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

“Malls and Shoppers Are Back In Droves” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

Don’t look now, pundits, but those dire predictions of the collapse of malls are crumbling. I visited the Garden State Plaza in New Jersey Saturday around noon. It took me about ten minutes to find a parking place. Once inside, I found the mall packed with shoppers scurrying all throughout. Smiling, laughing, and most importantly, holding bags with their purchases. There was a line 30 people deep to get into Pandora. The Shake Shack was packed. There was no evidence of curbside or BOPIS like in previous months. The only way a time-traveler would know it wasn’t the Saturday before Christmas was the lack of decorations. That’s about it. I even made this LinkedIn live video I was so overwhelmed by the traffic. (Apologies for the wankiness of the video due to wifi.) That’s not to say retailers were dealing with it all equally. At Nordstrom: fully staffed, friendly help. A sincere desire to greet and meet like before. Several shirts and a new Canali jacket. Check. At Macy’s: though much better stocked than their location I visited in Albany a few weeks ago, there was a clear lack of help and desire to do so. Fitting rooms stacked with clothes, cardboard boxes of merchandise haphazardly left on the floor, and even shipping pallets (!). The employees stood behind their plexiglass giving the appearance of being forced to work in prison rather than being delighted they had work and people shopping with them. The only courtesy I saw was from the shoppers who were congenial and engaging each other. At Neiman Marcus: no one at all to be seen... read more


Skateboarding is so damn fun that it’s easy to forget it’s also an actual j-o-b that some people do to make ends meet. Just like the regular jobs you and I work, there are a lot of nuances, expectations, and obligations that the greater world doesn’t necessarily know about. We got curious about what some of those things might be, so we dug into our contact list of industry heads—who will remain unnamed—to get some insight from people who are truly in the know. If you’re a SLAP head, you might know most of this stuff already because you bastards seem to know everything. For the rest of you, hopefully, you’ll come out of this learning a thing or two, because we certainly did. 1. PROS MAKE MORE MONEY FROM ONLINE BOARD SALES THAN SHOP SALES Depending on the board brand or distribution, some pros can make as much as a $10 per board if you buy it directly from their sponsor’s website. The riders still make money from skate shop sales as well, but online is where they get the biggest chunk because it essentially cuts out the middleman and has a bigger profit margin. 2. PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDERS DON’T ALWAYS OWN THE RIGHTS TO THEIR FOOTAGE As Roger Bagley puts it, that’s “The person who hit record, or the person paying the person to hit record.” Given the buddy-buddy nature of the skate industry, this generally works, but it is far from beyond its downsides. This practice has definitely led to the occasional hostage situation where a filmer won’t give up a footage until they feel they’ve been compensated fairly.... read more

“The Best & Worst Times To Post On Social Media” by Krystina Morgan via Independent Retailer

Social Media plays such a huge part in brand growth, but unless you use it properly, it will not help you gain any extra exposure. There are many different factors that go into creating successful social media accounts, and one of the biggest ones is posting at just the right time in order to get the most visibility.  Before you know the best and worst times to post on each social media platform, retailers need to provide attractive content if you want all of those eyeballs on your page. Two of the main points to keep in mind is that not all content needs to be shared everywhere, and not all content is suitable for every social media platform. While some sites encourage videos and fun pictures, for others, it is best to post facts or polls.  The Best Content for Facebook According to Buffer, videos and curated content will get the most attention on Facebook. From their own research, video posts generated the highest average reach among all post types. The average engagement on their video posts is almost on par with that of their photo posts, which have the highest average engagement. Buzzsumo analyzed 68 million Facebook posts and found a similar trend: videos have higher average engagement than images and links.  The Best Content for Instagram Shopify says that it is important to have a mix of engaging content that will appeal to Instagram users at different stages of their customer journey. For example:  Show off your products with high quality pictures and videos.Be sure to avoid making your pictures look like ads, and include rich, interesting captions, not just product names and a... read more

“What Pandemic? Physical Real Estate is Having a Moment” by Andrew Flint via Total Retail

Credit: by dragana991 Online shopping might be easy, convenient and prolific, yet it hasn’t erased the need for flagship brick-and-mortar retail establishments. In fact, retail real estate is undergoing a phenomenal — and some might say surprising — comeback. As REJournals reported, roughly 60 percent of businesses with physical retail assets plan to expand their footprints in 2022. What’s driving the momentum? Retail stores offer the personalization and community that virtual shopping lacks. Plus, those stores can serve as locations to test concepts, continue customer journeys, and forge deeper bonds with patrons. Even brands with wildly successful online presences are bumping up their in-person shops. Take Warby Parker, for instance. As CNBC reported in late 2021, the eyewear giant, known primarily as an e-commerce destination, brought in 40 percent of its revenue from retail locations in 2020. Physical stores were essential for providing customers with full-service experiences. This isn’t to suggest that online buying isn’t increasing. It is. Instead of usurping physical browsing and shopping, however, e-commerce is augmenting physical shopping and fostering the growth of omnichannel retail. Omnichannel retail has been around for a while, of course, but McKinsey research shows that the e-commerce element soared in 2020 amid the pandemic. And it’s true that physical retail took hits during mandatory shutdowns. Consumers opted to stay at home and order items for delivery. Developers had trouble getting construction permits. Property managers lost tenants as they forced retailers to reduce payroll. But now, brick-and-mortar is springing back to life, thanks in part to the benefits of omnichannel retail experiences. Case in point: In-person shopping allows brands to develop deeper relationships with consumers. Even if consumers begin their journeys online, they frequently jump from... read more

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

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

“Top 10 Boating Safety Tips for the Busy 2022 Season” by The Watersports Foundation via the WSIA Newsletter

With a 35% increase in new boat ownership and 415,000 new boaters taking to the waterways since 2020, boating participation will reach historic levels of participation this summer, says Water Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Emmons. With the Memorial Day holiday traditionally serving as the kick-off to summer boating activity, Emmons says the Water Sports Foundation is taking a pro-active approach to promoting safe boating strategies prior to the busy season. “Especially with so many new boaters gearing up for a fun season of activity on our nation’s crowded waterways, we felt it was important to share these tips to keep boaters safe and alert this year,” said Emmons. #1 – Take a Boating Safety Class or Refresher The Water Sports Foundation recently reported a major surge in online education Water Sports Foundation Reports Pandemic Spike in Online Boater Education – Water Sports Foundation with many safety organizations now offering virtual training options in addition to traditional live instruction. In many states, new boaters are required to take mandated boater ed classes, but now there is a wealth of new online and hybrid classes also available on a variety of boating topics and for all skill levels, through public and private providers. “Whether a seasoned skipper or a boating newbie, everyone can benefit from a boating safety class, especially when it’s now just an easy click away,” said Emmons. For a list of educational resources, check out the National Boating Safety Media Resource Center: Boating Safety Education – Water Sports Foundation #2 – Buckle Up! According to the U.S. Coast Guard, drowning is the cause of death in 79 percent of fatal... read more

“Retail’s Bench Strength Is Dwindling, Here’s How To Build It Back” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Retailers are getting shoppers back in droves. That’s great news. For the most recent period, while online retail sales fell for the third straight month, visits to stores were up. In fact, NRF’s annual forecast predicts that retail sales for 2022 will increase between 6 percent and 8 percent to between $4.86 trillion and $4.95 trillion. The bad news is many retailers are still understaffed and bench positions of leads and assistants are going unfilled. The high labor demand is pushing employers to pay higher wages as they compete to attract talent, and that higher pay is luring workers away from their current jobs. That in turn is leading managers to expect even more from even fewer workers. No wonder the Labor Department’s April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, recently showed a record 4.5 million people voluntarily quit their jobs. But on my calls with retailers, I’ve found what is hidden from the news is the weakening of the support systems at the core of many retail operations; their very infrastructure. What is infrastructure at the store level? It is the system of leadership within a store’s four walls. It is the underlying foundation that allows a brand to exceed shoppers’ expectations. As a component of physical infrastructure is a bridge between two landmasses, so do store leads and assistant managers function as a bridge between management and floor associates. What is infrastructure failure in retail? Retail infrastructure failure is the interruption of the leadership systems that provide for onboarding, training, accountability, etc. It is the leadership vacuum that allows bad customer service, missed sales targets, and increased shrink. What... read more

“From Seed To Culture – Shaheen Sadeghi ran global giant Quiksilver back when soulless malls ruled the retail landscape. Now, he’s building the future at his cool, community-focused shop, Seed Peoples Market.” by Doug Schnitzspahn via Outdoor Retailer Magazine

Seed Peoples Market won an Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award in January 2020, but when I visit the Costa Mesa, California-based shop, I don’t walk out with anything I saw in the aisles at that Show. Instead of a recycled polyester Patagonia jacket or a technical headlamp, I leave with a beautiful set of wooden knives. This isn’t because the store failed to do its job—instead it made me discover something beyond my outdoor brain. I had, after all, wanted a set of knives like this for cheeses, but I never would have found them, or bought them otherwise. And this all went down exactly the way Shaheen Sadeghi planned it. Former Quiksilver president Sadeghi left the big corporate world in 1992. He wanted to explore a massive cultural shift he saw happening, to create the type of authenticity consumers were demanding, to build the type of community-focused retail center we now see as the hip norm. Seed People’s Market, which opened in 2013 in a spot once occupied by an Adventure 16, is the cornerstone in The Camp, Sadeghi’s green ecosystem of shops standing out in the bland sameness of SoCal strip malls. “Products with Purpose” is the shop’s mantra, written on the wall on a chalkboard—and that is what shoppers will find in the space here that feels like a mashup of World Market and Adventure 16 in its heyday. It’s a bazaar of sustainable, local-made, hand-made, and eco-conscious items and classic outdoor offerings that keep customers engaged. It’s also the culmination of Sadeghi’s vision of retail as a place of connection as well as commerce, the anti-mall.... read more

