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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
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“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

“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

“If you missed the recent ‘5 Things You Need To Know Before Black Friday’ webinar, the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo or either of the other two 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

“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

“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

“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

“Vans Marketing Executive on the Evolution of the Triple Crown of Surfing” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

John John Florence, who won the digital Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in men’s in 2020 – Photo by Ryan Miller courtesy of Vans Click on the following link to view this interesting Shop Eat Surf Article: Vans Marketing Executive on the Evolution of the Triple Crown of Surfing 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

“Why Retailers Should Focus on Online Reviews to Improve Credibility and Drive More Sales” by Heidi Sullivan via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Kiyoshi Hijiki It’s not a novel concept anymore, but in an age of instant gratification when consumers have all the information they need right at their fingertips — and at a moment’s notice — many retail businesses are finding that sometimes it’s best to let someone else do the talking. That’s not to say retailers shouldn’t advocate for themselves, but as service providers and restaurant owners have known for some time now, online reviews carry more weight than ever before, and they can have a very real impact on the bottom line. Online reviews shape a retail business’ reputation more quickly and more significantly than, say, sponsoring the local Polar Plunge or donating supplies to aid disaster relief. Again, those are important activities, but when it comes to conversions, consumers are looking to see what others think before reaching for their wallets. Trust and Credibility A recent study showed that 72 percent of consumers trust a business more after reading positive reviews. That should be reason enough to pursue online review generation. If you don’t have potential customers’ trust, what do you have? That said, an online review is simply a technology-fueled version of word-of-mouth. Your neighbor sees your new lawnmower and wants to know where you got it and what you think of it. Online reviews are no different, and folks don’t even need to know the person. In fact, 89 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. What does it all mean? Online reviews beget trust. Trust begets sales. Related story: Want to Drive More Sales? Use These 4 Digital Merchandising Strategies The... read more

“Retailers Future-Proof the In-Store Experience with Digital Precision” by Steve Mauchline and Min Chen

Lately, though, this “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” mindset has gone by the wayside more frequently than is ideal.  We know that the most enjoyable and exciting shopping experiences happen when it’s clear that associates care not just about the retail and product brand but also their interactions with their customers. However, we often question whether such an experience is enough to entice people to buy from the same brand at any other store location The Rising Complexity of “Getting It Right” Retail has always been a detail industry. However, the many forms of data captured on a daily business in explosive numbers have only made keeping everything “just right” more challenging as demand for personalized customer experiences continues to escalate. For decades, store managers and associates of some of the world’s top retail brands lived, ate, and breathed by the mantra “retail is detail.” If every store gets every display, floor map, and promotion “just right,” the customer will always know what to expect no matter which location they are visiting. Let’s start with the most variable factor of the in-store experience equation: people. From employees to customers, people’s expectations are higher than ever. Some want to be instantly gratified, while others are accustomed to a high standard of service. And in all cases, shoppers are used to comparing prices on ecommerce sites while browsing the sales floor. The moment shoppers experience subpar service, they are not shy about moving on to a competing retail or product brand, online or further down the street. For brick-and-mortar stores, every customer lost is felt more deeply than their... read more

“How To Prepare For Small Business Saturday Nov 27” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Small businesses have survived the judgment made about them as “non-essential” and now there is a groundswell of support for them this Small Business Saturday that didn’t exist just a few years ago. We collectively woke up and realized it really mattered that we chose our neighbors to buy from so we could repair our communities. The important thing for small businesses to realize is the holidays in general and Small Business Saturday in particular is the time you can be the most connected with your community. I think too many retailers and restaurants have used it as a day to try to have discounts but that is not the way to give value to customers. Especially with supply chains still broken – you put a 20% off sale – you’re going to sell out of all of your best sellers – then have to go back to your vendor (who has raised prices) to refill. That doesn’t scale. It doesn’t build profits. It doesn’t make sense. What does make sense? Give more than a discount Smart retailers understand that job No. 1 is to find ways to connect with your customers in a real way. That is not going to be through a discount that is quickly forgotten. The more you can partner with other retailers on your block the better – it’s a community day. And I get it, there are also cogs in your neighborhood. You know the ones. The ones griping about business and all that others aren’t doing for them. Maybe they own the building but haven’t invested in paint or upgrades in decades. I’m not... read more

“How to Create One Connected System for your Retail Store” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

As businesses grow, the importance of system integration grows with it. Without it, you lose time and money. System integration is connecting software applications allowing them to talk to each other and act as one coordinated platform. Top retailers have found ways to connect their store to their stockroom, ecommerce, and available inventory from the brands they sell, creating one system of record that does it all. As you think of your retail business, how many different software or manual applications do you use?  Are they working together or working against you? Where are the opportunities to integrate your technology? Here are a few ideas on where to begin: ECommerce – Connect your ecommerce platform to your POS. With ecommerce sales driving growth for most small businesses, it’s imperative your POS and ecommerce platform communicate to one another in real time.Payments – Don’t let payment processing be a point of friction in your sales process. Establish an integrated payment processing feature to remove unnecessary fees, steps at check out, and save you time. Plus, customers get a simpler, better, and faster touchless checkout.Ordering – Eliminate pains when placing orders by finding a solution that integrates with your supplier’s system to automatically add, edit, delete, or share product information. A real-time connection will ensure you are accurately seeing product data and availability.Marketing – Use customer data to drive your marketing outreach by connecting your customer database to your marketing tools.  Create personalized email campaigns or manage your customer loyalty program knowing your customer data is accurate and always up to date. Establishing the right integrations allows you to build one... read more

