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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“V-Shaped Recovery Hockey-Stick Growth – a Year Like No Other In Core Surf & Skate Retail” by Patrik Schmidle via ActionWatch.com

March 2021 sales in US core channel grew +132% vs March 2020 Exactly one year ago core retailers were recovering from an April that saw a roughly 80% year-on-year (YoY) decline. April 2020 was arguably the most difficult month the surf and skate industry has ever had to endure. Retailers and brands alike were navigating local government mandates regarding store closures, implementing reopening measures, launching curb-side pickup services, conducting concierge shopping, beefing up on-line offerings, furloughing employees, and deciding what they should do about future orders. At the same time they were wondering if and when their PPP funding would finally arrive.  Fast forward one year and the biggest current concern is having enough inventory to meet the seemingly insatiable consumer demand.  The one consistent trend since June of 2020 was that anything related to hardgoods and wetsuits grew at unprecedented rates. In some months, these categories enjoyed more than 100% YoY growth. However, the soft goods categories slowed down the overall momentum as they declined -15% from 2019 to 2020. Source: Same-Store ActionWatch Panel 2020 vs 2019 All Categories Those trends carried over to the first two months of 2021 as supply chain challenges caused otherwise strong sales to plateau. As a result sales figures were comparable to January and February 2020. Then came March 2021.  Sales exploded, growing by +132% compared to March 2020. Even compared to March 2019 sales grew an astounding +37%. Source: Same-Store ActionWatch Panel 2020 to YTD March 2021 The 2021 March numbers are especially encouraging because the higher margin soft goods categories achieved very robust growth numbers. Across the board we recorded higher... read more

“TWS 10: Deadhippie’s Tips For Skating In Your 40s” by Mackenzie Eisenhour via Transworld Skateboarding

Right about when lockdown went into effect here in LA, I started skating more than I have ever skated in my life. It wasn’t so much a plan, but more just out of boredom and mental welfare necessity after being isolated in an apartment with two kids home from school for a year. I turned 44 last December, but am somehow now skating more, learning more new tricks, and breaking down more longstanding mental/physical roadblocks than ever before. Of course, no matter what your skill level—the more you skate, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more fun it gets. And, the more fun it gets, the more you want to do it, and onwards into exponential bliss. But how do you start that fire in middle age and keep it burning? How do you inspire and/or confound Boil The Ocean?  Here (in no particular order) are 10 tips that helped me. 1) Take nothing for granted.I should probably start with a disclaimer: This is all temporary—a daily reprieve from our inevitable reckoning. I wish I could say there is some foolproof formula to riding your skateboard in your forties and beyond without injury, pain, or the occasional midlife crisis. However, there is not. Every session is a crapshoot. It can all end at any moment. Many of us are already too physically beaten up at this age to even do it. So every time we do get to roll post-forty is a miracle. Be grateful. Have zero expectations, and do it for those who cannot. There is no guarantee you can do it again tomorrow. 2) Stay... read more

“5 signs that retail is going to be OK” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

The industry took a beating last year. Challenges remain, but here are a few indications of retailers’ strength. Last year was a challenge like no other for the retail industry. COVID-19 upended people’s existence worldwide, threatening human life and undermining the global economy. Job and wage losses took a toll. Even those able to stay healthy and financially secure have faced disruptions to daily life, upsetting work, school and other routines. All of this has had implications for retailers. Specialized retailers and department stores were forced to close for months while grocers and mass merchants were allowed to stay open as essential businesses. But for all of them, supply and demand were undependable last year. Meanwhile, nervous consumers have expected stores to be clean and safe or to offer e-commerce and pickup services even if they hadn’t before.  Thankfully, in the U.S., the federal government came through a number of times, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, much of it directly into consumers’ pockets. Now, consumer confidence is on the rebound, well up in recent months, reaching a high in April not seen since February 2020, according to The Conference Board. Several challenges remain, however, and they’re not minor. That starts with the fact that, while there are signs it’s easing in the U.S. thanks mostly to the distribution of vaccines, the pandemic isn’t over. Further, the consumer remains under pressure. Despite improvement, the employment picture is cloudy, with millions of Americans still out of work, according to the ADP Research Institute, and hiring unexpectedly weak in April, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The pre-pandemic wealth gap and middle class fragility haven’t eased, while pandemic-era anxiety around health and... read more

BRA Covid-19 Retailer Resource Guide (strategies, webinars, loans and more) – published on March 23, 2020 / last updated with links to recently updated resources on May 14, 2021

Welcome to the BRA COVID-19 Resource Guide. Below you will find resources for the benefit of all board specialty retailers (BRA Retail Members and non-members alike) during this challenging period. The Board Retailers Association is actively aggregating resources to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters. We update this page with additional resources regularly. If you are interested in contributing relevant information or helpful resources that will benefit other board specialty retailers, please email our Executive Director at doug@boardretailers.org Relevant and trustworthy online resources providing facts related to transmission of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) and strategies to battle the spread #spreadthestokenotthevirus Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Official Website Flatten The Curve – Everything you and your customers need to know to battle COVID-19 is on this website World Health Organization – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak This epic and relevant drawing was created by Reddit User Darth Voter Relevant educational webinars (on-demand) > Crystal Media – 3 Tips To Get Started With Social Selling Today and Staying Top-of-Mind and Connected to Customers During a Pandemic > Management One – 1) “The Retailer’s Guide to the Economic Stimulus Package & Financial Options to Address COVID-19” – The CARES Act is a complex mix of government aid and bank loans each with their own timelines and requirements. The parameters and regulations for these loans is changing hourly! 2) With rent being one of the highest monthly expenses for brick and mortar retail businesses, it’s a good idea to approach the subject of temporarily altering the structure of your agreement – The Art of Landlord Negotiation to Ease the Highest... read more

“United States Skateboard Education Association Announces Learn to Skateboard Day – Encouraging everyone to skateboard for the first time” via PR from USSEA

April 19, 2021 – Olympia, WA, USA – The United States Skateboard Education Association (USSEA) announces its third annual Learn to Skateboard Day. USSEA is an organization dedicated to empowering everyone through life-changing skateboarding experiences, regardless of age, gender, or race. Learn to Skateboard Day is Saturday, May 22, 2021. Instructors and all those who love skateboarding are encouraged to create an event in their community and teach children and adults the sport they love. Whether it’s a skatepark or a driveway, a front yard or a parking lot, Learn to Skateboard Day events are for everyone who wants to learn a new skill, a new sport, and have fun.  “Learn to Skateboard Day was just an idea a few years ago, and now it’s an international event,” said Joe Eberling, co-founder of USSEA. “We know what a positive impact skateboarding can have on people’s mental, physical and emotional well-being, so we want more people to take part in skateboarding. If you thought skateboarding was for everyone else, then think again.” Eberling continues, “Our research indicates that millions of people want to skateboard but don’t, usually because they had a bad first experience or they are afraid they might be laughed at. At USSEA, we encourage creating opportunities for these potential skaters to find a welcoming and safe environment for their first experience on a skateboard. It all comes together on Learn to Skateboard Day.” With skateboarding making its debut at the Olympics this year, more people are becoming interested in learning to skateboard, and skateboard enthusiasts are ready to teach and share their excitement for the sport. Learn... read more

“How To Leave Excuses Behind, Dig In, And Grow Retail Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

As the pandemic ebbs in the USA a growing number of retailers are finding excuses why they can’t move forward with their business like they’d like. We’re SO busy. We can’t get anyone to work. Our vendors can’t ship. We have too many customers. I get it. As I predicted a while ago, the end of the lockdown would mean an accelerated push to buy – not just shop. Many retailers were unprepared then and are unprepared now. This post is how to leave excuses behind and plan for an even brighter future. Many years ago I was working with a coffee franchise and we were looking for ways to grow retail sales. We knew we had to maximize the traffic we already had and entice each customer to buy more than a cup of joe. We had to raise the average check. I suggested we put in a merchandise line for the holidays which included S’Mores tree ornaments. Customers shopped as they waited for their drinks and the ornaments blew off the shelves. We had to re-order twice.  We achieved our goal. A week later we received a letter from the landlord telling us a retailer at the opposite side of the shopping center had complained we were carrying a gift line which was hurting her business. She wanted us to stick to coffee. Geez. Like there is a finite number of people looking for gifts and any sale we made meant it was one less for her. Yesterday, I thought about that retailer and what happens when you are challenged by: A new competitorNot being able to find... read more

