PROTECTING RETAILERS AND A LIFESTYLE

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Trade Show Takeaways from Surf Expo

Last week, members of the Board Retailers Association attended the bi-annual Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida. This trade show is one of the oldest, biggest, and best in the board sports business, boasting 2,600 booths of apparel and hard goods, as well as a full line-up of special events, including fashion shows, awards ceremonies, and demonstrations. At BRA, we’ve attended our fair share of trade shows. Not only do we know how to survive what can be a grueling few days, but we also know what makes a trade show truly great. Surf Expo was, as usual, a well run and smoothly organized affair, which is one of the reasons we keep going back. If you’re wondering what qualities to look for in a trade show, here are some of the ways that Surf Expo stands out. The layout of the floor was very fluid and easy to navigate. With over 2,600 booths, 7,500 storefronts, and 26,000 attendees, making sure people can get around easily, quickly, and comfortably is essential. Surf Expo is the longest running board sports and beach/resort lifestyle trade show in the world, and their experience was apparent by how well their floor was laid out. The signs were clearly positioned and easy to read. It doesn’t matter if you’re a trade show veteran or if you’re attending your first show. Clear and direct signage keeps things moving and helps everyone have a better time, and Surf Expo knocked it out of the park in this regard. There was a great buzz and good traffic throughout the day. The energy at Surf Expo was great—the floor... read more

Make the Most of SIA Snow Show

As you probably know, the board sports industry is currently in the middle of trade show season. Between all the great opportunities to travel, network, and build our businesses and brands in person, these next few weeks offer an embarrassment of riches. One of those riches? None other than the SIA Snow Show. This year’s show takes place January 28—31 in beautiful Denver, Colorado, which means it’s fast approaching. For the uninitiated, the SIA Snow Show is an annual event you can’t afford to miss. Known as the “see-and-be-seen, pulse-checking event” for the snow sports industry, it’s the one place where you can check in with your favorite brands, meet with your industry peers, and try out next season’s gear, all in one convenient location. If you’re an exhibitor at the SIA Snow Show, you’re in luck! You have a unique opportunity to do more than just show off your products. You also have a chance to connect with a concentrated block of buyers, gain tons of exposure, and demo your latest and greatest offerings. The SIA Snow Show also offers the lowest trade show space rates around, so you get serious bang for your buck. The SIA Snow Show is a big event, and sooner or later (probably sooner) you’re going to feel overwhelmed and exhausted as you try to fit everything in. Our advice is to choose your battles and prioritize your time. There’s no way you’ll be able to see and do everything. Instead of trying to achieve the impossible, it’s best to figure out what’s most important to you and your business, and go from there.... read more

Countdown to Surf Expo 2016!

Some people are counting down to Christmas. While we’re excited for the holidays, we’re also counting down to something just as thrilling—Surf Expo! This year’s winter event will occur January 14 through 16, in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Surf Expo, which takes place twice a year, is the longest running and largest board sports and beach/resort lifestyle tradeshow in the world. It boasts over 2,600 booths, over 7,500 storefronts, and over 26,000 attendees—you can see why we’re looking forward to it! We’ve even created a list of trade show survival tips, which will help you make the most of your time at this awesome event – check it out! One of the most useful parts of Surf Expo (besides the booths, the swag, and the latest and greatest gear) are the seminars. These seminars are a chance for our colleagues to share their hard won knowledge and expertise with one another, building community and making us all stronger. Whether it’s your first time attending Surf Expo or your 20th, there’s always something new to learn. Here are three seminars that BRA will be hosting throughout Surf Expo. If you attend one of them, be sure to say hello! Multi-Channel Ecommerce and Shipping Thursday, January 14th, 12:30PM It’s no longer enough to build a beautiful website and wait for sales to roll in. In order to succeed, your business needs to take advantage of multiple channels, such as mobile, social, and PPC, in order to attract the traffic you need to succeed. In this session, we’ll discuss effective strategies, creative tactics, and shipping solutions to help your business stand out across... read more

