“4 Ways to Power Touchless Retail with Text Messaging” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“4 Ways to Power Touchless Retail with Text Messaging” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Companies from Amazon to Zoom are rethinking their customer experience in the post-COVID era. See how innovative retailers are responding with text-based messaging, touchless payments, and more. COVID-19 has completely transformed consumer behavior. 85% of consumers have chosen a new business because of pandemic friendly services and 86% say they expect businesses to be even more convenient after COVID-19 restrictions lift completely everywhere. It’s not surprising that 80% of consumers would like local businesses to continue offering curbside pickup options. Companies like Amazon, Doordash, and Netflix have also upped customers’ expectations for convenience. And retailers can meet these expectations with a few tips from the experts. In this session of the 2020 Total Retail Innovation Conference, Katie Osberg, Global Retail Partnerships Lead at Google, and Doug Regner, VP of Enterprise Sales at Podium, share four ways to power touchless retail with text messaging. Read on for the takeaways from this discussion: 1. Grow location reviews with text messaging.  89% of consumers begin their buying process with a search engine. Searches containing “near me” have grown 9x more popular since 2016. Google Map Pack chooses three businesses to highlight based on star ratings, number of reviews, and frequency of reviews. And 70% of clicks on a local search will happen in that map pack. In order to grow and optimize your online and local presence, you’ll need the help of reviews.  Follow these steps to get started: Check to see if you’re listed on Google My Business. If not, create a Google My Business accountVerify your businessEnter or update business informationPeriodically add or update information, especially relating to COVID hours, pickup services, etc.Generate reviews The most effective...
“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from David Ritter, a managing director, and Conor Gaffney, an associate in the consumer and retail group, at global professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal. They can be reached at dritter@alvarezandmarsal.com and cgaffney@alvarezandmarsal.com, respectively. Views are the authors’ own. It’s no secret that U.S. retailers have struggled immensely to fill employment gaps and maintain staffing levels as store traffic has returned in recent months. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, after significant growth in June — up by 67,000 — retail hiring flattened, then decreased in July (down 6,000) and August (down 29,000). At a macro level, the number of individuals employed by retail companies still sits about 300,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, despite retailers’ increasingly desperate attempts to hire additional staff.     With the critical holiday season approaching, this strategic challenge — which already looks for all the world like a great reset — will be exacerbated by seasonal hiring efforts. In response, large retailers including CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart are all increasing their minimum wages to attract workers. Unfortunately, workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have, causing some companies to report that they will remain understaffed into the holidays. Why? For one main reason, most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook — an approach with a critical lack in understanding of their current and future employees — and are, in turn, relying on the easiest lever in that playbook, minimum wage, in a misguided hope that staffing will eventually recover.     Why aren’t higher minimum wages the answer?   A recent study of retail associates by retail operations platform Zipline found that a significant...
“Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Big box retailers are pulling forward orders earlier than normal and aggressively investing in core items as supply chain bottlenecks threaten to lead to empty shelves over the holiday season. In many cases, inventories are up double-digit percentage points compared to last year’s pandemic-depressed levels and also up over the same period in 2019. Target inventories at the close of the second quarter were up 26 percent year over year. John Mulligan, COO, told analysts Target’s inventories are “well-positioned” to drive holiday sales against record year-ago gains, although the situation is not optimal. “Our guests are still seeing empty shelves on some occasions,” he said. “In some of those situations, we’ve simply sold beyond our expectations, and our team is working quickly to secure additional quantities. In other cases, the vendors themselves are facing constraints in their ability to deliver product. And we’re collaborating with them to address these constraints together, securing as much product as possible on behalf of our guests.” Speaking last week at Goldman Sachs’ conference, Lowe’s CFO David Denton said the home improvement chain has placed bigger orders for high-demand items and its inventory position is in better shape than it was six to 12 months ago. At Best Buy, inventories at the second quarter’s end surged 55 percent year over year and 23 percent versus two years ago. CEO Corie Barry told analysts merchants worked strategically to bring in as much inventory as possible during the quarter with actions like acquiring additional transportation, pulling up product flow and adjusting store assortment based on availability. She said, “There will continue to be challenges, particularly as it relates to congested ports...
“New Social Commerce Tools Can Boost Businesses This Holiday Season” by Thibaud Clément via Total Retail

