“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

Retailers and consumers alike had just started to feel hopeful about a post-pandemic future a mere few weeks ago. However, with the COVID-19 Delta variant quickly becoming a concern, retailers across the country have made the move to reinstate mask mandates indoors. Unsurprisingly, this latest round of mask mandates has come with mounting tensions. Many store associates have found themselves in very uncomfortable, and sometimes violent encounters with disgruntled customers, with facemasks continuing to pose a controversial debate. As such, with the onus sitting squarely on the shoulders of front-line employees to outline and enforce these mask mandates, many businesses are looking at proactive measures to help train and prepare workers for potentially highly charged customer encounters. Preparing Our People With Empathy Training During these challenging times, customer-facing employees will be looking for guidance on best practices and reassurance on how to handle potentially tense situations with customers. Signals must come from the top, emphasizing the importance of being confident and prepared with the skills needed to de-escalate stressful interactions. It often comes down to the ability to show empathy to those experiencing stress or anxiety. However, this typically doesn’t come naturally and requires proper training. This is why empathy training is key for giving front-line associates the tools to prepare for what they’re likely to face, such as what Walmart is doing with its beKIND program meant for teaching and measuring empathy in customer service. Customer-facing employees can benefit immensely by being able to embody the feelings of an anxious guest or customer. Through realistic, immersive training modalities, learners can better understand a customer’s point of view, whether or not they agree, in order...
“Pandemic-related delays force retailers to tweak holiday messages” by Arriana McLymore and Siddharth Cavalevia via Reuters.com

“Pandemic-related delays force retailers to tweak holiday messages” by Arriana McLymore and Siddharth Cavalevia via Reuters.com

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Season’s greetings from your favorite retailer come with a 2021-style postscript. That gift you want to get for your loved one? It may be out of stock. And the hot toy? It may not arrive in time for Christmas. Americans collectively are expected to spend as much as $1.3 trillion this holiday season, up from $1.19 trillion in 2020, according to Deloitte. But retailers are bracing for inventory shortfalls, as well as scarce labor at ports, driver shortages, rising warehouse expenses and higher prices. So they are encouraging shoppers to open their wallets early this year, inducing fear by highlighting what retailers describe as “supply chain challenges,” “longer delivery times” and “lower inventories,” in marketing materials. Surf- and skateboard-wear retailer Zumiez Inc’s (ZUMZ.O) website features a banner that reads: “Don’t let out-of-stock items and shipping delays screw up your plans.” The mall-based retailer primarily sources merchandise from Asia, Mexico and Central America. It did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Nordstrom (JWN.N), which typically brings in about 20% of its merchandise from China, on Thursday sent a holiday marketing email to customers citing “global supply chain challenges” that they said would likely put a damper on holiday shopping plans. “We’re anticipating that the hottest gifts may sell out on our site and that shipping could take longer than we’d all like,” Nordstrom President Peter Nordstrom and CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a joint emailed message to customers. Nordstrom declined to comment. In surveys by consulting firms, some shoppers have previously said they are concerned about stock availability and even that they already noticed empty shelves as far...
“If you missed the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo, you can view it and other relevant and helpful educational webinars right here” by BRA + Management One

“If you missed the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo, you can view it and other relevant and helpful educational webinars right here” by BRA + Management One

Concerns about the delta variant contributed to store traffic declines in July, combined with some signs that consumer confidence is wavering. The outlook for business in Q4 is nowhere near certain. In this Board Retailers Association (BRA) Retailer Roundtable panel discussion, the panelists speak about how these factors are affecting independent retailers plans for holiday selling this year. In addition, the panel explored and shared current pricing practices that have increased operating margins in their stores as well as significant staffing challenges. These competitive pricing and staffing strategies can be implemented in your store immediately. This remarkable panel was moderated by George Leichtweiss (BRA Chairman and owner of Modern Skate & Surf) and included Paul Erickson (Director and Senior Retail Consultant at BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One), Bruce Cromartie (BRA Board Member and Owner of BC Surf & Sport) and Doug Works (BRA Executive Director and former retailer). Push play to view this remarkable BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion from Surf Expo – 9 21 Massive thanks to Jesse of Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) for introducing their remarkable retail resource and sponsoring this outstanding event. Learn more about Podium in the following article: BRA Podium 4 Ways Article The video above serves as the 2021 3rd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar. At the end of the each Quarter, Board Retailers Association hosts relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. Push play to view the 2nd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of 2021 Push play to view the 1st Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of...
“To Meet Customers’ In-Store Expectations, Retailers Must Master ‘Phygital’ Experiences” by Jaime Betancourt via Total Retail