“No Retention Without Reward: It’s Time to Revolutionize the Way Retail Workers Are Compensated” by Jake Levin via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Ryan J. Lane COVID-19 created a shakeup for retailers in all categories across the U.S., with brick-and-mortar operations undergoing some of the most significant operational changes they’ve ever faced. Sales associates have also felt the brunt of those changes; they’ve been asked to risk their health and press onward while the rest of us have enjoyed — if you could call it that — the safety of shopping online and working in our sweats. As we were ordering our daily supply of sweetgreen, Shake Shack, and Drizzly, frontline workers were asked to increase their labor output while simultaneously risking their health for the same pay. Fifteen months later, the industry average of $13 an hour is no longer motivating enough for them to stick around. And can you blame them? It was inevitable that something had to give. That’s why our industry is grappling with “The Great Resignation” — i.e., the millions of employees who have quit their risky in-person jobs for the safety, flexibility and convenience of remote, work-from-home positions. According to the Washington Post, the mass exodus of retail workers began in April last year, when nearly 649,000 said “no thanks” and handed in their notice. It’s the largest number of employees to leave any industry since the Labor Department began tracking such data more than 20 years ago. In many ways, retailers aren’t dealing with a labor shortage; they’re dealing with a near absence of labor and an unavoidable signal that the retail worker model has to change. Related story: Using Workforce Education to Attract and Keep Retail Employees in Today’s Labor Crisis Retail Workers... read more

“What should retailers do about angry reviews?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

A university study finds that while the general assumption is that an abundance of helpful reviews — whether positive or negative — is ultimately more influential in driving purchases, anger in negative reviews is not helpful. Across six laboratory experiments, researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of South Florida found that angry reviews are typically discounted by consumers as less helpful than non-angry reviews, but they counterintuitively influence consumers’ attitudes and choices to a greater extent. “Platforms usually use helpfulness-based sorting to order reviews, presumably because of the assumption that ‘helpful’ reviews are more persuasive in shaping customer decisions,” said Han Zhang, a professor at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. “However, we provide an emotion-based exception to this assumption and suggest that sorting based solely on helpfulness votes may be less effective than intended.” The findings highlight the importance of monitoring reviews on a regular basis and acting as quickly as possible to address angry reviews. For e-commerce platforms, providing instructions or advice, such as encouraging reviewers to take their time and provide real data to back up their claims, was suggested to reduce the number of angry reviews. Prof. Zhang explained, “The notion that ‘too much anger’ can reduce the perceived value of a review is reflected in guidelines of some review platforms: e.g., guidelines at TripAdvisor (2019) explicitly discourage reviewers from ‘ranting.’ Given that participants in our studies consistently perceived angry reviews as ‘irrational’ and ‘unhelpful,’ this advice appears sound.” Previous research has shown that the quantity of reviews can be more important in driving conversion than the quality because volume makes the business appear more trustworthy and... read more

“Brainfloss: Steve Caballero” via Transworld Skateboarding

Push Play to view this remarkable video article Stevie Cab, over 40 years deep as a pro. But did you know he’s been making art the whole time as well? We wanted to shine a light on one of Cab’s many talents. From comic books and hot rod inspiration, to pro model decks for his peers—dive into all the different genres Steve works with on his artistic journey. For more outstanding skateboarding related features and videos via the following link: https://skateboarding.transworld.net/ 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

“Learn How to Increase Sales in Retail with These 8 Pro Tips” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Looking for resources on how to increase sales in retail during a pandemic? The key is to realize in many ways, brick-and-mortar retailers have a finite client base. After all, there are only so many people who will be willing to walk into your store with or without a mask on any given day. While great marketing can certainly impact that number, your focus can’t be just about attracting new customers. In fact, if you’ve felt meeting your retail sales projections depends solely on the number of shoppers who show up at your door, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. You’re probably not consistently moving the shoppers who already come into your store from browsers to customers who purchase from you that day. You have to keep track of your conversion rates to know if you’re making progress. You’re probably not consistently using suggestive selling of additional products your customers could use but are never shown. We’re hearing more and more of standoffish associates during the time of COVID-19 who believe customers just want to get in and get out quickly. That’s costing you money. Your staff may have created a culture in your retail store of price selling — what’s on sale, what’s cheapest, and even the attitude of I’m not trying to sell you. After all, with unemployment still stubbornly high and analysts suggesting the next 6 to 12 months will be rocky, their mindset is understandable. But that doesn’t make it right.  When customers leave with only one item and not with everything they need, a competitor gets their additional business and a chance to make a loyal... read more

“Remarkable new BRA Distinguished Retail Member benefit plus video showcasing outstanding new Supporting Vendor Partner” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Push play to learn more about PartnerShip (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) and how you can benefit BRA strives to be the definitive resource for active sport retailers and we’re always looking for ways to help your business be successful. We’re excited to announce a brand-new benefit available to BRA Distinguished Retail Members that will save you money by spending less on shipping. With the BRA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you save 50% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground. If you’re receiving inbound freight shipments from your vendors, you’ll also have access to competitive rates with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, XPO, and many others. To take advantage of this free benefit, enroll now. To learn more about the BRA Shipping Program, call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or email sales@PartnerShip.com.     If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form (choose the Distinguished Retail Membership option).  Shortly after we receive your join form, we will email you an invoice with payment instructions for the $99 Annual Dues as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and summary of additional Supporting Vendor Partner benefits for BRA Retail Members. Once your payment is received, we will notify the good people at PartnerShip who will approve your enrollment and enable you to take advantage of the savings in a timely... read more

“Sierra Kerr’s Air Game is Turning Heads – AND SHE’S ONLY 14 YEARS OLD” via Surfer Mag

