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

“How to Increase Retail Sales in 2022 With Virtual Queuing” by Steve Covate via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Getty Images If the last two years have taught retailers anything, it might be that workforce trends can be just as unpredictable as consumer trends. The industry has always faced challenges in hiring and retaining talent, but the current labor shortage is nearly unprecedented. Workforce struggles paired with customers who are generally more finicky and impatient are forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink their strategies. Keeping employees happy has become almost as important as keeping customers happy — and the way people feel at work matters just as much as the wages you’re paying and the value you’re providing. Virtual queuing offers a way to improve the experience for workers and consumers alike. Changing the ways customers wait for service may seem like a minor adjustment, but the potential to increase efficiency, staff morale and, perhaps most importantly, sales is significant. In 2022, this potential can’t be overlooked. Related story: 3 Things to Consider for Omnichannel Success A Variety of Use Cases Virtual queuing is based on a simple idea: instead of standing in a physical line, customers check into a queue on their smartphones, then are notified when their turn comes up. Customers are free to do whatever they want — including shopping other parts of the store — while they “wait.” The wait itself becomes productive in that customers can ask questions and provide additional information to staff so that when they reach the front of the virtual queue, employees are better prepared to deliver outstanding service. Customers also can receive updates on estimated wait times and can even be sent virtual offers — e.g., digital coupons... read more

“The Evolution of Skate Videos, From VHS to TikTok – The medium might have changed over the past 50 years, but interest is still riding high.” by Guillaume Patigny via Vice News

This article originally appeared on VICE Belgium. When it comes to skateboarding, the only thing more important than actually going skating is making sure that you have footage of you doing it. You can tell people you’ve pulled off this, or jumped that, but without actual evidence of those particular alleged achievements, people will take you as seriously as Boris Johnson’s apologies. Skating owes much of its enduring popularity precisely to these videos. This has been the case for the past half a century, with the first ever skateboarding video dating back to 1965. Titled Skaterdater, a dialogue-free, coming of age short film shot in sunny California focused on a group of downhill skaters known as the Imperial Skate Board Club as they hoped to impress local girls with their prowess.  The film won the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at 1966’s Cannes Film Festival and has proved to have a long shelf-life, having been the subject of both academic study and extreme sports fandom. Skaterdater is still of cultural interest, even if it presents us with a vision of skate videos that looks nothing like the ones that aficionados like myself and my friends sit down and enjoy together today.  As skateboarding became increasingly popular amongst young people the world over, Hollywood cottoned on to the fact, featured skating in cult movies like Back to the Future and Gleaming the Cube. This was, as skate historians might remind you, a moment when the sport was still largely confined to pools, bowls, and ramps. The Californian surf-inspired skating scene of the 1970swas immortalised for younger skaters in the 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, directed by skate supremo Stacy Peralta. That’s not to say that skating was the sole preserve... read more

“Five Takeaways for Retailers from CES 2022” by Arick Wierson via The Robin report

Well, that was interesting. When CES 2022 came to a close, one day ahead of schedule; attendees were dismissed early as “an additional safety measure” for minimizing the risks of Covid-19. (Apparently the brain trust at the Consumer Technology Association – the entity which produces the annual Las Vegas extravaganza – didn’t think that the risks of Covid-19 would be all that high on the first few days of the show.) The Show Must Go On Granted, show organizers were pretty much in a no-win situation. The pandemic had already forced the 2021 show to go completely online – an endeavor that was generally viewed by most long-term showgoers as something of a dud. I completely agree as I was involved in the production of several exhibitors’ “virtual CES showrooms” which amounted to producing a slickly produced half-hour magazine show that highlighted brands’ new products. It looked great, but CES is really the place you go because you want to touch and see the new tech up close. Retail executives as well as leaders at consumer brands should really be thinking now about how AR/VR can be leveraged to help position themselves for the day when the tech eventually matures, and adoption reaches the tipping point. But this year event organizers seemingly made a suicide pact and vowed to make sure the show would go on no matter how much incoming fire they took on– and boy was there pressure to cancel. It was undoubtedly all this pressure of high profile dropouts that compelled Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro to post a lengthy Christmas Eve rant/missive/justification for why the show was still... read more

“‘You Can’t Feel A Fact: The Analytical Sales Personality Style’ plus ‘Why Training On the Salesfloor Doesn’t Work (video)'” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

When I was looking for a lawn spreader, I asked the sales clerk, “Why should I buy this one?” He quickly answered, “Because it makes sense.” At that moment he confirmed my suspicions that he had an Analytical personality style. I’ve previously shared my thoughts about the Amiable,  Expressive , and Driver personality styles. Today, with their sensible, fact-based approach, I’ll dive into some thoughts about the Analytical. It would be easy to dismiss the Analytical personality style as a bookworm, a techie, a person with too much information because then we would be thinking their depth of knowledge is somehow not relevant. But their focus on detail is what makes their sales ability an asset. No other personality style will delve into as much product knowledge and history as the Analytical. However, Analytical personalities are not necessarily the best fit for most stores. Sure, an antique dealer who is trying to get thousands of dollars for a vintage pair of eyeglasses really needs to be able to share all the reasons to justify the price. Or a luxury jeweler, or stained-glass craftsman, or even a plastic surgeon. Analyticals, like Amiables, tend to be introverted; they can share information as a defense mechanism. Consequently, the more nervous or under pressure they are, the more they will try to calm themselves by reciting facts about a product. The challenge is, only a third of the world really appreciates all that information. 63% or so of the population buys on feeling, not facts. You can’t feel details – most customers buy based on emotions. And for that reason, an untrained Analytical can be a liability for your sales... read more

“World Surf League Announces Its Finals Event Will Return to Lower Trestles” by staff writers via The Inertia

If it ain’t broke. Photos: WSL Well, it went so swimmingly, why not do it again? Following a World Surf League finals event in September that saw a fantastic mix of swell and conditions, the League announced today that its championship tournament will return to Southern California’s Lower Trestles. “The inaugural edition of the Rip Curl WSL Finals was an incredible success,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO, in a release. “To see the WSL Final five go head-to-head in amazing waves and to witness the women’s and men’s World Titles be decided on the same day, in the water, for the first time was special. This new format captivated our audience and drove consumption like never before and was the most-watched day of professional surfing with the largest live digital audience in WSL history. We are excited to return to Lowers this season.” The high performance wave at Lowers, the closest thing in the ocean to a wave pool, will once again host the best five surfers from the men’s and women’s season. That season, says the WSL, will start with 32 men and 18 women before a mid-season cut will cull the field to 24 and 12, respectively. In 2022, the WSL hopes to run its full 10-event schedule without any interruptions like last year, when the pandemic completely rerouted the Hawaii and Australian legs. The men and women will compete together at every event this season. That doesn’t mean things will remain the same throughout the year, especially with the constantly changing world we’re living in. “Given the complexities of global travel during this pandemic and the fluid nature of the... read more

“Let’s Talk Digital Growth in 2022” by Christine Russo of RCCA (newest BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

We are pleased to announce that Christine Russo of RCCA is our newest BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Below you will find a little Q & A about Christine Russo, who is an outstanding retailer resource that is currently offering a remarkable deal for BRA Distinguished Retail Members. – Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association DW: Hello, Christine. Should our retail members call you Christine, Russo or something else? CR: Hi, Doug. I’m Christine, but most people call me Russo. DW: What do you like about Board Retailers Association? CR: I love the programs, resources and articles that Board Retailers Association curates for independent specialty retailers. DW: Why are you excited to be a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner? CR: I am excited to be involved because I help smaller businesses do big things. I am here to educate and inform and provide no-cost guidance and information. DW: Awesome. What does that mean for our Retail Members? CR: I can help to answer the following questions: How can my physical store compete with ecomm? How can I offer what the retail giants offer? How can I provide the same (or better) options to my customers? I scour retail technology solutions to find suitable solutions to help independent, small to medium brick and mortar physical retail. And I share the information. For Free. DW: So what would you say that your mission is as it relates to our Retail Members? CR: My mission is education and information. DW: Is it true that you are offering a special package for BRA Distinguished Retail Members that contains a 3 hour consulting package... read more

“TEST YOUR INNER SKATE NERD WITH THIS NEW TRIVIA CARD GAME” by Alexis Castro via JENKEM MAG

photo: gordon eckler Skateboarders’ brains contain tons of factoids that matter very little in the “real world,” like who the first person to skate up a handrail was, or who invented the salad grind. We love to tease each other about who knows more about short-lived brands and pros who are now dust in the wind, and we wear that knowledge like a badge of honor. Now you can objectively fight over who the biggest skate nerd in your friend group is thanks to Gordon Eckler’s Skate Trivia card game.Gordon’s new game is published by Gingko Press, which has printed a lot of books about street culture, street art, and skating in the past. That means the game will likely make its way into proper book stores and fancy retailers, but thankfully it’ll also be available directly at your local skate shop. We asked Gordon about the process of producing and pitching the game, who his fact-checkers are, and how he was able to verify questions that are skate folklore. Do you think anyone finds having extensive knowledge of skate trivia to be a turn-on?[laughs] I’ve never been turned on by skate trivia. I think you’re thinking of the bar nights that are popular in places like Brooklyn. I’ve never been to one of those, so I can’t really say. Skate trivia nights are pretty popular in NYC, but they’re overrun by old white guys who only care about stuff from the ’90s or before. Is your game different?Very different. Early on when I was “road testing” the game with friends, I realized that if the trivia was all about one... read more

