust in nature. We confront our fear and we begin to trust ourselves. We build that courage and take it with us back to the land, to our communities and beyond. Globally, women are an increasing part of the surfing community and surfing can be seen as a tool for women empowerment. So I went on a trip from Portugal to Sri Lanka to meet women who are making their own way.” The characters in the film bring with them a variety of perspectives. When Teresa Ayala started to surf 44 years ago on the Portuguese coast, there were only men in the water. Joana Andrade is fighting for her dream of surfing big waves at Praia do Norte beach in Nazaré. Also from Portugal, Lizzy is transforming her love for surfing into art and creating awareness for environmental topics. Maryam El Gardoum is a female surf pioneer in Morocco and Sithmi Nawodya, the daughter of... read more

“4 Examples of Great Customer Service in 2022” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

I’ve written extensively about creating a customer service strategy, how to improve your retail customer service, and retail customer service on the front line so I was anxious to see what I’d encounter when a couple of weeks ago I traveled down the California coast. The trip’s finale would be a classic car show in San Diego where I’d show my classic Bentley coupe. How would all the news reports of a lack of workers, inflation, and general dis-ease play out as I checked into restaurants, checked up on retailers, and checked out of hotels? What are four principles of customer service? Four core standards of great customer service every employee should exemplify: Remove stressBe seamlessBe humanBe seen I witnessed the first principle in action before I even left home. The car was to be shipped to San Francisco and had to arrive by a specific date or the whole journey would be disrupted. While interviewing one car carrier about the firm deadlines, the guy stopped me, “Whoa wait a minute. With traffic and delays, we might be there a day or early or late, we just can’t be responsible for that.” At McCollister’s, the company that got my business, the guy who took the call said, “What day and time do you want it there? We have several warehouses so we can hold it if we get there early.” When my flight landed in San Francisco, I got a call that the car had arrived and been delivered. Even though the original truck had broken down, they had sent another to continue the journey. “No need to bother you – we had... read more

“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — After going on a frenzied hiring spree for a year and a half to meet surging shopper demand, America’s retailers are starting to temper their recruiting. The changing mindset comes as companies confront a pullback in consumer spending, the prospect of an economic downturn and surging labor costs. Some analysts suggest that merchants have also learned to do more with fewer workers. The nation’s top employer, Walmart, said it recently over-hired because of a COVID-related staffing shortage and then reduced its head count through attrition. In April, Amazon said it, too, had decided that it had an excess of workers in its warehouses. And FedEx, whose customers include big retailers, said late last month that it was hiring fewer people. In addition, new data shows that retailers in recent months have been scaling back sign-on bonuses and are no longer relaxing job requirements — a sign that they no longer feel compelled to expand their applicant pool, according to the labor analytics company Lightcast. And Snagajob, an online marketplace for hourly work, reports that job postings in retailing have been slowing in the past couple of months, though they remain up from a year ago. Retailers “are going to take a conservative view of what’s possible and what’s necessary, because the price they will pay for being wrong will be minimum if they run out of goods and don’t have enough staff, and massive if they wind up with an inventory glut and they have too many people employed,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University and a former CEO of Sears Canada. The... read more

“4 Tips to Help Your Business Sell More Gift Cards” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

Consumer demand for gift cards, both physical and digital, continues to rise. According to the Gift Cards – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics report, the global gift card market is forecast to reach $1.4 trillion(USD) by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent over the analysis period (2020 to 2026). More specifically, digital gifting presents a real opportunity for merchants. A recently released report from Incisiv revealed that 67 percent of customers prefer instant/digital gifting. To help retailers and brands capitalize on this rising consumer demand for gift cards, NAPCO Research, in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, recently completed its annual comprehensive review of the state of merchants’ gift card offerings. The 2022 review and subsequent report included an assessment of retailers’ e-commerce/digital, mobile, and in-store gift card offerings, as well as tips for merchants on how to improve the consumer gift card purchase and recipient experience. The full report can be downloaded here. Here are just a few of the tips included within the report: Ensure that gift cards are easily discovered across all selling channels (in-store, digital, and app). You can’t sell gift cards if consumers can’t find them. Make it as easy as it is to find other products you sell. This includes adding gift cards to your homepage (ideally top navigation) and optimizing site search results for “gift cards” and other variations of that search term.Offer flexibility within your gift card program, including types of cards (physical and digital); cross-channel purchasing (e.g., the ability to buy physical cards online, digital cards in-store); selling of own brand’s gift cards as well as multibrand cards; multiple payment and delivery options; denomination... read more