5 Ways to Survive Your Next Trade Show

Tis the season—for trade shows! We’ve got a number of them coming up on our calendar (Agenda Long Beach, Surf Expo, and SIA Snow Show, anyone?) and we bet you do, too. Whether it’s your first trade show or your tenth, most of us can use some tips and tricks for making it to the end of the event in once piece. Here’s the official BRA guide for how to survive a trade show. Dress to impress. Agenda is in Long Beach, Surf Expo is in Florida, and Snow Show is in Denver. In case you haven’t noticed, those are very different cities with very different climates. Make sure you check the weather before you go and pack the right types of clothes. It doesn’t matter if you’re working a booth or meeting with vendors—the chances are good that you’ll be moving around, making connections, and on your feet for the majority of the day. Look professional, but make sure you’re comfortable, too. Have a plan but be flexible. Trade shows are big events where you’ll have access to the movers and shakers of your industry. Between visiting booths, listening to speakers, and attending meetings, you’ll quickly find yourself stretched thin. Before the show begins, look through the program, study the booth floor plan, and decide which events are most important to you. Make sure to leave a little wiggle room, though. Sometimes, the best connections and experiences happen when you least expect them. Leave your laptop home but bring your smartphone. Let’s face it—if you’re doing a trade show right, you’re not sitting at a desk or in... read more

Merchandising & Cross-Selling to Maximize Holiday Sales

As specialty retailers gear up for the holiday selling season, there are a number of areas to prepare and fine-tune with your salespeople before the rush in order to maximize sales opportunities. A well-merchandised store combined with pro-active, helpful salespeople can help increase the average sale per transaction while strengthening the relationship between your shop and your customers. • Use product displays and creative packaging to help sell related products If you’re selling a surfboard or SUP, make sure that there’s a display with a board along with all of the related items nearby (leash, fins, traction, etc.). Don’t assume that your customer knows all of the needed add-ons—make it EASY for them to see what to buy in addition to the initial/core purchase. How about putting together a gift box of related items for a beginning surfer or paddler or filling a stocking with impulse/low-cost items such as holiday cards, books, videos, CD’s and boxed items? • Maximize exposure and sales of store private label products Private label goods are the most profitable/highest margin items in the store. Ensure that these goods are prominently displayed and merchandised throughout the store. Use these items as incentives to boost sales of high-end items—i.e. buy a new surfboard between now & Christmas Eve, and receive a FREE shop sweatshirt! • Promote the use of gift certificates/cards Display these prominently near the cash register, as an add-on/impulse item. Ensure that the salesperson asks each customer if they need gift certificates while ringing up a purchase. Make the process smooth and quick. • Fine-tune the cross-selling techniques of your salespeople Don’t let your customers... read more

Gearing Up for Agenda Long Beach

Some people look forward to Thanksgiving, while others can’t wait for Christmas. Here at BRA, the winter tradition we get the most excited about is the annual Agenda Long Beach show, which takes place this coming year on January 7th and 8th. If you’re new to the action sports industry or to this particular show, here’s a quick primer. Agenda is the most diverse and creative lifestyle fashion trade show in the world. Since 2003, it’s been the premier destination for brands and retailers, and not just because California offers a much-needed break from the cold, dark days of January. Agenda is more than sunshine and ocean views—it’s also the chance to connect with others in our industry, level the playing field, learn from one another, and get an exclusive first look at the trends and products that will be sure to change the face of our industry in the coming years. While the trade show itself is always Agenda’s big draw, in recent years they’ve added some other perks, including special events and shows, that you’ll definitely want to check out. Here are the ones we’re most looking forward to: The Berrics Agenda Formed by legends Steve Berra and Eric Koston, The Berrics is the #1 skate media website in the world. Since 2009, The Berrics has been partnering with Agenda to create a platform that captures the authentic skate culture on the Agenda floor. The Berrics Agenda is now poised as the largest skateboarding trade show in the world. Whether you’re a skateboard retailer or a passionate enthusiast (or both!) you’ll want to check out this one-of-a-kind... read more

Celebrate All Season Long with these 7 Retail Holidays

For most people, the holidays are an opportunity to slow down and spend time with friends and family. Unless, of course, you’re a business owner or retailer. In that case, buckle your seatbelt and hold on tight, because things are about to get crazy. As most of us in the industry know, Black Friday is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to shopping holidays. In fact, there are actually 7 “holidays” you can highlight in order to celebrate the season and leverage sales. We’re presenting them now, so you can get a head start on planning your best year yet. Gray Thursday—November 26, 2015 Also known as Thanksgiving Day, more and more retailers are opening their stores after the feast and before the official madness of Black Friday begins. While some people bemoan this trend, claiming it takes away from the holiday, the truth is that for many, shopping for gifts is a fun way to spend the evening and work off some calories. If you don’t want to open your doors on Gray Thursday, an online sale is a good compromise. Black Friday—November 27, 2015 This shopping holiday needs no introduction, so how about a little history instead? Black Friday originally became a big deal because it was an unspoken rule that no retailer would advertise Christmas sales or events until after the Thanksgiving parade had concluded. (Hard to believe now, when Christmas decorations immediately take the place of Halloween candy—my, how things have changed!) Even though there are other marketing holidays, Black Friday remains the biggest. Make sure you’re prepared! Small Business Saturday—November 28,... read more