“Here Are the Winners of The Inertia’s 2022 Film & Photo Challenge Presented by White Claw” by Staff via The Inertia

Owen Beim with the winning entry of the Black and White Category presented by White Claw. Last weekend, at the Traveler Surf Club in Malibu, The Inertia awarded the winners of the 2022 Film and Photo Challenge presented by White Claw. And the talent runs thick. A big congratulations goes out to everyone who entered and many thanks to all the talented photographers and filmmakers who participated. It was a huge success! With nearly a thousand submissions and so many people sharing great work from around the world, it’s always tough to select just one winner of each category. This contest is a great reminder each year of the depth of talent in our community. You’re all an inspiration. With that said, here’s a quick look at the winners. Young Owen Beim gets us started with the heat and his Black and White beauty of Eimeo Czermak on a Tahitian bomb (above). “Absolutely pumped to have won the Black and White category,” Beim said. “This shot of Eimeo Czermak is no doubt my favorite shot in black in white and it was truly a moment I won’t forget.” Blair Conklin, deep in the belly of the beast, as seen through the lens of James Ferrell. In the Emerge category presented by Miir, a category dedicated to up-and-comers, James Ferrell captured this gorgeous shot of Blair Conklin in deep. The Wedge continues to help develop astounding young talent, and Ferrell is chief among the youthful photogs in residence at the famous mutant wave. This image of a solid winter swell won Paul Greene the Lineups category of The Inertia Film & Photo Challenge presented by White Claw. Photo: Paul Greene Meanwhile, Paul Greene captured... read more

“Retailers Should Be Texting Customers More: Here’s How to Do it Effectively” by Tom Sheahan via Total Retail

While many industries have embraced short message service (SMS, or more commonly referred to as texting) as a meaningful way to communicate with customers, many retail brands still haven’t adopted the practice with regularity. As retailers consider changes in marketing tactics, increasing text message campaigns should be part of the discussion. People are on their phones a lot, but it’s important to note they’re shopping on their phones a lot, too. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is on the rise. According to eMarketer/Insider Intelligence data, retail m-commerce sales hit $359.32 billion in 2021, an increase of 15.2 percent year-over-year. By 2025, m-commerce sales could more than double in the U.S. Sending a relevant, timely message is a great way to connect with consumers and potential customers in a place where they likely already do some shopping. Why Texting? Texting offers convenience, but also results. Research from OpenMarket indicates 83 percent of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. And Gartner research pointed at 90 percent of all people reading text messages within three minutes of receipt. These stats represent the fact that text messages are a desired form of communication for most, as also indicated by the amount of time people spend on their phones. Text message sends are also affordable, allowing retailers to reach their large lists of customers without breaking the bank. Retailers can send text messages for as low as pennies per message, depending on the SMS software provider. Related story: Soft Surroundings Sees Growth in Email, SMS Revenue Through Automation Texting as Part of an Overarching Marketing Strategy Text messages act as another touchpoint between a brand and consumers; they... read more

“Surf Shop Day is now being handled by the awesome people behind SIMA plus link to social media assets to use for SSD on May 21st” via Surf Industry Member Association blog

Let’s celebrate! A surf shop’s value according to Shaun Tomson, world champion surfer, environmentalist, and author: “Surf shops supply what surfers truly need – not what they want, but what they truly need – a great board, a wetsuit, some surf shorts, wax, and a few accessories. Products designed around that existential experience of paddling out towards that open horizon, waiting, and watching, and then swinging around, catching that wave, and getting stoked. Everything else is detail around this core. The entire surfing industry, and every dollar ever paid, is essentially to satisfy that need of being stoked.” Surf Shop Day is the day to celebrate the independent retailers that helped build and continue to maintain the surf industry. These surf shops are where so many of us found our surf stoke – the euphoric smell of surf wax, neoprene wetsuits, and resin curing from a fresh batch of surfboards. Surf Shop Day will celebrate the heart and soul of our business and what it means to our industry and its growth, from the hardworking owners to the enthusiastic sales staff, to the relentless sales reps who keep the machine of stoke going for customers. Let’s shine a light on surf shops in all communities, recognize those who have been there from the early days and throw sunlight on the new ones bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to make the in-person, brick-and-mortar experience more exciting. Retailers and brands are encouraged to find their own way of celebrating Surf Shop Day to bring positive attention to our culture, sport, and industry. To help stoke the imagination, the Surf Industry Members... read more

“Outdoor Sports Insurance Shares Best Crime-Prevention Practices Amid 50% Rise in Theft Claims” by Amos Horn via OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

With headline-making robberies of cycling, skiing, and outdoor retailers becoming a common occurrence, Outdoor Sports Insurance ( is encouraging outdoor businesses and specialty retailers to reexamine their security practices amidst a nationwide rise in outdoor equipment theft. “With the pandemic, there has not only been a spike in outdoor recreation, but also a spike in the theft of outdoor gear,” said Rob Martin of Outdoor Sports Insurance. “Implementing best practices and taking another look at security protocols can go a long way toward mitigating the problem.” Outdoor Sports Insurance works with over 2,500 specialty retail shops across the country and over the past two years has seen a 50% increase in theft claims, with the size of claims up 37%. From 2019 to 2021, 16% of all Outdoor Sports Insurance claims are theft related. And to make matters worse, one-fifth of those claims appear to be the work of coordinated crime rings. As the value of outdoor equipment is more widely understood, it is more important than ever for brands and specialty retailers to put an emphasis on their crime-prevention tactics. The following suggestions are a good place to start. Understand the ProblemThere are many different ways a person or a group of people can go about stealing merchandise. Understanding such methods as tag swapping, clothing concealment, and employee theft, along with high-risk areas and high-value items in the store, is the first step in addressing the problem. OrganizationA well-organized store with open aisles and uninterrupted lines of sight is important in making it harder for would-be shoplifters to find a place to privately conceal items. The reorganization process... read more

“Shoppers decide what makes a great in-store experience and here’s what they want” by Bobby Marhamat via Retail Customer Experience .com

Photo by What, exactly, do today’s shoppers want from an in-store experience? The answer is clearer than you might think. When it comes to retail, beauty is in the eye of the consumer. Shoppers ultimately dictate which retailers are hip and profitable, and which decay into costly dinosaurs. As a retailer, you must discern between fads and sustainable trends to remain relevant. Probing consumers about their likes and dislikes is the only way to do this with consistency. And yet, revenue sheets and voluntary customer surveys only tell you so much. Each year, we aim to lend brick-and-mortar practitioners a helping hand with our State of Consumer Behavior 2022 report, which provides direct insights into customers’ prevailing likes, dislikes, and motivations. Without fail, these consumers tell us that the in-store experience has massive influence over where they choose to shop — with each report, though, we find new actionable discoveries that those in brick and mortar can use. The shopper of 2022 still values retail’s greatest hits, like value, excitement, and convenience. However, these shoppers are hungrier for experiential retail than they’ve ever been, with 77% of respondents calling in-store experiences “important” or “very important” to their shopping decisions. The pressing question for retailers is this: What, exactly, do today’s shoppers want from an in-store experience? The answer is clearer than you might think. Shoppers want selection When we asked shoppers what they most want from an in-store experience, the largest contingent — 31.9% of respondents — said they most value product selection and variety. It’s not a profound revelation to state that brick and mortar is now... read more


You might have seen footage floating around Instagram of a giant new skate spot somewhere in the middle of New York. Known officially as Under the K Bridge Park, this new hotspot is tucked away next to a recycling center and bus yard in the middle of Northern Brooklyn. On the surface, it may seem like just another public city park that’s been taken over by skaters, like Tompkins or TF West, but there is something different about this particular space. K Bridge Park is an anomaly because it breaks a lot of norms we’ve come to expect for newly built public spaces in New York. For one, it’s massive, spanning seven acres, and it’s filled with a ton of skate-friendly obstacles. The ledges and stairs have coping on them and nobody is batting an eye at the dropped-off ramps, rails, or skaters who are there every day. So is it a city park, a proper skatepark, or something else entirely? Should we be worried about an eventual crackdown, or is it actually being used exactly as it was intended? After talking with a few people behind the scenes, we got the story behind the park and what the greater plans are for Brooklyn’s newest spot. To clarify, K Bridge Park is designated as an “open public space,” not an official NYC skatepark, although it has skateable ledges—complete with steel coping—and handrails that are naturally built-in to make the park skate friendly. That means no one’s coming through to knob the ledges or rails here any time soon. It’s actually not even run by the city and is managed by a nonprofit group called the... read more

“Is Customer Service A Battle? Apparently” by Bob Phibbbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

An article in the WSJ profiled jetBlue airlines employees – 10% of which were previously firefighters or cops. “Now as a JetBlue flight attendant, Mr. Harris, 56, says he thinks of himself more as a “security chaperone” than a flight attendant. He says he teaches younger flight attendants a firefighter’s tactic—how to vary the tone and volume of their voice to get and keep someone’s attention.” It’s not just airlines hiring ex-military… Home Depot was known for hiring ex-armed services guys and gals for years. A Bloomberg cover story was subtitled, “Skip the touchy-feely stuff. The big-box store is thriving under CEO Bob Nardelli’s military style rule,” it too cited 9/11 and the “battle” analogy. This got me to thinking: Is customer service a battle? If so, who are the enemies? Are their experiences a good fit for customer service? To me, customer service is making the customer feel at that moment of interaction, they are the most important person in the world. Customer service is not what happens when something goes wrong – that’s damage control. Great customer service isn’t: Getting my money back on something I wore once to a party.Being able to return something for cash without a receipt.Getting free shipping.Getting my way for a discount because I think I deserve it.Giving me a gift with purchase after I am rung up, and not telling me prior.Asking if I have a coupon at the register. Especially when I don’t.Treating me like cattle, as an imposition or something to have to “deal with.” That shows by your face, your tone, your words – or lack thereof. Great customer service is: Welcoming... read more