“T&C Surf Celebrates 50 Years in Business” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Please click on the following link to view this relevant Shop Eat Surf Article containing the history behind and the future ahead of T & C Surf (BRA Distinguished Retail Member): T&C Surf Celebrates 50 Years in Business” 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Additional EIDL Options. Does your business qualify?” by Management One (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Have you taken advantage of the latest round of SBA loan options? There are 2 main Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advances – called the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides eligible businesses with $10,000 in total grant assistance. If you received the EIDL Advance last year in an amount less than $10,000, you may be eligible to receive the difference up to the full $10,000. The combined amount of the Targeted EIDL Advance and any previously received Advance will not exceed $10,000.Learn more about the Targeted EIDL Advance The Supplemental Targeted Advance provides the smallest and hardest hit eligible businesses with a supplemental payment of $5,000. Even if you have previously received the original EIDL Advance in the full amount of $10,000, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Targeted Advance if you meet eligibility criteria. The combined amount of the Supplemental Targeted Advance ($5,000) with any previously received EIDL Advance or Targeted EIDL Advance ($10,000) will not exceed $15,000. Learn more about the Supplemental Targeted Advance Free downloadable retail related tools can be accessed via: https://www.management-one.com/downloadable-retail-tools Please note that the link to this and other relevant Corona Virus related articles as well as links to helpful webinars, loans and other Covid 19 related resources can be found in The BRA Covid 19 Retailer Resource Guide, which was published in March and is still updated regularly. If you missed the most recent BRA Management One Collaborative Webinar, push play to view it now. Also stay tuned for the next BRA M1 Webinar, which will happen before the end of the 2nd Quarter. BRA note: We are... read more

“MY STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION AND HOW WE CAN HELP OTHERS” by Eric Brown via Jenkem Mag

I had just woken up at 4:00 AM, and while I was waiting for my dog to finish his business, I checked my Instagram and saw a few guys posting photos of Henry Gartland. Later that morning all of his sponsors, friends, and magazine outlets followed suit. While lurking slap I found out that Henry had committed suicide. I was shocked that another young, talented skater took his own life. The next day Instagram stories with the suicide prevention hotline’s number started making the rounds. However, certain pros began to call out their friends and teammates for not being there to help them and for not properly checking on them. That’s the thing though… Does anyone know how to properly help a friend that has depression or anxiety? Do they even know how to tell if they feel that way at all? WHO AM I? My name is Eric Brown. I’m twenty-seven years old and was born in New Mexico but grew up in West Texas in a small college party city known as Lubbock. I attempted suicide two times when I was eighteen years old and survived. I grew up in a somewhat healthy household where I was the youngest of three. I was a typical middle-class kid. I didn’t have too many real-world issues to contend with until my sister got pregnant at a young age, my parents lost their jobs during the recession, and they began fighting. While that was going on at home, I was picked on and bullied a lot at school. Even though I was a good athlete, I was a weirdo. Not like... read more

“Industry celebrates Surf Shop Day on May 15, 2021” via Surf Expo and Independent Retailer articles

Orange County, CA, April 20, 2021 -Surf Shop Day (happening on May 15th) will celebrate the small mom and pop businesses that have given rise to a lifestyle and culture enjoyed by millions around the world and we invite surfers to reconnect with their roots. Join the celebration- sign up now. To help celebrate Surf Shop Day this year, Building The Revolution has teamed up with Slant Six, leading experts in helping retailers grow their private label brands will be offering local shops a limited collection of shirts, towels, and straw hats for shops to use in building their private label collection and firing up the locals. “Surf Shop Day is an opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate and support the retailers who built our industry into what it is today.” Said Ryan O’Leary, Founder of Slant Six. Loyalty to local shops runs deep with consumers and there’s no better way to recognize this deep connection between the shop, brands and consumers than by drawing attention to the retailers that have made the industry so exciting and vibrant. This year, Slant Six will be offering a limited collection of shirts, towels, and straw hats for shops to use in building their private label collection and firing up the locals. “I’m beyond stoked that Ryan and Slant Six stepped up to support surf shops in North America,” said Mike Vavak, Founder of Building the Revolution and Surf Shop Day. “Their surf shop only line will not only provide something special at surf shops but encourage shops to start looking at themselves as their own brand.” Surf Shop Day, will celebrate the small mom... read more

“Good news on vaccines, economy drives a sunnier view of retail at Moody’s” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: Moody’s analysts see “broad-based improvement” ahead for the retail industry in 2021 as vaccinations grow and pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic eases, according to a recent report.The ratings agency lifted its industry outlook for retail to positive from stable based on a strong economic environment. Analysts now estimate operating profit to grow a “robust” 10% to 12% during the year.Those sectors hit hardest last year have some of the most room for growth, including apparel, department stores and off-price, the analysts said. Dive Insight: The Moody’s report comes on the heels of good general economic news. During the first quarter of 2021, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4%, driven by consumer spending, government stimulus, residential investments and other factors, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Meanwhile, the latest four-week average for jobless claims hit their lowest point since March 14, 2020, a sign that the general business environment is finally normalizing as inoculations against COVID-19 increase.  Vaccinations not only hold the promise for returning shoppers back to malls and other centers, but they can also open up the world more broadly. Office work, conferences, parties, weddings, travel, in-person school — are all poised for a comeback as COVID-19 cases decrease. And all of those things might help drive apparel and other retail spending.  It’s great news for the hardest hit retailers from the pandemic. S&P Global Ratings, for instance, raised its outlook for department store giant Macy’s this week. Analysts with S&P also cited a fast-improving economy and an expected apparel comeback in lifting the outlook for Macy’s, which was downgraded multiple times last year and posted a nearly $4... read more

“Top 5 Must-Have Features for a New POS System” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

A point-of-sale system must do more than process transactions. Your retail technology should enable you to collect, organize, and analyze data; maximize relationships with customers and brands; and create efficiencies. If you are in the market for a new POS, make sure these 5 features are included in your solution. Comprehensive Inventory Management and ReportingWhy have a POS if you’re still manually managing inventory? Figuring out what is on hand, what sold, and what you need to buy should be automated. You don’t have time for anything less.Consider: Sales and inventory go hand-in-hand. Look for a solution that includes features such as model stocks, purchase order suggestions, markdown management, and configurable reporting options. Aim for a cloud-based POS to enable real-time visibility into store performance anytime, anywhere. A good POS keeps you focused on what you do best which is making sales. Top 5 Must-Have Features for a New POS SystemIntegrated Payment Processing Customer Management ToolsWhy continue using complicated gateways or working with credit card companies that hide fees or change your rates all the time? Additionally, customers now bring big expectations for an easy checkout. Don’t let payment processing be a point of friction in your sales process. What drives your customers to your store/website? Do you know how to cross-sell? How are you maximizing follow-up opportunities? If you don’t have this information, you’re limiting your potential sales. Consider: Using an integrated payment processing will remove unnecessary fees, steps at check out, and save you time. Plus, customers get a simpler, better, and faster touchless checkout. Connectivity to BrandsQualified and Quality SupportDo you work closely enough with your... read more

“How To Increase Retail Sales KPIs: Ditch Being Passive (When an employee has good upselling skills, they can do more with less..)” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

A quick walk through the mall shows retailers are trying to increase revenues with some fairly dramatic sales. But sales can hide the cause of death of many stores…passive employees. Let me explain… Selling a bunch of merchandise for a loss, even if it generates revenues, often is the result of passive selling. It takes the active selling of merchandise for it to get full price. But because your employees weren’t active and didn’t sell the merchandise, the product had to be marked down. The price tag took the hit in order to sell the merchandise. And that begs the question… How do you rate your salespeople? When looking at your KPIs (key performance indicators) are they the highest revenue generators, or are they the highest profit generators? Both of these can bring profit to your store, but one does it more actively. A passive employee costs you money. An Example Let’s say salesperson A sells 10 sale Widgets priced at $1000 this week. That’s $10,000 revenue. (But those on-sale widgets’ really sold themselves anyway.) Salesperson B sells 5 of the same sale Widgets and in addition upsells each customer an additional full-priced item for $350, making $6750 revenue. Salesperson A’s net profit to the company is $100 per unit ($1000 revenue – $900 cost of goods) times 10 units, so that’s $1000 profit. Salesperson B’s net profit to the company is $100 per unit times 5 units = $500.  She was delivering an exceptional experience to the customer, so she easily sold the complete solution with the additional item which had $170 profit per item.  $170 times 5 = $850. So $500 + $850 for Salesperson B = $1350 net... read more

“3 reasons retailers should adopt BOPIS” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Outside of serious growth for retailers, BOPIS offers incredible benefits to shoppers. Here are three reasons retailers should adopt BOPIS and a free resource to help you get started. In the wake of a global pandemic, amid social distancing guidelines and lower in-store capacity caps, retailers and consumers alike have adopted new practices and habits—pivoting into a new world for retail. 73% of shoppers adopted new shopping habits and behaviors in the last year (and over 60% plan to continue those new practices). We’ve seen a direct impact of new behavior in both digital shopping and social media with a 50% year-over-year increase in revenue over the holidays for digital shopping and a 104% increase in the number of purchases made directly from a social media channel.  And retailers that adopted creative options for contactless pickups, such as curbside, drive-through, or BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store), grew more than 60% in the five days leading up to Christmas than retailers that failed to make the shift.  Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) isn’t just a trend. It’s here to stay. Adoption rates in 2016 were above 40%, but they’re expected to rise to 90% by 2024. It’s a new strategy that’s proving to be the key to improving sales and customer satisfaction. Outside of serious growth for retailers, BOPIS offers incredible benefits to shoppers. Here are three reasons retailer should adopt BOPIS, whether it’s through curbside pickup via a phone call, curbside pickup via an app, or traditional buy online, pick up in-store: 3 reasons retailers should adopt BOPIS. 1. BOPIS gets products into customers’ hands faster. Digital shopping trends continue to rise, with nearly 80% of consumers starting their buying... read more