If you’re wondering what the future of surfing will look like, turn your eyes upon the jaw-dropping compilation below and you’ll get a solid glimpse of the progression that lies ahead. Fourteen-year-old Sierra Kerr (offspring of Tour vet and airshow standout Josh Kerr) recently spent some time at the wave pool in Waco to hone her air game–which, by the look of things, doesn’t need much honing. In the short span of an hour, the teenaged Kerr was able to land all of the extra lofty and expertly technical punts below. When she posted the above clips a few days ago, much of the surf world dropped their collective jaws at Kerr’s progressive performance–even aerial masters like Italo Ferriera, Kolohe Andino and Jack Robinson were singing their praises of the future world champ. Yeah, we’re calling it. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“4 Ways to Power Touchless Retail with Text Messaging” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Companies from Amazon to Zoom are rethinking their customer experience in the post-COVID era. See how innovative retailers are responding with text-based messaging, touchless payments, and more. COVID-19 has completely transformed consumer behavior. 85% of consumers have chosen a new business because of pandemic friendly services and 86% say they expect businesses to be even more convenient after COVID-19 restrictions lift completely everywhere. It’s not surprising that 80% of consumers would like local businesses to continue offering curbside pickup options. Companies like Amazon, Doordash, and Netflix have also upped customers’ expectations for convenience. And retailers can meet these expectations with a few tips from the experts. In this session of the 2020 Total Retail Innovation Conference, Katie Osberg, Global Retail Partnerships Lead at Google, and Doug Regner, VP of Enterprise Sales at Podium, share four ways to power touchless retail with text messaging. Read on for the takeaways from this discussion: 1. Grow location reviews with text messaging.  89% of consumers begin their buying process with a search engine. Searches containing “near me” have grown 9x more popular since 2016. Google Map Pack chooses three businesses to highlight based on star ratings, number of reviews, and frequency of reviews. And 70% of clicks on a local search will happen in that map pack. In order to grow and optimize your online and local presence, you’ll need the help of reviews.  Follow these steps to get started: Check to see if you’re listed on Google My Business. If not, create a Google My Business accountVerify your businessEnter or update business informationPeriodically add or update information, especially relating to COVID hours, pickup services, etc.Generate reviews The most effective... read more

“Local Olympian Hosts Women’s Skate Event, Raises Money for Survivors of Domestic Violence” by Katie Lane via NBC

TOKYO, JAPAN: Amelia Brodka of Poland competes during the Women’s Skateboarding Park Preliminary Heat on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park on August 04, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) La Paloma Theatre is hosting the world premiere of Exposure X, a feature-length skate video highlighting the world’s top female skateboarders Skaters of all ages, it’s time to grab your board, camera and riding tunes. Exposure Skate is showcasing some of the world’s most innovative female-identifying and non-binary skateboarders through friendly competition, all the while raising money for local domestic violence shelters. On Nov. 6, the iconic La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas will host the world premiere of Exposure X, a feature-length skate video featuring top female skateboarders from around the globe. The premiere will serve as part of the group’s annual women’s benefit for the Community Resource Center’s Domestic Violence Shelter. Exposure’s History Exposure Skate was co-founded in 2012 by Polish-American Olympic skateboarder and current Vista resident Amelia Brodka. When Brodka was first learning and developing her skating skills, she stressed how there weren’t many opportunities for women and girls in skateboarding. “It was my dream to be a pro skateboarder, and I saw more and more girls and women skating at a higher level all the time, and I wanted to help support the movement that I was seeing because it wasn’t getting any support from sponsors or event coordinators or anything,” Brodka said. While attending the University of Southern California, Brodka created a documentary that focused on the glaring lack of opportunities for women in skateboarding. Her film, Underexposed:... read more

“NRF PREDICTS HIGHEST HOLIDAY RETAIL SALES ON RECORD” via Industry Resources

Holiday spending has the potential to shatter previous records, as the National Retail Federation today forecast that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with a previous high of 8.2 percent in 2020 to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4 percent over the past five years. “There is considerable momentum heading into the holiday shopping season.”NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay “There is considerable momentum heading into the holiday shopping season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are in a very favorable position going into the last few months of the year as income is rising and household balance sheets have never been stronger. Retailers are making significant investments in their supply chains and spending heavily to ensure they have products on their shelves to meet this time of exceptional consumer demand.” NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, will increase between 11 percent and 15 percent to a total of between $218.3 billion and $226.2 billion driven by online purchases. In comparison, that number is up from $196.7 billion in 2020. Last year saw extraordinary growth in digital channels as consumers turned to online shopping to meet their holiday needs during the pandemic. While ecommerce will remain important, households are also expected to shift back to in-store shopping and a more traditional holiday shopping experience. “The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The unusual and... read more

“Why Your Selling And Training Methods Don’t Work…And The Simple Fix” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

It has been said that no one likes to wait. Yet stores that have a long line tend to attract even more people to wait because they feel it must be worth it.Few of us like it when someone has power over us. Think The doctor will see you now or You’ll have to wait for the results.We hate waiting.Need an answer for how to change your water filter? Ask Siri. Forget the title of a movie? Ask Google.But that always-on, always-needing-immediate-answers is dangerous when it comes to selling in a retail store.Have you ever had that experience where you are trying to explain what you are looking for to a store associate and they jump in and cut you off, telling you the wrong solution?That comes from the get it done now mindset that most of us live our lives by.When you as a salesperson are impatient and trying to fill a need, not only can it result in the wrong solution but it can also make the customer feel ignored and they either buy less or walk.You make more money with people lingering and discovering in your store than being an order fulfillment warehouse manager.To make customers feel heard and to build trust, wait before you speak.Why should we wait after someone stops talking?Allowing about 3 seconds gives your mind time to formulate a response. It also gives the listener time to think about what they said and be ready for what you will say.Signs you need to slow down when sellingIf customers are asking you to slow down, that’s obvious but there are other signs you can read: • Their posture... read more

City of Huntington Beach Becomes 100th West Coast Municipality to Pass a Resolution Opposing New Offshore Drilling by Surfrider Foundation via Shop Eat Surf

River Jetties Huntington Beach credit Mona Haddad with Surfrider Foundation” Huntington Beach, Calif., October 20, 2021— Today, the Surfrider Foundation and ocean advocates are celebrating a significant victory after the City of Huntington Beach became the 100th  West Coast community to pass a resolution to officially oppose the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling. After a major spill recently leaked into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, resulting in a 13-mile oil slick, this critical action will help to prevent future oil spill disasters in the popular Huntington Beach region. “The Surfrider Foundation has fought long and hard to stop offshore drilling and we are pleased to celebrate this meaningful victory,” said Bill Hickman, Southern California Regional Manager with the Surfrider Foundation. “As oil is still washing up on our beloved coasts in Southern California, we are witnessing first-hand the devastating repercussions of offshore drilling off our coastlines. The decision made by the City of Huntington Beach to oppose offshore drilling shows leadership and we commend their efforts to avoid the same disaster from happening again.” “We are so grateful that the Huntington Beach City Council did the right thing by showing support to protect our city’s economic engine for years to come,” said KC Fockler, Co-Chair of the Huntington Beach/ Seal Beach Chapter. “This spill, which resulted in tremendous damage to marine life, birds and the city’s economy, became a call to action to get this resolution passed to protect our coasts for the future.” The Huntington Beach resolution that formally opposes offshore oil and gas drilling is one of many across the West Coast. Additional resolutions and... read more