“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

Photo: RetailWire Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion, is a summary of  Steve Dennis’ recent Forbes article. Steve is President & Founder of SageBerry Consulting and a senior Forbes Contributor. He is the author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption. The U.S. Commerce Department released its monthly retail sales report Friday morning and, within minutes, my social media feed lit up with gloom and doom takes on the alleged sorry state of shopping. Various outlets ran negative headlines suggesting sales in December had dropped precipitously. Much of the reporting focused on results coming in “below expectations.” There is so much wrong in all of this. As a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers and a consultant/analyst for 30 years, I’m hard pressed to name one person whom I respect who pays much attention to month-over-month numbers. What we focus on is the year-over-year numbers (and more recently, because of COVID, the so-called two-year stack). Depending on which definition of retail you prefer (some exclude auto, gasoline and/or restaurant revenues), sales were up between 14 and 19 percent year-over-year — much higher than average and a record for the month. Then there is this whole expectation thing. I, for one, fully expected December to be lower than November — and so did most other folks in retail I talk to. Why? It’s been obvious supply chain concerns and earlier retailer promotions pulled a lot of holiday sales into October and November. Oh, there’s also a little thing called the Omicron surge. To be sure, there are reasons for concern. Inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, likely higher... read more

“A Brief History of Snowboarding – Rebellious youth. Olympic glory. How a goofy American pastime conquered winter” by Max Ufberg via Smithsonian Magazine

Snowboarder Shannon Dunn competes for Team USA in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in half-pipe. Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts via Getty Images Long before the term “snowboarding” existed—and at least 80 years before it was an Olympic phenomenon—people were zipping like surfers down snow-covered hills. The first known instance came in 1917, when 13-year-old Vern Wicklund stood on a modified sled that he rode down his parents’ backyard in Cloquet, Minnesota. Wicklund patented the idea nearly two decades later but produced only a handful of models. The sport picked up speed in 1965, when Michigan’s Sherman Poppen created the Snurfer by cross-bracing two skis and adding a string at the front for steering. Poppen sold close to one million units by 1970.  Sherman Poppen created the Snurfer, immediate forerunner to the modern snowboard, in 1965. Courtesy Snurfer LLC But the real breakthrough happened when Dimitrije Milovich, a Cornell University dropout, founded Winterstick, the first modern snowboard company, in 1972. With steel edges, laminated fiberglass and, most crucially, nylon straps for one’s feet, Winterstick’s boards allowed riders to fly through more treacherous topography than its predecessors had.  Snowboarding went mainstream soon thereafter amid a fierce rivalry between Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims. Sims, a New Jersey-raised professional skateboarder more interested in aerial stunts than in speed, founded SIMS Snowboarding in 1976. Carpenter, a race enthusiast from Long Island credited with coining “snowboarding,” created Burton Boards one year later.  “They’re endangering the public and possibly themselves!” As snowboarding grew in popularity, so did its reputation as a pastime for screwballs—a counterculture to skiing’s establishment vibe. In the 1980s, most North American ski... read more

“Managing Sales Behaviors to Improve Sales Performance” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

What are sales behaviors? They are a series of actions comprised in a sales process, the way salespeople act and talk with shoppers. It is not as some have said your thought process; it is something specific other sales associates can see or hear you do. For example, an associate standing behind the counter talking trash about another customer so everyone can hear is bad sales behavior. Importance of behavioral sales training in retail What are bad sales behaviors? Things a salesperson does that result in the shopper not making a purchase and leaving the store.  For example, I went into a Hugo Boss boutique. I didn’t see any salesperson in the store. I found a shirt I wanted to try on and finally spotted a sales associate in a cubby. I assumed he was finishing a sale with a shopper. I tried to get his attention but couldn’t, so I just tried the shirt on right there on the sales floor. The woman left and I assumed the salesperson would come over. Nope. He just stood in the middle of the store looking out into the mall.  As I walked past him, he said not a word, just stared out into the mall. That was bad sales behavior. What are good sales behaviors? Engaging a stranger, discovering the shopper, and making a sale. For example, at the same mall several hours later, I passed a Rituals skincare boutique. It featured a large hydrangea tree in the center and as I stopped to look, a young woman encouraged me to come in. “No,” I said, “I’m tired and just want... read more

“Outdoor Retailer Releases Education Schedule and Floor Plan For Snow Show” by Outdoor Retailer via Shop Eat Surf (plus free hotel room scholarship opportunity for BRA Retail Members)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, California – Outdoor Retailer Snow Show returns to Denver this month with a full schedule of in-person education and a redesigned floor plan structured around The Resource Center, a new information hub to access industry insight directly from experts. Snow Show runs from January 26-28, 2022, at the Colorado Convention Center, and the education lineup and floor plan are now available to help attendees start planning their schedules. “A wealth of resources and learning opportunities are available at Snow Show,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer Senior Vice President and Show Director. “The new Resource Center will give attendees direct access to critical data, and every education session and new connection can provide the right insight or inspiration to help elevate business. This time together to learn and build relationships is invaluable, and it paves the way to discover more of what the industry has to offer.” Education at Outdoor Retailer brings together industry leaders and subject matter experts to provide attendees with knowledge that can help their business and the industry thrive. The schedule begins with the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Industry + Intelligence sessions on Tuesday, January 25, the day prior to the opening of Snow Show. The Industry Breakfast kicks off Day 1 with a keynote on “The Art of Impossible” from bestselling author and peak performance expert Steven Kotler. Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) daily lunch sessions will feature important community conversations. And programming throughout Snow Show at The Camp and Trend + Design Center will offer retailers, designers, brands, and all attendees an opportunity to learn more on a variety of topics, including design trends, sustainability and climate... read more

“Content That Converts” (helpful downloadable report) via Total Retail

How retailers can grow e-commerce sales in a heightened competitive environment Over the past year, retailers have had to evolve their businesses to account for growing consumer demand for e-commerce. And for many consumers, the shift to online shopping is likely to remain post-pandemic. This provides an opportunity for retailers to capitalize. In order to do so, they must create compelling, differentiated online shopping experiences that stand out from the rest in a crowded digital landscape. This asset provides competitive insights including: How shoppable content can be leveraged to increase online salesTop benefits of incorporating shoppable content into your e-commerce strategyHow personalized shoppable content enhances customer experienceTips on shoppable content production that will drive customer engagement and sales Help your business succeed with shoppable content by downloading this comprehensive guide today. Click on the following link to download this helpful report: https://mytotalretail.tradepub.com/free/w_defa1071/prgm.cgi Offered Free by: Zmags Total Retail is the go-to source for executives looking for the latest news and analysis on the retail industry. Be sure to bookmark this helpful and relevant site:  https://www.mytotalretail.com/  If you are not already 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

“Volcom Unveils U.S. Olympic Snowboard Uniforms” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Men’s Brighton pullover jacket and the USST Hotlapper pant. Courtesy of Volcom Click on the following link to view additional official uniform photos from Volcom and related words via Shop Eat Surf: Volcom Unveils U.S. Olympic Snowboard Uniforms 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 already 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

“Rusty Preisendorfer Explains Why Your Surfboards Shouldn’t Be Bulletproof” by Rusty Preisendorfer via The Inertia

If your surfboard doesn’t dent up a little bit, it’s not a good thing. Photo: Rusty Surfboards/Instagram Editor’s Note: This feature was made possible by our friends at Rusty Surfboards. Like a fine pair of shoes, new boards need to dent up a bit. They need to get broken in. If a board doesn’t, chances are it doesn’t flex. And that would not be good. In the early 1970s, companies offered up composite boards. Aqua Jet, Hansen, W.A.V.E. and more. They leaked and had other issues. Founded in Santa Cruz in the mid-nineties by shaper Randy French, Surftech made a very strong, light board. Composite construction. At first it was long boards. Then in the early 2000s, they started getting a few shortboards from various shapers. Several major builders jumped in around 2003. I felt it was a viable construction. Excellent for beginners and weekend warriors. I did have some issues with the boards because they were made overseas in Thailand, but I signed up. Several of our best sellers. Early 2005. The lead time was approximately nine months. Blank Monday. December 5, 2005. Clark Foam shut its doors. No warning; just a fax coming through at about 11 a.m. Less than a month later we were at the Orlando Surf Expo. Arguably the biggest. We agreed to let Surftech show our models in its booth. Conspiracy theories ran amuck. It was just timing and good luck? Polyurethane foam was next to impossible to get. I had built EPS boards in the mid eighties, primarily for a wave pool contest put on by the then-ASP. It was in 1985 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was... read more

“18 Retail Trends That will Shape 2022 and Beyond” by Werner Geyser via Influencer Marketing Hub

Clearly, the most significant factor affecting retail trends in 2021, continuing from 2020 and undoubtedly continuing through to 2022, has been the global emergence of COVID. We have examined the effects in detail, including a massive post looking at COVID-19 eCommerce Statistics. However, we can’t state that all the current retail trends are because of COVID. Sure, it has accelerated many, e.g., the shift towards online shopping, but there was movement in that direction anyhow. COVID has severely altered the timeline of change in retail, however.  In this post, we look at some of the current retail trends, along with indications of how things could move in the foreseeable future. 18 Retail Trends for 2022 and Beyond: 1. Consumer Sales Have Generally Been Strong, Despite the Pandemic2. Still a Threat of Ongoing Store Closures3. Move Towards Online Shopping4. Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery are Expectations for Many Consumers5. Expansion of the “At Home” Economy6. Physical Stores Redesign Spaces to Make Customers Feel Safe7. Greater Use of In-Store Self Checkouts8. Increase in Contactless Payments9. Retailers Discover the Advantages of AI10. Increased Use of Voice Search and Personal Assistants 1. Consumer Sales Have Generally Been Strong, Despite the Pandemic 2021 has seen a gradual re-opening of the world economy. As Deloitte phrases it, “The high street re-opens.” With more non-essential stores now operating, many consumers have gone on a shopping binge. They are spending money they would typically spend on travel on other things, like home improvement and consumer goods. Many places are also loosening restrictions on the hospitality sector. This consumer-led recovery is likely to continue into 2022 and beyond. 2.... read more

