“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...
“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...
“2022 Trends For Social Commerce” by Mark Hook via Independent Retailer

“2022 Trends For Social Commerce” by Mark Hook via Independent Retailer

Over the last 20 years, we have seen social media shift from simple, text-based updates to increasingly visual content, championed by app-based platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Now, new entrants such as TikTok and Pinterest are taking the trend even further. Social media now goes way beyond communicating with friends and family. The impact and growth of social media brands play a huge part in what we see on our newsfeeds — and with that, social commerce has flourished. Social apps that already allow for commerce include Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, but TikTok and Twitter are also experimenting with shopping features. Social Commerce – Why You Should Care Social commerce is a $89 billion market right now, and is projected to grow to $605 billion in the next seven years. eMarketer predicts social commerce will rise by 35 percent to $36.09 billion in 2021 alone. Social is becoming a primary research tool for shoppers with many channels, including Instagram, acting as discovery engines for brands. According to Instagram, 60 percent of consumers discover new products on their platform, and users say that when they were inspired by something they saw, they would take steps to find and buy it straight away. Consumers also love the ability to browse and buy products within different digital environments, often as their preferred buying channel. In fact, 81 percent of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, and shopping is a top priority for 48 percent of Pinterest users. Ignored Channels However, a staggering number of retailers are overlooking social media for commerce. According to Brightpearl’s own data of 4,000 shoppers, a quarter of retailers still do not have options for shoppers to buy via social channels, including some of the...