“Retailers Must Find a Way to Keep Pace With Emerging Instagram, TikTok Trends” by Adrien Nussenbaum via Total Retail

In December 2020, a Scottish mailman named Nathan Evans uploaded a video to TikTok singing a 19th Century sea shanty called “Wellerman.” Within days, his rendition of a more-than-200-year-old song was shared worldwide, leading to countless online collaborations, features on late-night shows, and finally a three-album record contract. I’m a father of two daughters who do a good job of updating me on online sensations, but even I was taken aback by the speed and scope of “ShantyTok,” as the trend was dubbed. The rate at which these trends are emerging, exploding and being monetized is accelerating dramatically. For retailers, this change in pace of play requires an unprecedented emphasis on speed and agility. The increasing speed of retail trends is directly related to the media on which they’re emerging. While previous fads evolved out of longer viral videos, today’s TikTok videos and Instagram reels are comparatively bite-sized. When content creators are challenged to hold their audience’s attention over a span of 15 seconds to 30 seconds, they’re forced to introduce new material on a weekly or even daily basis. Consider these two features on TikTok fashion from Seventeen and People: published less than three months apart, there’s only one item in common between the two lists. If you’re an online retailer, how do you stay afloat in this rapidly changing environment? Or better yet, find a way to profit off of it? Related story: 3 Key Takeaways for Marketplaces in a Post-Pandemic World 1. Keep your finger on the pulse of emerging must-have products. Many retail executives would prefer not to spend their time refreshing Instagram feeds. However, some degree of investment in observation... read more

“Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise before Halloween? Because customers buy it. It’s that time of the year … Time for the leaves to change and drop… Corn mazes to sprout up… Pumpkin spice lattes… and the perennial favorite of writers everywhere…Christmas creep. “I can’t believe they already have Christmas stuff out and it’s not even Halloween.” Y-A-W-N. Oh, excuse me, I suppose I should be in the camp that talks about “the good old days” from the movie A Christmas Story when shoppers would admire retailers’ windows during the annual Christmas parade. Or maybe I should extol Nordstrom again because they won’t put up decorations until Thanksgiving Day. Sorry, but there is one basic reason all retailers should do this. Wallets. Most customers have a mental budget of what they will spend for the holidays; for decorations, for gifts for the family, for the teachers/coaches, for the office – the works. The sooner those customers have spent money earmarked for gift-giving, the less they will spend when it comes to the traditional time to think about buying holiday gifts. Deloitte forecasts that 2021 holiday retail sales: Will increase between 7% and 9%. Overall will total $1.28 to 1.30 Trillion. E-commerce sales will grow by 11% to 15%, year-over-year. E-commerce holiday sales are expected to reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this holiday season, compared to $189 billion last season. And Forbes reported that ICSC, the leading shopping center and mall industry organization, predicts that end of year sales will jump by 8.9% over 2020. And that’s the opportunity for all merchants to put out the Christmas merchandise now. This isn’t something new but it is something smaller... read more

“‘Surfer Susie’ Is the Most Stoked 74-Year-Old Surfer on the Planet” by Rebecca Parsons via The Inertia

Surfer Susie in her element. Photo: Courtesy of Susie Terry You’d be hard pressed to find someone more stoked on surfing than Susie Terry. Born and raised in Ventura, Calif., Susie (now known as “Surfer Susie”) was first intrigued by the idea of riding waves at 11 when her aunt took her to see Gidget — she was mesmerized by the film and instantly vowed to become a surfer girl. “I didn’t know shit,” says Susie. “I didn’t know any surfers. I didn’t know any girls who surfed. I didn’t know any guys who surfed. I didn’t even watch the surf before. I was at a complete loss as to how to do it. “ Despite her lack of knowledge, a week later Susie found herself at the Ventura pier, new surfboard in hand. Per her dad’s instructions, who also knew nothing about surfing, she paddled out, pointed her board towards the beach, and paddled for her first wave. From there, she watched people in the lineup and slowly learned from them. She was the only girl out, but she was happy.  “I’m a highly motivated person and I don’t back down easily on things,” says Susie. “If I have my mind set on something, I’m going to do it hell or high water. So I just went into it thinking that I was going to be a surfer girl and I did it.” Fast forward a few years and Susie was surfing at C Street when she snaked a guy on a wave and he ran into her. Never afraid to speak her mind, Susie flipped him off and cussed him... read more

“THE 27TH ANNUAL TAMPA PRO is underway plus link to view the Finals as well as the 2020 Pro Contest” via SPoTtampa.com

Skatepark of Tampa (BRA Distinguished Retail Member)* is back with the the most historic contest in skateboarding. Whether you’ll be coming to SPoT to experience the stoke first hand, or keeping it virtual and tuning in to the world’s best webcasts from home, we are happy to have you with us!  TAMPA PRO LIVE WEBCASTSATURDAY AND SUNDAYOCTOBER 16TH & 17THWATCH LIVE ONSPOTTAMPA.COM Push play to view the Finals of Tampa Pro 2021 It’s Finals day of the 27th Annual Tampa Pro. Find out which of the world’s best skateboarders will be adding their name to the legendary list of winners, ranging from Mike Vallely in 1995 to Nyjah Huston in 2020. Push play to view Tampa Pro 2020 LOCATION Skatepark of Tampa4215 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33605 SCHEDULE FRIDAY – OCTOBER 15 9:00am – Doors OpenRegistration and Open PracticeSkating reserved for pros only11:00am – Team Manager / Industry V.I.P. ContestOpen to team managers, retired pros (for at least 5 years), and company ownersDisclaimer: There’s no age limit but if you’re obviously way too good, the judges probably won’t let you win4:00pm – 5:00pm – Open Bar Courtesy of PBR and Monster Energy (for 21 and over, must have valid ID, and while supplies last)10:00pm – Park closes SATURDAY – OCTOBER 16 Watch the live webcast at SPoTTampa.com – 12PM EST 9:00am – Doors Open / Open PracticeSkating reserved for pros only12:00pm – Street QualifiersTwo, one-minute runs, best run countsTop 30 advance to Semi-FinalsTop 2 qualifiers get Straight Shot directly to FinalsPrevious Tampa Pro winners are prequalified to Semi-Finals4:00pm – 5:00pm – Open Bar Courtesy of PBR and Monster Energy (for 21 and over, must... read more