“Shopping on Social Media Seen Hitting $1.2 Trillion by 2025” by Martine Paris via Bloomberg

Parcels inside a shipping container at the UPS Worldport facility in Louisville, Kentucky.Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg Shopping on social networks such as Facebook, TikTok and WeChat is going to grow three times faster than sales from traditional channels over the next three years, according to a study released by Accenture.  Social commerce, defined as transactions that take place entirely within the context of a social-media platform, will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025, up from $492 billion in 2021, the consulting company said in the report. The trend is being driven primarily by Gen Z and Millennial consumers, who are expected to account for 62% of the spending.  The most popular products sold via social networks include clothing, consumer electronics and home decor. Beauty and personal care is also seeing growth, with online influencers playing a significant role. The trend offers good news for mom-and-pop shops: More than half of so-called social buyers surveyed said they are likely to support small businesses over larger retailers and would likely buy from them again. This may allow new brands to build loyalty and gain traction. Accenture also found that around 3.5 billion people used social media in 2021, spending on average two and a half hours engaged with it per day. The market for social commerce is far less saturated in the U.S. and the U.K. than in China, where 80% of social media users make social-commerce purchases, according to Accenture. China is expected to remain the most advanced market for social commerce in size and maturity, Accenture said, with the highest growth being posted in developing markets such as India and Brazil.  The study is based... read more

“East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame Inducts Class Of 2022” via Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) newsletter

Photo: Mez/ESM The East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame inducted its esteemed class of 2021 yesterday in a ceremony at Surf Expo in Florida. A star-studded class featuring world champs, matriarchs, shapers and media moguls. Congratulations to all those who’s names are now etched in history. East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame class of 2021: Jeannie Chesser, Bill Hixon, CJ Hobood, Chris Lundy, Danny Melhado, Kristy Murphy, John Parton, Eric Penny, Kathy Philips (Cecil Lear President’s Award), Matt Walker (Media), Spyder Wright (Legends). Learn more Coast Surfing Hall of Fame by clicking this link: https://eastcoastsurfinghalloffame.org We, at Board Retailers Association, love the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC). We absolutely appreciate the entire staff for everything that they do to preserve the remarkable culture and history of Surfing and to promote surf shops. BRA would like to sincerely thank Glenn (former SHACC Executive Director) and the epic staff at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center for hosting the BRA Retailer Roundtable Event in November 2019 as well as each of the Supporting Event Partners including Solite Boots, Exchange Collective, Locally, Action Watch and Sambazon. Board specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations participated in this open forum solutions-oriented discussion about the issues and opportunities facing our industry today and in the future. – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director If you are a board specialty retailer interested in either Regular or Distinguished BRA Retail Membership, please complete this super simple join... read more

“4 Ways to Manage Your Company’s Online Reputation Without Ads” by Dave Lehman via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Eva-Katalin As you might expect, advertisements don’t win over customers anymore. Why? Consumers are  annoyed with ads. And so are marketers — 20 percent to 40 percent of clicks on paid ads are fraudulent. For these reasons, online reputation management, the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, has risen in importance. Recent research shows that 57 percent of marketers prefer to focus on boosting online reputation instead of advertising. It’s clear to see online reputation management is more critical now than ever before. Companies today need to create positive customer experiences to win new business. Rather than throw more money at advertising, consider these four ways to manage your online reputation that will help turn happy customers into revenue: 1. Gather customer reviews. Reviews are necessary for gaining new customers and ensuring the satisfaction of returning ones. When someone visits your store location, encourage them to leave a review and share their thoughts online. Be sure to send requests for reviews within 24 hours of the guest’s visit. Waiting too long to send a request may result in the guest forgetting their experience, meaning they’ll be less likely to leave a review. Related story: 9 Best Practices for Negative Customer Reviews 2. Build a referral program. When your business has a robust online presence, you can focus your attention elsewhere outside of strictly acquiring customers. That’s because happy customers bring in new customers. Incentivizing your guests to refer people to your store(s) will help your business grow faster. Consider offering gift cards, discounts and deals to your returning patrons and new ones. You can also create custom... read more

“Will 2022 be the Year of the Dark Horse in Retail?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

My father grew up on a farm in central Iowa in the 1930s and 40s, and although life in the post-Depression heartland was pretty harsh, among his fondest memories from his childhood are those of his many horses, each one of them different shades of black. As a youngster, he had a black Shetland Pony named “Spanky.” Then in middle school came “Spot,” a black Murgese And in his final years of high school, his father – my grandpa, who by this time was feeling a bit less worried with the worst of the Great Depression more than two decades in the past, splurged and gave my dad a powerful riding horse named “Lucky,” a jet-black Percheron – apparently a ‘big hit’ with ladies in town (OK, whatever you say, dad.) . It is pretty much a given at this point that retailers will eventually have to enable payment and checkout solutions that accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Anyway, decades later when yours truly was growing up in 70s and 80s in the Minneapolis suburbs, apparently my father felt that there was a gaping hole in my psycho-emotional development in that I had very little interaction with farm life, in particular, with horses. And the way in which he attempted to fill this void was with a near-endless menagerie of equine-themed birthday toys, trips to the annual ‘Horse Show” at the Minnesota State Fair and, of course, several trips to the cinema to see the now classic 1979 film “The Black Stallion,” starring Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. Now, by this point, you are likely asking yourself what all... read more

“How To Set A New Direction For Retail 2022” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

The start of a New Year is a good time to assess retail trends and where you’ve been and where you want to go. Otherwise, it can be just the same problems, different day. You have to believe there has to be more to running a retail store than a paycheck. Thank your lucky stars you were smart enough to figure retail out – about half a million business owners had to close since the pandemic began. But surviving isn’t fun… Let’s look at what didn’t and did happen in 2021 and set a new direction for retail in 2022. What didn’t happen Shipaggedon – As much as we were told driver shortages across delivery platforms including Amazon would exceed capacity by as much as 5 million packages per day, UPS and the postal service delivered 99% of their packages on time or with minimal delays. In fact, UPS, FedEx, and the postal service are delivering packages faster now than in the post-Thanksgiving period in 2019 Store closings – As much as we were told stores were out of style, store openings topped store closings for the first time in five years. And as direct-to-consumer brands realize profits are elusive in an online-only world, they are opening hundreds of stores. Christmas ruined by supply chain problems – Starting in August we heard, “shop early or you won’t get your gifts on time.” Yes, cars and some expensive niche items are still hard to find because of a shortage of some crucial materials like computer chips. And prices are up for all kinds of goods but in general, products are in stores. What did happen Unprecedented demand for... read more

“Watch: How a Snowboard is Made at the Never Summer Factory” by Lucky Lopez via Snowboard Mag

You may want to share the following video with your snowboarding customers: Since its inception, Never Summer has made all of their snowboards out of their Denver, Colorado HQ. Attached to the offices and showroom is the factory, which is open to the public for tours during business hours. Mary Lenefsky, assistant marketing director at NS, takes us through the factory and all the stages of making a Never Summer board. If you’ve ever wanted to see the process of how a snowboard is made, you can sign up for a tour by contacting Never Summer via the info on their website. Filmed and edited by Lucky Lopez. Snowboard Mag’s mission is to share the finer things of a lifestyle they call their own, to respect the past and embrace the future. Through storytelling, photos, film, and product, they understand the importance of life in the mountains and in the cities we live. Be sure to bookmark their remarkable website: https://snowboardmag.com/ 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

“Customers want you but choose Amazon, WHY?” by Dan Pankratz via Exchange Collective blog

70% of Americans Prefer to Shop Local You hear it all the time, “I love your store,” or “I want to support local,” and “I am over Amazon.” But it is no secret that millions of customers are going to Amazon’s market place to shop and buy. But in a survey of 1,500 Americans done by Intuit, they found that 70% of customers prefer to support local businesses through online and instore purchases. Connecting with your in-store customers online is critical. It is proven that a majority of shoppers start their purchases online. This means your website needs to give customers the option to shop what you have to offer. “But I will never be able to compete with online prices,” so what is the point of trying to have an e-commerce site? A survey done in 2020 by Red Egg Marketing found that 82% of customers surveyed are willing to pay more for a product from a local retailer, and 8 out of 10 customers are willing to spend more money at local businesses. Your website should be treated as the first stop for your customers. Exchange Collective What does this mean for brands and retailers? Exchange Collective solves this problem – it allows people to support their local retailer and buy the brands they want. Brands win by controlling their product images and descriptions, Retailers win by having Brands manage the product data so they don’t have to. In the past few years, it has become easier for retailers to set up e-commerce sites. Though it may be easier for retailers to set up a site, the... read more

“Director Jacob Rosenberg Discusses His Early Work and the Impact of Skate Videos” by Anthony Pappalardo via ONE37pm

Portrait by Brett Simon Video content is the driver of modern skateboarding, but for being so integral, it’s a relatively young medium that’s still evolving. During the 1980s, Stacy Peralta saw the potential and power of video, creating a string of influential full-lengths for Powell Peralta—the company he co-owned with George Powell—starting with The Bones Brigade Video Show in 1984. But it wasn’t until the early-’90s with the advent of 411 Video Magazine in 1993 and brands releasing video projects en masse that a sea change of how skateboarding media was consumed began.  Filmmaker Jacob Rosenberg spent his teenage years behind the lens, documenting the burgeoning scene around him in Palo Alto, California, filming at skate camps, in the streets, and documenting the next wave of skateboarders who would shape modern skateboarding and change its trajectory forever.  Rosenberg’s passion caught the attention of Mike Ternasky in 1988, who was working with H-Street, a company whose profile was rising in skateboarding and ushering in a new approach and look. Ternasky would later found Plan B skateboards in 1991, a “superteam” whose video output set a new standard in skateboarding, birthing the format of the modern skateboarding video still emulated today. Unfortunately, Ternasky passed away in a car accident in 1994, altering the trajectory of Plan B and for Rosenberg, suddenly leaving him without a friend and mentor.  Rosenberg’s knack for not only capturing tricks but the mood and moments around them became a key part of skateboarding videography’s vocabulary, but as he told me, none of that was premeditated. For Rosenberg, he was a kid given the keys to the kingdom, and energy and... read more