“A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO OPENING A SKATE SHOP” by Larry Lanza and Aubrey Fisch via Jenkem Mag

Similar to how we cling to technology of the past, as skaters, we also hang on tight to the olden ways of doing commerce. Handshake agreements, payment in products, and brick-and-mortar retail locations are all things that many industries have moved past or at least tried to modernize. Although we’re not fully in the stone age, and modern marvels like online retail are a huge part of skateboarding today, we’re still seeing new physical shop locations pop up all the time. Opening up a skate shop requires a lot of money, time, and effort that most skaters, including myself, could never commit to. If you are a brave soul looking to venture on that journey yourself, though, we’ve got your back. We spoke to a few different shop owners who have opened their doors within the last few years to find out more about the process of opening up a skate shop in today’s economy and compiled their advice into this handy guide for future skate shop owners of the world. FINDING A LOCATION Lord Harold Samuel, a UK real estate scumbag of the early twentieth century, coined the phrase “Location, location, location.” And although trusting a British guy from the early 1900s seems like a trap, what he said rings true for skate shops. A good location is absolutely key to the success of a shop. Ideally, you’d like to find an affordable space with a lot of foot traffic from skaters and non-skaters alike. Having your shop full of yuppies and tourists might not be what you imagined, but those regular-ass people who don’t know what is cool and... read more

“Who is Crystal Media? plus special BRA Member discount and access to view the ‘Reels Means Deals’ on-demand webinar right now” by Doug Works via BRA

A warm and enthusiastic WELCOME to our newest BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Crystal Media!    As a Board Retailers Association member, you save 15% on select Crystal Media Services! As always, we at BRA continue to bring you Supporting Vendor Partners that are here to save you time and money.  Crystal Media is one of them.  Take a look and decide for yourself whether this will work for you and your company,  Please give us feedback at  with your opinions.  For a decade, Crystal Media has been devoted to helping retailers—just like you—grow through social media. Their team has worked with thousands of companies in the retail industry to help them generate millions of dollars in additional revenue by deploying successful social media campaigns, providing consulting services, and managing digital marketing on their behalf. They’ve also taught thousands of retailers how to implement social media that delivers powerful results. What makes Crystal Media special is their unmatched expertise of retail and social media which allows them to produce what their clients care about most—results. Their passionate, approachable team of experts that, as a client, becomes an extension of your team—encouraging and supporting you no matter what your comfort level is with social media. They live their happy-to-help motto everyday, and are grateful to play a small role in helping independent businesses make a positive impact in their local communities. Check out these Crystal Media services to see what’s right for you and your business.Board Retailers Association members save 15%!  Use code BRA15 at checkout.➤ Insider: The social media membership every retailer needs. Get comprehensive, on-demand training, transformative virtual and in-person... read more

“A Closer Look at Retail & Labor in Inflationary Times” by Rob Kaufelt via The Robin Report

As the former owner and CEO of Murray’s Cheese and a veteran supermarket executive, I feel compelled to weigh in on the current economy with some insights from the past. Having experienced the best and worst of times, I am only mildly optimistic about the future. That said, the headlines grow increasingly dim: inflation, recession, global stagflation, even “greedflation.” On the one hand, job openings are near record highs at 11.4 million in April alone. On the other hand, 6.5 million jobs were added in the last year. Record numbers of workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs, often without another offer. Yet wages are up and that’s part of what’s stoking inflation. The Economist predicts, “The next downturn ought to be mild. But even a mild recession must be followed by an upturn for the economy to return to full health. And with a fiscal policy on the sidelines and monetary policy badly hobbled, the chances are that America would face a painfully slow recovery. After two years of focusing on high inflation, low growth may move back to center-stage as the economy’s principal problem.” Sometimes inflation is an excuse to raise prices. Anticipating that prices would rise allows us to raise prices on existing inventory, purchased at a previously lower cost. Today, we read about inventory overstock, following dwindling demand after the surge of consumer purchasing during the Covid lockdown. Just look at Target’s current dilemma. Added to inflation, the current headlines admittedly make it hard to stay upbeat: war, an endless pandemic, climate change, supply chain disruptions, governmental dysfunction, and schoolchildren being massacred. That uncertainty makes even... read more