“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

Retailers and consumers alike had just started to feel hopeful about a post-pandemic future a mere few weeks ago. However, with the COVID-19 Delta variant quickly becoming a concern, retailers across the country have made the move to reinstate mask mandates indoors. Unsurprisingly, this latest round of mask mandates has come with mounting tensions. Many store associates have found themselves in very uncomfortable, and sometimes violent encounters with disgruntled customers, with facemasks continuing to pose a controversial debate. As such, with the onus sitting squarely on the shoulders of front-line employees to outline and enforce these mask mandates, many businesses are looking at proactive measures to help train and prepare workers for potentially highly charged customer encounters. Preparing Our People With Empathy Training During these challenging times, customer-facing employees will be looking for guidance on best practices and reassurance on how to handle potentially tense situations with customers. Signals must come from the top, emphasizing the importance of being confident and prepared with the skills needed to de-escalate stressful interactions. It often comes down to the ability to show empathy to those experiencing stress or anxiety. However, this typically doesn’t come naturally and requires proper training. This is why empathy training is key for giving front-line associates the tools to prepare for what they’re likely to face, such as what Walmart is doing with its beKIND program meant for teaching and measuring empathy in customer service. Customer-facing employees can benefit immensely by being able to embody the feelings of an anxious guest or customer. Through realistic, immersive training modalities, learners can better understand a customer’s point of view, whether or not they agree, in order... read more

“Pandemic-related delays force retailers to tweak holiday messages” by Arriana McLymore and Siddharth Cavalevia via Reuters.com

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Season’s greetings from your favorite retailer come with a 2021-style postscript. That gift you want to get for your loved one? It may be out of stock. And the hot toy? It may not arrive in time for Christmas. Americans collectively are expected to spend as much as $1.3 trillion this holiday season, up from $1.19 trillion in 2020, according to Deloitte. But retailers are bracing for inventory shortfalls, as well as scarce labor at ports, driver shortages, rising warehouse expenses and higher prices. So they are encouraging shoppers to open their wallets early this year, inducing fear by highlighting what retailers describe as “supply chain challenges,” “longer delivery times” and “lower inventories,” in marketing materials. Surf- and skateboard-wear retailer Zumiez Inc’s (ZUMZ.O) website features a banner that reads: “Don’t let out-of-stock items and shipping delays screw up your plans.” The mall-based retailer primarily sources merchandise from Asia, Mexico and Central America. It did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Nordstrom (JWN.N), which typically brings in about 20% of its merchandise from China, on Thursday sent a holiday marketing email to customers citing “global supply chain challenges” that they said would likely put a damper on holiday shopping plans. “We’re anticipating that the hottest gifts may sell out on our site and that shipping could take longer than we’d all like,” Nordstrom President Peter Nordstrom and CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a joint emailed message to customers. Nordstrom declined to comment. In surveys by consulting firms, some shoppers have previously said they are concerned about stock availability and even that they already noticed empty shelves as far... read more

“DC Shoes is proud to present, ‘THIS TOO SHALL PASS’, a short documentary about mental health issues in the skateboarding community.” – be sure to share this important video with your customers

Push play to view this important video Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. DC Shoes is proud to present, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”, a short documentary about mental health issues in the skateboarding community. DC team rider, John Gardner, opens up about his own mental health struggles as he experienced suicidal thoughts and depression over the years. John talks about how he uses meditation, breathing and skateboarding to help heal from depression. The documentary also features Andrew Huberman, Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine, providing some amazing insight into how we can help ourselves and each other on a daily basis. John also curated a limited zine that includes facts on mental health, self-care, breathing techniques and other tools that can be useful for anyone suffering from depression. Check the link below to read the digital zine and more. Link: https://dcshoes.com/blog/skate/This-T… For anyone battling issues with mental health or having thoughts of suicide, please know that you are not alone. You are loved – and there are resources available to provide support. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org Follow DC Shoes: Website: www.dcshoes.com Instagram: @dcshoes TikTok: @dcshoes Facebook: https://facebook.com/DC.Shoes View this important video on Thrasher via the following link: https://www.thrashermagazine.com/articles/trash/dc-shoes-this-too-shall-pass/ JENKEM – John Gardner’s Tips for Building Up Your Mental Health View another important article featuring Andrew Huberman via the following link: https://www.boardretailers.org/discussing-skateboarding-with-neuroscientist-andrew-huberman-by-karl-watson-rob-fraebel-via-jenkem-mag/ 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... read more

“To Meet Customers’ In-Store Expectations, Retailers Must Master ‘Phygital’ Experiences” by Jaime Betancourt via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by bernard bodo Distance makes the heart grow fonder, sure. But it can also create romanticized expectations that are near impossible to meet. While there’s certainly a lot to miss about physical shopping, it’s possible some consumers have built up the retail experience in their head to the point where it will be hard for stores to deliver. To use another adage about human nature, people want what they cannot have. During the last 18 months, when in-person shopping was not possible, or at the least, not the same, some consumers yearned for classic brick-and-mortar moments more than ever. So, what happens now that consumers can visit stores again, and how about long term, when the pandemic is at last behind us? Retailers have no choice but to REALLY deliver on the core benefits of physical shopping — the joy of discovery, getting to touch and feel a product, the potential for immediate gratification, and the social aspect, whether that’s spending time with a loved one or connecting with a stranger. They must understand shoppers’ sentimental longing for normalcy, while continually innovating to reflect expectations for convenience and personalization. Otherwise, stores will have sorely disappointed shoppers on their hands. Building the Bionic Beings of Retail There’s a famous TV show from the ’70s called “The Six Million Dollar Man” about a former astronaut named Steve Austin, played by actor Lee Majors. After a flight accident, Austin is rebuilt with bionic implants and becomes better, stronger and faster. It makes me think about in-person retail experiences. The pandemic was our flight accident. Now it’s time to rebuild,... read more