“Lake Tahoe Breaks Record for Snowfall in December, Closing Resorts and Roads” by Staff writer via The Inertia

Yeah, it’s deep. Photo: Palisades Tahoe It’s safe to say that Lake Tahoe, Calif. is off to a good start for winter. Maybe too good. The region smashed its record snow total for December, receiving a recorded 193.7 inches, topping the previous record of 179 set in 1970. And there’s still more on the way before the new year. Climate scientists are lauding the storm as  “very beneficial” to the region that has been hit hard by drought in recent years (quite possibly the understatement of the century). Resorts like Heavenly and Palisades were closed yesterday due to snow being too deep, with delayed openings today as well. “Today we broke a record,” wrote Palisades on its social platforms. “This is our biggest December storm in 50 years, and it delivered road closures and avalanche hazards. We’ve received nearly SEVEN FEET of new snow since Wednesday! It will be deep out there this week. Be sure to ski with a buddy, keep them in sight at all times, and avoid tree wells.” Traffic has also been hectic. Road closures have been rife throughout the region. Caltrans announced just hours ago that Highway 50 was closed. Interstate 80 has also seen numerous closures and delays from snow and downed trees. The freeway is currently closed from Colfax to the Nevada state line. In South Lake Tahoe, resorts like Kirkwood were also having trouble digging out from the record dump. The mountain announced it would try to open limited terrain today as avalanche crews made their way to the summits to control terrain. Palisades Tahoe also announced on its blog that has been tracking the storm, that slides cut off patrol workers... 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

“If you missed the most recent BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo or any of the other three 2021 BRA quarterly webinars, you can view them all right here at no cost” by BRA + 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 all four of these excellent collaborative quarterly webinars below. “5 Things You Need To Know Before Black Friday” (4th Quarter 2021 Collaborative BRA + M1 Webinar) As we begin to plan for 2022, retailers need to focus NOW on key areas in their business to set the stage for success through the holidays and into next year.  Without a doubt, the holiday season will be quite different than last year for both retailers and consumers, so how can you prepare for the unknown? From year-end tax strategies to digital marketing and supply chain moves, retailers will have their hands full in Q4 trying to navigate the challenges. It can be easy to lose sight of what is MOST important and impactful before the new year begins. Our live Q&A includes Paul Erickson of Management One and Doug Works of BRA speaking with Jeff Plattman of CohnReznick, one of the nation’s largest accounting, tax and business advisory firms, to get an informed perspective on how successful retailers need to plan their year-end to be set up for 2022. Push play to view this important 4th Quarter collaborative BRA + M1 webinar “BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo – Sept. 2021” (3rd Quarter 2021 Collaborative BRA + M1 Webinar) Concerns about the delta variant contributed to store traffic declines in July, combined with some signs that consumer confidence is wavering. The outlook for business in Q4 is nowhere near certain. In this Board... read more

“JENKEM PRESENTS: THE 5TH ANNUAL SKATEBOARDING SUPERLATIVES” by James Lee via JENKEM MAG

The world may have exploded twice over in last year but we weren’t really paying attention because 2021 was a historic year for skateboarding. Not only was it the first time that our hobby/sport/whatever was showcased on a worldwide scale, but it was also the year Tony Hawk sold his blood and his tricks. We saw Supreme expand their empire to Italy and Germany, while brands like StockX entered the skateboarding zeitgeist.To properly highlight the good, the bad, and the even worse of 2021 we sat and thought about it for like 45 minutes and decided to come up with this list. There might be some awards on here that you don’t understand, but as long as you get a laugh and prepare for another year full of unfathomable trends, hard slams, and then we’ve done our job! Previous Winners: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. BEST SPONSOR The US Government SKATE EVENT OF THE YEAR Milk Crate Challenge LAMEST BEEF Kelly Hart vs. Rad Rat TEAM OF THE YEAR 917 BEST FLICK Louie Lopez WHEN WILL IT END? Big Boy trend 7TH PLACE Nyjah Huston PLEASE, NO Jagger Eaton WHERE’D THEY GO? Business and Company MOST “FOR ME IT’S CRAZY LIKE” Leticia Bufoni MOST DEAD END Straye Words: James LeeIllustration by: Michael GiuratoShare this with a winner on FacebookReport this as uncounted votes on Instagram or Twitter If you like fun and intelligent skateboarding related articles, be sure to visit and bookmark: Jenkem Mag 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

“Office Depot Exclusive BRA Member Savings Program now available for all BRA Regular (no cost) and all BRA Distinguished Retail Members plus brand new 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: https://www.boardretailers.org/retail-membership/ Soon after you complete the following super simple join form, we will email you the link to gain access to this rad program and begin saving on over 20,000 Office Depot Products and Services: https://www.boardretailers.org/join-bra/ #boardretailersassociation... read more

“Managing Sales Behaviors to Improve Sales Performance” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

What are sales behaviors? They are a series of actions comprised in a sales process, the way salespeople act and talk with shoppers. It is not as some have said your thought process; it is something specific other sales associates can see or hear you do. For example, an associate standing behind the counter talking trash about another customer so everyone can hear is bad sales behavior. Importance of behavioral sales training in retail What are bad sales behaviors? Things a salesperson does that result in the shopper not making a purchase and leaving the store.  For example, I went into a Hugo Boss boutique. I didn’t see any salesperson in the store. I found a shirt I wanted to try on and finally spotted a sales associate in a cubby. I assumed he was finishing a sale with a shopper. I tried to get his attention but couldn’t, so I just tried the shirt on right there on the sales floor. The woman left and I assumed the salesperson would come over. Nope. He just stood in the middle of the store looking out into the mall.  As I walked past him, he said not a word, just stared out into the mall. That was bad sales behavior. What are good sales behaviors? Engaging a stranger, discovering the shopper, and making a sale. For example, at the same mall several hours later, I passed a Rituals skincare boutique. It featured a large hydrangea tree in the center and as I stopped to look, a young woman encouraged me to come in. “No,” I said, “I’m tired and just want... read more

“That Fun TikTok Video? It’s Actually an Ad.” by Sapna Maheshwari via The New York Times

Anna Layza is one of many TikTok users making money by advertising products in their videos. Ms. Layza posted an ad that involved wearing a unicorn onesie and retrieving a box of cookies at Target. Credit…Todd Anderson for The New York Times Brands are flocking to the platform like never before, drawn by its more than 1 billion users and its algorithm, which can make an ad seem like just another video. Ever since young Americans began their exodus from commercial television to streaming services and social media, advertisers have searched for the digital equivalent of home shopping channels, a place online where users might engage with ads rather than just quickly clicking past them. Now, they think they’re closer to finding this holy grail of marketing, and it doesn’t look anything like QVC. Welcome to the holiday shopping season on TikTok, where retailers are present like never before, their authentic-seeming advertisements dropped in between dances, confessionals, comedy routines and makeovers. Young men and women showcase shimmering American Eagle tops as pulsating music plays in videos designed to look as though they were filmed in the 1990s. A woman in a unicorn onesie retrieves a specific brand of cookies at Target to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock.” A home chef mixes and bakes cinnamon apple cakes from Walmart in 30 seconds, displaying a blue bag from the retailer. This kind of advertising presence would have been unfathomable for retailers last year, when President Donald J. Trump was threatening to ban TikTok because of its Chinese parent company and marketers were still struggling to figure out how to best reach the platform’s users. But President Biden revoked the... read more

“Help Wanted” by Pam Danziger via The Robin Report

In advance of the holiday season, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers in November and December. At least some of retail’s 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent projected growth for holiday sales is contingent on retailers having enough employees to ring up the sales, stock the shelves and pull-and-pack the online orders. Employee Shrink Then the November 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics reported jobs numbers dropped; retail employment declined by 20,000 jobs in October from 15.45 million to 15.43 million in November. Job gains in food and beverage stores (+9,000), buildings materials and garden supply stores (+7,000) and non-store retailers (+4,000) partially offset losses in general merchandise stores (-20,000), clothing and fashion accessories stores (-18,000) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-9,000). Retailers need to explore ways to make jobs more satisfying and fulfilling and to provide employees a path to a sustainable career. Pay and benefits are one thing but there are other non-pay factors that retailers need to consider. It all comes down to changing the employee value proposition. Overall, retail employment stands 176,000 lower in November 2021 than pre-pandemic February 2020. Even though the average weekly pay for a non-supervisory retail employee is now 13 percent higher than it was in February 2020 – $583 now versus $516 then – and 11 percent more on an hourly basis – $18.86/hour compared with $16.98/hour – retailers still can’t attract enough workers to fill their employment gap. The situation is even more pressing as national unemployment stands at 4.2 percent. Great Retail Walkout Throughout 2021, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)... read more

“Retailers: Here’s How to Manage Your December Cash Flow” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