“42 Things No One Told You About Starting A Retail Small Business” by Bob Phibbs via Retail Doctor Blog

Owning your own small business or retail store is a goal of many. You can be one of the few small business owners who make the dream a reality. You just need to understand what you are in for as far as start-up costs, cash flow, as well as what it takes to be profitable before you open your doors. Your marketing strategy should include understanding your target market and what products they will buy from you in enough volume with high enough profit margins for you to live the lifestyle small business owners dream of. While I don’t believe in build it and they will come, I do believe if you go in with your eyes open, you can have it all. I’ve met thousands of business owners from all over the world who prove it. And, you’re going to learn how to increase retail sales sooner or later anyway, why not learn the pitfalls you will encounter when you start a retail business before you take the plunge? If you’ve already opened a new store, read on to see how many you’ve already encountered… 42 Things no one Told you About Starting a Retail Business: 1. Your retail shop will be solicited for donations before you make your first sale. 2. People in your town will assume you are rich because you have your own business. 3. Some days you will donate more products to charities in your community than you will sell in your store that day. 4. As soon as you figure out what your customer wants, they will want something totally different. 5. Every lunch will be eaten standing up, and only one bite... read more

“You Might Not Need to Worry About Breaking a Brand New Surfboard Ever Again” via The Inertia

Editor’s Note: Just bought a new surfboard? Check out Surfcare, a new option for peace of mind. You just dropped an unforgiving grand(ish) on a creamy white hunk of fiberglass – straight off the rack from your local surf shop. It’s silky to the touch. Your eye skims its clean eyes with adoration. You’re beaming with pride. You’re also a little sheepish about the purchase. The expense to fragility ratio is merciless. The reef doesn’t care about your investment. Nor does the minefield of surfboards at crowded spots like Malibu. Nope. They’ll happily break your board for you and kill that joy at no cost. The fragility of expensive surfboards has long defied logic for addicted, cash-constrained surfers. But a sensible solution may have just hit the market. Enter Surfcare: insurance for your brand new surfboard. “I was on a six-month trip to Indonesia when I had my ‘aha’ moment,” says Surfcare Founder Nick Stolz. “I showed up to the tiny Island of Sipura in the Mentawais with a brand new quiver of boards. Within a couple weeks, however, I broke every single one of them surfing HT’s and waves on neighboring islands. That’s when I decided to make Surfcare a reality.” Surfcare cofounder Nick Stolz charging Nias prior to breaking all of his surfboards and deciding to do something capitalist about it. Photo: Courtesy Stolz According to Stolz, the brand launched last month after three years of development and hoop-jumping to abide by regulations in the understandably no-nonsense insurance industry. Insurance is not a bro-bro industry.  Warranties must be vetted and maintained. “To get a little into the weeds, I didn’t know what I was... read more

“7 Ways To Transform Retail Store Displays Into Sales” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

There are a lot of ways your sales displays can be your silent salesperson. The trick is to make sure your displays include some of the basics. Try these seven ways to make your retail store displays do more than just look attractive. 1. Change your displays monthly You’ve got to keep your customers guessing – a little, anyway. Every couple of weeks move the sales displays around to keep them from getting stale – and certainly move them when new merchandise comes in. Since the fairly new products will still be selling, switch your displays two weeks after their arrival. Move one display from the front to the middle of the store and another display from the middle to the back. Discover: How to craft a retail merchandising plan with this comprehensive primer 2. Try a little tenderness In merchandising, as in life, the best things are things you want, not what you need. So give your customer that as well. Put the fanciest, newest, most expensive, dream-worthy items in the most prominent place in your store. Be sure to have several levels of height and enough products so that the customer can pick up and touch these desired items without having to totally dismantle your beautiful display. 3. Never, never, never, EVER build a monochromatic display Generally speaking, group items by product use or two or three colors – you’re looking for the one thing that makes it a group. Unless you run a grocery store, your grouping shouldn’t be entirely made up of one product. That’s warehousing, not merchandising. You can create a sales display by product... read more