“Retail Trends That Will Outlast the Pandemic” by Christine Sullivan via Total Retail

To survive and succeed in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers quickly adapted to meet customers’ priorities and needs. Convenience became a touchstone of our “new normal,” defining how, when, and where we shop. This trend will continue to be a hallmark of how consumers and retailers engage in the future. A recent report found that in the last year, 50 percent of global shoppers used digital payments more than before the pandemic, and the majority plan to continue doing so after the pandemic ends. Whether shopping for groceries, sending loved ones birthday or holiday gifts from anywhere in the world, or carrying out their day-to-day shopping, many have shifted in-person traffic to digital channels. Consumers have found appreciation in having everything they need at the touch of a button without ever having to leave their homes. In many cases, this has also become a necessity. So which trends will outlast the pandemic? Digital Touchpoints Will Continue to Thrive While in-person foot traffic is expected to rise post-pandemic, we likely won’t see much of a decline in online shopping patterns, as customers will continue to shop online, check inventory prior to going in person, and rely on purchasing items online to pick up curbside or in-store. A Google study found 47 percent of planned shoppers said they’ll continue using options to buy online and pick up in-store/curbside, and 67 percent said they like to confirm online that an item is in stock before going to buy it in-store. In fact, searches for “available near me” increased by more than 100 percent globally in the last year. These metrics underscore the value of... read more

“Show me the money!” by Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

            While 2020 started out with closures, quarantines and ever-changing regulations, many retailers were disclosing record sales by the end of the year, “best year ever” claims and similar results.  Inventories of surfboards, paddleboards, skateboards, skimboards, wetsuits and accessories were emptied quickly, with refills slow to arrive.  Loyal customers and new participants were eager to get outside, get active and simply get out of the house!             While strong gross sales were indeed a positive sign amidst a period of uncertainty, frustration and job losses, I was hesitant to celebrate too strongly since profitability had taken a hit.  Retailers who’d had banner sales reluctantly admitted that net profit (the money that was ending up in their pockets) was LESS than the prior year.  Wait what???  Sales were UP, net profits were DOWN!  Retailers were working harder and longer, sold lots of goods yet made less money—what happened?             This disappointing realization was the result of unexpected/unbudgeted expenses, increased costs and low margins in certain categories. Unexpected costs to create COVID-safe retail environments tapped profits.Many retailers spent a lot of money to develop or enhance their online presence—new websites, upgrades & maintenance, Google Adwords, additional personnel & supplies and more—the boost in sales took many months to offset the necessary expenditures.Freight costs, especially those for surfboards and paddleboards, rose exponentially throughout the year, squeezing already-thin margins.Sales of boards and wetsuits, while strong, don’t provide the needed profits to cover the costs of today’s retail business.  Margins for these categories are generally less than 40%, while the average cost of business for a specialty retailer is 44+%.Sales of apparel, footwear and... read more

“16 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT SKATEBOARD BEARINGS” by Christian Senrud plus special bonus Skate Mix via Jenkem Mag

Bearings are one piece of gear for us that truly are a difference-maker when it comes to getting enough speed for a trick or for getting from point A to point B. There are so many companies and designs out there, and you may have never even thought about how we got to the modern bearing of today. So let’s take a little ride through bearing memory lane and school you on the history of these little metal balls. 1. BEARINGS PRE-DATE SKATEBOARDS BY THOUSANDS OF YEARS Some of the earliest bearing designs were used while constructing the Egyptian pyramids, which we know were built by volunteer, highly skilled, and well-compensated union-backed employees. Leonardo Da Vinci also developed a design for bearings that would help reduce friction in many of his mechanical inventions, including the design for his helicopter from 1500 AD. 2. THE BALLS IN BALL BEARINGS START OFF AS SMALL LENGTHS OF WIRE The wires are cut down, then ground and polished down into a tiny smooth ball. Skate bearings mostly have seven balls each, which sounds like a lot until you learn that a pork tapeworm has between 20,000-40,000 testes, or balls, each. Now, BIGGEST balls? That would be the North Atlantic right whale, which averages about 1,900 pounds of balls per whale. 3. EARLY SKATE BEARINGS WERE TOTAL CRAP AND FELL APART EASILY When Tony Alva and the Dogtown team were first slashing coping and carving over lights in backyard pools, it was extra difficult because the force was causing the bearings to pop out of their wheels. They learned to tape over the drains so they would at least... read more

“Retail sales explode in March as consumers use stimulus checks to spend heavily” by Jeff Cox via CNBC

KEY POINTS Retail sales boomed 9.8% higher in March thanks to a jump in spending at bars and restaurants as well as multiple other groups.Economists already had been expecting a gain of 6.1% as consumers received their $1,400 government stimulus checks.Jobless claims added to the good economic news, with first-time filings for unemployment insurance plunging to 576,000, easily the best week since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. View CNBC VIDEO by clicking link below https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&byGuid=7000186441 Retail sales surge in March as consumers use stimulus checks A fresh batch of stimulus checks sent consumer purchases surging in March as the U.S. economy continued to get juice from aggressive congressional spending. Advance retail sales rose 9.8% for the month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That compared to the Dow Jones estimate of a 6.1% gain and a decline of 2.7% in February. Sporting goods, clothing and food and beverage led the gains in spending and contributed to the best month for retail since the May 2020 gain of 18.3%, which came after the first round of stimulus checks. A separate report showed first-time filings for unemployment insurance plunged, with the Labor Department reporting 576,000 new jobless claims for the week ended April 10. That was easily the lowest total since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and represented a sharp decline from the previous week’s total of 769,000. The Dow Jones claims estimate was 710,000. As the jobs picture brightened, consumers took their $1,400 stimulus checks and spent aggressively. The money came courtesy of the nearly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that Congress passed in March. The legislation... read more

“Texting is hot. How to use it effectively? Glad you asked – 7 Clever Ways To Use Text Messaging In Your Business” on-demand webinar by The Retail Doctor and Podium

Text is the only marketing channel with a 98% open rate. With that knowledge, how do you build an effective SMS marketing campaign?Covering everything from simple tips and tricks to compliance to building a world-class opt-in flow, this webinar will get you up to speed.We share insights on: • How to market like a human with personalized messages• How to increase responses and promotional engagement• How to provide value to your opt-in list This 30-minute workshop will leave you empowered to know how to use SMS messaging to grow your retail sales. Learn a new way to contact and be contacted by your customers. WHEN: View it On-Demand Right Now SMS Marketing 101 – retaildoc If you are currently a BRA Regular or Distinguished Retail Member, you can email doug@boardretailers.org to receive the Podium 2021 State of Reviews Report. If you are not yet a BRA Regular (no cost) or Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form  Shortly after it is received, we will email you the report as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and more. BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, be sure to email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive... read more

“Snowboard Sales Boom This Season” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article:   Snowboard Sales Boom This Season 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... read more

“Conversational Marketing is Key for Retailers in 2021” by Matt Ramerman via Total Retail

It has never been clearer that mobile channels are where customers are. In 2020, consumers spent an average of 4.2 hours per day on their phones. At the same time, conversion rates for e-commerce hit a record, reaching 3.5 percent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this past year. While that is way up from 2019, the obvious truth is the majority of marketing text messages, as is the case with all direct marketing, aren’t resulting in a transaction. In my view, this presents marketers with a quick win opportunity by shifting the way you engage with customers. Retail as we know it has changed dramatically over the last decade thanks to technological advances and the demands of savvy customers. However, despite the evolution of their preferences when it comes to how they access products, services and information, brands are still relying on one-way, high-frequency “spray and pray” campaigns to drive conversions. Quality is stronger than quantity when building formidable customer relationships. Take that 3.5 percent conversion rate, for example. Maybe the product and/or timing of the offer were spot on, but some of the 96.5 percent of consumers who didn’t click buy just needed some more information to feel confident in making a purchase. Maybe they wanted to see similar products at other price points? Regardless, one-way, linear mobile marketing can’t accommodate this. Enter conversational marketing. Related story: SMS Marketing Tips for Retailers in the New Digital World Conversational Marketing Enters the Chat Conversational marketing is the notion of activating two-way channels (e.g., SMS, or messaging apps such as Instagram or Facebook Messenger) to support marketing campaigns and programs so consumers can respond... read more