When it comes to cash flow at the end of a year for most retailers, it is very easy to be overwhelmed. During a pandemic with supply chain disruptions, the threat of shutdowns, and limited occupancy it’s easy to miss the basics of December financial management. December has different issues than November’s cash flow; it’s the time of year that your cash flow peaks but there are a number of other season-specific problems which stores face… Seven December things that affect your end-of-year cash flow: Double payrollDouble shipmentsExtended demands for curbside and online fulfillment.Use up more suppliesNew employee retail sales trainingThe bulk of your year in salesTheft (internal and external) The holiday season provides a much-needed influx of cash to your business and cash flow worries seem to disappear. Nevertheless, the end of the year or first week of January is the prudent time for the savvy retailer to prepare for some upcoming bills. Don’t forget these items while you are hopefully counting your profits… The Landlord Most retailers have triple-net leases on their location. As such, they are responsible for their share of any increased property taxes, maintenance costs for common areas, and building insurance. It is a rare year when these cots do not increase. Most landlords, also looking to ease their own cash flow issues, will mail these assessments and bills at this time of year. The Employees Many companies, in the interest of easing their money problems at the end of the year, have year-end cash bonuses payable in the first quarter. Now is the best time to set aside the funds for these payments. The I.R.S. Though most retailers... read more

“Four Retail Lessons from the Hospitality Sector” by Robin via The Robin Report

It’s no coincidence that people have a love affair with cooking shows, and I’m certainly no exception. Whether I’m scrolling through Netflix, Hulu, FuboTV, or even the Travel Channel, a wide variety of chefs are ready to take viewers on a journey from individual ingredients to the finished dish. But it’s not the game-changing tips and tricks and generous servings of comfort and sophistication that grab our attention – it’s the entire cooking experience. The pandemic has unquestionably brought a host of new developments that could last a while – especially for fashion. As a result, executives have no choice but to pull back the lens on their store experience and take a clear-eyed approach to compel consumers to incorporate the brand into their daily lives. Watching these shows got me thinking about the overall fashion retail experience. From a small one-bedroom apartment in New York City to a Michelin-star restaurant, chefs everywhere are revising the rules of a great dining experience to revitalize their business. Could the lessons that restauranteurs have learned along the way help retailers rethink their online and physical store experiences? Lesson #1: Include Convenience in the Experience As the pandemic continues to ease despite some isolated outbreaks, consumers are beginning to go out more and look for new and exciting experiences after spending months at home. But this doesn’t mean that the newly discovered convenience of same-day delivery, curbside pickup, and buy online pick up in the store is going away anytime soon. Consumers want retail brands to know them, so they don’t have to repeat their needs and preferences during every visit. But... read more

“We Reviewed The Best Women’s Wetsuits for 2022” by Rebecca Parsons via The Inertia

Interested in staying warm? Look no further. Kelin Victoria Editor’s Note: Welcome to The Inertia. Find out more about us and explore some of our archives here. Wetsuits are both the biggest blessing and curse of surfing. They keep us warm and allow us to surf year round, but they’re pricey and can be a pain to put on and surf in. Luckily, wetsuit technology is constantly improving and the suits keep getting better. In a male-dominated sport however, it can be difficult to find gear specifically tailored to women, but the times they are a-changing, and plenty of awesome wetsuit manufacturers are making wetsuits with women in mind. So, I considered what qualities make a good suit and set out to find the best in the game. Here are seven of my favorites. What are the best women’s wetsuits for surfing? 1. O’Neill Hyperfreak Chest Zip 4/3 ($349.95)2. Roxy 3/2 Syncro Plus Chest Zip ($209.95)3. Cynthia Rowley x Roxy 3/2 Full Suit ($250)4. Patagonia R2 Yulex Front-Zip ($459)5. Billabong 3/2 Salty Dayz ($239.95)6. Billabong 4/3 Salty Dayz ($259.95)7. Kassia Surf Sea Caves 4/3 ($419) For booties, check out our guide to the best booties. Learn more about men’s wetsuits here. Want to avoid getting your ears drilled? Read our earplugs review here . Nothing is more comfortable or stretches better than O’Neill Technobutter. Photo: Jody Marcon What makes a good wetsuit? When it comes to selecting a suit, there are a few things to consider before shelling out your hard earned cash. My criteria when selecting a suit is warmth, durability, comfort/flexibility, and admittedly, style. A good wetsuit is warm. Warmth is the number one most important factor when selecting a suit. If it’s... read more

“GROUND GLASS: MARK SUCIU” by James Thompson via Jenkem Mag

2021 SOTY = Mark Suciu Everyone loves to say contests and awards don’t carry any weight in skateboarding, but every year, skaters seem to give a lot of weight to Thrasher’s Skater of the Year award. “SOTY Season” gives us a lot to debate about, like whether someone shotgunned enough beers in their b-roll clips, if their handrails had enough kinks in them, or if they even released enough footage to “really deserve it.” It all seems silly and trivial, but that’s the nature of this thing of ours that we all love to overthink. Now that the dust has settled, and all the congratulations and angry rants have been sent off into the void, I hope we can all agree there’s no denying Mark Suciu deserves his win. We’ve spent the year watching as he released a full-length’s worth of footage featuring marathon lines, multi-stair bangers, and a silly amount of handrail tricks. Our friend James Thomson spent a couple of days with Mark filming this 16mm edit for our “Ground Glass” series – Don’t think of this as yet another part of his “SOTY run,” but rather as a victory lap, and a showing of our appreciation for one of the best skaters of our generation. Intro by: Alexis CastroVideo by: James ThompsonShare this with a film freak on FacebookReport this as too analog on Instagram and Twitter If you like fun and intelligent skateboarding related articles, be sure to visit and bookmark: Jenkem Mag 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

“Gen Zers relied on buy now, pay later during the holidays. It’s time to pay up.” by Maria Monteros via Retail Dive

ViewApart via Getty Images What may be a beneficial feature to retailers poses risks to young consumers who’ve increasingly flocked to installment services. The busiest days of the holiday shopping season may be over, but some young consumers have yet to pay their dues to the likes of Klarna and Afterpay. The wildly popular buy now, pay later services were the go-to payment option of about one in five holiday shoppers — 22% of which were Gen Zers, according to NerdWallet. Of the Gen Z respondents who’ve used BNPL, 43% said they missed at least one BNPL payment this past year compared to just 31% of millennials, an October report from Piplsay shows. BNPL lets consumers pay for big-ticket items in smaller amounts per month, typically interest-free, an attractive option for younger shoppers who may not have the cash to pay everything all at once, experts said. “Buy now, pay later makes the purchase seem smaller,” said Joel Rampoldt, a managing director at AlixPartners. “It enables you to get today what you couldn’t necessarily afford today.” It isn’t unusual for consumers to be filled with holiday fear rather than cheer due to end-of-year debt. In fact, almost 30% of consumers haven’t paid off their balance from the 2020 holiday season, NerdWallet’s survey indicates. Another survey from credit card brand Discover in November found that 44% of Gen Zers expected to spend more during the holiday compared to 33% of Millennials. For consumers, but especially for Gen Zers, BNPL has provided an alternative to credit cards’ high-interest rates during the busiest shopping season of the year, attracting the attention of retailers who have increasingly adopted this... read more

“12 Secrets of a Successful 2021 Holiday Season for Retail Managers” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Taking on retail manager responsibilities is a big job at any time but especially during the holidays. Making an awful lot of people happy at the holidays doesn’t happen unless you have already put the effort in with your own team. When I was in college, I worked nights and weekends in a department store. I was there for the guys shopping on Christmas Eve and for the after-holiday sales, returns, and exchanges. Later, I changed jobs and quickly took on the retail manager responsibilities of a shop in the mall. My part-time retail job became my career. Mind you, I had no training to become a retail store manager and hadn’t even been an assistant manager. I had sold product really well. I showed up on time. I pitched in. I got good reviews and had loyal customers, but that work experience hadn’t prepared me for retail management, managing people, or what the season would be like as a manager. If that’s you, I’m going to share with you the 12 secrets of a successful holiday season. Think of this time in your life like getting a bachelor’s degree in running a store. If you’re a veteran store manager, these tips should remind you of what’s about to happen and help you make your sales goals. 12 Secrets of a Successful Holiday Season for a Retail Manager 1. It’s fun, customers will surprise you. You’ll meet the couple out shopping together and the guy really wants something, but his wife will say no, then give you a sign, return to pick it up and tell you after the holiday how... read more

“Are skateboarders really solving the world’s problems, one trick at a time?” by David Wharton via Los Angeles Times

Members of the Aunt Skatie crew gather at the South Pasadena Skate Park on Nov. 14.(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times) The women keep their distance. At first. Dressed in T-shirts and sneakers, skateboards in hand, they stand by a chain-link fence, talking, laughing, waiting to make their move. The Aunt Skatie crew, as they call themselves, has traveled east of downtown Los Angeles to convene just outside a community skate park outfitted with all manner of concrete stairs, banks and ledges for doing tricks. On a gray Sunday morning, they can see the space is filled mostly with guys. Killing a few minutes on an adjacent tennis court, the women ride in lazy circles as a portable speaker blasts rap music, its heavy beat mixing with the scuffle of urethane wheels. One of the men inside the park stops to peer through the fence at them; Maggie Bowen, the Aunt Skatie leader, is used to this. “Going into a skate park as a woman can be kind of intimidating,” she says. “Especially if you’re a beginner, guys look at you weird.” Their sport is not immune to cultural issues of race, gender and sexual orientation, but Bowen says “for women and queer people, it’s easier if you skate as a group.” And the increasing popularity of crews like hers has sociologists wondering if skaters might teach the rest of us something about inclusivity. The Tokyo Olympics helped show the world that skating is not just for white kids in the suburbs. People of color have risen to the highest levels of competition and the vibe is distinctly urban, fueled by hip-hop music... read more

“Bettylou Sakura Johnson Bests Carissa Moore to Win Haleiwa Challenger, 2022 CT Rookie Class is Set” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