Collecting skateboards is a pain in the ass. Boards are heavy, you need a lot of space to store them, and they will happily catch fire if your house ever burns to the ground. But that hasn’t stopped a small group of hardcore collectors who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours finding and preserving iconic boards from the past. We’re not talking about your average skater who has a couple of old scratched-up decks lying around in the garage, we’re talking about the big fish – the guys who could put a downpayment on a house if they were to liquidate their collections. As we have very little experience ourselves collecting decks at that level, we hit up three collectors to learn the basics and how they found themselves deep down the rabbit hole. If you ever wanted to reclaim a piece of your childhood and cop that elusive Muska deck or Think board you saw in a CCS catalog, hopefully, this guide will be a solid place to start. Happy Hunting! DAVE SKOOT How long have you been collecting, and how much have you spent on decks so far?I’ve been collecting seriously now for the last six years, but my love for certain graphics started when I first started skating. I don’t really like to talk about money but hey, this is Jenkem, right? So let’s just say I have over 600 boards. Most of them are worth over $400, some a $1000, and I didn’t pay anything close to that for any of them. Also being single with no kids at 42 allows me to... read more

“UCSD Surf Team Awards First College Scholarship for Surfing” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

We all know that you can get your college tuition subsidized, even fully covered, for playing sports like basketball, baseball, or football in college. Well, now the same holds true for surfing. University of California San Diego just handed out the first college surfing scholarship recognized by the National Scholastic Surfing Association, the governing body for youth competitive surfing. The scholarship went to Makena Burke, a freshman at UCSD who has been topping the podium quite a bit recently and absolutely shreds – just check out her Nicaragua edit, above. The 19-year-old from Ventura, Calif. recently won the state championships at San Diego’s Seaside Reef in March, and three days ago won the NSSA National Championships at Salt Creek while carrying the UCSD surf team to a third place finish. UCSD is likely the most surf-oriented college in the nation, with surfboard-shaping classes, research programs such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and famous surfer graduates like Holly Beck, Cliff Kapono, and others. Oh, and the college itself is located right above Black’s Beach in San Diego, a.k.a. the “Californian Pipeline.” Which also happens to be the training ground for the UCSD Surf Team. “Being able to give out the first surf scholarship gives us great pride and (the) support from like-minded organizations in our home town means a lot,” says UCSD Surf Team Head Coach of 20 years Tyler Callaway, speaking to the donors that made the scholarship possible. Be sure to visit The Inertia website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. Speaking of helpful articles from the good people behind The Inertia, you may want to click on... read more

“View the most recent BRA X M1 quarterly webinar about e-commerce featuring George right here. You can also view the previous quarterly webinar about staffing plus all four 2021 BRA quarterly webinars here on demand at no cost” via BRA and Management One

Once per Quarter, Board Retailers Association hosts relevant and helpful webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. You can view the 2nd Quarter 2022 webinar as well as the 1st Quarter 2022 webinar and all four of the excellent 2021 collaborative quarterly webinars below (scroll down). Description of The 2nd Quarter 2022 Webinar: If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that retailers who stayed ahead of the curve survived and thrived after the shutdown. Every business has unique internal and external factors that affect its ability to pivot and adapt to the evolving retail landscape, but it is critical to remain open to progression. View our live panel discussion with Nico and Dane of Management One, Dan of Retail smart Guys and George (our very own Chairman of the Board Retailers Association) on June 16th as we break down the strategies that are helping retailers achieve success in 2022 and beyond. Learn how independent retailers are strengthening their e-commerce, digital, and analytics strategies to maintain growth and overcome a changing economic landscape. Presented by Management One and Board Retailers Association Push play to view this informative and fun 2nd Quarter 2022 collaborative BRA + M1 webinar featuring BRA Chairman and Owner of Modern Skate & Surf, George Leichtweis, as well as BRA Supporting Vendor Partners Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys and Dane Cohen & Nico Cabral of Management One, We have embedded the recordings of the 1st Quarter 2022 webinar as well as all four of the excellent 2021 collaborative quarterly webinars below for your convenience. “Talent Acquisition: Building a Team Structured... read more