“12 Female Surf Photographers You Should Be Following Right Now – THESE TALENTED WOMEN OFFER UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES ON LINEUPS AROUND THE WORLD” by Gabriela Aoun via Surfer Mag

On a huge day at Waimea Bay in the early 1970s, filmmakers Jack McCoy and Dick Hoole needed an additional photographer to shoot from land as they filmed in the water. They handed Shirley Rogers, a young woman from Ewa Beach barely out of high school, a Century 650mm lens and asked if she could help. Thus began Rogers’ career as a surf photographer, one of the first women to be called such and certainly one of the few in the ‘70s and ‘80s to make a name for herself on the North Shore of Oahu. She shot surf action along the Seven Mile Miracle as well as candid, behind-the-scenes moments with some of the most legendary surfers of that era, access that only her status as a local afforded her. Much has changed since Rogers first picked up a camera. Women worldwide are making their mark in all areas of surf photography. Some of the best barrels at Pipe and the most monstrous days out at places like Mavericks or Waimea Bay are captured beautifully by women. Though the number of deserving talent exceeds this list, we’ve rounded up 12 female surf photographers and filmmakers you should know and asked them to share some advice for up-and-coming creatives. The days of Shirley Rogers being the lone lady shooter are far behind us, and as this roundup shows, the diversity of perspective, technique and interests means female surf photography is only just beginning its golden age.https://bafe7b0200c44ac1631e5b79a2a15a78.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html AMBER MOZO Oahu photographer Amber Mozo’s first photographic inspiration was the work of her father, surf photographer Jon Mozo. “I look at his art hanging... read more

Available Now: On-Demand Relevant and Helpful Educational Webinar “Retail E-Commerce: Adapting to the New Consumer Mindset in 2021 and Beyond”

Board Retailers Association kicked off the first of many relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One on March 30, 2021. Fortunately, many board retailers saw demand for products rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, however store closures impacted the 1-on-1 personalization of in-store experiences, while supply chain disruptions altered buying forecasts for upcoming seasons. To survive in 2020, retailers were forced to embrace the adaptation of e-commerce, but how can board retailers successfully navigate the new retail landscape in 2021 with a larger focus on e-commerce? Achieving success in an increasingly digital era DOES NOT mean throwing away the traditional retail fundamentals, but augmenting the existing processes with new capabilities that adapt to the new landscape.View the on-demand webinar by pushing play in the box below to learn about the e-commerce strategies that are working to help board retailers meet and exceed pre-COVID benchmarks, while building a solid foundation for the years ahead: “Alan Roseman at Management One has been a great partner to have for my business. He helps not only manage inventory and cash flow but has proven to be a valuable consultant on marketing, expansion, hiring, advertising and just about anything a small business owner may be dealing with.”—Dan Hasselschwert, Ossie’s Surf Shop “Management One has transformed our business! After running our retail stores for many years and having the constant concern of cash flow, we needed to find a better way. Management One provided that way. Our business has truly reached the next level of success and continues to grow.”—Dave Carlson, Unlimited Skate and Snow Click on... read more

“DEW TOUR OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES SUMMER 2021 SKATEBOARDING DATES & LOCATION IN DES MOINES, IOWA – 2021 Summer Dew Tour to be Held May 20-23 at the New Lauridsen Skatepark” via PR link from Transworld Skateboarding

Home of the nation’s largest skatepark, and will serve as the only U.S.-based global Olympic skateboard qualifying event in 2021. Sanctioned by world skate as pro tour level events for men’s & women’s skateboard street and park See details below about a Zoom press conference around this announcement, March 24. Curren Caples (Carlsbad, Calif. ) March 23, 2021 — Mountain Dew® and Accelerate360’s ASN: The Adventure Sports Network Group announces its annual summer Dew Tour skateboard competition and festival is moving to Des Moines, Iowa, and will be held May 20-23, 2021 at the brand new Lauridsen Skatepark.  The event will include World Skate sanctioned men’s and women’s skateboarding Street and Park competitions, serving as the only U.S.-based global Olympic skateboard qualifying events for 2021. Skateboarding will make its debut at the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo, which was rescheduled in 2020 for July 23 – August 8, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauridsen Skatepark’s Street and Park courses have been approved as Olympic-level competition venues. The park also includes two skate bowls, a skate promenade, a skate sculpture, stairs, ledges, and more. A passionate group in Des Moines, made of Polk County (managers of the Lauridsen Skatepark), Catch Des Moines (Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau), Greater Des Moines Partnership, Skate DSM (local non‐profit), and Subsect (Des Moines skateboard shop), teamed up to make the Lauridsen Skatepark a reality. The skatepark was built by world-class builders California Skateparks – the skatepark architects of the Dew Tour since 2014 –  and is now the largest in the United States. Dew Tour will be the first event to be held at the 88,000 square foot park; the weekend will be... read more

“Vaccinations Do Not Mark the End of Americans’ COVID Shopping Behaviors: What Retailers Need to Know” by David Fisch via Total Retail

We’ve entered the next stage of combating COVID-19 as vaccinations roll out across the country. While this may be the next step towards getting the pandemic under control, consumers remain wary. In fact, vaccine or not, most Americans said they would hardly change their current shopping behaviors — an important finding for retailers currently planning their long-term strategies. As part of our ongoing efforts to support brand and retail partners with regular insights throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shopkick recently surveyed more than 21,000 consumers to learn more about their sentiments toward the vaccine and how it will impact their shopping habits. What we learned is eye-opening. Many Consumers Don’t Plan to Get Vaccinated Part of the hesitancy to revert completely to pre-COVID shopping behaviors comes from the knowledge that many people will choose not to get vaccinated. While some of the folks surveyed had already received at least one dosage of the vaccine (8 percent) or were planning to receive it (48 percent), nearly half (44 percent) said they didn’t plan to get vaccinated at all. Retailers must also recognize how these views differ amongst demographics in order to successfully reach and engage with their target consumers. When broken down by generation, millennials made up the largest segment of those not confident in the vaccine (35 percent) and not planning to get vaccinated (51 percent). Meanwhile, the youngest and oldest generations proved the most confident in the vaccine, with 71 percent of Gen Zers and 75 percent of boomers saying they felt some level of confidence. Related story: How 2020 Shaped Consumer Behavior: Key Insights for 2021 Don’t Dismiss Online and Omnichannel — Consumers... read more

“Ten Ways to Keep Your Wakeboarding Fun – A list of easy ways to keep your riding fresh from our friends at Slingshot” by Garrett Cortese via Wakeboarding Mag

Dylan Miller getting surfy with it and busting his fins loose over the wake. Simple tricks like this can add a ton of fun to your day-to-day riding. -Cortese Wakeboarding is an awesome sport. Over the years it has continued to progress in mind-blowing ways. The fact that multiple variations of double flips are stock tricks for today’s pros is evidence of that. But with crazy progression can come intimidation (how many of us out there are ever really going to even think about trying a double flip while getting towed by our boat?). Sometimes in the rush of progression we lose sight of the simple things that keep wakeboarding fun. We teamed up with our friends at Slingshot and put together a list of ten ways to keep your wakeboarding simple and exciting behind the boat. #1 – PowerslidesPowerslides are one of the most exhilarating ways to look and feel cool on the lake. And the bigger the spray the better. Not much beats cutting out onto a glassy stretch of water and laying an edge – it’s a timeless move that’s often overlooked. Add in some lily pads to make an even bigger impression. Fun fact: this maneuver ranks higher than most on the “gram-able” scale. Another gram-able moment for Dylan thanks to some lily pads and a powerslide. – Vollert #2 – New GrabsDon’t feel like working on the whirlybird again after last month’s attempt / TKO? We don’t either… Luckily there’s an endless amount of grab variations and ways to give simple tricks like straight airs, 180’s, or 360’s a whole new look and feel.... read more

“SMS Marketing 101: Marketing that gets a response” via BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Podium

Want to reach your potential customers in real-time? Want the edge on your competitors? It’s time to think about SMS. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know to begin within minutes.  Take a look and start reading! Here is the link: https://learn.podium.com/eb-SMS-marketing-101/?utm_campaign=BoardRetailers2021&utm_medium=partner&utm_source=refp If you are currently a BRA Regular or Distinguished Retail Member, you can email doug@boardretailers.org to receive the Podium 2021 State of Reviews Report. If you are not yet a BRA Regular (no cost) or Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form  Shortly after it is received, we will email you the report as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and more. BRA note: We are very pleased to announce that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, be sure to email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive... read more

“Strategically Grow Your Private Label With Science-Based Pricing And Promotions” by Cheryl Sullivan via Independent Retailer