“To Meet Customers’ In-Store Expectations, Retailers Must Master ‘Phygital’ Experiences” by Jaime Betancourt via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by bernard bodo Distance makes the heart grow fonder, sure. But it can also create romanticized expectations that are near impossible to meet. While there’s certainly a lot to miss about physical shopping, it’s possible some consumers have built up the retail experience in their head to the point where it will be hard for stores to deliver. To use another adage about human nature, people want what they cannot have. During the last 18 months, when in-person shopping was not possible, or at the least, not the same, some consumers yearned for classic brick-and-mortar moments more than ever. So, what happens now that consumers can visit stores again, and how about long term, when the pandemic is at last behind us? Retailers have no choice but to REALLY deliver on the core benefits of physical shopping — the joy of discovery, getting to touch and feel a product, the potential for immediate gratification, and the social aspect, whether that’s spending time with a loved one or connecting with a stranger. They must understand shoppers’ sentimental longing for normalcy, while continually innovating to reflect expectations for convenience and personalization. Otherwise, stores will have sorely disappointed shoppers on their hands. Building the Bionic Beings of Retail There’s a famous TV show from the ’70s called “The Six Million Dollar Man” about a former astronaut named Steve Austin, played by actor Lee Majors. After a flight accident, Austin is rebuilt with bionic implants and becomes better, stronger and faster. It makes me think about in-person retail experiences. The pandemic was our flight accident. Now it’s time to rebuild,...
“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

For years we’ve heard that employee expenses are driving retail profit margins down; as a result, labor hours were cut. That meant shoppers were more likely not to see anyone working in a store, that they most likely would have to wait for assistance, and would have to wait in line to pay. That led customer service levels down across the board and still today it is pummeling retail traffic across the world. Many retailers see their retail employees as a cost center, the opposite of an asset. They are something to be minimized. That’s why, to keep down the expense, they try to get away with the minimum needed to cover the floor. And that’s a mistake. Brian Field, Senior Director at ShopperTrak, notes, “The more you cut your labor hours, the better your labor looks.” But there’s a problem with that and that’s why ShopperTrak advises clients to instead measure using shopper to associate ratio. That number can go up or down, depending on the level of service that a brand is intending to provide. The lower the shopper to associate ratio you want to have, the better trained your employees must be. You can’t say customers are the major focus of your business and then provide three-person coverage on a busy Saturday. But it’s not just employees you need to value as an asset, it’s their training. A friend of mine related an experience her son had while working at a Michelin-rated restaurant in New York. To keep their rating stars, they are mystery-dined each year. There are separate ratings for food and service. Last year this restaurant received a 93 on the...
“SQUARE AND TIKTOK PARTNER TO HELP BUSINESSES EXPAND THEIR REACH ONLINE” via Industry Resource

“SQUARE AND TIKTOK PARTNER TO HELP BUSINESSES EXPAND THEIR REACH ONLINE” via Industry Resource

Square and TikTok announced a new integration that will make it easy for sellers of all types and sizes to reach new customers and grow their sales online. Square x TikTok enables sellers to send fans directly from TikTok videos, ads, and shopping tabs on their profiles to products available in their existing Square Online store, providing a streamlined shopping experience that retains the look and feel of their personal brand. To take advantage of these powerful new commerce features from TikTok, TikTok For Business users can now quickly and easily set up a free, fully integrated Square Online store and start selling right away. Jessica Thompson (@beejoyfuljess), owner of the Bee Joyful Shop, a zero-waste and sustainable living shop in Dexter, Michigan said that the Square x TikTok integration has helped her reach new customers in a new, and lucrative market. “TikTok is huge right now and only continuing to grow. With Square x TikTok we’re able to quickly and easily feature our products in our TikTok content and seamlessly direct buyers to our Square Online store,” she said. “We’re really excited to give fans an easier way to shop, directly from the platform where they’re already spending their time.” With a billion monthly active users, TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms. Reaching this audience provides sellers with a valuable opportunity, especially as the lines between entrepreneurship, content creation, and commerce continue to blur. With Square x TikTok, sellers are able to grow their business by running ads using TikTok Ads Manager, sync their existing item catalog to TikTok for inclusion in curated shopping tabs on their profiles, and include...