“The Technologies Reinventing Physical Retail” by BOF Team, McKinsey & Co. via The Business of Fashion

Engagement with in-store technology can lead customers to spend up to four times longer shopping than customers who simply browse. (Getty Images) In-store mobile apps and micro-fulfilment tech can address consumer pain points and enable companies to incorporate their physical retail networks into omnichannel shopping journeys. KEY INSIGHTS In store, customers who engage with technology spend up to four times longer shopping than those who do not.Mobile apps provide a frictionless shopping journey, whether a customer is seeking convenience or an engaging, social experience.Micro-fulfilment technologies enable brands to process orders efficiently from stores, reducing associated costs by up to 90 percent, and can lead to higher conversion and customer satisfaction rates. This article first appeared in The State of Fashion: Technology, an in-depth report co-published by BoF and McKinsey & Company. The rules of physical retail are changing. Pressure on the economics of operating stores has been mounting, particularly since more and more consumers began embracing the convenience — and safety — of e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic. But physical retail is far from dead. A 2020 survey of European consumers showed that 60 percent of respondents wanted to see or touch products in-person before buying, while 50 percent shopped in stores so they can take items home immediately. As pandemic restrictions subside, the percentage of customers shopping online is expected to fall 3 percentage points from 2021 levels across key markets, including Europe, the US and China. This presents an opportunity for players to reshape the role of stores in their overall retail mix. Engagement with in-store technology can lead customers to spend up to four times longer shopping than... read more

“Life Jacket Essentials: What to Keep in Your Life Jacket if You Want to Get Found” by Mario Vitone via Wakeboarding Mag courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

Pockets in life jackets serve an important purpose. The best life jackets have pockets for a reason – Mario Vittone explains what to keep in them in case of an emergency. Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard When it comes to life jackets, there can be a big difference between what the U.S. Coast Guard requires and what you may need in an emergency. The requirement for having life vests aboard is obvious, but should you go overboard, keeping your head above water isn’t the only thing you’ll need to worry about. In many overboard scenarios, you’ll also need to be found. That’s why my favorite life jackets have something in common: pockets. Choosing a brightly colored life jacket with reflective strips is a good start, but no matter how bright the material, it gets dark at night. Rescuers searching for even the most colorful life vest will have to put a light directly on you for the color or reflective strips to matter. Pockets allow you to tie in a few modern and extremely effective active signals so that your life jacket, and you, will get found easier and faster. Bring a Light Absolutely nothing screams “Look over here!” like a waving flashlight. A small waterproof flashlight that you can point in the direction of a searching boat or aircraft can make a profound difference—and it’s handy around the boat even if you don’t end up in the drink. Search and rescue crews use night vision technology, allowing them to see even the faintest light from great distance. But be careful: night vision goggles are not very good at detecting... read more