Bettylou Wins Haleiwa Photo: Tony Heff/WSL No better way to start your rookie season than by beating the best of the best. And 16-year-old North Shore local Bettylou Sakura Johnson did just that yesterday in the finals of the Haleiwa Challenger, overcoming five-time champ Carissa Moore to top the podium and clinch her spot on the 2022 Championship Tour. “Getting on the tour has been a goal of mine since I was little, but I definitely did not expect to have a chance so soon,” said Sakura Johnson ahead of Haleiwa. “This last year has been a huge learning experience for me especially these last three Challenger Series events. As the name implies, it’s a challenge. I’ve learned that it’ll take more than just good surfing to win at this level because everybody rips. Strategy and decision making play a big role in the outcome, and a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.” All smiles for the 16-year-old. Photo: Brent Bielmann/WSL It was a nail biter all the way to the end, with five women in the semifinals competing for three spots on tour. When it was all said and done, Bettylou, fellow Hawaiian Luana Silva, and Australia’s India Robinson had claimed those three spots. But they’re not the only new faces on tour this year. They will be joined by Gabriela Bryan and Brisa Hennessy who clinched their spots on tour earlier in the Challenger Series, as well as wonder-grom Caitlin Simmers who has been cruising through the CS since she won the first event, the US Open of Surfing in Huntington. Overall, this rookie class marks a generational shift on the women’s... read more

“SIMA Announces Vipe Desai as New Executive Director” press release via Shop Eat Surf

PRESS RELEASES | Published Dec 7, 2021 – Reposted with permission from Vipe Desai of SIMA Orange County, CA (December 7, 2021) – The Board of Directors of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) are excited to announce the appointment of industry marketing veteran and environmental advocate, Vipe Desai, to the role of Executive Director effective immediately. Vipe brings more than 35 years of experience spanning retail, brand building, event planning and philanthropy to SIMA, and will be instrumental in guiding the organization and its members towards new opportunities for growth. Since 1989, SIMA’s goal has been to grow and support the surf industry through advocacy, market analysis, sustainability, networking and educational programming. Bringing together pioneers and startups, SIMA works to create a singular voice to support its members’ efforts to drive Billions in economic activity while supporting organizations that work tirelessly to protect the ocean. Vipe began his career in the surf industry as owner of H2O Surf Shop in Sunset Beach, CA. After 10 years in business,he went on to found the youth marketing agency Propaganda Headquarters, which counted Red Bull, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge, FedEx, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and numerous other clients. He has held leadership roles with Monster Energy and TransWorld Media, and currently sits on the board of such notable organizations as Ocean Institute, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast, and Skateistan, in addition to his corporate board appointments that include Brix REIT, Inc and Elevate.Money. “I am stoked to announce the appointment of Vipe as the Executive Director of SIMA and that he is excited to serve and looking forward to working with all our members.... read more

“With omicron landing in the US, do retailers actually need the vaccine mandate?” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

andreswd via Getty Images The National Retail Federation won a stay against the government’s plan to have big companies immunize or test their employees. That squanders a chance to thwart the pandemic, experts say. As the omicron variant of COVID-19 made headlines over the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend, President Joe Biden instituted new travel restrictions from eight countries and urged people to get immunized. A week later, as the new strain was discovered in the U.S., he announced a multi-faceted plan to get a better grip on the pandemic. The initiatives include, among other steps, encouraging immunization boosters for adults and vaccinations for children; developing vaccines for kids under five; expanding testing; strategizing best practices to keep schools and businesses open; developing new vaccines if omicron proves resistant; and calling on companies to ensure their workforces are vaccinated. The last reflects the recognition of the workplace as a vector for the disease. Notably absent, however, was Biden’s attempted mandate for companies of 100 or more to either check their employees’ vaccination status or test them weekly if they’re unvaccinated — a requirement blocked in recent weeks after the National Retail Federation and other groups challenged it in court. According to the CDC, nearly 60% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, though community transmission remains high. Reported cases were already resurging before the news of another mutation. Omicron, which by Sunday had been reported in a third of the states in the U.S., is a variant that appears to carry “an increased risk of reinfection” and “may have a growth advantage,” according to the World Health Organization. On Friday, as first reported by the New York Times, a group of scientists, noting that their data is very early, said that omicron in South Africa... read more

“How to Improve Talent Retention This Holiday Season” by Dr. Natalie Baumgartner via Total Retail

Credit: iStock.com by Drazen Retail workers are leaving their jobs at a record pace, with 721,000 workers quitting in August alone, maintaining an industry high for employee turnover since April. What’s more, employers in the retail space that were already facing massive labor shortages are now also preparing for increased seasonal hiring — making employee engagement more critical than ever. Employee engagement is a key driver of employee motivation, retention and happiness — and is a critical factor for retailers to empower their workforces. To foster a culture of engagement, it’s essential that retail leaders establish meaningful connections throughout their organization. However, it’s difficult to create connections among retail employees as frontline team members hold a customer-facing position, working less collaboratively with their managers than in a traditional office setting. This lack of connection is creating a disengaged workforce as only 65 percent of retail employees are engaged. So, what will it take to retain and engage workers during the busiest season of the year? Let’s dive into three strategies retail leaders should consider. Encourage Frequent Recognition at All Levels Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of employees wish they received more recognition at work. When employees are regularly recognized it results in lower turnover. Fostering a culture of employee recognition is clearly critical for retention, but the approach must come from the top, and recognition should be ingrained in every aspect of the company to make a real cultural shift. To create a culture of recognition, retail leaders must approach it like all business objectives, with a plan of action. Employers can activate their recognition strategy by prioritizing manager check-ins, incentivizing internal recognition and providing rewards, which can include... read more

“Retail Sales Training: Pepper Your Presentation to Remove Insecurity” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Ever been at a great dinner and used the salt instead of the pepper? The whole entree is ruined. This retail sales training blog is about peppering your approach to avoid the salt of insecurity. A colleague of mine, Carol Spiekerman posted this on her blog. I thought her story was perfect to illustrate the finer points when you are training retail staff. I’ll share my comments after but here’s Carol’s story… “Last Saturday, my just-divorced friend and I spent two hours browsing Best Buy (breaking my previous record by about one-and-a-half). After a long and icky battle, she and her ex-husband finally made it official, and she was excited about trading her “perfectly good” room hog of a television; receiver and speaker set-up for a streamlined home theater system. She’d asked me to accompany her because she was “clueless” about technology yet ready to splurge big time; she wanted me to have her back. BTW, both my friend and Mr. Ex had enjoyed soaring salaries, so funds weren’t the issue. Every minute of this visit reeked of “customer centricity.” The sales associates could not have been more professional: the first one deftly guided us through computer speakers— though they were not even on my list, I started poking around. Plugging his iPhone into the demo unit and flashing a conspiratorial grin, he took me up on my dare to crank up the volume on the $150+ Klipsch set . . . and when it came time to head to Home Theater, his seamless hand-off to a senior associate was a real thing of beauty. Once there, we were treated... read more

“Concerns over omicron could shift spending away from experiences, retail trade group says” by Melissa Repko via CNBC

A person with a hand full of shopping bags walks by as Black Friday sales begin at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky, November 26, 2021.Jon Cherry | Reuters KEY POINTS National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said Tuesday that the new coronavirus variant could direct more dollars toward electronics, toys, apparel and other items instead of vacations and movie tickets.News of the omicron strain came during a key time for holiday shopping.The trade group reiterated its forecast of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion of sales in November and December, which would represent an all-time high in holiday spending. As Americans bought gifts during the peak Thanksgiving shopping weekend, the discovery of the omicron variant made headlines and prompted action by public health officials. National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said Tuesday that the coronavirus strain could shake up spending patterns this holiday season and direct more dollars toward electronics, toys, apparel and other items instead of vacations and movie tickets. “We know, unfortunately, that when the variants have had a real impact on the economy, the goods side of the economy has actually benefited from that because people change behavior away from the experience side of the economy and spend more time and more dollars engaged in the goods side of the economy,” he said on a call with reporters. Holiday sales are expected to grow to an all-time high of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion of sales in November and December, which represents growth of 8.5% to 10.5% this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group reiterated its rosy forecast for the holiday season on... read more

“Jump on Board with Locally” by Calista Tufankjian

 Come ride the Locally wave Are you Looking for a new way to connect brands and shoppers? Locally is your answer. Locally is a dynamic store and product locator company with thousands of retailers integrated providing shoppers with nearby, in stock products throughout multiple channels. Retailers, if you haven’t already heard of Locally, let’s dive in and learn more about our latest technology and advancements. How will this help your business?  Locally’s mission is to help retailers surface their in-stock merchandise to nearby online shoppers by using digital marketing tactics, merging brand-provided digital product content with POS stock information. We connect shoppers to local stores that currently have the product they are looking for in-stock. Our platform keeps the workload for stores low, while driving new online shoppers into the door. Our platform closes the gap between retailers, shoppers and brands. We strive to bring everyone together.  Keep your customers happy  It is key to keep your shoppers happy, especially during a pandemic. Locally is all about convenience. We make it simple for any size retailer to offer in-store or curbside pickup and/or same day delivery to their community. Locally also displays local events, store hours and many more features. These advancements will help keep your customers satisfied. People live very busy lifestyles and Locally will save everyone time. Locally is here to simplify the shopping experience for the consumer and the retailer!   Shopping Locally is the way to be Shopping at your favorite local shop is the best way to support your community. Locally permits retailers to broadcast what they have in stock to local consumers. Without Locally,... read more