“Key Industry Surf Shops Impacted by Oil Spill” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Workers cleaning oil that washed ashore on Corona Del Mar State Beach Wednesday – Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard The oil spill in Orange County that has closed beaches in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point is not only a crisis for the environment, it also could have a major impact on important industry stores and other businesses in the area. “This is an ecological and economic crisis for the city of Huntington Beach,” said Aaron Pai, the owner of Huntington Surf & Sport on Main Street. “I feel for all the animals and businesses affected.” Last weekend, Huntington Beach was packed due to the Pacific Air Show, which draws thousands of people to the beach to watch the planes perform off the coast. HSS was a sponsor of the event, which ended up being cancelled on Sunday, the last day of the show. “We had to navigate through COVID, and now we’ll have to navigate through this,” Aaron said. The spill has also cancelled this weekend’s City of Huntington Beach Surf Contest, which HSS was also sponsoring. The only good news is that the spill didn’t happen in the height of summer, Aaron said. Huntington Beach also just hosted the WSL’s U.S. Open of Surfing at the end of September. “Thank God it didn’t happen during the U.S. Open,” said Bobby Abdel, a partner at Jack’s Surfboards, whose flagship store is directly across from the beach in Huntington. “Can you imagine?” Jack’s has already noticed a drop in traffic as people avoid Huntington Beach because of the spill and the negative publicity. “There’s no... read more

“Just How Much Does Music Change the Way We View Surfing?” by Juan Hernandez via The Inertia

That headline was a rhetorical question. Of course music impacts our viewing of surf videos. A lot. In fact, music doesn’t just have an effect on how we view surfing, a guy like Quentin Tarantino would argue music completely controls how we feel about anything watched on film. And he’s pretty good at making films. Music is an integral piece in the storytelling experience and surf flicks are no exception. Cue Brad Jacobson, a videographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles’ South Bay who doesn’t make your typical daily or weekly surf-porn vlog. He watches more footage each day than most of us can fathom after hours on end of watching our lineup habits and behavior through the lens of a camera. It leads him to ask questions like “Do average surfers have the most fun?” or “What’s up with all the weird faces we make while surfing?” They’re refreshing quips on things many of us notice in the everyday lineup but probably don’t actually talk about. Yes, that classic steel guitar leaves us yearning for the old days. Everything about surfing in the 1990s had a very specific and familiar sound. You can almost feel the paper-thin, 6’6″ thruster under your feet while picturing Kelly Slater with hair. Clown-car music and a wipeout reel? Makes sense. Ska? LET’S GO! Jacobson runs through an entire library of sounds here and looks for which types of waves and performance works for each. While we all know surfing is best (or at least most often) paired with certain genres, you probably haven’t taken the time to watch the same two or three clips paired with six different genres, back to back. It’s a... read more

“A LOOK AT SOME OF SKATEBOARDING’S GREATEST DISPLAYS OF FILMING” by Justin The Intern via Jenkem Mag

To some skaters out there, filming might seem like a pretty simple task. First, you have to buy a half-decent camera with a fisheye, and then all you really have to do is keep the skater in the frame and make sure the colors aren’t too blown out. Easy, right? Maybe, but when you start to really focus on the technique, you start to see there’s a big difference between the regular Joes and skateboarding’s elite filmers. To shine some light on the real lens tacticians out there, we’ve compiled a list of some standout maneuvers that filmers have pulled off that others couldn’t (or wouldn’t) for the sake of keeping themselves and their camera safe. Feel free to bitch and moan in the comments about what clips we forgot to include. BRIAN PANEBIANCO – SABOTAGE X DC Philadelphia is a city of history. From the founding fathers to Rocky Balboa to the DC team, Philly has seen it all. In the new Sabotage x DC video, Brian Panebianco kicks off his own part by doing a Varial Heel while filming Kevin Bilyeu at Muni. Everything about it oozes a calculated maneuver that might be the coolest most nonchalant thing a filmer has ever done; baggy sweatpants, bulky Lynxes, and a somehow perfectly caught varial heel. This clip was good enough to earn Brian his place in Boil The Ocean’s “Filmers Who Rip on the Board Hall of Fame” and a spot on this list. JACOB HARRIS – ATLANTIC DRIFT: TOM KNOX Everybody remembers this part because Tom Knox performs some of the smoothest skating on some of the roughest ground. But Jacob Harris’ filming often goes... read more

“A ship anchor hooking the pipeline may have caused the California oil spill, preliminary report says” by Madeline Holcombe, Eric Levenson, Amir Vera and Cheri Mossburg via CNN plus relevant letter from SIMA President

(CNN) An anchor hooking an oil pipeline may have caused the Southern California spill that spewed more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a notice to operation owner Amplify Energy. “The pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bow string. And so at its widest point is about 105 feet away from where it was. So it is kind of an almost a semicircle,” Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said at a press conference Tuesday.There is no confirmation of a vessel above the site of the spill, but a response team is working with other agencies to determine whether a ship was in the area, said Capt. Rebecca Ore, the commanding officer at US Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. Photo: Oil spill in Southern California Workers with Patriot Environmental Services clean up some of the oil that flowed into the Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, California. Earlier Tuesday, authorities said a 4,000-foot section of the pipeline was displaced laterally about 105 feet and had a 13-inch split that was likely the source of the spill.The discovery explains the likely source of a spill, widely reported Saturday, of as much as 144,000 gallons of crude oil about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach. The spill has shut down prized beaches, damaged the environment and presented possible health hazards for local residents.Authorities investigating the leak also sought Tuesday to clarify the timeline of when authorities and the pipeline company learned about the spill and what they did in response. A strong gasoline odor. Plumes of oil. And now... read more