“Do mental illness and retail entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Andy Dunn selfie from June, 2018 – Source: Twitter/@dunn In his book, “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind,” Bonobos co-founder and former CEO Andy Dunn opens up about his bipolar disorder diagnosis, exploring the inherent challenges as well as how it fueled his entrepreneurial spirit. On the positive side, Mr. Dunn writes in the book that his “controlled hypomania” helped him work long days and generate “kinetic positive energy” to inspire his staff, recruits and innovation. He writes, “Everything is clicking, everything is making sense, life has purpose. Colors seem brighter; gratitude flows. This is the zone where creativity and productivity flourish.” Mr. Dunn hit a low point about a year before Bonobos’ 2017 sale to Walmart when he spent a week in a psychiatric ward and faced assault charges for hitting his future wife and kicking her mother. The book brings up the fate of Tony Hsieh, who died a few months after stepping down as Zappos’ CEO from injuries in a house fire following a drug spiral. Mr. Dunn told CNBC, “He was a hero to me. And then, obviously, he had been privately suffering. I think that’s a part of the typical entrepreneur archetype, someone who’s got that — a brilliant, charismatic spirit. And it’s expected, right? You got to show up with that every day, and that’s inhuman to expect out of anyone.” A UC Berkeley study found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48 percent of non-entrepreneurs. Of the entrepreneurs they studied, 30 percent had a history of depression, 29 percent had ADHD, 12 percent had... read more

“Building Lasting Customer Loyalty Amid Inflation” by Matt Ramerman via Total Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic plus the war in Ukraine created a perfect storm for inflation, and now the prices of goods and services are dominating the minds of consumers everywhere. Annual inflation rose by 8.3 percent in April, close to a 40-year high, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Everything from food and gas to travel and housing is more expensive, which has many consumers watching their wallets and shopping around for the best prices. With many concerned about rising inflation, we can expect once-loyal customers to switch brands if it means cheaper prices. The stakes have never been higher: in addition to inflation challenges, 87 percent of consumers across all generations avoid buying from brands they don’t trust (especially boomers). Now more than ever, you need to understand what your customers are facing and ensure they both trust your brand and feel supported. Since people are increasingly using their mobile devices to shop, this means your brand must be present where your customers are, regardless of time, location or channel (e.g., SMS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.). Related story: AI in the DMs: Seizing the Social Commerce Opportunity With Conversational Messaging The Secret to Communicating With Customers: Have Open Dialogs As consumers keep a close eye on prices, ensuring they’re able to converse with your brand is key. Now is not the time to be using high-pressure, high-frequency one-way campaigns focused on driving conversions. Remember, since they’re ready, and willing, to experiment with new brands, your communications strategy with your customers needs to focus on inviting a relationship as means to build loyalty. Implementing a conversational marketing strategy not only allows you to have... read more

“BC Owner on Snow Season, Sales Trends and Inventory” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

BC Surf & Sport in Lone Tree, Colorado – Photo by SES Company Owner {and BRA Board Member} Bruce Cromartie answered some questions for us about how the snow season turned out, including what brands sold well. We also asked him about current sales trends and concerns about the potential for inventory buildup in the market. Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up for access before viewing: Click here to login or click here to sign up for a free 30 day Executive Edition trial. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more


For as long as I have been skateboarding, there have been so many debates over which trucks turn the fastest, which trucks grind the best, and which trucks last the longest. Each brand has their own specialty, and there’s no telling which trucks are truly “the best,” (although there are some that can be definitely be considered the worst). To get more familiar with the history and intricacies of these old metal contraptions, we put together a list of truck facts that you may not have known or even cared to think about. Hopefully, something is useful here, or at the very least, will help you the next time you play skate trivia. 1. THE SHOP THAT SOLD THE FIRST PAIRS OF TRUCKS IS STILL IN BUSINESS In 1962 Val Surf in Los Angeles was the first shop to sell trucks with the intent to use them on a skateboard. Ordering trucks and wheels from a roller skate company, they would put together DIY boards with help from students at the local high school. 2. THE RIVALRY BETWEEN THRASHER AND TRANSWORLD IS BASED ON TRUCKS In 1981, Fausto Vitello, one of the owners of Independent Trucks, founded Thrasher Magazine as a way to promote Independent and other brands. Two years later, Larry Balma, owner of Tracker Trucks, followed suit and launched Transworld Magazine. The two magazines had different views on skating, (“Skate and Destroy” [Thrasher] vs. “Skate and Create” [Transworld]) but were both created to promote their respective truck companies. 3. THE WORD “TRUCK” DATES BACK 1800 YEARS Short for “truckle,” which is a “small wheel or roller,” the word truck is derived from the Latin... read more

“Retail Moves From ‘The Great Acceleration’ To ‘The Great Rebalancing’.” by Steve Dennis via Forbes