“The Future of Surf Pools” by Dashel Pierson via Surfline.com

Anyone with even the faintest interest in surfing can likely remember where they were, what they were doing, when the first video of Kelly Slater’s wavepool dropped. (I was on the couch, soaking in the reality of Adriano de Souza’s World Title win, which happened the day before, and watching the clouds begin to brew from what would become the Brazilian Storm.) It was a bombshell; it signified a new era, the second coming of surf parks. But that was just the beginning. That was 2015, just six years ago. And since then, an explosion of innovative technologies, new constructions, and worldwide interest has detonated in the artificial surfing space. Noticing this shift in surfing, a group called Surf Park Central began their annual summit back in 2013 to bring together visionaries and supporters in the field. And in early October, the group came together once again in San Diego to talk about the future of wavepool surfing. Guest speakers at the 2021 edition of the Surf Park Summit included Shaun Tomson, CJ Hobgood, Shane Beschen, Ian Cairns, Peter Townend, Matt Biolos, Timmy Patterson, and more movers and shakers in the wavepool space. Surfline’s own VP of Wave Venues and Progression, Pete Joszi, gave a talk on the future of wavepools and, particularly, the potential they offer for surfing progression. “If you’ve been following what’s been going on at places like BSR and a few other places,” Joszi said, “you can see that these things are synonymous with progression.” Joszi went on to discuss the future of Surfline’s involvement in facilitating progression at surf park venues – through hi-def cameras with... read more

“Investing in Associates is Good for Business” by Rob Klitsch via Total Retail

The tide is turning in retail. Despite staff and supply shortages that may burden shoppers and encumber stores during the holiday season, signs of growing optimism for the future abound. While last year the industry underwent a scourge of bankruptcies and closures, mid-year predictions suggest store openings could surpass store closings for the first time in years, and Forrester estimates physical stores will capture 71 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2024. Even digitally native brands, like Warby Parker and Allbirds, are making direct investments in their brick-and-mortar businesses. This speaks volumes. Yet, just as retail appears to be turning a corner financially, hiring competition continues to heat up. The retail and hospitality sector shed about 44 percent of hourly shifts in the early months of the pandemic, according to UKG’s workforce activity tracker, and has only recovered about half of those as of September. As holiday-induced urgency to hire workers drives corporate retailers to raise the bar on benefits and incentives offered to frontline employees, it’s difficult to brand these new employee-centric recruitment strategies as anything but positive. Related story: Retail’s Labor Crisis: How Can Everyone Win? New Benefits Offered to Frontline Retail Associates Take the Industry in a New Direction Good intentions have always been present, but until now, many at the corporate level didn’t necessarily have to act on those intentions. However, with no end to the labor squeeze in sight — and with holiday sales and customer satisfaction riding on retailers’ ability to staff the floor — it’s no wonder we’ve seen a dramatic shift in thinking among corporate retailers catering to frontline associates. New research from UKG finds 70... read more

“Virgil Abloh dies at 41” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Courtesy of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Dive Brief: Fashion designer Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and artistic director for men’s at Louis Vuitton, died on Sunday. He was 41.Abloh had been undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, for more than two years, but didn’t disclose the diagnosis to the public, according to an announcement from Off-White.Abloh wasn’t formally trained in fashion; he had a civil engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and master’s in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. But he has had a profound influence on today’s fashion and culture, even beyond the streetwear designs he is best known for. Dive Insight: The fashion world didn’t always know what to make of Virgil Abloh or his designs, but that only seemed to fuel his success. While he is best known for his work in apparel, Abloh’s work spanned several disciplines, including music and art; his graduate architecture studies featured curriculum developed by Mies van der Rohe, according to a press release from LVMH. Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh in 2012 began as a work of art dubbed “Pyrex Vision,” and the next year debuted as a branded runway collection during Paris Fashion Week. In 2015 Off-White was a finalist for the LVMH Prize. Earlier this year LVMH acquired a majority stake in the brand; previously Farfetch had acquired it when it took over parent New Guards Group. Abloh’s work with LVMH has been longstanding, and he was appointed men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton in 2018. “We are all shocked after this terrible news,” LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man... read more

“How To Use Email Marketing To Increase Retail Sales In December” by Bob Phibbs (the Retail Doctor)

Are you looking for how to use email marketing in December to lure holiday shoppers back to your store again and again? You’ve come to the right place for ideas. Customers are out there shopping for a once-in-a-generation spending spree, but how focused are you on reminding your shoppers that they should buy from you? At this busy time of year, you have to frequently send email blasts to your loyal customers. You have to say, “We have this product in stock right now and you can take it home today!” One of the most obvious ways to market your message to your retail customers is to use those services that don’t cost you anything, especially email and social media. And yes, email marketing opens are on the decline but still the best way to reach shoppers who have purchased from you. We often forget how necessary reinforcement is to your audience of consumers who like and prefer your store over Amazon, but who still shop with competitors because you let them forget you exist. And a lot of that comes from other retailers and email marketers building brand awareness while you take your own for granted. The more impressions you can consistently make with your fans at this time of the year, the more they will remember they like your retail shop, reinforcing their beliefs about why they chose your brand in the first place. And that can’t be another message your email recipients received jammed with too many products, too many discounts, and too many images. Keep it simple with one idea. Good emails update your customers’ email boxes... read more

“HALF OF HOLIDAY GIFT SPENDING WILL BE SPENT ON GIFT CARDS” via Industry Resource

People around the world plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, and more of that spending is targeted at gift cards according to the 2021 Global Holiday Shopping Forecast released by global branded payments provider Blackhawk Network. The report found that almost 45% of holiday spending this year among respondents across ten countries around the world will go to gift cards—a 27% increase over last year. Because of the ease of giving a gift card and the growing concern over slower delivery times and global inventory issues, even more people have embraced gift cards and are eager to give and receive them. “This year more than ever, consumers’ holiday shopping plans will differ from country to country. As pandemic hotspots shift around the world, some people will have relatively familiar holiday shopping experiences while others will continue to keep their distance,” said Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing & corporate brand, Blackhawk Network. “This holiday season is going to be uniquely unpredictable for retailers and consumers alike. However, according to our research, one trend that looks to remain consistent across the globe is using gift cards as a universal gifting language. Merchants and shoppers need to be prepared to react and adapt to this year’s challenges and gift cards offer the unique flexibility to do just that.” Blackhawk Network’s Holiday Forecast examined global attitudes and behaviors around holiday gifting, eCommerce trends and shopper outlook across ten target countries. The following trends have been identified and look to fuel growth for the 2021 holiday shopping season: Holiday shoppers’ love for gift cards is universal Last holiday, as consumers looked for convenient,... read more

“Selema Masekela Talks About Mami Wata’s Mission to Redefine Surf Lifestyle” by Will Seleo via The Inertia

Mami Wata seeks to change the global perception of African surf culture through establishing itself as a major brand in the surf lifestyle space. Photo: Mami Wata. Brands, and especially clothing brands, have a strangely powerful influence on our sense of identity. By donning a jacket from your favorite surf brand you say a lot of things, such as: “I support this,” or “I want to look like this.” It can be a way of demonstrating belonging to a culture, reinforcing your self image, and giving others a visual description of what’s going on upstairs. That can be tricky for some though, when the clothing and styles out there do little to represent who they are as a person. “The majority of surf lifestyle brands are driven from a Southern Californian or Australian narrative,” Selema Masekela recently told me. “We’ve had some cool, Brooklyn-sort-of-reinventions of it in the last few years. Unfortunately, I’d say, very few big, Hawaiian-driven brands in the space, but there’s just so much room within the landscape of storytelling around what surf lifestyle and culture is.” Selema, through his recently launched, mission-driven African surf-lifestyle brand Mami Wata (West African pidgin for “Mother Ocean”), wants to dig into that space and tell a different story than what’s been traditionally told in surfing. “This is a brand that looks to really expand the definition of surf lifestyle and maybe even redefine what it looks like to be a surfer,” Selema explained. “[Mami Wata] is a telling of modern African culture through the lens of surfing. For example, in our newest range you’ll see a lot of imagery around the use of dice. That’s all about... read more

“6 Essential Strategies to Make Your Holiday Creative Stand Out” by Polly Wong via Total Retail

In case you missed it, the holidays are in full swing. Media outlets have started reporting on the top toys for the season, Amazon.com is moving up Black Friday to start now (!), and the threat of supply chain snarls and shipping delays are prompting consumers to get out their credit cards early this year. This may be one of the reasons why 2021 is projected to be the biggest holiday shopping season ever, especially for e-commerce. According to eMarketer, U.S. holiday retail is forecasted to rise nearly 3 percent and e-commerce sales are predicted to jump 11.3 percent to $206.88 billion. In a quick survey of retailers, here are the trends we’re seeing this year — and best practices that drive high conversions. Here’s how to make your 2021 holiday creative stand out: Self-Gifting is Big This Year Speaking of impulse buys … Consumers have a “for me” line on their gift lists: 51 percent of Christmas shoppers buy gifts for themselves during the holidays. (It’s been a crazy year, why not?) Average order value tends to drop during the holidays, so offer plenty of gift ideas at lower price points to make it easy to buy just one more. Also consider offering gift items that aren’t part of your everyday assortment to engage loyal customers in a different way during the holidays. Give Your Customers Gift Inspiration Shoppers are looking for ideas. High-density gift images deliver many ideas in one glance. Holiday shoppers also have lists of people to buy gifts for so creating curated collections and grouping products by giftees (e.g., moms, dads, fashionable friends, etc.) reflects how consumers think and makes it easier... read more

