“The Untapped Opportunity That COVID-19 Created for Store Associates” by Oscar Sachs via Total Retail

“The Untapped Opportunity That COVID-19 Created for Store Associates” by Oscar Sachs via Total Retail

The retail landscape looks completely different today compared to the beginning of 2020. COVID-19 has caused stores to shut down and employees to be furloughed. Retailers were already challenged before the pandemic began, and now many consumers are wary of returning to stores. Furthermore, social distancing regulations limit the number of people allowed in a store at the same time. This results in less opportunities for consumers to interact with brand and store associates. However, sharp declines in store traffic have also presented new opportunities for store associates. Technology is helping them bridge the online-offline service gap in a whole new way with clienteling. While there may be less customers than usual in stores, there are more customers shopping online than ever before. Associates working in-store or remotely are now providing online shoppers with personalized services and experiences, similar to what we would expect from shopping in a store. Virtual Associates Are Meeting Customers Online as They Browse Customers shopping online are looking to be served in a personalized way while they browse. In fact, Salesfloor’s data shows a 3x increase in customer engagement online since the beginning of the pandemic, and retailers are seeing up to a 700 percent lift in sales attributed to clienteling. Retailers that are using clienteling solutions leverage their associates as virtual product experts or stylists that can assist customers on their site, offer fit and style recommendations, and answer specific questions. This makes the online shopping experience feel less about just making an e-commerce purchase, and more like the in-store experience where they’re browsing and shopping. Giving consumers the ability to initiate digital conversations with an associate from a...
“Retail Check In: Val Surf” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

“Retail Check In: Val Surf” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article (about BRA Retail Member Val Surf):   Retail Check In: Val Surf A Val Surf skate section. Val Surf has four stores in the Los Angeles region that sell surf, skate and snow goods. Photo courtesy of Val Surf. Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up and pay for access before viewing. 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 ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join...
“What does the pandemic mean for mobile pay?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“What does the pandemic mean for mobile pay?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

While there’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted by cash or credit cards, the use of mobile payments and contactless cards has taken off in recent months over concerns about touching surfaces, according to research from the National Retail Federation’s “State of Retail Payments” study. Among the findings: Sixty-seven percent of retailers now accept some form of no-touch payment.Fifty-eight percent accept contactless cards that can be waved past a card reader or tapped on the reader, up from 40 percent last year; Fifty-six percent take digital wallet payments on mobile phones, up from 44 percent;No-touch payments have increased for 69 percent of retailers surveyed since January. “Retailers are putting health and safety first and have rolled out a variety of no-touch payment options in order to err on the side of caution,” said Leon Buck, NRF VP for government relations, banking and financial services, in a statement. A separate consumer survey found 19 percent made a digital payment in a store for the first time this May and 57 percent would likely continue to do so once the pandemic has subsided. Of those, 62 percent used their phone and 56 percent used a contactless card. Visa’s just-released “Back to Business” study likewise found consumers significantly prioritizing contactless pay, while Mastercard just reported strong quarterly growth in contactless and digital transactions. On the downside, according to NRF’s study, higher costs, including fees for processing transactions, are the top concern for 67 percent of retailers that accept no-touch payments. Banks charge a fee averaging about 2.5 percent when a credit card is used for an in-person purchase, and the fee climbs slightly higher for transactions made online or...
“Surf Expo Moves to Virtual Show for September” via Shop Eat Surf and Surf Expo.com

“Surf Expo Moves to Virtual Show for September” via Shop Eat Surf and Surf Expo.com

Please click on the following link to view this informative Shop Eat Surf announcement and interview with Roy Turner (SVP of Emerald, Surf Expo Show Director and co-founder of BRA):  Surf Expo Moves to Virtual Show for September Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf The following appears on https://www.surfexpo.com/ Since 1976, Surf Expo has united the watersports and beach lifestyle community twice each year to provide an unmatched marketplace and opportunity to share our passion for the industries we serve. Driven by our responsibility to serve your best interests, we regret to announce that we are cancelling this year’s Surf Expo, which was scheduled to take place September 10-12, 2020, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Recent developments have made it impossible to bring our community together safely and successfully. This is due to the ongoing progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest government data, measures, and guidelines on the phased reopening plans in the U.S.; current restrictions on congregating and large gatherings imposed by states and other government and public health authorities; the inability of Surf Expo’s international community to travel to the show due to travel restrictions and bans; and the various company-imposed travel restrictions on employees affecting attendees and participating companies. The health and safety of our customers, partners, and employees remains of paramount concern to us. Though we are so disappointed we won’t see you all in person this summer, our team remains committed to offering new ways to keep the industry connected. We...
“Why does it take a crisis for retailers to get innovative?” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

“Why does it take a crisis for retailers to get innovative?” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of Steve Dennis’ recent Forbes article. Steve is president & founder of SageBerry Consulting and a senior Forbes Contributor. His first book — Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption  — came out earlier this year. The COVID-19 crisis has led to tremendous innovation and experimentation on the part of just about every retailer. From curbside pickup (and other forms of contactless delivery) to appointment shopping, hyper-online growth and more, so much change has occurred in such a short period of time. Legacy retailers are being applauded for embracing the notion that most customer journeys are digitally-driven and that online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores can work in tandem to produce remarkable results. To this I say, “Really?,” adding: “Glad you finally woke up, Rip Van Winkle.” (Note to Millennials: look him up.) Clearly, some shopper behaviors (and resulting retail responses) are very much of the moment and it’s uncertain to what degree they’ll continue. Yet there’s no denying the retail industry witnessed an epic revolution during the past two decades, much of it driven by digital technology. In turn, the power has shifted to the consumer and the underlying bases of competition have been upended. Even in the pre-COVID world, shifts were happening faster and faster all the time. Many retailers — from Home Depot to Lululemon, Best Buy Nike and many more — were keenly aware of the shifts and responded in remarkable ways well before a crisis. Their commitment to innovation and agile business models explains their better than average performance thus far during...
“How the COVID-19 Coin Shortage is Affecting Retailers” by Ashley Chiaradio via Total Retail

“How the COVID-19 Coin Shortage is Affecting Retailers” by Ashley Chiaradio via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Getty Images by Chuck Cross / EyeEm Some brick-and-mortar retailers are obligating customers to allow cashiers to keep their change as the U.S. experiences a coin shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PYMNTS reported. Recently, grocery chain Kroger has been temporarily refusing to give coins out as change to customers. In these instances, customers have three options: round up their bills to the nearest dollar; donate the excess to charity; or get their change stored on a loyalty card. According to pymnts.com, Kroger announced via Twitter that the Federal Reserve is experiencing a significant coin shortage and it’s impacting store operations. COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins. Over the past few months, coin deposits have declined significantly and the production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect U.S. Mint employees. In addition to Kroger, Giant Food and Wawa have also made changes to deal with the coin shortage. Giant Food is reportedly doing the same as Kroger, and Wawa is reportedly requesting that customers pay with exact change, debt or credit cards, or the Wawa mobile app if possible. Total Retail’s Take: While consumers who prefer to pay with cash may disapprove of this situation, it does provide retailers the unique opportunity to promote their loyalty programs. Consumers who don’t already have loyalty cards may sign up just to prevent losing their change. The retailer will gain the customer’s personal information, which is beneficial for personalizing future customer experiences, but also the customer may revisit the retailer in the future to spend their unused change. Paying with cash was...