A Best Buy store, a retailer of consumer electronics, operating in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.GETTY During the early part of the pandemic, it became popular to say that we had experienced 10 years of e-commerce growth in only 10 weeks. While that was rather obviously not close to being true, the idea of a “great acceleration” in just about all things retail made its way into the popular vernacular. Moreover, many media outlets and retail pundits declared that some trends—most notably grocery home delivery—were permanent sea changes. As it turns out, not so much. While it’s clear that some important shifts did occur during the Covid crisis, it’s also quite apparent that right now we are experiencing much more of a “great rebalancing” and a rather clear return to more familiar shopping patterns. As revealed in the today’s US Census Bureau monthly sales data report, spending in the areas with the greatest activity spikes over the past two years are almost all decelerating significantly, and the most pronounced spending shifts of the recent past are seeing a reversion closer to the mean. For example, big ticket purchases and fitness equipment outlays that had been way up, are now seeing year over year declines. Apparel and restaurant spending, which had been hard hit during the depths of Covid, are both now registering solid gains. The rate of increase in eating out now greatly exceeds food purchases for the home, bringing us closer to the pre-Covid relative share of spending. As more data comes in, the supposed massive acceleration of online shopping is now turning out to be closer to one or... read more

“Surf Cams Might Be Secretly Ruining Your Session” by Ella Boyd via The Inertia

Yes, you can see yourself surf. But do you want to see yourself surf? Photo: Screenshot//Surf Cam Rewind Why do we surf? Is it to escape reality and enjoy a connection with nature? Is it to challenge your personal limits, try new tricks, and progress as a surfer? Is it to “get away from it all?” With surf cams, and especially with the rewind function, all but one of those options are ruled out, leaving room for only hyper fixation on performance and an unnecessary obsession with personal appearance. In California, at least, surfing and filming are so heavily intertwined (Bruce Brown recorded The Endless Summer over three decades ago!) that one almost expects to spot at least one or two people pointing handycams in their general direction from the water. And this is fun, most of the time.  Walking down to the water through little groups of people basking in the sun, holding up vintage camcorders and squinting to find their surfer in the lineup is not only endearing, but nostalgic for a time where the only way to capture a moment was to grab your friend and give them a camera. Or, if you’re good enough, to be recorded for a surf film.  Being from Maine, I’ve not only accepted but even come to appreciate filming as another part of California surf culture. What I have not accepted, however, is the obsession with cam rewinds. In my experience, cams drain surfing from everything that makes it enjoyable. Back home, surfing was truly an escape. There was a cam for the local spot, run by some real estate guy, and sometimes... read more

“Instagram is Becoming the New Mall: 3 Ways to Start Conversational Commerce Marketing” by Beerud Sheth via Total Retail

Credit: Everyone knows Instagram as a social medium, but only a few realize it’s now becoming a conversational medium as well. Recently launched features now enable brands to conduct business with customers through private conversations. Businesses can now directly carry out commerce through Instagram. This is a powerful capability poised to transform e-commerce as we know it. There are over 1 billion Instagram users worldwide who actively follow businesses, and 90 percent of Instagram accounts follow at least one business. With a majority of users in the coveted 18-34 age group, Instagram is becoming one of the most important social engagement channels for businesses, along with WhatsApp. Today, businesses use Instagram to reach existing and future customers and partners as well as the general public with rich media content, including videos and sponsored ads. While Instagram has already become a huge asset to digital marketers, it now has additional capabilities that can drive overall business growth by fostering what’s core to achieving that growth — conversational commerce. Conversational commerce goes beyond collecting likes, shares and comments on product marketing posts and advertisements. It requires businesses to use Instagram to deliver personalized two-way conversations with followers across the consumer pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase journey. According to research from Meta, half of buyers said they engage in conversational commerce primarily through social media and messaging platforms, with 90 percent reporting they do so on Meta platforms (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram). Implementing Conversational Commerce Via Instagram to Fast-Track Business Growth Here are three ways to start your conversational commerce journey on Instagram and grow your business faster: Related story: There Can Be No Denying:... read more