“ICSC: 86% of consumers will shop over Thanksgiving weekend” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

image by Libby Penner Dive Brief: As shoppers prepare for the busiest shopping weekend of the year, a new report from ICSC predicts that consumers will spend $491 on average between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, bringing in a total of over $108 billion for the weekend. Of the ICSC’s 1,015 survey respondents, 36% said they plan to choose where to shop based on discounts, followed by product availability (31%) and product variety (22%). Nearly half of shoppers (49%) will shop at brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day, and just over half (51%) plan only to shop online. But while almost three-fourths (73%) of consumers plan to shop either online or in-store on Black Friday, the majority (81%) of Cyber Monday shoppers plan to buy their holiday goods online. Of the consumers heading to malls this holiday season, 59% will go there to shop, 47% will dine at a restaurant, 24% will go to a movie and 15% want to take their child to visit Santa Claus. Dive Insight: Though retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart have been introducing deals earlier this year — a practice that might stick around for the foreseeable future — the ICSC survey indicates that many consumers are keeping up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditions. Per the survey findings, 86% of consumers plan to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. How they plan to shop differs. A report from Shopify noted that nearly all (94%) respondents said they will make their holiday purchases online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 65% will do so in stores.  Though a sizable share of consumers plans to shop during the Black Friday weekend, retailers are divided on whether to remain... read more

“How To Determine If Your Employee Scheduling Is Too Lean” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Almost every retailer looks at employee scheduling as their most expensive operating cost. I see employees as an asset, not a liability, but that’s another post… Stores that were designed to run on six employees are now limping along on two…or even one. How do store operations personnel know when employee schedules have been cut past the fat and into the very muscle and bone of your retail operations? It’s simple… Five metrics that show your store is running on too few employees 1. How long do people have to wait to pay? The greatest friction for shoppers is waiting in line to pay for something, closely followed by them having to wait to find someone who can assist them. Most grocery stores have a three-or-more-shoppers-in-line policy and they will add an additional cashier until all are open. Yes, it increases labor costs but delivers customer service to help them compete for customers. For smaller stores, three in line could feel like an eternity. And that wait is often due to someone obsessing on the time clock and workforce management. You should come up with an ideal set of employee schedules that puts customer service – and not limiting staff – first. The next step would be to train your crew on how to hustle when it is busy and then look at adding additional staff. 2. Do employees have enough time to add-on to every sale? Are they just trying to get people out the door? Do a POS report and look at your average number of items per sale. If management has trained your hourly employees to add-on... read more

“TikTok usage surpassed Instagram this year among kids aged 12 to 17, Forrester survey says” by Salvador Rodriguez via CNBC

Adam Mosseri speaks onstage at the WIRED25 Summit 2019 – Day 1 at Commonwealth Club on November 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California.Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images KEY POINTS More Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 are using TikTok than Instagram on a weekly basis, according to survey findings published by Forrester on Thursday.Facebook said last month that it was trying to appeal better to younger users with its services, including Instagram.“We heard from Gen Z youth that they find TikTok to be funnier and more positive versus other social media platforms,” said Mike Proulx, an analyst at Forrester. TikTok usage is spiking among young Americans at the expense of Instagram, according to survey findings published by Forrester. This year, 63% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 used TikTok on a weekly basis, compared with 57% for Instagram, Forrester wrote in a blog post on Thursday, citing data from a survey the research firm conducted. In 2020, Instagram led that demographic, with 61% of kids on the platform, while TikTok had 50%. Instagram’s recent struggles have been widely reported of late, starting with a series in the Wall Street Journal, based on internal research from parent company Facebook, now known as Meta, that was released by a whistleblower. In an effort to keep users on the app, Facebook disregarded its own data showing the harmful effects of Instagram, particularly on young girls, the research showed. Facebook announced last month that it would alter its services, including Instagram, to better appeal to consumers between the ages of 18 and 29. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that TikTok in particular had emerged... read more

“Your In-Store Customer Experience and Bottom Line Are Linked. Here’s Why” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Maskot Regardless of retail’s latest headwind, brick-and-mortar organizations continue to embrace their enduring mission: get consumers into retail locations and convince them to part with their money. The emphasis on e-commerce over the past year or so hasn’t changed this mission, but it has re-emphasized that customers want unique in-store experiences. Experiences are how you get customers in the door, and it’s how you persuade them to spend money in your stores. Based on our State of the In-Store Experience 2021 Report, 82 percent of shoppers will return to your stores if they find the in-store experience to be positive. That’s repeat business, folks. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of shoppers will actually spend more each time they visit your store, so long as they’re pleased with the in-store experience. There’s no way around it: the quality of your in-store customer experiences is linked directly to your revenues. Heck, the “in-store experience” doesn’t even necessarily mean “in-store” anymore. Every feature of the brick-and-mortar experience, from app to store, matters. Target invested heavily in its buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) — or curbside — infrastructure over the past year-plus, and it has earned praise and repeat business from customers thanks to those investments. Shoppers expect more than ever from brick-and-mortar retail experiences. Between the convenience of e-commerce and the need for unique experiences in a world awash in shallow ones, retailers have to deliver quality products, conveniently, in a way that shoppers find gratifying. If you’re up to the task of delivering stellar customer experiences, there are real benefits to be had for your organization. Through our report, consumers pinpointed... read more

“The Big-Wave Season Officially Opens for Jaws and Nazaré” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Big wave season is open. Grab your big wave guns. Photo: WSL/Bryanna Bradley On November 15, the World Surf League’s Big Wave season window officially opened. Two of the most exciting events in all of surfing are on standby for the next few months: the Quiksilver Jaws Big Wave Challenge and the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa. The window closes on March 31, 2022. There has never been a time in the big-wave world more exciting than now. Limits have been pushed to the brink over the last few years, seemingly to the absolute edge of what’s possible. Both towing and paddling are at levels never before seen, and this season promises to be a good one. Both Jaws and Nazaré can hold swells big enough for the events to get the green light. “During the window,” Ben Collins wrote for the WSL, “the World Surf League’s Tours and Competitions office will closely monitor conditions for the two venues, and once the stars align a call will be made to run each event, bringing some of the world’s best surfers together for what is set to be another season of stand-out performances.” You likely remember the last time events ran at both Jaws and Nazaré. Kai Lenny, for example, did things on enormous waves that we hadn’t even considered to be possible. While Nazaré at size is generally a tow-wave, Jaws is the place where the limits of big-wave surfing are being pushed the hardest. It hasn’t been all that long, though, since Jaws was basically a tow-only wave. “This new generation of big-wave paddle performance comes... read more

“Top 5 KPIs for Actionable Retail Decisions” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurement of business performance and health. The best KPIs help you make decisions and take action towards achieving your goals. At a minimum, we recommend you review these Top 5 KPIs for Actionable Retail Decisions weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.  Gross Margin Dollars: Gross Margin = Sales – Costs Paid Always review total units and dollars sold. Go deeper by analyzing Gross Margin to understand sales profitability. Review sales and Gross Margin by brand, category, style, gender, or any segment of your business. Compare results to plan, last week, or last year to see program performing. If you’re beating plan, buy more. If you’re below plan, create a plan to move the inventory (e.g., promotions or return to vendor (RTV)). Average Transaction Value (ATV): ATV = total revenue / number of transactions ATV is the average amount your customer spends per transaction. Increasing ATV is accomplished by suggesting a better quality and usually higher priced item (upselling) or a complementary item (cross selling) to go with a purchase. To increase sales, you either need more customers or you need to increase how much each customer spends. Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI); GMROI = Gross Margin $ / Average Inventory Cost It’s important you know the return on your investment in inventory. GMROI tells you. If your GMROI is greater than $1, you are making money. How do you increase your GMROI? Increase the priceLower your cost of goodsIncrease inventory turnover Sell-Thru: Sell-Thru % = Units Sold / Units Received Sell-Thru rate measures how much of your inventory was sold during a... read more

“The Jobs Problem In Retail Isn’t What You Think” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Much is being written about people quitting and the Great Resignation. People quit all the time and oftentimes find the grass isn’t always greener. But the jobs problem in retail isn’t what others are telling you. I was in Manhattan last week shopping and enjoying a trip to Gabriel’s, the high-end bistro on Central Park South. As I was walking back to the hotel, I decided to check out Abercrombie’s reinvention. After all, I’d just read that Carey Krug, SVP of marketing Abercrombie says, “TikTok is bananas for us right now. The new customers that we are reaching — it’s far exceeding our benchmarks. It’s far exceeding TikTok’s benchmarks.” This was the store and catalog that once featured what some considered soft porn – shirtless young men wearing Zinka nose coat sunscreen to give the SoCal vibe. That is until the CEO was forced out and the models put their shirts back on. I walked into the store with a friend. Two young women were to my right, leaning on a banister. They obviously worked there. We went toward the other side of the store. There was a long-sleeved graphic t-shirt that was interesting. I thumbed through the neatly stacked merch but couldn’t find a large. My friend interrupted one of the young women who came over to look – in the same pile I had. She confirmed they did not have a large and she’d have to look in the back. Meanwhile, I’d just looked at the table to the left where there were piles of the same shirt on a lower shelf. I found the right size and handed it... read more

“GROUND GLASS: BRAD CROMER” by James Thompson via Jenkem Mag

Over the last few years we’ve seen a few videographers include 16mm film in their edits. While it’s common to see a couple of seconds of b-roll or a trick thrown in as an artsy break, very few attempt to capture an entire video on film. At $50 a minute, you’re at the mercy of high costs, old equipment and the consistency of skaters. James Thomson, an Australian videographer based out of New York was up for the challenge and wanted to spearhead a new segment capturing the timelessness of skating on film in 2021. Like a nod to an old Transworld montage, the crispness and warmth of film creates a sense of beauty that you get from mixing the archaic gear with a modern landscape, something digital footage of today doesn’t quite capture. There aren’t too many skaters who can land so many tricks this clean in just a few tries, so Brad was the perfect subject for a video where each moment captured costs a pretty penny. Kick back and get ready to watch some powerful, beautifully captured skating, and keep an eye out for more “Ground Glass” features from James on the site. Video by: James ThomsonShare this with a buff film buff on FacebookReport this as ABD on Instagram and Twitter If you like fun and intelligent skateboarding related articles, be sure to visit and bookmark: Jenkem Mag 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