Independent retailers have struggled against proliferating online and brick-and-mortar competition for years. The pandemic only heightened the unpredictability of the fast-changing customer, competitor and shopper behaviors, as well as supply chain disruptions. The Imperative for Science-Driven Pricing and Promotions Fortunately, indie retailers continue to adopt science-based lifecycle pricing (which includes prices, promotions and markdowns) to sort through the overwhelming data and separate the signal from the noise and hone in on accurate demand signals. These systems, which have manageable up-front costs with their cloud-based hosting model, make price and promotion recommendations to enhance margins and profits while aligning to category roles, strategies and financial objectives. A high-return area of focus is private-label items. Traditionally, shoppers had definite national brand preferences and were skeptical about private labels delivering equivalent quality. The pandemic has caused a change of heart, as newly price-sensitive shoppers turned to private-label items with a more open mind. A global shopper study conducted earlier in 2020 showed that a surprising 43 percent of shoppers are very likely to purchase private labels over a national brand during the pandemic, and 44 percent plan to remain loyal to private labels in the future, and post-COVID.  A similar and more recent shopper study, which also polled shoppers in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, and the UK, uncovered even more dramatic results that underscore how radically shopper perceptions of private labels have evolved: 80 percent of shoppers see private labels as being of similar or higher quality than national brands. The March 2021 survey found that 17 percent of shoppers think private labels are much higher quality than national brands, while... read more

“Stimulus checks in hand, consumers are ready to shop. But are retailers ready for the influx?” by Martha C. White via NBC News

Shoppers wearing protective masks carry bags inside a shopping mall in San Francisco on March 9, 2021.David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images Shortages and supply chain bottlenecks may throw cold water on the upcoming consumer spending surge. Economists and policymakers are forecasting a surge in consumer spending this year, as the Covid-19 vaccination rollout accelerates, business restrictions ease and schools reopen. But retailers are already finding that shortages and supply chain bottlenecks could imperil their ability to facilitate the spending that contributes a significant chunk of the nation’s economic activity. Federal Reserve board members and regional Fed presidents expect that the U.S. economy will grow by 6.5 percent this year, in line with the expectations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A prominent retail trade group is forecasting sales will increase by as much as 8.2 percent over last year, up to $4.4 trillion of economic activity. “We remain optimistic that retail will help facilitate a surge in spending, job growth and capital investment,” National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. This means retailers need to forecast what American shoppers want to buy and make sure they have the supply chains in place to supply the inventory, and the distribution networks to get those goods into buyers’ hands. It’s no small task, analysts and retail consultants say. “Many of my retail clients are very hopeful for that boomerang in customer traffic coming back in stores,” said Sean Whitehouse, managing director at Accenture. The challenge for retailers is trying to predict what people will buy when the world becomes unpredictable. “You’d have to... read more

“MAJOR GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR OMNICHANNEL GIFT CARD PROGRAMS AS DIGITAL PAYMENT ADOPTION CONTINUES RAPID RISE” via Industry Resource

2020 Merchant Gift Card Omnichannel Evaluation identifies best practices, progress and opportunities for growth in omnichannel gift card programs As consumers increasingly look for digital payment and gifting options, a new study by leading retail research firm, NAPCO Research, has found top retailers still have room to grow when it comes to keeping up with consumer demand for contactless options. Of the major retailers evaluated for the report, 39% don’t accept NFC mobile payments in their stores and only 4% give customers the option to pay for a gift card purchase by scanning a QR code or barcode with their mobile device. The study identifies emerging trends, reveals areas of opportunity and highlights best practices for optimizing merchants’ gift card and payment programs. “We’re starting to see evidence of permanent adoption of the shopping habits consumers tried or shifted to last year, including using contactless payments and digital gift cards,” said Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing, Blackhawk Network. “Consumers have come to expect to be able to seamlessly shop with brands across in-store and online channels. For retailers, that means offering a frictionless omnichannel shopping experience is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s a must have. Our latest report with NAPCO gives retailers a 360-degree view of how to begin or continue to evolve their processes and offerings to meet the changing wants and needs of their customers.” In assessing the complete gift card experience from discovery to fulfillment, merchants were scored and given points in terms of how they promote the omnichannel sale of gift cards to consumers and B2B buyers both in-store and online. The cross-channel assessment evaluated 100 leading... read more

“A HOMAGE TO SKATERS WHO ARE AGING LIKE FINE WINE” by MAX OLIJNYK via Jenkem Mag

In December last year, Josh Kalis posted four minutes of him skating a DIY spot that, at age 44, sits alongside any part he’s ever released. A couple of months ago, Ray Barbee made a surprise announcement and got on Krooked. And just before my knee gave out, I landed my first switch frontside crooked grind in my early 40s. Arthritis may be kicking in, but older skaters are ripping harder than ever and contributing some class and relatability to the great big stinky patchwork quilt that is skateboarding. Here are just a few old geezers who have been putting in work as of late that we felt deserved a head nod. RON ALLEN Age: 57First Video Appearance: Sick Boys (1988)Most Recent Notable Appearances: JunglegroundsSignature move: One foot olliesWhat’s his secret?: “It’s still the fuckin best thing I can do in my life.” JOSH KALIS Age: 44First Video Appearance: Toy Machine: Heavy Metal (1995)Most Recent Notable Appearances: DGK: DIY Josh KalisSignature move: 360 flipWhat’s his secret?: “No real secrets… just staying motivated helps a lot. Water, Fish oil, massages, hot tub, dope wife. Lol. Rest is a good one too.” CHICO BRENES Age: 44First Video Appearance: Love Child (1992)Most Recent Notable Appearances: 7 x 7 Thrasher part (2019) but Instagram is where the action is at.Signature move: Nollie heelflipWhat’s his secret?: A popsicle-free diet CHRIS PULMAN Age: 45First Video Appearance: Heroin Skateboards Everythings Going To Be Alright (2002)Most Recent Notable Appearances: This lineSignature moves: Gangster no complies, pink shirtsWhat’s his secret? “There have definitely been times where I’ve doubted the authenticity of being defined as a skateboarder for my whole life but I’ve embraced the fact that it’s great to have found a passion in a world full of apparently lost folk. I guess... read more

“How Resilience of Retailers Shines Through on The Covid Anniversary” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

I still remember the day President John Kennedy was assassinated. I was home with my mom and the door-to-door Fuller brush man rang the bell as usual. My mom actually opened the door and invited him to come in and watch on our black and white console Sears Best TV. She never let men in our house.I remember when President Reagan was shot on my birthday in 1981, the start of the Rodney King riots April 29, 1992, the September morning the twin towers fell, and October 10th when the market crashed in 2008.But little did any of us know that morning on March 12 when Tom Hanks announced he had Covid and the subsequent day when a national emergency was declared the full scope of the situation. But we sensed it was big…That day I was flying back from my mom’s funeral and a subsequent speech to Newark. When I got on the thruway, traffic was 85+ mph as we sped home to a future none of us could foresee – lockdowns, closures, and over half a million Americans dead.With that grim news it is time now to take stock of where we were as retailers and how far we have come in 12 months.Sure it’s easy to say a five-year future timeline was compressed to six months as retailers had to learn about: Curbside deliveryCleaning protocolsBuy online, pick up in storeLivestreamingPPP and PPE But at the local level what did all of that mean exactly? I started my Hope For Retail project last year and I thought today there would be renewed hope from thoughts of retailers who are on the... read more

“Surf Parks and the Experience Economy with Endless Surf” by Endless Surf via Shop Eat Surf

Please click on the following link to view this interesting Shop Eat Surf Article: Surf Parks and the Experience Economy with Endless Surf 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Take A Look at America’s Coolest Surf Shops – CELEBRATING SURFING’S MOST ICONIC WATERING HOLES” via Surfer Mag

There’s always been something special about surf shops. From the amalgamated scent of wax, new wetsuits and fresh boards to the intel on which local break is currently working best, where to get the best post-surf burrito in town and so much more, surf culture resides inside surf shops-that’s what makes them special. In our series Shop Chronicles, a web series we produced over the past couple of years, SURFER was able to share the stories of iconic surf shops that reside on both the east and west coasts. After nearly a year of surf shops having to weather the roller coaster of statewide shutdowns due to COVID, we decided to circle back around and celebrate these cultural watering holes. Keep scrolling to get a historical glimpse inside some of America’s most iconic surf shops. Harbour Surfboards Inside Harbour Surfboards None has a more storied local history than Harbour Surfboards, located in Seal Beach, California. The 60-year-old shop is rooted in the art of shaping high-quality surfboards, an ethos fostered by owner Rich Harbour, who crafted his first surfboard at the age of 16 in his parents’ garage. Since the opening of his eponymous enterprise in 1959, he and his team have created more than 32,000 boards. Rich Harbour might be best known for his open-door policy–giving a home to some of surfing’s greatest influences. Besides putting together an all-star surf team in the ’60s–which included Jock Sutherland, Corky Carroll, Bill Fury, Herbie Fletcher, Mark Martinson, Richard Chew and countless other legends–Harbour was best known for his hands-on approach and making his surf shop a place for everyone to hang at.... read more

“Five Keys to Unlocking Omnichannel Success” by Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

