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

“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...
“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

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

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

“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...
“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

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

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

“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 istock.com 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...
“HOW BROOKLYN GOT ITS OWN EUROPEAN STYLE SKATE SPACE” by Kenny via Jenkem Mag

“HOW BROOKLYN GOT ITS OWN EUROPEAN STYLE SKATE SPACE” by Kenny via Jenkem Mag

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

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

“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...