“Sustaining Profitability and the Environment: A Retail Necessity” by Nathan Smith via The Robin Report

“Sustaining Profitability and the Environment: A Retail Necessity” by Nathan Smith via The Robin Report

Industry Reality Check To set the context for new emerging retail crises, allow me to set up the situation we find ourselves in as a result of the pandemic. From my perspective, Covid-19 did not start any new trends; instead, it accelerated one that had already begun, which is, that people were starting to do more and more of their shopping online than at brick-and-mortar establishments. Not only was there an acceleration in those who were already comfortable in buying online, but something even more interesting happened. People who were not used to shopping online were forced to do so due to the various lockdown policies implemented by government. They quickly got comfortable with online shopping and started to embrace its ease and convenience, even if it came at an additional cost. Now, as Covid case numbers continue to ebb and flow, shoppers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores, but not at the levels we’ve seen prior to the pandemic. Some of those pandemic “forced” behaviors have stuck; from my own experience I never thought I’d see the day when my parents ordered groceries online, but now after having been forced to do it, they realize how much easier and more convenient it is and it is now their primary way of shopping. While this situation may seem like a boon to online retailers, it also comes with some unprecedented challenges. For one thing, there is extra risk built into the buying process as consumers can’t see, touch, or try on items before they purchase, leading to much higher return rates. Our research at Appriss Retail has shown that consumers...
“Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department” by Daphne Howland and Caroline Jansen via Retail Dive

“Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department” by Daphne Howland and Caroline Jansen via Retail Dive

Photo Illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images The department’s Census Bureau tracks estimates each month. Retail Dive provides the numbers for key segments, and their year-over-year progress, or decline. Editor’s Note: Comparisons for individual segments are updated each month to reflect the government’s revisions to its year ago figures. A full methodology for how Retail Dive tracks retail sales figures is included at the bottom of this page. Every month, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, releases its first calculation of the previous month’s retail sales. At Retail Dive, we report these figures by grouping the key segments that define “retail” in a way that we hope is most meaningful to the industry. We use unadjusted, advance numbers and year-over-year comparisons, with the government’s most recent revisions to its year-ago estimates. And although we of course include e-commerce, captured in the federal report as “nonstore retailers,” readers will note that the government includes sales from businesses not generally thought of as “e-commerce.” YoY sales performance by sector Monthly retail sales How key retail sales fared year over year Total sales+8%Non-store+21%Furniture & home+2%Sporting goods, hobby, bookstores0%General merchandise-1%Clothing & accessories-3%Electronics & applicances-10%Retail Dive calculates “total retail sales” of core segments, as well as what the Commerce Department calls “Nonstore retailers.” That includes e-commerce, mail order and infomercials, but also revenue from subsectors not generally considered traditional retail, including vending machines, home delivery (including newspapers and home heating oil), door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstrations and portable stalls like non-food street vendors. Year-over-year comparisons use the most recent revisions to estimates; year-to-date numbers use only advanced numbers. Data from U.S. Census Bureau, Advanced Monthly...
“Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

“Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?” by Matthew Stern via Retail Wire

Sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts may soon have a new brick-and-mortar store to visit. YZYSPLY, the sneaker and apparel company of sometimes-controversial rapper, producer and fashion entrepreneur Kanye West, has filed a trademark hinting that a physical storefront for the brand could be on the way. The trademark provides the foundation to let the brand expand from “online ordering services” and “online retail ordering services” to brick-and-mortar “retail stores” and “retail store services,” according to Hypebeast. In addition to sneakers, the filing mentions the availability of clothing and accessories, such as lingerie, t-shirts and hats. Mr. West’s branded Yeezy shoes and clothing are produced via partnerships with Adidas AG and Gap Inc., and in 2021 the brand was worth between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. His exclusive, collector-oriented sneaker line is known in particular for its limited-release drops. The sneakers are so sought after that purchasing most releases requires winning a raffle, according to Sneaker News. Physical sneaker retail has undergone a big shakeup over the past few years, as top brand Nike began withdrawing from some of its biggest wholesale relationships and significantly throttling back what is available through others. Nike has stated that its move away from wholesale is intended to pare down its “undifferentiated” retail partners as it simultaneously focuses on selling via its direct-to-consumer channels. The brand has long had a footprint of standalone Nike stores through which it sells its products. It also orchestrates drops and other exclusive selling events through its popular Nike SNKRS app. Nike’s change in plans earlier this year left Foot Locker, a major sneakerhead destination and Nike co-opetitor, looking for other partnerships to...
“Top 10 Visual Merchandising Secrets” by Melissa Stivale via Independent Retailer