87% of consumers are interested in apersonalized and consistent experienceacross all channels. Coupled with the fact that 71% of retailers planto offer their customers the ability to “start thesale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere,” andit’s obvious that no brand can afford to resist theomnichannel movement as the retail environmentcontinues to shift. Digital technologies are influencing the customerexperience across all channels. To compete, retailersmust rely on robust technology that allows themto collect the data most relevant to their business,integrates with best-of-breed retail technologypartners and gives them a 360-degree view of theirenterprise in real time. Merging this data, personalization and inventory visibilityacross all channels is necessary to create a seamlessexperience and optimize the omnichannel environment.So, here are five keys to unlocking omnichannel success: 1) Personalize Everything With eighty percent of consumers saying they aremore likely to do business with a company that offerspersonalized experiences, it’s obvious that the abilityto personalize customer interactions is critical toharmonized retail. Retailers must consistently collect customer data, learntheir preferences and engage in relevant conversationsacross all channels. Personalization enables brands andretailers to demonstrate that they know the customer,enhance the effectiveness of their marketing andincrease spend and loyalty. Having the right systemsin place can help support those personalizationinitiatives by enabling associates to access customerprofiles with shopping history, and create personalizedrecommendations through the data. 2) Create a Seamless Experience Customers now expect the same experience andquality of service whether they’re shopping in store,online, through a mobile app or any other channel.This is especially critical considering that so manyconsumers shift channels multiple times throughouttheir shopping journey. Almost half of all in-storepurchases stem from an online review, and more than45% of... read more

“Surfrider Foundation Business Sign-On Letter: Federal Action to Protect our Coasts” via our friends at SIMA and Surf Expo

Surfrider Foundation is asking for businesses in the surf and outdoor industry to join together to urge federal leadership to protect our nation’s coasts and ocean. Surfrider has launched a national sign-on letter for businesses to urge the Biden Administration and 117th Congress to take action on 3 priority areas: Take Action to Address the Climate Change CrisisStop the Flow of Plastic Pollution into the OceanProtect Clean Water for All People Ocean and Great Lakes recreation and tourism are major economic drivers in the United States, generating over $129 billion annually for our nation’s GDP. Federal leadership is urgently needed to protect valuable marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as the businesses and communities that depend on these public resources. It’s critical that federal leaders hear from our industry. Please consider adding your business to the letter. ADD YOUR BUSINESS TO THE LETTER. Thank you! – Surf Expo Management and Staff “As part of its commitment to our ocean environment, SIMA has partnered with the Surfrider Foundation to help shape public policy at the state and federal level. The threats facing our nation’s coasts and ocean have never been greater, which is why our voice is so important. The U.S. surf and outdoor industries depend on the protection of our nation’s public lands and waters, including beaches, watersheds and marine ecosystems that are vital public resources for ocean recreation and tourism. The Surfrider Foundation has launched a national sign-on letter for businesses to urge the Biden Administration and 117th Congress to take action on 3 priority areas: climate change, plastic pollution, and clean water. Please consider adding your business to the letter.... read more

“How To Avoid Hearing A Customer’s “No, I’m Just Looking” Ever Again” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Were you ever picked by a teacher to come up in front of class when you weren’t prepared to speak? It felt like hell, I bet. There’s an area of your retail store shoppers will avoid; it is the first eight feet after your doors. Some call it the decompression zone, some call it the threshold area—it should be called The Hell Zone. The Hell Zone because shoppers don’t want to go there. They might remember a past experience where an aggressive employee pounced on them wanting to shake their hand. Or they might remember another employee asking them a question, when all they wanted to do was get their bearings.  They had to blurt out a No just to get rid of the pesky employee. It’s hell because employees don’t want to go there either. They’ve asked a stranger in their most helpful way, Can I help you? and those darn shoppers always answer No! or No, I’m just looking! After weeks of this rejection, your employee gives up trying, says nothing, and retreats to the counter to text a friend. Because shoppers answer these greetings over and over with a negative, employees feel dehumanized. That negativity and lack of connection also opens the door to rudeness. Customers turn their back and walk away; they talk on the phone at the register; they haggle over prices or make unrealistic demands. It’s hell too because owners and managers see this happening time and time again but don’t know what to do to change it.  Until now… Discover how to create your best retail sales strategy with this comprehensive primer Use these steps to avoid, “No, I’m just looking.” First,... read more

“New PPP Loans For Businesses With 20 Employees Or Less” by Krystina Morgan via Independent Retailer

The Biden administration announced five major changes in the Payroll Protection Program this week to make access to PPP loans more equitable, which could make a big difference for small businesses. Starting February 24, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications for PPP loans exclusively for businesses under 20 employees and sole proprietors. The application period will occur over two weeks, with the SBA accepting program applications through March 10, 2021. If your business has 20 employees or less, check the SBA’s website to find a lender, find the right loan for you, and more. Borrowers may also be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness here. These changes are critical for small business nationally, considering only an estimated 5 percent of small businesses have received support thus far. According to USA Today, we have said goodbye to 400,000 small businesses since the start of the pandemic. To help prevent these numbers from continuing to climb, it is vital that indie retailers receive the help and support they need to push through the pandemic. SBA also announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. The organization will also strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. Here are the four additional changes: Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicantsEliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access... read more

“Jump on Board with Locally” by Callista Tufankjian

 Come ride the Locally wave Are you Looking for a new way to connect brands, shoppers and retailers? Locally is your answer. Locally is a dynamic store and product locator company with thousands of retailers integrated providing shoppers with nearby, in stock products throughout multiple channels. Retailers, if you haven’t already heard of Locally, let’s dive in and learn more about our latest technology and advancements. How will this help your business?  Locally’s mission is to help retailers surface their in-stock merchandise to nearby online shoppers by using digital marketing tactics, merging brand-provided digital product content with POS stock information. We connect shoppers to local stores that currently have the product they are looking for in-stock. Our platform keeps the workload for stores low, while driving new online shoppers into the door. Our platform closes the gap between retailers, shoppers and brands. We strive to bring everyone together.  Keep your customers happy  It is key to keep your shoppers happy, especially during a pandemic. Locally is all about convenience. We make it simple for any size retailer to offer in-store or curbside pickup and/or same day delivery to their community. Locally also displays local events, store hours and many more features. These advancements will help keep your customers satisfied. People live very busy lifestyles and Locally will save everyone time. Locally is here to simplify the shopping experience for the consumer and the retailer!   Shopping Locally is the way to be Shopping at your favorite local shop is the best way to support your community. Locally permits retailers to broadcast what they have in stock to local consumers. Without... read more

“Did you miss the live M1 webinar session this week? Not to worry, we recorded it for you!” via BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One

In this free educational webinar we sat down with industry experts to discuss changes to round 2 of the PPP geared towards helping small businesses. What does this mean for YOUR retail business? We cover everything you need to know on our live webinar session. In December, the PPP loan program was given new life, but that’s not the only source of financial assistance available to retailers in this crisis. Join Management One as we invited a panel of financial experts to discuss the levers available to retailers to optimize access to government stimulus options and evolve their merchandise strategies. Financial Keys to Retail Success in 2021 PPP and Beyond Webinar on Demand Download the PPP Worksheet here: https://www.management-one.com/ppp-lo…​ Thank you for attending our live session as we sat down with industry experts to discuss changes to round 2 of the PPP geared towards helping small businesses. What does this mean for YOUR retail business? We’ll cover everything you need to know on our live webinar session. In December, the PPP loan program was given new life, but that’s not the only source of financial assistance available to retailers in this crisis. Join Management One as we invite a panel of financial experts to discuss the levers available to retailers to optimize access to government stimulus options and evolve their merchandise strategies. View this free, live discussion with Rich Rose of Rainstar Capital and Missy Waites of Alliant Group as we talk through the various financial options retailers have at their disposal. Marc Weiss, Erin King and Paul Erickson from M1 will also offer key insights into how these... read more

“The London Bridge Skateboard Hero” via Transworld Skateboarding

In 2017, three terrorists driving a van ploughed into people in central London before taking to the streets to randomly attack anyone they came across. At the same time, Ignacio Echeverría was having a typical Saturday Night out skateboarding with his friends. Hear how those two separate events came together with horrifying consequences. Thanks to Transworld Skateboarding for being such a solid resource. Be sure to click on and bookmark the following link for relevant news, intelligent articles and ripping skateboarding:  https://skateboarding.transworld.net/ 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... read more

“Top 11 Causes of Boating Accidents – These 11 mundane events cause the most critical boating accidents.” by Steve Griffin via BoatingSafetyMag.com