5 Creative Holiday Promotions to Try This Year

In the retail world the holiday season starts early. Thanks to big box stores and free online shipping, small independent businesses have to try harder than ever to attract and retain customers. This means getting creative and figuring out what your store offers that others can’t. To help you out, we’ve rounded up five creative holiday promotions that are effective for small businesses in particular. Check them out, give them a try, and then get ready for your best season yet.   Buy Now, Save Later Have you ever gotten home from a day of shopping, pulled your shiny new purchases out of the bag, and found a slip of paper or coupon, promising you exclusive savings to be redeemed at a later date? Usually, these promotions are only given to people as they buy something, so it’s both a way to get customers back into the store, as well as a reward for their loyalty. If you decide to use a promotion like this, choose a short window of time during which it can be redeemed, such as the week before Christmas, and gear it toward those pesky last minute gifts.   Be Social When you’re a small business, your number one goal is selling enough product to pay your bills (and give your loyal employees a sweet end-of-the-year bonus). In the rush of retail, however, we sometimes forget the real meaning of the holidays—peace, goodwill, and giving back. Embrace these universal truths by heading to social media and hosting a fun giveaway that has nothing to do with getting and everything to do with giving. A fun... read more

Why Your Business Needs a Google+ Page

When it comes to social media, Facebook is usually the first thing that comes to mind, followed closely by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and maybe LinkedIn. You probably don’t think of Google+, and that’s a shame. It turns out this platform has some great perks, especially if you’re a business, brand, or retailer. Wondering what Google+ can do for you? Allow us to explain. Send the Right Message When you create a Google+ page for your business, it serves as your public identity and a central place to share your expertise and knowledge. Google+ has approximately 300 million monthly active users, but the level of engagement isn’t all that high—on average, users spent about 7 minutes per month on the site. While 7 minutes might not seem like a lot, what they’re doing during that time can make or break your business. Searching for goods and services. Looking up business hours. Reading reviews. Google+ automatically creates a page for your company, but until you step in and take control, that page will look barren, empty, and closed for business—not exactly the message you want to send to potential customers and clients. Improve Your SEO Google+ is a Google product. Seems obvious, right? Something that might not be quite as clear is the fact that Google indexes Plus pages almost as soon as they’re published. It can also index more information, because data isn’t blocked or hidden within another social network, such as Facebook or Twitter. This means having an active and robust Google+ business page will help you rank higher in search results. In many cases, a business’s Google+ page... read more

Surf Expo September 2015 Highlights

Earlier this month, BRA representatives attended the much-anticipated Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida. For three days, we met awesome brands, attended great seminars, and had an amazing time. Here are some of the highlights: The Neighborhood This year, Surf Expo set up “The Neighborhood,” which was a lounge area that combined like-minded brands and amazing handcrafted coffee—a wonderful pairing, especially at such an intense trade show! Located at the heart of the surf section, it was the perfect way to keep energy high and connect with some of our favorite companies while exploring the Expo’s extensive offerings.  Two of our favorites were the Wake section, which made a standout appearance this year thanks to incredible displays and top-of-the-line wakeboard boats, and the Freaker brand, which hail from our hometown of Wilmington, NC. They traveled with their band, the Harmonica Lewiniskis, whose tunes wowed the crowd at the end of each day. The Seminars As usual, Surf Expo hosted an exceptional series of educational seminars. With three seminars on Thursday and Friday and one on Saturday, attendees had many opportunities to sit in and listen to the speakers. In case you missed it, here were some great takeaways: Retail Innovation Panel – Selling an Experience This great seminar was moderated by Glenn Brumage and included Todd Canipe, George Leichtweis, and Lee Elliot. Together, they discussed the power of “experiential retailing,” or the idea of selling an experience rather than a product. Offering in-store events and VIP parties are a great way to create loyalty and encourage community among your customer base. Optimize your Online Presence for the 2015 Digital Landscape... read more
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