“Mobile retail aspires to attain food truck-like popularity” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Mobile retail is at the early experimental phase of development, but operators are looking to achieve the same level of acceptance as food trucks have achieved in the restaurant space. The Lovesac Company, the home furnishing brand known for its adaptable Sactionals couches, just launched Mobile Concierge in the Seattle and Washington, D.C. areas. Customers schedule a visit from the van and, inside, receive live demonstrations, see the latest innovations, touch and feel fabric cover options, and design their own Sactionals setup to fit their space and style. Mobile Concierge builds on the growing use of showroom and virtual appointments, as well as interactive Facebook Live demos over the last year. “We wanted to create a new way for customers to shop our products, free from the stress of busy shopping centers and limited parking,” said Shawn Nelson, Lovesac CEO and founder, in a statement. “We decided to bring the showroom right to the customers’ home with a one-on-one, tailored shopping experience. Santa, created by former Wework veterans, recently debuted in Texas with two trucks canvassing Plano and Frisco. The trucks offer a weekly-rotating range of fashion, beauty, tech, home décor and gifts with a focus on locally-made. The initial idea was to offer front door exchanges to eliminate the hassle of online returns, but Santa’s mobile trucks also enable customers to try on clothing and see how décor looks in their homes before purchasing. Customers see the merchandise on the Santa app and are notified when the truck will be in their area. “Santa is an attempt to create a new kind of physical store that moves around and... read more

“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

For years we’ve heard that employee expenses are driving retail profit margins down; as a result, labor hours were cut. That meant shoppers were more likely not to see anyone working in a store, that they most likely would have to wait for assistance, and would have to wait in line to pay. That led customer service levels down across the board and still today it is pummeling retail traffic across the world. Many retailers see their retail employees as a cost center, the opposite of an asset. They are something to be minimized. That’s why, to keep down the expense, they try to get away with the minimum needed to cover the floor. And that’s a mistake. Brian Field, Senior Director at ShopperTrak, notes, “The more you cut your labor hours, the better your labor looks.” But there’s a problem with that and that’s why ShopperTrak advises clients to instead measure using shopper to associate ratio. That number can go up or down, depending on the level of service that a brand is intending to provide. The lower the shopper to associate ratio you want to have, the better trained your employees must be. You can’t say customers are the major focus of your business and then provide three-person coverage on a busy Saturday. But it’s not just employees you need to value as an asset, it’s their training. A friend of mine related an experience her son had while working at a Michelin-rated restaurant in New York. To keep their rating stars, they are mystery-dined each year. There are separate ratings for food and service. Last year this restaurant received a 93 on the... read more

“A Rock Star’s Next Act: Making Montana a Skateboarding Oasis” by Jim Robbins via The New York Times

Photographs by Todd Heisler  BROWNING, Mont. — This is not the Montana where the wealthy are building ski-in and ski-out mansions or refurbishing a trout stream on a new ranch. Browning is the capital of the Blackfeet Nation, where the rolling, grass-covered high plains collide with a steel-gray wall of snow-dappled mountains on the Rocky Mountain Front just south of the Canadian border. This is also a new capital of world-class skateboarding, and a nearly 13,000-square-foot, $300,000 skate park called Thunder Park. It was paid for by the Montana Pool Service — a name in reference to the large bowl at the center of a skate park — a foundation funded and operated by Jeff Ament. Yes, that Jeff Ament — the bass guitarist and a founder of Pearl Jam. He’s seven years into his self-appointed mission to bring high-end skate parks to every city and town in Montana that will have one. Ament has paid for, or helped pay for, 27 skate parks, most of them in Montana. He has also helped build three on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Three more are planned for reservations in Montana and South Dakota, including one at Wounded Knee. “It’s much bigger than skateboarding,” Ament said. “You are teaching kids to get up when they fall.” “If you are in an isolated rural area or you come from a broken home you are going to fall a lot.” A clue to his skateboard philanthropy is found in the angsty and melancholic lyrics of Pearl Jam’s music. “I gotta bomb in my temple that is gonna explode,” the band sang... read more

“SQUARE AND TIKTOK PARTNER TO HELP BUSINESSES EXPAND THEIR REACH ONLINE” via Industry Resource

Square and TikTok announced a new integration that will make it easy for sellers of all types and sizes to reach new customers and grow their sales online. Square x TikTok enables sellers to send fans directly from TikTok videos, ads, and shopping tabs on their profiles to products available in their existing Square Online store, providing a streamlined shopping experience that retains the look and feel of their personal brand. To take advantage of these powerful new commerce features from TikTok, TikTok For Business users can now quickly and easily set up a free, fully integrated Square Online store and start selling right away. Jessica Thompson (@beejoyfuljess), owner of the Bee Joyful Shop, a zero-waste and sustainable living shop in Dexter, Michigan said that the Square x TikTok integration has helped her reach new customers in a new, and lucrative market. “TikTok is huge right now and only continuing to grow. With Square x TikTok we’re able to quickly and easily feature our products in our TikTok content and seamlessly direct buyers to our Square Online store,” she said. “We’re really excited to give fans an easier way to shop, directly from the platform where they’re already spending their time.” With a billion monthly active users, TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms. Reaching this audience provides sellers with a valuable opportunity, especially as the lines between entrepreneurship, content creation, and commerce continue to blur. With Square x TikTok, sellers are able to grow their business by running ads using TikTok Ads Manager, sync their existing item catalog to TikTok for inclusion in curated shopping tabs on their profiles, and include... read more

“Analysts throw cold water on the great DTC pivot” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

image courtesy of Daphne Howland/Retail Dive Dive Brief: As brands large and small try to capture more margin by selling directly to consumers, analysts with BMO Capital Markets question whether the strategy is truly more profitable.In a recent report, the analysts found that wholesale sales come with higher margins before taxes and interest than DTC sales. Moreover, shifts to DTC channels could translate into lower sales dollars overall even though brands capture more of the sales price for themselves. The BMO analysts wrote that “although revenue per item grows at DTC, the units lost by abandoning wholesale generally overwhelm the unit price lifts at DTC.” Dive Insight: Nike is doing it. Adidas is doing it. Crocs is doing it. Canada Goose, Vera Bradley and Michael Kors are doing it. Brands across the board have been expanding and prioritizing their direct channels, often to the detriment of retailers that rely on national brands to drive their own sales.  The strategy is based on the straightforward promise that brands can capture more of the sale price of a product and thus keep more of the profits. But the BMO report calls into question the formula that more DTC sales equal higher profits.  The analysts estimate that wholesale margins are about 1,000 basis points higher on average than those of DTC, prior to taxes and interest payments. The reasons for that are not really known with any certainty. The BMO analysts suggest a few theories, including that the scale of wholesale sales reduces the cost of goods sold and that wholesale sales boost the visibility of a brand.  For a brand, making DTC sales online is a costly venture compared to... read more