“New Social Commerce Tools Can Boost Businesses This Holiday Season” by Thibaud Clément via Total Retail

A breadth of new social commerce tools and features will make shopping online this holiday season look very different from years past. Throughout the past year, e-commerce has seen an enormous boom fueled by physical retail limitations and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, businesses have sought innovative ways to connect with customers through online experiences, and the growth of social commerce has played a key role in facilitating those efforts. Major social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, are pushing new features to facilitate commerce directly within their platforms. For businesses to get the most out of their social media presence, they should be familiar with how each of these new tools, from integrated shopping posts to live shopping, can help grow their business this holiday season. Take Advantage of Social Commerce Social commerce provides some significant advantages compared to other methods of online retailing. For example, social media allows businesses to test how consumers will react to certain products or campaigns before having to spend a single dollar on ads. We can observe the successful use of social commerce in action by looking at Facebook’s ecosystem. Facebook Shops allows businesses to set up stores within both Facebook and Instagram. By following this route, companies can avoid redirecting consumers towards other websites, which can often distract or dissuade potential customers from completing their purchases. The seamless social commerce process provides consumers with a complete shopping experience integrated into their existing social media activities. This makes for a shopping experience that’s both easier and more personal for consumers, leading to increased sales. Social commerce makes the online...
“Remarkable new BRA Distinguished Retail Member benefit plus video showcasing outstanding new Supporting Vendor Partner” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

“Remarkable new BRA Distinguished Retail Member benefit plus video showcasing outstanding new Supporting Vendor Partner” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Push play to learn more about PartnerShip (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) and how you can benefit BRA strives to be the definitive resource for active sport retailers and we’re always looking for ways to help your business be successful. We’re excited to announce a brand-new benefit available to BRA Distinguished Retail Members that will save you money by spending less on shipping. With the BRA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you save 50% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground. If you’re receiving inbound freight shipments from your vendors, you’ll also have access to competitive rates with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, XPO, and many others. To take advantage of this free benefit, enroll now. To learn more about the BRA Shipping Program, call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or email sales@PartnerShip.com.     If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form (choose the Distinguished Retail Membership option).  Shortly after we receive your join form, we will email you an invoice with payment instructions for the $99 Annual Dues as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and summary of additional Supporting Vendor Partner benefits for BRA Retail Members. Once your payment is received, we will notify the good people at PartnerShip who will approve your enrollment and enable you to take advantage of the savings in a timely...
“15 Ways to Increase Retailers’ Profit Margins” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

“15 Ways to Increase Retailers’ Profit Margins” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Retailers’ profit margins have been more relevant than ever lately … It all started with curbside pickup, the only way many stores could sell their products during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, some experts are suggesting retailers add similar programs: “You should really offer social shopping.”“Why don’t you ship and return for free?”“Can’t you deliver to trunk like Amazon?” This advice is well-intentioned but misinformed. If you’ve got the same resources as Amazon, Walmart, or Target, great! Add as many bells and whistles to your retail sales strategy as you like.  But if you’re anything like the retailers I know, you don’t have unlimited capital from stockholders. And programs like these take funding — additional costs you’ll have to compensate for elsewhere.  The truth is, improving your retailers’ profit margin is a two-step process: Step 1: Know your average profit margin (and a good margin to shoot for.) Don’t worry. I’ll make this process easy for you, even if you’re not a “numbers person.” Step 2: Implement my 15 proven ways to increase your retail profit margin — no complicated programs or freebies required.  Ready to get started? Good. Let’s dive in. What is retail margin? “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” – Marcus Lemonis So, what is retail margin? If you’re an accounting whiz, feel free to skip ahead. For the rest of us who could use a quick refresher on some bookkeeping fundamentals, here are the numbers you need to grow your business: Gross retail profit margin is the percent of revenue that remains after deducting the cost of goods sold. It doesn’t account for additional operating expenses...