“REDEFINING BLATANT LOCALISM – Elon Buying Twitter Got Me Thinking” by Anthony Pappalardo via Artless Industria

PHOTO: Yes, that’s a Space X Skateboard. As you probably know, Elon Musk and a group of investors bought Twitter to make it a “town square that promotes free speech,” or something. As most people who cover tech or even own stock know, Twitter’s business plan sucks because it doesn’t make money. If you were to ask me who actually used Twitter, I’d break it into the following categories: Media folks Comedians Media people trying to be Comedians Comedians trying to be Media people A bunch of people into sports, art, and things trying to own each other. Some people who just read shit. Oh, and there are some skaters on #skatetwitter, mostly discussing pants or videos and sometimes the pants in videos, and other shit dealing with skateboarding in a mostly positive manner until we disagree and talk some light shit. While #skatetwitter exists, skateboarding mostly lives and thrives on Instagram and YouTube so with many threatening to leave Twitter due to Musk’s acquisition of it, this mostly means nothing in the skate world. Of course, YouTube and Instagram are fucked up but no one is leaving that space because it’s how we connect, find out about things, buy things, and look at things. That’s vital! Who cares who owns Instagram or any platform? Skateboarding needs Instagram! And YouTube! What would happen if they went bankrupt and all that content disappeared? How would skateboarding survive? Well, if Meta pulled the plug on IG and Facebook, it certainly would impact the bottom lines of many companies but the smart ones that capture your data willingly would have deep databases and you’d continue to know what drops... read more

“How the Pandemic Saved Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Archie Black via Total Retail

Credit: by Marie LaFauci Retailers get a second chance with true omnichannel now within reach Today we all love — and have likely used — curbside pickup at some point over the last two years. But let’s be honest: there’s no reason retailers couldn’t have offered this a decade ago. As we take stock of the many changes to come out of the pandemic, one of the biggest in retail is that retailers finally accelerated the need to innovate the consumer experience. One of the key opportunities in today’s retail landscape that was overlooked pre-pandemic is the physical store as a competitive advantage in the e-commerce game. Many retailers are at a crossroad as they consider whether to take the path towards true customer-centric omnichannel (which will require new tools and, in many cases, a culture shift) or continue down the forced path they’ve been on for the past three years: a DIY model of physical-plus-digital that has led to the inefficiencies, backups and disruptions we’re seeing now. The Path to True Omnichannel Unfortunately, I believe we’re still debating the definition of “omnichannel.” For me, it’s the ability to have shopping the way I want.  This experience may tap into any or all of a retailer’s channels on a single order so I can receive (and possibly return) my order based on my preference (in-store or curbside pickup, at-home delivery, in-store return) — all with the same branded experience. No “online-only coupons,” change in inventory from one channel to the next, or disconnected online vs. in-store return policies. But over the past decade, there has been a general lack of... read more

“New Tactics CEO on Business Trends and More” plus link to 30 day free trial by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

New Tactics CEO Dugan Baker – Photo courtesy of Tactics By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Apr 26, 2022 Important industry skate and snow retailer Tactics (BRA Distinguished Retail Member), which is a big online player in addition to operating three brick-and-mortar stores, has a new CEO. Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up for access before viewing: Click here to login or click here to sign up for a free 30 day Executive Edition trial. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“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

“2022 Trends For Social Commerce” by Mark Hook via Independent Retailer

Over the last 20 years, we have seen social media shift from simple, text-based updates to increasingly visual content, championed by app-based platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Now, new entrants such as TikTok and Pinterest are taking the trend even further. Social media now goes way beyond communicating with friends and family. The impact and growth of social media brands play a huge part in what we see on our newsfeeds — and with that, social commerce has flourished. Social apps that already allow for commerce include Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, but TikTok and Twitter are also experimenting with shopping features. Social Commerce – Why You Should Care Social commerce is a $89 billion market right now, and is projected to grow to $605 billion in the next seven years. eMarketer predicts social commerce will rise by 35 percent to $36.09 billion in 2021 alone. Social is becoming a primary research tool for shoppers with many channels, including Instagram, acting as discovery engines for brands. According to Instagram, 60 percent of consumers discover new products on their platform, and users say that when they were inspired by something they saw, they would take steps to find and buy it straight away. Consumers also love the ability to browse and buy products within different digital environments, often as their preferred buying channel. In fact, 81 percent of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, and shopping is a top priority for 48 percent of Pinterest users. Ignored Channels However, a staggering number of retailers are overlooking social media for commerce. According to Brightpearl’s own data of 4,000 shoppers, a quarter of retailers still do not have options for shoppers to buy via social channels, including some of the... read more

“3 Data-Backed Ways to Drive Worker Retention, Productivity, Revenue and More” by Jordan Ekers via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by zoranm There’s a disconnect between retail associates and leaders on how effective their communications really are What do retail workers want? This is the question I’m hearing from every retailer I’ve spoken to in the past year. As we strive to find some sense of post-pandemic normalcy — or at least start to understand what our new normal looks like — retail organizations are struggling to battle rising costs and heightened customer expectations, alongside serious staffing issues that diminish their ability to rise up to these challenges. To align their employee experience to keep their staff engaged, productive and, most of all, loyal, retailers need to learn more about what their workers want. So we turned to the findings of our 2021 Deskless Report: Retail Edition, part of an ongoing research project that surveyed hundreds of frontline workers and leaders about turnover, community, communication, feedback and much more. Here’s what we learned: 1. Retail workers are quitting because of poor communication. A whopping 37 percent of retail workers polled for The Deskless Report currently want to quit their job. When we asked workers what could make them quit, one of the top three answers was “poor communication.”  Retail leaders agree, too. When asked what the No. 1 barrier between head office and associates was, leaders also said “communication.” The problem is, there’s a disconnect between retail associates and leaders on how effective their communications really are. While 59 percent of workers say the communications they receive are somewhat or not-at-all useful, 81 percent of leaders say they’re sending meaningful, quality communications. This disconnect is extremely troubling... read more

“9 Ways To Improve Your Body Language Nonverbal Skills” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Looking for how nonverbal communication impacts sales? Your body language sends wordless cues long before you try to close a sale. Have you ever been judged by a stranger?You probably felt it first and then noticed their body language:Closed arms…Not meeting your eyes…Even the tone in their voice… said you were not worthy.Once you got to know them, they probably apologized.But in a retail store, people who feel they are being judged – whether a prospective new hire or a prospective new customer – move on to where they are welcomed. Our bodies give us away like red shirts at a black-tie event As people who work with the public, the more we understand what our bodies are saying…oftentimes without our knowledge…the more we can see how often they get in our way. And then work to minimize those clues. That is especially true when it is your body and your job is selling to a customer in a retail store. That is because oftentimes our bodies communicate fear. And fear makes people look away.   Fear makes us lose our temper, or it silences our own voices when they most need to be heard. Most of all, fear keeps strangers at arm’s length. 55% of our language to communicate with another person is non-verbal Our bodies can sense bad vibrations long before someone’s words arrive.  So now think about a time you felt devalued by someone. Picture what their body position was. Now, picture your own body’s reaction.  I’ll bet: You averted your eyesYou slumped your shouldersYou might even have curled your toes inside your shoes Now think what it... read more

“Report: 80% of US shoppers use buy now, pay later to avoid credit card debt” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Tero Vesalainen via Getty Images Dive Brief: Following previous reports of increased digital payment adoption, the Experian Global Insights Report found that 62% of respondents said they use mobile wallets, and 63% use traditional forms of payment, the credit reporting agency announced on Thursday.More than half of survey respondents (53%) said they have spent more online in the past three months, and half said they are likely to increase their spend online in the next three months.Fifty-seven percent of respondents said using buy now, pay later services could replace their credit card. But only 18% of respondents said they used by now, pay later services in the past six months. Eighty percent of U.S. consumers said they use digital installment payment services to avoid credit card debt. Dive Insight: Experian’s international survey of 6,000 consumers and 2,000 businesses suggests that offering a range of efficient payment options is critical for attracting customers. The report found that most respondents (81%) said a positive digital experience gives them a more favorable view of the brand than a physical store experience. However, 23% of respondents said their expectations for digital experiences were met only somewhat or not at all, down from 30% of consumers who said the same thing in 2021, per Experian’s research. “Results from our latest survey reveal that many consumers are more concerned now about the security of their online transactions and activities than they were a year ago, with regional differences in the nature of their primary concerns,” David Bernard, Experian’s executive vice president of strategy and operations for global decision analytics, said in a statement. “The past two years... read more