“5 Steps to Get Your Website in Shape for a Competitive Q4” by Jason Rosenbaum via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Getty Images With the holidays right around the corner, retail brands will be looking for ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They’ll have to look hard, because they’ll be facing unprecedented competition. Over the past year, many B-to-B-to-C businesses battered by the pandemic shifted their infrastructure to eliminate the middleman, creating the most saturated direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) market ever. The following strategies can help businesses succeed in such a highly competitive environment. 1. Prioritize customer experience through integrations and infrastructure. A great front-end experience is a must-have for any web retailer. Speed, performance, and stability are essential to keep visitors engaged, but that’s just for starters. Consumers expect a personalized, easy-to-use site and a seamless user experience (UX) that’s dynamic and relevant. The right digital partner can give even the newest of businesses a competitive advantage over bigger competitors that have been doing it for years. Focusing on customer experience and overall functionality of the website can not only help your company now, but set it up for success in the future. Ensure that the customer experience is as simple and intuitive as possible. 2. Strive for scalability and flexibility. Scalability and flexibility sound great, but it takes a solid technical platform and a lot of behind-the-scenes work to manage, monitor, and continually update everything that’s happening across a multitude of systems. For many companies the internal staff doesn’t have the time or advanced technical skills to do it on their own, especially as the business grows. It’s also a challenge to respond quickly to fast-paced, ever-evolving markets and customer demand. Scalability and flexibility must be baked... read more

“How To Fix The Fatal Mistake That’s Losing You Retail Customers” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Online retailers and discounters have taken their toll on many brick-and-mortar stores. Macy’s, JC Penney, and Kohl’s have each closed locations, and Lord & Taylor closed all physical store locations. You might be worried that you are next, especially if you are seeing fewer customers walking into your store. The fatal mistake you can make in a retail store isn’t that you don’t have an app or a Big Data strategy. It isn’t that you don’t have an endless aisle of online products, magic mirror kiosks, or robots that talk. The fatal and most common mistake retailers make is staying beige, and that big mistake is losing them customers. When your store is beige, customers leave without any impression of your brand whatsoever. Shoppers are fickle and busy. They have too many places they can buy too much of the same thing. If you don’t make a remarkable impression, all traces of the visit to your store will have evaporated from your shoppers’ memory before they get in their car. The always-on consumer isn’t always on the search for stuff. But when they are looking for products you carry, they have to be able to remember you so they can come back to your store or website. You can’t just take customers for granted. I was in Des Moines recently and came across a store with “The Greatest Store In The Universe” emblazoned on the side of the building.  I had to go in. Once inside, I discovered all kinds of cheeky, urban, Made in Iowa merchandise such as greeting cards, notepads, sweatshirts, you get it. The store had about a dozen shoppers and you know what? The crew was... read more

“A Look Back: Dogtown and Z Boys” (mini documentary about the documentary) by Glen E. Friedman via Thrasher Mag

Dogtown and The Z Boys found an audience outside of the traditional skateboard community. Tony Alva, Peggy Oki, Stacy Peralta and more from the OG Zephyr scene break down why it worked and what was missing. Big Thanks to Glen E Friedman and Vans. Push play to watch this newly released documentary about Dog Town and Z Boys Dogtown and Z-Boys is a 2001 documentary film produced by Agi Orsi and directed by Stacy Peralta.[1] The documentary explores the pioneering of the Zephyr skateboard team in the 1970s (of which Peralta was a member) and the evolving sport of skateboarding. Using a mix of film of the Zephyr skateboard team (Z-Boys) shot in the 1970s by Craig Stecyk, along with contemporary interviews, the documentary tells the story of a group of teenage surfer/skateboarders and their influence on the history of skateboarding (and to a lesser extent surfing) culture. Dogtown and Z-Boys, narrated by Sean Penn, begins with the history of skateboarding in Southern California and how it had been strongly influenced by the surf culture in the surrounding areas of Santa Monica and Venice, nicknamed Dogtown.[2] Surf shop owners Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk established the Zephyr Skateboard Team with local teenagers from broken homes.[3] The sport of skateboarding continued to evolve as the Z-Boys continued to bring edgy moves influenced by surfing. During one of California’s record-breaking droughts, local backyard pools were emptied and became hotspots for these young skateboarders looking for places to skateboard.[2] The members of the Zephyr team gained notability and national attention when they competed in skateboard championships and started to receive media attention for their skills as young athletes. Testimonials and commentary provided by the members and founders of the Zephyr team combined with the rock-and-roll soundtrack and vintage footage... read more

“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from David Ritter, a managing director, and Conor Gaffney, an associate in the consumer and retail group, at global professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal. They can be reached at dritter@alvarezandmarsal.com and cgaffney@alvarezandmarsal.com, respectively. Views are the authors’ own. It’s no secret that U.S. retailers have struggled immensely to fill employment gaps and maintain staffing levels as store traffic has returned in recent months. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, after significant growth in June — up by 67,000 — retail hiring flattened, then decreased in July (down 6,000) and August (down 29,000). At a macro level, the number of individuals employed by retail companies still sits about 300,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, despite retailers’ increasingly desperate attempts to hire additional staff.     With the critical holiday season approaching, this strategic challenge — which already looks for all the world like a great reset — will be exacerbated by seasonal hiring efforts. In response, large retailers including CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart are all increasing their minimum wages to attract workers. Unfortunately, workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have, causing some companies to report that they will remain understaffed into the holidays. Why? For one main reason, most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook — an approach with a critical lack in understanding of their current and future employees — and are, in turn, relying on the easiest lever in that playbook, minimum wage, in a misguided hope that staffing will eventually recover.     Why aren’t higher minimum wages the answer?   A recent study of retail associates by retail operations platform Zipline found that a significant... read more