Most critical boating accidents stem from these 11 events. Zach Stovall Boating accidents make news. Maybe it’s a throwback to the great tales of misadventure at sea. Maybe it’s their novelty; many mundane activities are statistically riskier. But beyond the headlines, one or more of a relative handful of causes are usually to blame, says Randy Vance, editor-at-large at Boating. Here are 11 situations to avoid: RUNNING OUT OF GAS: It’s amusing, maybe, on small water in good weather or when a marine towing company can quickly bring rescue in a gas can. But run out of gas in the middle of the Gulf Stream, or just above Niagara Falls, and the situation can be dire. How does this happen? Maybe you miscalculated your bearing and burned up too much fuel finding your way, or you fished or cruised longer than you intended. Perhaps you skirted unexpected storms or ran offshore to avoid them. Or maybe you just plain forgot to gas up. Plan ahead: Calculate how much fuel you need, and then add a generous cushion. “If I’m going 25 miles offshore to fish,” Vance says, “I figure 15 gallons out, 15 gallons to fish and 15 gallons back. Then I add 5-10 gallons (about 10-20 percent) for a safety margin.” Your mileage may vary, so be even more conservative until you get to know yours. RUNNING AGROUND: Sometimes entertaining, often embarrassing, occasionally truly dangerous — that’s grounding. Vance says that while commuting by boat to his family’s Lake of the Ozarks resort and marina, more than once he came upon a boat high and dry in the woods, evidence... read more

“Skateboarding eyes brighter future with USOPC support on mental issues” by Rory Carroll via Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The skateboarding community, rocked by several prominent deaths related to mental health issues, is hoping the benefits that go with the sport’s inclusion in this year’s Tokyo Olympics will help its athletes tackle the underlying problems.Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk rides his during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Vista, California, U.S., May 8, 2020. Picture taken May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake Briton Ben Raemers died by suicide in 2019, skateboarding pioneer Jeff Grosso passed away after a drug overdose in 2020, and 22-year-old Henry Gartland took his own life last month, highlighting the urgent need to address issues like depression and addiction. “Skateboarding is a very tight-knit community,” said USA Skateboarding CEO Josh Friedberg. “Everyone has these links to each other and that makes losses like these tougher to deal with because there’s so many personal connections. “The good news is that it’s causing people to think more deeply about mental health in skateboarding – trying to figure out new ways to support the people that they love and care about.” Friedberg said one key development is that the athletes now have access to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) mental health services for the first time. “We’ve been really lucky to have the support of the USOPC in this situation,” he said. “They have been proactive in providing mental health resource for our team and staff.” Tony Hawk, one of the world’s most famous skateboarders, said that while there has been progress in combating the stigma associated with mental health, more work needs to be done. “I’d like to say... read more

“Shopify adds Shop Pay to Facebook, Instagram” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: As social commerce accelerates, Shopify is integrating Shop Pay into Instagram and Facebook, the e-commerce platform announced on Tuesday. The move allows consumers to pay Shopify merchants using Shop Pay on those platforms. Shop Pay automatically fills in consumers’ details and allows them to pay without leaving Facebook or Instagram, the company said. Users will also be able to track orders after purchase and see carbon emissions offsets from their purchases, among other things.Shop Pay facilitated more than 137 million orders in 2020 and almost $20 billion in gross merchandise value since it launched in 2017. Brands like Allbirds, Kith, Beyond Yoga, Blueland and Jonathan Adler use Shop Pay, per the announcement. Dive Insight: One of the pain points with shopping on social media platforms has been the experience of actually buying products, which can often be a clunky process or lead consumers out of the app. Shopify is looking to improve that experience for its merchants by offering consumers an in-app purchasing method that it claims is 70% faster than other checkout systems. According to Shopify, Shop Pay has a 1.72 times higher conversion rate, leading to fewer abandoned carts for merchants. The platform also lets customers track their purchases, receive updates and oversee their orders, the company said. The collaboration between Shopify, Instagram and Facebook comes as brands increasingly tap into shoppable content to drive sales. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimated that 40% of marketers would use shoppable video ads in 2020, an increase from 33% in 2019 and 25% in 2018. The demand for social shopping has pushed platforms to enhance their own capabilities. Last year, Instagram expanded its in-app shopping... read more

“Love Letters To Small Businesses” by Lora Kelley via The New York Times

Illustrated by Broobs Small businesses make communities — whether densely populated urban areas or small towns — feel like home. It’s no secret that many businesses have been struggling over the past year. In New York City alone, almost 3,000 businesses closed between last March and August, and small businesses shed 520,000 jobs. Across the country, small businesses, from bakeries to shoe stores to day care centers, have struggled to stay afloat amid pandemic restrictions and a recession. But through these challenges, small businesses continue to touch their customers’ lives. And many patrons are more loyal than ever to the people behind these businesses. The most loved small business workers do more than sell products: They foster a sense of community. To better understand how local businesses do this, we asked our readers to tell us about a small business they love. More than 500 people wrote in to share how small businesses and their employees have offered them kindness in hard moments, brought them joy and reinforced a sense of community even during periods of isolation. Here are four grateful customers, in their own words, on the small businesses that are special to them. These accounts, drawn from interviews and submissions, have been edited and condensed. TO JEANELLAND DERRICK MORGAN The kindshopkeepers whokeep all kindsof families in theirthoughts. FROMSUSAN WEXLER COHEN Before I had ever met Jeanell, she sent us a “cheer” package filled with superhero items for my then-infant son, Elliot. It was about eight years ago, and she heard that Elliot had a rare medical condition through a friend of our family who went into the store she... read more

“Mark McMorris, Zoi Sadowski-Synott Win Natural Selection in Jackson Hole” by Ben Osborne via The Inertia

Mark McMorris has been here before. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool If you’re tuned into the core snowboard community, you know the value of a proper switch method — and from the moment Mikkel Bang took the win over Pat Moore in the Quarterfinals with a switch Method, one thing was abundantly clear — Natural Selection is a competition for your favorite snowboarder’s favorite snowboarder. The judging might have had the masses scratching its collective head here and there, trying to decipher trick differences and what constituted a stomp, those sorts of details, but in the end, most of it made perfect sense, and the finals day went down flawlessly. The men’s quarterfinals kicked off the day with matchups that couldn’t have been better on paper — Austen Sweetin vs. Blake Paul, Ben Ferguson taking on Sage Kotsenburg, Mikkel Bang and Pat Moore facing off, and two riders who may go down as G.O.A.T’s, Mark McMorris and Travis Rice going head to head. Displaying the ultra-smooth style and consistency we’ve seen from Paul throughout the competition, the Jackson Hole native put down a run that Sweetin simply couldn’t match in form or function on this day (especially with a missed landing or two). Ferguson managed to edge out Sage Kotsenburg. Both put down epic runs. A fall on a switch 9 on the final hit doomed Sage’s chances of taking the heat from the ultra-smooth Ferguson, though. The two surprises of the day came when McMorris took down event organizer/backcountry god Travis Rice, laying down a flawless run with back-to-back 7’s that looked all too easy. Rice, knowing he had to step things up... read more

“Why you need to make Online Reviews a focus in 2021” by Shannon Blake of Podium

Reviews can be make-or-break for any business, and that’s never been more true than it is in 2021. But what do customers care about most? Is it simply just a good star rating? Is it worth your time to respond to reviews? And what makes customers more likely to leave reviews?We surveyed 2,376 people (1,543 consumers, 455 SMB owners/managers, 378 enterprise business leaders) to better understand the role reviews play in 2021. Learn what we found in our 2021 State of Reviews Report. If you are currently a BRA Regular or Distinguished Retail Member, you can email doug@boardretailers.org to receive the aforementioned 2021 State of Reviews Report. If you are not yet a BRA Regular (no cost) or Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form  Shortly after it is received, we will email you the report as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program. BRA note: We are very pleased to announce that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, be sure to email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive... read more

“LET’S TALK WITH CHRIS NIERATKO ABOUT SKATE SHOP DAY, THE EVOLUTION OF SKATE SHOPS, GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, THE OLYMPICS AND MORE” by Jordy via Good Day To Skateboards

Chris Nieratko has been a big voice in skateboarding for more than twenty-five years. More recently, him and his friends started Skate Shop Day, which will be held on February 19th this year, for its second edition. We had the chance to talk with him to learn more about it, to discuss the evolution of skate shops, the importance of giving back to the community and more. Grab a drink, some snacks, and enjoy this very interesting interview. How did you come up with the idea of creating the Skate Shop Day in 2020? When did you first think about it? Truth be told, it’s not my idea entirely. My friend Scotty Coats, who works in the music industry, is a lifelong skater, and he was on the ground floor of Record Store Day which has been hugely successful. It’s pretty remarkable because they now have it twice a year, earlier in the year and then I think it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. Scotty was telling me that these mom-and-pop record stores have a special day, they get exclusive and limited product. And in that day, they generate three to five months’ worth of rent, in one single day. I was blown away by that alone and he’s like, “We should do this for skate shops”. I absolutely fell in love with the idea and so that was last February, we thought of it on a Friday, and the following Thursday we launched a website and Instagram, thanks to artist Sasha Barr for lending us his, “Support your local skateshop” artwork. That first skate shop day I basically went through my cell... read more