“Why reviews aren’t just nice-to-have in 2022 – 88% of customers check your online reviews plus free downloadable Google Reviews ebook” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Google reviews impact the customer journey more than ever.  When it comes to getting found by your customers, local businesses—those with a physical presence—actually have a huge advantage. But if your business isn’t shining online, you’ll see fewer customers coming through your doors.   By taking proactive steps to secure reviews, your business will see both an increase in traffic to your website and your physical location. Learn how to get hundreds of Google reviews and beat the competition in our “Google Reviews 101” eBook.  A Message for Retailers: Go Digital Customers prefer messaging almost twice as much as any other communication method. It’s not close. This report from NAPCO and Podium finds why that is, where businesses are investing their resources, and the actual results of digital communication. 83% of retailers are using at least one digital channel to communicate with customersHalf of retailers offer a live chat or texting option, or bothTexting results in a 35% conversion rate Download the guide today! BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director 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

“How Red Bull Turned New Orleans Airport Into A Skate Park” by Jeremy Lang via Simple Flying

Red Bull has turned the old New Orleans Airport into a skatepark. After a new terminal in New Orleans International Airport was built, the original terminal has been closed since November 2019. The Red Bull Terminal Takeover took the opportunity and held an event that took place between April 15 to 16 at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The setting of an airport is an exciting place for skaters to skate. As it is difficult to skate in operating terminals of an airport, the Red Bull Terminal Takeover utilized an empty terminal and made a skate park in an airport a remarkable reality. A new terminal Skating in an airport is a rare opportunity and that makes the skating park more iconic and valuable for skaters. The construction of the skate park was done by the New York Design and Construction (NYDAC) and Red Bull. The iconic skate park was set up in 4 days and skaters were seen skating in amazing scenery. Ramps such as half-pipe and vert ramps were integrated into the terminal. Through and out the halls of the terminals, rails and gate benches were used as obstacles for skaters to enjoy a unique setting of an airport. The Parabola Park was the location where skaters got to be in the architecture of the airport, using escalators to skate down the park. One of the most memorable scenes from the skating park is during the tarmac jam session where skaters used the jet bridge to launch onto ramps and perform their stunts. These features were present during the first Red Bull Terminal Takeover in 2021. Devin Flynn launching himself from the jet... read more

“Here’s Why ‘Kook Shaming’ Is Ridiculous” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

In my opinion, the best kind of comedy is the kind which picks out something that’s absolutely absurd in the world around us and highlights it. Bonus points if it’s something that we do on a daily basis and just didn’t realize how absurd it is. Enter kook shaming. Strange, isn’t it, how we as surfers love nothing better than to shit on other, less-experienced surfers than ourselves? Much like the middle-school playground, it can seem like the only way to get closer to the top is to push others down. “How dare he come down here and disrespect us by doing the things we do every day wrong,” says Luke Cederman of the Raglan Surf Report. “I’ll film him and then we’ll put it on the internet so everyone can see him.” While the video itself is indeed hilarious, it is, or perhaps should be, a bit thought-provoking as well. Is this really how we treat newcomers to our sport? In general, yes. Can we do better? Also yes. Be sure to visit The Inertia website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. Speaking of helpful articles from the good people behind The Inertia, you may want to click on the following link to learn about how BRA Supporting Vendor Partner SurfCare can help you generate additional revenue from Surfboard Sales without increasing inventory: If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Is Free Shipping Dead?” by Tom Ritman via The Robin Report plus link to save big on your shipping expenses

Everyone knows shipping is costly. Return shipping can be even costlier. In an effort to give consumers what they want, when they want it (aka good consumer service), retailers are running up costs for labor and packaging by shipping one item at a time. This practice may be great optics for the consumer, but it is inefficient, and the excess packaging and energy required for delivery harm the environment and retailers’ bottom lines. This puts retailers between a rock-and-a-hard-place with no clear solution … yet. Consumer expectations and demands for free shipping, returns, exchanges and other services may run retail businesses into the ground. Thus, it is time to recalibrate. Returned goods add more labor costs for restocking, increase expenses associated with disposing packaging materials and complicate logistics for repackaging returns for store sale. Retailers are inadvertently creating a vicious cycle for themselves by trying to create a virtuous cycle for consumers. Free shipping, and especially free returns, can be a zero-sum game for some of your shoppers and a profitable strategy for others. With the current unrest in Ukraine leading to sanctions on oil, rapidly rising gas and fuel costs will no doubt contribute to the existing supply chain crisis, leading to even more expensive shipping and handling charges. So, who should be absorbing these costs, the retailer or the consumer? Any gains made in consumer loyalty or relationships by retailers covering free shipping and returns are bound to be reduced under the current economic realities. How Did Retailers Get into this Free Shipping Mess? We have Zappos to thank for free shipping. In 2003 how else could... read more

“March Retail Sales Grew Despite Higher Inflation” by J. Craig Shearman via National Retail Federation

“We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty.”NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay WASHINGTON – Retail sales grew in March even as inflation edged higher, the National Retail Federation said today.“March retail sales show that consumers have maintained their ability to spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and geopolitical unrest,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their families. We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty if policymakers implement measured policies and do not overreact to current conditions.”“While prices soared in March and eroded spending power, shoppers remained resilient and sales were healthy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers have the willingness to spend and their ability to do so has been supported by rapid hiring, increased wages, larger-than-usual tax refunds and the use of credit. They are largely dealing with the shock of gas prices but will be facing higher interest rates as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy in the coming months. The challenge for the Fed is to cool off demand without pushing the economy into a dramatic slowdown.”The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in March were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from February and up 6.9 percent year over year. That compared with increases of 0.8 percent month over month and 18.2 percent year over year in February. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year over year every month since May 2020, according to Census data.NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile... read more

“How Explainer Videos Can Answer Your Customer’s Hard Questions” by Andre Oentoro via Guest Blog

Image Via Unblast When your business launches new products and services, not all customers can understand your new product or services right away. If you want to introduce your brands, you can use explainer videos instead.  An explainer video is a short video designed to explain important information about services, details benefits of a product, educational content, and others. This type of video helps the audience understand the information easier. Most people prefer learning with visual aids. Thus, video content is easier to attract the attention of viewers than any other content because viewers retain 95% of video messages compared to text content. That’s why companies have started using explainer videos to showcase ideas to customers. Explainer videos help answer customers’ hard questions that no other content marketing campaign does. Here are five reasons why.  1. Simplify Complex Ideas When your business is having trouble explaining a new product or service, explainer videos help you simplify complex messages to make them easier for your customers to understand. For example, if you want to demonstrate the latest products, you can use product demo videos to explain them in an engaging way. This form of explainer video helps attract new customers because they can learn about the product way easier.  Explainer videos can also increase brand visibility, increase lead generation, and ultimately, lead to higher sales. That’s why many companies use explainer videos as their marketing strategy to introduce their new product or services. 2. Give Easy Demonstration Explainer videos provide easy demonstrations for your business. They help deliver important information to the audience by giving digestible step-by-step tutorials in an... read more

“How to Sell: Value over Price” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

As prices rise and customers become vocal about the difference between what they thought something would cost versus what you offer, it is important to sell value over price. When I was a college senior majoring in conducting, my final project was to perform a conducting recital. It was a culmination of my 4+ year journey from almost flunking out to mastering creating music. My choral conducting mentor had suggested I conduct Faure’s Pavane for Six Flutes but that didn’t make the cut for me. Even then I wanted to make a big spectacle. I would conduct several movements from Bernstein’s Mass, several smaller choral pieces, and start with the Overture to King Stephen. All told I had about 40 musicians to work with. It took a lot of asking, pleading, and even paying to get people to commit to rehearsals and the performance. Right before I began rehearsal, I met with the professor of instrumental conducting to review my scores. I handed him the Beethoven. He thumbed his fingers to the climax, read down the page, and without looking up to me simply asked, “How many fiddles do you have?” I proudly said, “A dozen,” in that cocky way when you’re 20 and everything is bright. “You’ll need 18,” he said as he picked up the Bernstein. “You’ll never hear the melody.” “But wait,” I said. “It took me a lot to get those players and I don’t have the money to pay another six instrumentalists.” He dismissed me and said, “Good luck.” In rehearsals, all went well. I heard the melody just fine. What a jerk, I remember thinking. The night of the... read more

“Schnauzer Breaks Silence on Torturous Dog Surfing Routine” by Johnny Utah via The Inertia

A Schnauzer has broken his silence about how some dogs really feel about dog surfing events. Photo: Screenshot/Searle On a recent, sunny California day, a pack of dogs roamed the beach. The waves were up, and there were surfers in the water. But these weren’t ordinary surfers — they were dogs. Their owners laughed and smiled outside the waves, their teeth flashing in the sun, high-fiving when they pushed their four-legged friend into a wave. All looked well and good. Well and good, that is, until one dog chose to speak up. “This isn’t what it looks like,” he told me, his tail tucked between his legs in a classic indicator of fear. “They’re forcing us to do this. Honestly, we’re all terrified. We don’t understand what joy they can possibly get from doing this to us.” The dog — I’ll call him Spot, as he asked to remain anonymous — is a Schnauzer mix. He’s a good swimmer who enjoys swimming after sticks on occasion, but surfing, he told me, is not what he, or most other dogs, for that matter, is meant to be doing. “I mean, yeah, some of us like swimming, but you don’t understand how terrifying this is for us,” he said, staring mournfully out at the beach. His owner, a blond woman in khaki shorts and a flower print blouse, was frantically running up and down the beach, shouting his name. It was his turn to surf in a dog surfing contest, and she needed to put his lifejacket on him. “Just the fact that they’re putting us in lifejackets should tell you something,” Spot said. “Like, if you’re... read more

“What Retailers Need to Understand About the Online Apparel Shopper” by Andrew Custage via Total Retail