“Top 10 Visual Merchandising Secrets” by Melissa Stivale via Independent Retailer

Visual merchandising plays a pivotal role in converting sales at the store level. The concept seems simple: display inventory in an organized way that engages and informs customers. However, there should be a lot of thought and purposeful planning that goes into designing everything from the store layout and signage to the proper lighting and product arrangements.  Here are some tricks of the trade that retailers will want to keep in mind when implementing visual merchandising strategies for your store that work no matter what you are selling: 1. The Rule of Three: Not only is this persuasive as a writing principle, but the rule of three is also a smart technique for grouping products. The small amount prevents customers from being overwhelmed by too many choices, and the asymmetry effectively captures their attention since the brain takes longer to process odd numbers.  You can use this strategy to group similar competing products together or cross-sell related items from the same brand. Clothing retailers benefit from placing a trio of mannequins styled in coordinating color palettes in display windows, while electronics stores can use it to emphasize their range of gaming consoles. 2. The Pyramid Principle: While seemingly like the rule of three, the pyramid principle deals more with height and balancing the dimensions of your displays. The goal is to create a visually appealing triangle by placing the largest or tallest items at the center and surrounding them with smaller products on either side.  Display tables come in handy here, as do acrylic risers and pedestals, which all allow you to vary the height of merchandise to build the right...
“4 Examples of Great Customer Service in 2022” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

“4 Examples of Great Customer Service in 2022” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

I’ve written extensively about creating a customer service strategy, how to improve your retail customer service, and retail customer service on the front line so I was anxious to see what I’d encounter when a couple of weeks ago I traveled down the California coast. The trip’s finale would be a classic car show in San Diego where I’d show my classic Bentley coupe. How would all the news reports of a lack of workers, inflation, and general dis-ease play out as I checked into restaurants, checked up on retailers, and checked out of hotels? What are four principles of customer service? Four core standards of great customer service every employee should exemplify: Remove stressBe seamlessBe humanBe seen I witnessed the first principle in action before I even left home. The car was to be shipped to San Francisco and had to arrive by a specific date or the whole journey would be disrupted. While interviewing one car carrier about the firm deadlines, the guy stopped me, “Whoa wait a minute. With traffic and delays, we might be there a day or early or late, we just can’t be responsible for that.” At McCollister’s, the company that got my business, the guy who took the call said, “What day and time do you want it there? We have several warehouses so we can hold it if we get there early.” When my flight landed in San Francisco, I got a call that the car had arrived and been delivered. Even though the original truck had broken down, they had sent another to continue the journey. “No need to bother you – we had...
“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — After going on a frenzied hiring spree for a year and a half to meet surging shopper demand, America’s retailers are starting to temper their recruiting. The changing mindset comes as companies confront a pullback in consumer spending, the prospect of an economic downturn and surging labor costs. Some analysts suggest that merchants have also learned to do more with fewer workers. The nation’s top employer, Walmart, said it recently over-hired because of a COVID-related staffing shortage and then reduced its head count through attrition. In April, Amazon said it, too, had decided that it had an excess of workers in its warehouses. And FedEx, whose customers include big retailers, said late last month that it was hiring fewer people. In addition, new data shows that retailers in recent months have been scaling back sign-on bonuses and are no longer relaxing job requirements — a sign that they no longer feel compelled to expand their applicant pool, according to the labor analytics company Lightcast. And Snagajob, an online marketplace for hourly work, reports that job postings in retailing have been slowing in the past couple of months, though they remain up from a year ago. Retailers “are going to take a conservative view of what’s possible and what’s necessary, because the price they will pay for being wrong will be minimum if they run out of goods and don’t have enough staff, and massive if they wind up with an inventory glut and they have too many people employed,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University and a former CEO of Sears Canada. The...