“Airports and Mountain Resorts” by Jeff Harbough via JH&A Market Watch Blog

Seattle’s main airport is surrounded by communities and has grown like a weed right along with the Seattle metropolitan area.  It has no practical way to expand.  Through recent technology and some clever evolution of facilities the airport authority is doing everything it can to shoehorn more passengers and flights into the same space.  But there’s a limit.  Airplanes, which are big and fast moving, need a certain minimum vertical and horizontal separation no matter how sophisticated the technology of the plane and control systems are.  They also need to park and move around while they are on the ground. The same is true of skiers and snowboarders at mountain resorts in case you hadn’t figured out where I was going with this. It’s unlikely many new winter resorts are going to open.  Climate change, at least for the immediate future, will mean an overall decline in snow days and season length (yes, I know- good for some mountains, bad for others).  Here’s an interesting article on how conditions are evolving in Norway. Like with airports, technology in the form of snow making, faster lifts, etc. will try to ameliorate this where possible.  And mountain resorts will increasingly try to build their year around business. It might be ten years ago I first suggested the National Ski Areas Association change its name to the National Mountain Resort Association.  Still waiting, though the case is even stronger now.  I’m wondering if resorts, or I suppose resort groups as things have evolved, will offer not just multi resort but multi season passes.  Consider the permutations of passes you could sell- not just days... read more

“5 Ways To Ace A Quick Store Refresh Of Your Retail Merchandising” by Bob Phibbs via Retail Doctor Blog

When I lived in Los Angeles, I did business makeovers for the Los Angeles Times. Now that I speak and travel more, I only do business makeovers as a paid consultant.  Recently I was contacted by a spa and outdoor furniture retailer for help with a storewide refresh focusing on their Retail Merchandising. I’m sharing five tips any retailer can use to help refresh your store. Of course, if you’re looking for my personal help, you can contact me here. When I approached the store I was taken by how much Big Green charcoal was piled in the windows and throughout the store. There was no focal point so upon entering, your eyes would be drawn to the cabinet lights on the mezzanine. One of the traffic draws at the location is free water testing on the mezzanine. How to interrupt shoppers to see all we had? How to focus their attention down and not up? How to draw customers’ eyes to the other parts of the large store? And finally, how to help people clearly see their complete product offering? I can’t go into all we did but these are some clues to follow for your own store reset. You can see my live video of the start here and the conclusion 9 hours later here. These are not the ultimate final pictures as they were in the process of setting up a whole new outdoor kitchen area and we had a lot to clean up, but you’ll get the idea. How to Remerchandise Your Store Color leads the way. One of the things outdoor furniture stores have that most others don’t are umbrellas.... read more

“Why Retailers Should Refocus on Customer-Centric KPIs” by Greg Chen via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Fang Xia Nuo The science of customer attraction these days goes beyond offering a helpful, useful and accurate product that fulfills a need; it’s also about ensuring the customer is satisfied throughout their journey with your brand. Being top-of-mind for customers has become more difficult, with around 53 percent of global consumers having higher customer service expectations than they did a year ago. But how do you know if you’re meeting these customer expectations? The way to track this and to a successful digital transformation for startups is through data analysis. And yet, for all the different marketing channels and profit-centered metrics, many businesses fail to put customer loyalty and satisfaction at the heart of their data efforts. Without them, teams would blindly follow numbers instead of encouraging critical thinking and the implementation of value-based, customer-centric metrics. With so many different marketing channels and profit-centered metrics to keep track of, retailers often overlook crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on the relationship between a customer and the brand and how this ties into building solid customer loyalty and a customer-focused product. Building a data-driven organization around customer-centric KPIs helps startups guarantee sustainable strategies to keep them competitive and lead in their respective industries. Small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) especially must seize this opportunity and reap the benefits of a startup or SMB culture willing to act fast on meaningful data. Crucial customer KPIs are paramount to help measure and effectively monitor retail processes and performance. But what exactly are these KPIs that retailers must be aware of, and what do they mean for their business? Let’s take a look.... read more