Now over two years into the pandemic, the apparel retail category is steadily recovering following declines in 2020. With consumers returning to in-person workplaces, schools and social activities, the need for new clothes has been met with changes to the retail landscape and, inevitably, the role of digital vs. in-store shopping. A new report from Sense360 by Medallia uncovered emerging differences between online and in-store shoppers. Understanding these distinctions can help retailers win over today’s consumers. Key Findings Apparel’s recovery has been driven primarily by a sustained shift toward digital shopping, with in-store sales still trending below pre-pandemic levels. Though certain pandemic-induced habits have stuck, including consolidated shopping trips to accomplish more in each visit, in-store transaction volumes are still down compared to 2019 levels. However, the data reveals that consumers are buying more in each purchase, which could be a result of pandemic-induced habits. Online shoppers have some demographic differences from in-store shoppers and also have a higher degree of concern about COVID-19. Online visits are especially short, with the majority lasting just under 20 minutes, and almost one in five lasting under 10 minutes. Related story: The Trends and Disruptors E-Commerce Needs to Address Source: Sense360 by Medallia January Apparel Shopper Post-Visit Survey (n=1,501) With shorter online sessions, retailers have a smaller window of opportunity to convert browsers into buyers. They can use the following tactics to act more strategically: Deals: Online shoppers are especially motivated by deals when it comes to choosing a retailer (37 percent for online vs. 22 percent for in-store). Retailers should promote deals both before and during the online shopper’s visit to maximize conversion.Personalization: Retailers stand... read more

“The Undeniable Influence and Purchasing Power of Gen Z – How TikTok dances and streetwear drops are reshaping retailer strategies” by Adrien Nussenbaum via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Franek Strzeszewski When we look back on trends from the 2010s, beyond planking and the Harlem Shake, one of the most pervasive fads was a certain type of thinkpiece: Millennials Are Killing Doorbells by Texting Instead. Millennials Are Killing Cereal. Can Boomers and Gen Z Save It? Even paper products couldn’t be spared: Millennials are killing the napkin industry. For years, these murderous, anti-capitalist millennials were lambasted for their role in bringing down some of our most important consumer products. But as millennials begin to age out of the coveted 18–49 shopping demographic, we’re seeing less reference to their role as an economic killer. Instead, Gen Z is coming under scrutiny for their unique consumer behaviors. Like millennials before them, Gen Z has become the subject of a number of opinion pieces in which industry analysts complain about their lack of loyalty and obsession with value. “They don’t want to pay full price for anything,” comments a consultant in this Business Insider piece on Gen Z shopping habits. In the same article, an executive director at Ernst & Young laments, “there really isn’t loyalty like in the past.” Gen Z’s spending power is on the rise. According to a recent Bloomberg report, the young students and professionals now command $360 billion in disposable income. As that figure increases, retailers cannot afford to keep making the same mistake. With each new generation, retailers will have two choices: they can blame them for their new shopping preferences, or they can adapt to the new state of play, making adjustments to their strategy to capture the interest and buying power of each... read more

“Let’s Talk Digital Growth in 2022” by Christine Russo of RCCA plus bonus interview

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 Supporting Vendor Partner and their specific benefit that they are currently offering to BRA Distinguished Retail Members. Christine Russo of RCCA works with Brick and Mortar to ramp up their omnichannel growth. All BRA Distinguished Retail Members can benefit from a special package containing a 3 hour consulting package that includes identifying digital and physical sales, operational and growth goals, technology audit and topline actional recommendations at no-cost. Below you will find a little Q & A about Christine Russo, who is an outstanding retailer resource that is currently offering a remarkable deal for BRA Distinguished Retail Members. – Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association DW: Hello, Christine. Should our retail members call you Christine, Russo or something else? CR: Hi, Doug. I’m Christine, but most people call me Russo. DW: What do you like about Board Retailers Association? CR: I love the programs, resources and articles that Board Retailers Association curates for independent specialty retailers. DW: Why are you excited to be a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner? CR: I am excited to be involved because I help smaller businesses do big things. I am here to educate and inform and provide no-cost guidance and information. DW: Awesome. What does that mean for our Retail Members? CR: I can help to answer the following questions: How can my physical store compete with ecomm? How can I offer what the retail giants offer? How can I provide the same (or... read more

“24 Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service by Personality Style” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Personality styles have fascinated salespeople since the Greeks first identified them as the Four Temperaments. That’s because personality styles can give any retail salesperson, from novice to the seasoned pro, another way to cut out the fluff and connect with customers quickly by talking to them in a way they want to be talked to. Those who master personality styles are able to have meaningful conversations that value both the customer and the salesperson. And that leads to higher sales. Not sure what your own personality style is? Take my free personality quiz here. Here are the do’s and don’ts of customer service by personality style: Drivers Do use your innate ability to meet and greet customers in your store.Do use your natural fearlessness to juggle more than one customer.Do lead your customers to new choices they may not think they can afford.Don’t overwhelm a customer with your personal opinions or fast-talking over them.Don’t talk your way out of a sale by trying to ascertain if the customer can afford your merchandise.Don’t use 1960’s closing techniques to try to make the customer buy. Be real. Use a sales process and know how to modify it to make the sale. Analyticals Do use your natural problem-solving ability.Do use your technical knowledge to highlight the little things most salespeople ignore.Do use your patient nature to stick with customers who may not know what they are looking for.Don’t overwhelm customers with your knowledge. The old saw, Don’t tell a customer how to build a watch when they just want to know the time applies to you.Don’t pour water on a customer’s choice just because they don’t know as much as you do – educate them so they are... read more

“Skate Shop Day 2022 recap plus letter from Chris Nieratko (SSD Founder and owner of NJ Skate Shop)” reposted by Board Retailers Association

What is Skate Shop Day? Skate Shop Day is the day that the skateboard community celebrates our cultural hubs, the foundations of every skate scene, the places that bring skaters together and act as the glue for skateboarding as a whole. Skate Shop Day is meant to get skaters in to the shops to show love to the unsung heros that do so much for skating 365 days of the year. We support skate shops every day but we celebrate them on February 19th.  Learn more by clicking on the following link to SSD FAQS: Please take a moment to read the following important letter regarding SSD 2022 from Chris Nieratko (SSD Founder and owner of NJ Skate Shop): Hello Friends. We  hope this email finds you well and wherever you are that the weather is starting is starting to break and Spring is kicking in. We have finally recovered from the overly ambitious combining of executing the first truly global Skate Shop Day and hosting a Superskate Posse giveback at Sixth Ave in Nashville where we teamed up with Russell/NB#/DLXSF/Grip6/Quantum/ProTec to give 100+ kids in need their first skateboard/helmet/skate shoes: We’re a bit of a masochist so we’re looking forward to doing another giveback next Skate Shop day in partnership with another shop in 2023 and each year afterwards. Over the last 6 weeks since Skate Shop Day we have received tons of positive feedback from many of you, folks in and outside of our industry, and from skaters about how much more impactful this year was for skaters than the previous two years. There are a lot of factors to... read more

“Judge bars Walmart from selling shoes Vans alleges are knockoffs” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

Courtesy of Dive Brief: A federal judge issued a temporary injunction barring Walmart from selling shoes at the center of a lawsuit filed by Vans last fall.Vans, in its original complaint, alleged that Walmart “embarked on an escalating campaign to knock off virtually all of Vans’ bestselling shoes” with Walmart’s own private label lines.Walmart called Vans’ claims “weak” in a filing this year. In banning Walmart from selling the contested shoes, the judge in the case wrote that the similarities to Vans’ stripe mark were “unmistakable.” Dive Insight: At issue in the lawsuit suit filed by Vans in November are what the skate shoe brand calls more than 20 “blatant knockoff versions of Vans shoes” that Walmart sold through its own private labels, including its Time and Tru, Wonder Nation and No Boundaries brands.  The shoe company argued that the marks Walmart used created confusion among its customers and that the retailer has “flooded the market with cheap, low-quality, and confusingly similar shoes that harm Vans’ goodwill and reputation.” In its lawsuit, the company is seeking to permanently ban Walmart from selling the shoes as well as monetary damages.  (2021). Retrieved from Vans legal filing.  Walmart, for its part, argued earlier this year that “Vans is not losing sales and its reputation is not being diminished” and that the brand, owned by VF Corp, “is not suffering any irreparable harm.” The company also said, before receiving one, that a preliminary injunction would cost it sales as well as the logistical costs of removing and disposing of shoes, which Walmart estimated to be at least $1.4 million.  More broadly, Walmart argued that many of the elements the... read more

“Even a Broken Femur Can’t Stop Tony Hawk” by Bret Anthony Johnston via The New York Times

In the documentary “Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Come Off,” director Sam Jones chronicles many of the bad falls and injuries of Hawk’s long career. One of the worst injuries came after filming when he broke his right femur. Credit…HBO Documentary Films A documentary chronicles the challenges of Hawk’s skating career. He sat down to discuss the devastating leg injury that made promoting it (and walking) a challenge. While everyone’s attention was focused elsewhere, another thing happened at this year’s Oscars. Tony Hawk, the world’s most iconic skateboarder, unveiled his latest trick: Standing without a cane. Hawk, 53, took the stage with Kelly Slater and Shaun White to introduce a James Bond movie montage, but it was Hawk’s mobility that seemed the most notable. Less than three weeks before, he had snapped his right femur when he misjudged the landing on a McTwist — a 540-degree aerial rotation. It’s a trick he’s done tens of thousands of times. That day, though, his speed was off. “After I fell,” he said, “I rolled over and my leg didn’t.” Surgeons repaired the bone with a titanium rod, and a physical therapist designed an aggressive rehab regimen, but neither offered a timeline for recovery. Their reticence granted Hawk something like permission. The next day, he posted a video of himself crutching his way down a hospital corridor. A week later, he shared another video where he tentatively skated across the bottom of his ramp. Hawk was able to walk unassisted onto the stage during the Oscars but he used a cane at the various related events.Credit…Krista Schlueter for The New York Times His unmistakable goal... read more

“4 strategies to boost revenue by reimagining customer journeys” by John Nicola via Retail Customer Experience

Photo by By strengthening the connection between physical and digital shopping, retailers can create more enjoyable customer experiences that drive commerce and increase revenue. Advances in technology have fundamentally changed the way customers interact with retailers. Customers want a consistent experience, whether they’re shopping online or in-person, paying for an item, using their loyalty program, or even returning items to the store. By strengthening the connection between physical and digital shopping, retailers can create more enjoyable customer experiences that drive more commerce and increase revenue. Businesses are adapting to this evolving landscape by offering customers new and enhanced omnichannel capabilities across the customer journey, enriching the shopping experience and engaging digital-savvy consumers. In the new world of omnichannel commerce, here are four strategies merchants can implement to improve the customer experience: Create consistency across physical and digital channels The phrase “omnichannel” is common, yet many large retailers have not yet executed on the concept. According to Gartner, through 2022, 50% of large organizations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in disjointed and siloed customer experiences that lack context and cause friction. To illustrate, if a customer searched a retailer’s website to find a couch, they might want to go to the store to determine its comfort. However, how would the customer feel if they drove to the store only to find that the item isn’t in stock, is priced differently than it was online, or the ability to Buy Now Pay Later was no longer an option? This type of mishap can turn a potential customer into something that retailers dread — a potentially outspoken lost... read more

“The Rise of the Intermediate Surfer: Observations From a Pandemic-Driven Lineup” by Morgan Bernard via The Inertia

The surf remains the same but the surfers, well….there’s a lot more of ’em. Photo: Silas Baisch//Unsplash Two years ago, disease spread around the globe, and much of the population retreated to the confines of homes and humble apartments. For those of us stuck in the concrete trappings of modern cities, the urge to get outside grew exponentially each day. When states finally lifted the harshest restrictions and permitted outdoor recreation, the outdoors-starved population flooded the wilderness. A mass retreat away from cities and into nature ensued. For surfers, that meant scores of first timers entering the lineup. For the surf and outdoors industry, it meant record-breaking profits. Even as unemployment surged to heights not seen since the Great Depression, camping and outdoor recreation equipment flew off the shelves. In June of 2020, bicycle sales rose by 63 percent, while kayak sales spiked by 56 percent. In the surf world, board sales rose a sharp 113 percent. With gyms closed and team sports on hold, surfing and other outdoor endeavors took center stage. Two years later, the hordes of new surfers that entered the lineup have twenty-four collective months of surfing under their belts and are shifting lineup dynamics around the world. When I arrived in France in January of 2022, the anticipation of my first surf in the chilly North Atlantic was nearly too much to handle. After weeks of train travel, while lugging a board around the continent, I was finally going to luck into a bit of swell in Biarritz. Biarritz is a surf town through and through with a staunch local crowd. The charming coastal enclave attracts surfers and travelers from all over the planet,... read more

“Key trends that will help retailers respond to growing consumer confidence” by Terry Clark via Retail Focus

Keeping pace with consumer trends and changing behaviours is key to the success of retail operations, particularly when managing the impact of current global events on supply chains to ensure they’re able to consistently meet demand.  According to the latest CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, consumer confidence is growing as retail sales volumes were 16% higher than seasonal norms in February. How retailers respond to this growing confidence will be key to maximising sales opportunities and effectively managing seasonal peaks.  One of the ways in which retailers can more accurately monitor and therefore predict how consumer behaviour will change is having access to accurate data about what’s impacting the sale and return of their products.  To help retailers understand consumer behaviour, international logistics company Advanced Supply Chain Group’s (ASCG), latest research has pinpointed the consumer trends that will have the greatest impact on supply chains in 2022 and the actions retailers are taking to embrace consumer shopping habits and improve supply chain agility.  Three of six key trends identified in ASCG’s latest eBook research include: 1) Spread the cost The concept of shopping through home catalogues and placing postal orders will be alien to most of today’s generation of online shoppers. However, they are increasingly familiar with the concept of spreading the cost of payments, which made home-shopping catalogues such a hit in previous decades.  This concept has been digitised, with ‘shop now, pay later’ options like Klarna becoming something of a default purchasing behaviour for a growing share of internet shoppers. This can have huge ramifications for supply chains, as it can make goods with higher retail selling prices more... read more

“Introduction to Jeff Plattman, CPA, Partner in CohnReznick LLP’s Consumer Industry Practice” plus announcement of special BRA Retail Member offer by Doug Works, BRA Executive Director

CohnReznick recently became a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. Jeff, can you tell us a little bit about your background and CohnReznick? I am a partner in CohnReznick’s Consumer Industry Practice and have worked at the firm for over 30 years. I provide accounting, audit, and business planning services to my clients, many of whom I am proud to have worked with since I was a first-year staffer. I advise privately-held family and entrepreneurial consumer businesses as well as private equity-backed companies in all stages of their business lifecycles to help them optimize performance, increase value, and execute financial transactions. I represent clients in the apparel, footwear, sporting goods, accessories, consumer packaged goods, and fitness, health, and wellness consumer categories. As a young kid, I spent some time skateboarding and wound up falling down more times than I could count. As an adult, my family and I spent some time trying to learn to ski and snowboard, but let’s just say gravity is not my best friend. CohnReznick is one of the leading advisory, accounting, and tax firms in the U.S. We have been supporting the consumer products industry for over 100 years and understand the operational and logistical challenges these businesses face in today’s competitive marketplace. We serve clients in all segments of the industry, including direct-to-consumer, e-commerce, wholesale, and retail. What kinds of specialized services do you provide to your consumer clients? Beyond the traditional services like accounting and tax return preparation, we can assist most clients in all facets of their business by providing strategic, financial, and advisory services that can help unlock growth. CohnReznick’s Consumer team can... read more

“How Outdoor Retailer Is Responding to Boycott Backlash Over Its Move Back to Salt Lake City” by Peter Verry via Footwear News

The Colorado Convention Center in Denver for 2021 Outdoor Retailer Summer. CREDIT: PETER VERRY After months of speculation, Outdoor Retailer announced late last week that it would again call Salt Lake City home. The decision was a controversial one, as the trade show departed Utah — its home for 22 years — for Denver five years ago, largely due to a disagreement over public land protection. Shortly after the move was revealed, several industry heavyweights including REI Co-op, Patagonia and Timberland — who backed last month’s statement from The Conservation Alliance against a potential return to the state — doubled-down on their decision to sit out the trade show if Utah was the location because of the stance of elected officials on national monuments and public lands protections. Show director and SVP Marisa Nicholson said OR is working to bring the power players back into the fold. “We are always going to be open and communicating with everybody who is a customer of ours, and working to align what their needs are and what we’re able to deliver,” Nicholson said. “We want to continue to have open dialog and communication to share with them what we’re doing, what our plans are and how we can continue to bring everyone together.” What makes the return to Utah different than the situation in 2017, according to Nicholson, is support from local officials — specifically Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who assumed office in January 2020. “There is opportunity for industry to have a voice and representation to speak to the things that are valuable to our community. Working with Mayor Mendenhall is aligned with our industry’s initiative,”... read more

“Dare to FIT” by Renee Bavineau via The Robin Report

The fashion industry is now tied for first place in destroying our beloved planet. In 2021, 54 percent of retail bankruptcies were in apparel. And 56 percent of online returns were apparel. In fact, overall return rates are up by 35 percent since 2011. Once merchandise is returned, less than 50 percent is resold at full price. What’s more, 73 percent of returns could be avoided by retailers being more proactive. What kind of business model is this? Missing the Point Many retailers are now focused on creating better returns practices. This is not going to revolutionize retail, but it may revolutionize the customer experience. Retailers don’t really have a choice. Many retailers in desperation to keep their consumers or gain new ones extended the holiday returns window well into February 2022. In some cases, coined as the “return-less refund” they’re not even processing the return, but instead issuing a refund and telling their beloved customer to keep it. But there is something fundamentally off with this policy: Here’s your refund but keep the shirt that doesn’t fit. Really? Who wins? In my opinion, no one, not the consumer, not the brand, not the landfills, and definitely not the bottom line. Many retailers are now focused on creating better returns practices This is not going to revolutionize retail, but it may revolutionize the customer experience. Fit Issues Fit is a problem: the third of 10 reasons for returns is fit, according to Coresight. Many other studies say its #1, and I tend to agree. But really, you have to ask, “Why” is she really returning it? Why aren’t the... read more

“7 Sales-Boosting Social Media Retail Marketing Strategies” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

I remember when a local business group asked me to present for half a day and the focus became social media marketing for retail stores. It was a typical group of small and medium-sized businesses that sold everything from clothing and sporting goods to banking services, insurance, and technology. Their members didn’t see much value in social media and didn’t use it often. Those retailers struggled because they kept to their preconceived marketing ways and failed to see how social media and better website design would help them grow their sales.  Why is social commerce so relevant in 2022?  Recommendations from friends and family remain the most credible form of advertising for 83% of today’s consumers said one Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report. And where do those shoppers turn when they want to get their own recommendations? More than half of consumers (51%) turn to Facebook, ranking it above any other source … And while 1 in 4 consumers turn to Instagram, the number increases to 35% for Millennials. Why does having a presence on social media take more than just having a fan page? Because if you aren’t engaging your tribe of followers to comment, like, and share, none of their friends will be exposed to your brand. Recommendations from friends and family are the number one way people find your store. Branded websites are the second most-trusted marketing format. People are using search engines to discover where the best stores are in their local area, and Google prioritizes those in the results it delivers. Why do Google reviews and Facebook reviews matter to your business? Because people are actually typing Best ___ store in their... read more

“Kelly Slater, Shaun White, and Tony Hawk Are Presenting at the 94th Oscars” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Kelly Slater will be at the Oscars. Pretty good for a surfer from Cocoa Beach, right? Photo: WSL/Heff/Wikimedia Commons There are a few people in sports who transcend the sport itself. They get famous for their talent, but stay famous for something else. Take, for example, Kelly Slater. If you were to mention his name in non-surfing company, most would know who he is. Take John John Florence, and I’ll bet far fewer non-surfers would be familiar. Mason Ho? Clay Marzo? Probably not. They’re big names in surfing, but that’s a big fish in a small pond. Kelly Slater, Shaun White, and Tony Hawk are three action sports stars who have gone bigger than their sport. Which is why the Oscars, airing on March 27 on ABC, enlisted them as presenters. Slater, White, and Hawk join a cast of immensely famous people including Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Hopkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, Jennifer Garner, Tiffany Haddish, Jason Momoa, Elliot Page, Bill Murray (Kelly’s golf pal), DJ Khaled, and more. Although Slater is certainly used to the public eye by now — he’s been in it for the majority of his life, after all — he’s aware of how incredible it is to be asked to present at the Oscars. “Well, I guess it’s remarkable that a surfer kid from Cocoa Beach is presenting on the big stage,” he told me. “Some things in my life have been unimaginable. I’m very honored.” As usual, though, the decision-makers at the Oscars are facing backlash for some of their choices. Scott Weinberg, a film producer and critic, is one of the people who... read more

“We’re [Outdoor Retailer] Moving Back to Salt Lake City” by Marisa Nichols and Jeff Davis via News plus opportunity to be considered for OR SLC Lodging Scholarships

Since 1982, Outdoor Retailer has brought the outdoor industry together for commerce, to share ideas, and to provide an experience that has grown into more than a trade show. Our community has become family, and for the past five years we’ve held our biannual gatherings in Denver. As our contract nears its natural end after 2022, we’ve been exploring our options and conferring with the industry to map our next steps. After much deliberation and input from all sides, we’ve decided the best move for Outdoor Retailer is to return to our basecamp. We’re heading back to Salt Lake City and County to the place we grew up and where our industry matured into the dynamic and powerful community it is today. Moving forward, Outdoor Retailer will bring the community together in January and June at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center. We have a strong relationship with Salt Lake City and a committed partner in Mayor Erin Mendenhall, whose values align with ours following tremendous investments in clean energy and a strong commitment to public lands. This proved to be a real turning point in our recent negotiations. A Commitment to Change Salt Lake City and County is our hometown, and we’re going back with a commitment to effecting meaningful change. It would be wrong for us to leave the way we did and simply go back as if nothing happened. In reality, leaving after 2017 has not brought the change we had hoped for, so we will push back, not pull back. We firmly believe that staying engaged and collectively contributing to the ongoing discussion,... read more

“Why 2022 is the Year of First-Party Marketing for Retailers” by Ryan Milman via Total Retail

With the ad industry phasing out cookies and third-party trackers, data and privacy concerns and regulations taking center stage on a global scale, and a plethora of logistical issues like labor shortages and supply chain backups impacting inventory, retail brands have had to completely rethink how they approach marketing. Despite all of these challenges, however, retail marketers have plenty to look forward to this year. Why? Because first-party marketing has finally come to the forefront and no other industry is poised to excel in this environment as much as retail. First-Party Data = Marketing Gold First-party data has become like gold for marketers looking to provide consumers with the personalized experiences and messaging they’ve come to expect without the creepy third-party tracking that made it possible in years past. And retail brands, perhaps more than any other industry, have access to an abundance of first-party data because they’re so close to the point of sale (POS) — customers share information in exchange for a product. The smartest online retailers know this already, which is why they often ask you to sign up for an account to make a purchase (because it makes it easier for them to build a profile to understand your preferences). Once a customer makes a purchase, the retailer can start to know more about their behaviors, what they’re buying, what other products they might be interested in, etc. Retailers can then capture and use this type of first-party data to build loyalty, future-proof their marketing strategy, and drive revenue without ever having to rely on intrusive tracking that plagues other industries. Related story: Grabbing the Holy... read more

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

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

“7 Critical Tips for Specialty Retailers in the Amazon Era” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

Before I share how specialty retailers can survive and thrive, a question… Have you ever played Jenga? It’s a game where players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. Each block removed from the bottom is then placed on the top of the tower, thus creating a progressively taller but less stable structure. A lot of specialty retailers get some loyal customers, they build a brand, and in their own way, they build their tower. Like a lot of Jenga players, they do many things right in the beginning. But for retailers when the inevitable winds of change blow with increased competition, the retailer can be rocked to the core…or even collapse. The U.S. boasts around 10 times the square footage of retail space than most other countries. That means there are more places to buy more stuff than anywhere else in the world. Some retailers run to technology for salvation as fewer shoppers linger at the mall, walk into stores, and buy less impulsively just because. But for those retailers, they’re just building a taller tower… As time goes by, every business notices holes in its foundation. How they handle those holes tends to separate them into two camps… They either settle for where they are and fall backward, or they push themselves to keep moving forward and thrive. Those brands or stores with whom I have the privilege of consulting seem to always be working to create a stronger foundation, or if some of the metaphoric blocks are weak, they bring me in to strengthen their existing foundation.  Here are 7... read more

“How BNPL Can Become Too Much of a Good Thing for Retailers” by Eleanor Ritchie via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Suppasit Chukittikun Buy now, pay later (BNPL), a modern answer to retail layaway, is having a moment as a key payment option for online shoppers. It’s simultaneously soaring in popularity and finding that celebrity inevitably attracts those who would like to take advantage. BNPL, which allows shoppers to get their goods today while paying in installments, now accounts for nearly $100 billion in global e-commerce transactions, according to the payment processing firm Worldpay. The figure is likely to double soon, the processing firm says — and that’s not counting brick-and-mortar sales. More than 40,000 U.S. retailers provide BNPL options, and Signifyd’s Ecommerce Pulse data shows that BNPL transactions increased 78 percent year-over-year in 2021 alone. The feature is popular for good reason: It means higher order values and conversions for retailers and greater buying power and flexibility for consumers, all of which adds up to increased customer lifetime value. However, this added buying convenience paradoxically offers another avenue to commit return abuse and fraud. Consider the practice of “bracket buys.” Bracketing is a form of potential policy abuse in which a customer purchases several similar versions of the same article of clothing in order to try different sizes or colors. The customer then returns all but one version, an expensive proposition for a retailer. Related story: Could Buy Now, Pay Later Payment Offerings Cost Retailers Security? Someone seeking to buy 10 pieces of clothing on a modest budget with a debit card may not qualify based on the size of their bank account. A low credit limit might hold back a credit card user. However, if the customer can split... read more

“Did you miss the first quarter webinar about the critically important topic of staffing? Not to worry. You can view it now plus all four 2021 BRA quarterly webinars, right here on demand at no cost” via 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 the 1st Quarter 2022 webinar and view all four of the excellent 2021 collaborative quarterly webinars below. Topic: Talent Acquisition: Building a Team Structured for Success in 2022 Description: For indie retailers, the strength of your internal team depends on your ability to recruit capable employees and develop the training required to effectively service your customers. When you compound the wide variety of new skills (both digital and in-store) retailers were expected to master after the COVID shift, the bar was raised considerably for incoming talent. How can independent retailers meet these demands and build a team structured for success in 2022? View our live panel discussion with Kim Pagano from PUBLIK IMAGE and Doug Works from Board Retailers Association as we break down the strategies that are helping retailers overcome these challenges. Push play to view this critically important 1st Quarter 2022 collaborative BRA + M1 webinar “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... read more

“We Spoke With Joel Tudor and a WSL Insider About Tudor’s Suspension; Here’s What They Had to Say” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

After Joel Tudor was suspended indefinitely by the World Surf League, we caught up with him to hear his thoughts. Photo: Thomas Bennett//WSL Joel Tudor, three-time and reigning world longboard champion, was suspended from competition this week by the World Surf League. The suspension could be seen as a drastic measure, considering that a world champion hasn’t ever been suspended from competition before. In short, Tudor called the World Surf League out for a variety of reasons that centered around equality and the number of longboarding events on tour. A WSL insider, however, told us his suspension stemmed from the fact that he called the League out. “The suspension is the result of a now-deleted post,” the source said, “that included baseless accusations of corruption and personally attacked the head of tours.” Tudor’s conduct apparently prompted the ruling, with the WSL citing a violation of its rule book: “Sportsmanlike conduct (14.02), damage to surfing’s image (14.04), and verbal assault (14.08).” With that as a backdrop, I spoke with Joel on the phone to get his thoughts on the whole debacle. When we talked, it was early morning in Hawaii, where he’s vacationing with family. After a bit of banter about trivialities, Joel and I bit into the meat of the call. Shortly after, I spoke with a WSL insider to get both sides of the story. As is the case with most things, the truth probably hangs somewhere in the balance. What are your thoughts on the suspension? Joel Tudor: That was kind of funny, wasn’t it? I just think there’s a mix up in priorities. You can shoot your board and try and stab someone... read more

“3 Ways Retailers Can Reshape Their Digital Experience” by Jasmine Guthman via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by the_burtons Retailers and e-commerce players struggled with everything 2021 had to offer, from supply chain issues, delayed inventory, empty shelves, and a scarcity of talent. Based on close work alongside e-commerce and retailers and market observations, here’s how to approach 2022 with smart and tried strategies, with the focus on digital experiences and customer journeys. Large Retailers Would Benefit From Watching the Smart Moves of Smaller Players Agility and being nimble is critical now. Small, local shops have flexed their muscles, freed from larger organizational bureaucracy and red tape, and have adapted to what their customers have needed. Many smaller shops, after an initial freeze, swiftly took their stores digital, allowing curbside pickup or delivery, and engaging with their local customers digitally, whether on an Instagram story or a hyperlocal email campaign. Large retailers could benefit immensely from scaling what has worked well for those they don’t perceive as competitors today — it may turn into fierce competition down the road. Build a Path to Higher Profitability With True Personalization True “one-to-one” personalization isn’t easy to achieve. We’ve all learned that the hard way by now. Nonetheless, it’s unequivocally proven as the go-to strategy for brands seeking differentiation and profitability, especially in the long term. As a retail marketer, one of the most impactful things you can do that doesn’t require a considerable investment or complicated technology is getting to know your customers — and then strengthen your existing tech stack to serve them better (or rebuild it altogether). You want your customers to experience life at MACH speed, and your technology shouldn’t be holding you... read more

“A grieving surfer is taking hundreds of strangers’ late loved ones for one last ride” by Faith Karimi via CNN

Editor’s note: Two years ago, Covid-19 turned the world upside down. While the pandemic is not over, The Best in Us is a series that highlights people whose pandemic stories exemplify the resilience of the human spirit. (CNN) Dan Fischer has always found solace in the ocean. As a child, he loved going to the beach and riding bikes along the coastline with his father, Karl Fischer. So when he lost his dad to pancreatic cancer and his dog of 15 years, Rudy, died shortly afterward, he turned to the healing power of the water. At the start of this year, Fischer wrote his father’s name on his surfboard and took it out to sea in Newport, Rhode Island. His father’s name glistened in the sun on what felt like a shared adventure, he says. Inspired, Fischer made a video and posted it on social media the same day. “If you love the ocean, or you know someone who loves the ocean, or maybe you lost someone who just love[d] being outdoors … comment on this video with their name and a bit of their story, and I’ll put their name on my board here, just like I’ve done with my dad upfront,” he says in the video. “And I’ll take them out in the ocean for you. “Names poured in from thousands of strangers grieving the loss of loved ones, a response exacerbated by a relentless pandemic. And with that, the One Last Wave Project was born. Dan Fischer and his father, Karl Fischer. The elder Fischer died of pancreatic cancer. A community of strangers are healing together About two months later,... read more

“7 Eye-Openers for How To Hire Good Employees In Retail” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog plus link to register for Tuesday’s BRA M1 quarterly webinar about staffing and training related solutions

Prior to its opening, I was asked to visit a franchise to evaluate the new crew. I discovered the team members were bland, boring, and reticent. None of them were customer-focused. Without that focus, in particular, the store would fail disastrously. When I asked the small business owner why he hired them, he explained that with a background of hiring for a set of convenience stores, “I just wanted to be sure they wouldn’t steal from me.” While the chances of a great hire are about 50%, many employers continue to pick the wrong employee over and over.  How does it happen? Easy, you only hire someone with previous experience. The logic goes, they know the business and I won’t have to train them. That’s terrible thinking no matter what you are selling. Competitors’ leftovers are not what to look for when hiring an employee. They rarely are superstars, and you’ll be bringing their worst habits into the heart of your operations. And your belief you won’t have to train them will let them get away with it. My first tip for you is that you would be much better off to hire someone out of your industry and teach them how to sell in your store, the way you want them to, without preconceptions about customers. Retail store hiring is tougher than it appears and the results of a bad hire can be disastrous for your store. How to hire great employees for your store These tips will help you spot toxic behavior, resistance to training and self-improvement, and weed out bad applicants. Use these strategies to double-check your gut feeling and verify the people you’re talking... read more

“Russian Surfing Federation Issues Defiant Statement After ISA Bans Russian Athletes” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

The Ukraine National Surfing team competing in the finals in Odessa in the Black Sea of Ukraine at the Ukrainian National Championships. Photo: USF/Courtesy of ISA Russia is currently invading Ukraine in what is the largest conventional military conflict on the European continent since World War II. Scenes from the region are heartbreaking. As of this writing, more than 1,000,000 civilians have fled Ukraine, and the European Union is estimating that up to four million people might follow. The world, for the most part, is unified in its opposition to the unprompted Russian attack. The International Surfing Association (along with other athletic governing bodies) announced it had decided to impose strict sporting exclusions on athletes and officials from Russia and that it stands in full solidarity with Ukraine. The ban is in line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendations. It means that “no athletes and officials from Russia will be invited to participate or attend ISA events until further notice.” In addition, the ISA says it “will not consider staging any ISA events in Russia for the foreseeable future.” “The global surfing community is shocked and appalled by the awful act of aggression by Russia and Belarus’ role to facilitate their invasion of Ukraine,” said the ISA in a statement posted on its site and distributed via email. “We are unequivocal in our views on this crisis and we stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. This is a human tragedy that requires us all to take a strong stance and send a message that such violence will not tolerated nor forgotten.” “The ISA’s decisions serve to ensure the safety of the public, athletes and... read more

“The One-Legged Snowboarder Who Built an Ingenious Prosthetic for Himself—and His Opponents” by John Rosengren via GQ

Mike Schultz riding in the adaptive banked slalom final during the 2017 Dew Tour Ezra Shaw / Getty Images After a horrific accident took his leg, Mike Schultz invented a high-tech artificial limb that action sport athletes quickly adopted. And now, to win gold at the Beijing Paralympics, he’ll have to beat them. They called him Monster Mike. For the way he threw his sled around on the professional snowmobile circuit and muscled his dirt bike over motocross courses. Arms of steel, gut on fire. Unstoppable. Until that day in December 2008. He was in Ironwood, Michigan, the second stop on the International Series of Champions tour, what they called the NASCAR of snowmobile racing. On a downhill stretch of the course, Schultz charged from the back of the field, gunning his machine to 40 miles per hour. Then he caught a hole. His snowmobile shimmied from side to side, kicked, and bucked him into the air. He slammed feet first, full force, into the packed snow, flipped, and landed on his back. The impact so mangled his left knee that he stared down at the sole of his boot. When the EMT arrived and slit open his pant leg, a gallon of blood gushed out. That’s what his wife, a registered nurse, saw when she arrived with a race official: her husband lying in snow stained red. She dropped to her knees by his side. “He was in agony,” Sara Schultz recalls, “making a low, moaning sound.” Mike was going into shock. She tried to help him focus on his breathing. They loaded him onto a toboggan and transferred... read more

“How to Enhance Recruitment and Retention Through Employee Engagement” by Chad Jensen via Total Retail

COVID-19 continued to make its presence known across industries in 2021. While businesses successfully adapted their work environments, many struggled to keep employees engaged, or even retain them, as well as find new employees to hire. Eighty-five percent of employees now feel unmotivated in their current roles, and 64 percent are job searching. Employees want to feel connected to their workplaces, and they’re searching for opportunities that offer such an environment. To adapt to this current employee need, business leaders must create better environments for people to work in. A pivotal step in doing this is enhancing employee engagement and company culture. Create a Culture of Service A 2019 Glassdoor survey found 77 percent of adults consider culture before applying for a job, highlighting the importance of a strong company culture. One step in attaining this is creating a culture of service. A culture of service is designed for company executives to serve their employees the same way employees are expected to serve customers. The hope is that employees take the positive experiences they receive from leadership and apply them to customer interactions. When employees feel valued within the company, they’re more likely to make sure each customer feels valued as well. Strategies to create a culture of service can include an open-door communication policy that extends from your leadership team to every part of your employee base. This enables constant lines of communication throughout the organization and ensures complete transparency. Another idea is expanding mentorship programs for employees, allowing them to continue to grow professionally and personally, showing the organization cares about their development. Related story: Place Employee Experience... read more

“The Rise Of African Surf Culture With Selema Masekela And Mami Wata – special exhibit at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center” via SHACC Newsletter

Coming to SHACC this month, we’ve partnered up with Selema Masekela and the incredible people at Mami Wata to bring you a very special exhibit that celebrates the rise of African surf culture. Featuring images and artifacts from Ghana to Mozambique and beyond, opening night is March 19 and you’re not going to want to miss it. Selema will be on hand signing copies of the book AfroSurf. We’ll also be hosting a panel discussion, as well as have other enlightening entertainment lined up to make this a truly special evening. Admission is free, just bring the good vibes and be ready to have a good time. Hit is up if you want to get involved. More details to come, stay tuned. More at: Check out: About SHACC The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) exists at the intersection of surfing’s past, present and future. We Explore, Enlighten and Celebrate. SHACC houses the world’s most important and authoritative archive of surfing artifacts, surfboards, memorabilia, photography, video, periodical and scholarly works. Our collection comes from all corners of the globe and reflects the spirit of exploration and adventure that is core to surfing’s ethos. Our educational programs and events focus on bringing surfing’s rich history and stories to the world. Through it all, we celebrate what it means to be a surfer and why surfing has captured hearts and minds since the first time someone rode a wave. We, at Board Retailers Association, love the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC). We absolutely appreciate the entire staff for everything that they do to preserve the remarkable culture and history of... read more