“The Winter Show Continues” by Lisa Ramsperger via OR Magazine

Outdoor Retailer Winter Online is just getting started. While Summit Days have passed, the digital marketplace remains active and education is ongoing through March 19. There’s a lot of time to schedule meetings, find new products for your store, and make new connections in the outdoor community. Once you’re registered, everything is accessible in one place. Build your profile and start exploring. It’s not too late to register for free – click HERE to log on. Here’s a few tips to help you make the most of the Winter Online experience. Tips for Attendees Tune in to education live or on demand. If you were in your shop or on a Zoom call during a session, you didn’t miss a thing. Every session and event hosted during Winter Online remains available to watch when and where you want. Click the Education & Events tab to scroll through daily listings or use the search function to filter by topic. Past sessions will auto-play and add upcoming education to your schedule. Take time to listen and learn. The education lineup has featured incredible speakers and impactful conversations that have the ability to help your business, this community, and our planet. Sessions available to watch on demand include the Industry Breakfast, SIA’s Industry + Intelligence day, the OIA education tracks, and discussions with The Conservation Alliance and Camber Outdoors; trend and consumer reports with the NPD Group, WGSN, and InMouv; and gear previews. There’s also yoga, the third annual Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards and the 16th annual Backcountry Film Festival. More education is on the way this month, and all can be... read more

“BEHIND THE BLACK LIST: A Growing Guide of Black-owned Brands, Retailers, and Organizations in Skateboarding Complied” by Patrick Kigongo via Artless Industria

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF P. KIGONGO A few days ago Patrick Kigongo set out to compile what he calls a “non-comprehensive list of Black-owned skate industry brands.” The Black List quickly expanded to include media and organizations. I wanted the Artless Industria® readership to not only have a link to this resource but learn why Kigongo put it all together. Below is his response about the genesis of The Black List. LINK TO THE BLACK LIST PATRICK KIGONGO: Punk rock remains a foundational source of inspiration for me. Punk’s “DIY” ethos has given me the confidence to start bands, teach myself how to edit video, and even change careers. More importantly, punk taught me to facilitate the change I wanted to see in the world.The anti-police brutality protests that erupted across the United States in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has led to a spike in the demand to support all things Black. Millions of Americans are now sharing lists of Black restaurants and bookstores in cities across the nation. Being a Black skater, I wanted to chip in. When I realized that there wasn’t a list of Black-owned skate companies, shops, or organizations, I decided to create one.When I started working on “The Black List” on the night of June 3rd, I could only come up with a handful of obvious names (e.g. Hardies, Hopps, Maxallure). Thankfully, I got a lot of help from crowd-sourcing on Twitter and Instagram. Over the last couple of days, I’ve received a flood of DMs and texts with the names of brands from all over the United States... read more

“All 2020 quarterly Action Watch Reports are now accessible to BRA Distinguished Retail Members” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Action Watch (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) works with specialty retailers, brands and industry partners in the surf and skate industries to share in-depth insights and actionable data on buying patterns so that we can all make better, more informed decisions to create a stronger, more successful industry together. BRA Distinguished Retail Members are granted access to quarterly retail sales reports and other relevant Action Watch data so you will know exactly what is happening at point of sale in specialty retail. BRA Distinguished Retail Members can now access all four quarters of 2020 (password protected) Action Watch Reports via the following link: https://actionwatch.com/2020-board-retailers-association/ If you are a BRA Distinguished Retail Member but do not already have the password credentials (user name and password) needed to access these insightful reports, please email our Executive Director doug@boardretailers.org and he will reply with the appropriate credentials. We encourage you to reach out to patrik@actionwatch.com with any questions related to the data and to learn more about the Project United program for Core Retailers through Action Watch. As stated above, BRA Distinguished Retail Members can gain access to recent and historical Core Surf and Skate Shop sales reports by category as well as Action Watch Core Retailer survey results. If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, you can easily opt in via this super simple join form If you have already opted into Regular Retail Membership, but would like to upgrade to Distinguished Retail Membership and benefit from additional offerings including the Action Watch Reports referenced above, please email our Executive Director doug@boardretailers.org and he will reply with an invoice and... read more

“11 Ways Skateboarding Thrived in 2020” by Zane Foley via Skatism.com

If we didn’t have skateboarding during this pandemic and 2020, where would we all be? Mentally, physically, spiritually, it’s safe to say none of us want to even think about what life would have been like this past year without skateboarding.  Still, regardless of how bad this year was for each of us or is being portrayed in contemporary media, 2020 began with how everything in skateboarding should: riding our skateboards to escape, expand and create our own world. However, as we all know the month of March brought forth the global pandemic of Covid 19. With it, for the first time, skateboarding could not escape the world and its troubles. Instead, every skateboarder had to adapt like never before.  From the skateparks to the skate shops, to the streets and the driveways, not one of us was immune to the pandemic. And that’s what is truly unique about this adaptation. It included all of us as a community and industry. Whether you’re a pro skater, a beginner, an instagram skater, a company owner or a raw street skater, we were and still are all in this together.  And together, more connected than ever by a global pandemic, we brought forth the incredible powers of skateboarding to foster not only a thriving skate industry but a strengthening of community and belonging. Words by Zane FoleyPhotos by Zane Foley & Denia Kopita  Skating the Unskateable The pandemic spared no one and that is especially true for businesses. Whether big retail, corporate, government buildings, large or small business, entire shopping malls and downtown districts became ghost towns overnight. Obviously, we don’t mean to be insensitive... read more

“How Retailers Will Thrive in 2021, According to 11 Experts” courtesy of Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

As retailers reflect on the last 12 months of the rollercoaster the industry rode—er, might still be riding—you can’t help but chuckle at some of the predictions made for 2020. Curiously enough, while few forecasted the actual impact of COVID-19, many themes still held up. Were we right about the continued rise of D2C brands investing in storefronts? Not quite. The emphasis on unique in-store experiences and community events? A little off the mark. Yet a call for deliberate and frictionless customer convenience? Nailed it. Amenities like curbside pick-up and BOPIS/BORIS, same-day delivery, contactless payments, mobile wallets and virtual shopping appointments ended up carrying more weight than many could have fathomed. These pivots, quite literally, saved retail businesses across the country. Though it’s likely to be a number of months before the world returns to what we once knew as “normal,” a shift in the direction of normalcy is on the horizon. What does that mean for retail in the new year, and will any of 2020’s themes carry over? We spoke with 11 retail industry experts—all Heartland partners—about what they think is in store for 2021, and what retailers must do to meet the trends that customer expectations are driving. A “Phygital” Experience Nico Cabral, Director of Marketing at Management One For the first half of 2021, consumers will still be wary of the high-contact, pre-COVID retail environments they once enjoyed. Retailers need to leverage their newfound savvy in the digital world and begin to blend it into their physical environments. This doesn’t require a massive investment in big, flashy in-store tech equipment—it could be as simple as a scannable QR... read more

“How to Conquer Your Selling Fears” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

I was talking to a pool builder who had just put in a new pool. His client lived in a very expensive neighborhood, drove a Bentley; you get the picture. A few months later the client’s neighbor installed a pool … from a different pool builder. The Bentley guy went to his neighbor’s party and saw his pool; it had all the bells and whistles, a salt water chlorinator, fiber optic lights, and an automatic pool cover. He drove back to his builder and asked why he didn’t show him all the possibilities. I was afraid I would price myself out of the sale, he replied. Fear… It’s what keeps people stuck, particularly in selling.  Fear is a reaction to a perceived threat; in this case, the possibility that the sale could have blown up in his face. That fear blindsided him to the upside potential. So many retail salespeople power through the rote features of their luxury watch, or their gee-wiz electronics, or their energy-efficient appliances, that they can appear brain-dead. I know when I first started working retail, a customer was only something I had to close, they were not a person, they were just a sale to be made. That approach to sales is the antithesis of what is needed to overcome fear. And that’s not just the salesperson’s fear of rejection but the customer’s as well. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to be creative The death of creativity and imagination are at the heart of low sales in retail shops around the world. Some think technology is the answer … not me. We have to find... read more

“Remembering Skate Industry Vet Mark Waters” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

We were sad to hear the news this week that skateboard industry veteran Mark Waters passed away after a battle with COVID-19. Mark had a long career in skateboarding, including working at companies such as Tum Yeto and Sole Technology, in addition to working for USA Skateboarding as the men’s team manager. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC). Mark is survived by his wife, Claudine, and his son, Avery. We asked Don Brown, the Sole Technology VP of Marketing who worked closely with Mark over the years, to tell us about Mark’s impact on the skate industry. Please click on the following link to view the touching Shop Eat Surf memorial interview of Don Brown about his fallen friend Mark Waters:  Remembering Skate Industry Vet Mark Waters Thank You, Mark, for your contribution to making skateboarding and the world a better place. DONATE TO HELP MARK’S WIFE AND SON HERE. Be sure to visit (and bookmark) 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... read more

“Retail 2021 E commerce in the New Normal” Webinar (on-demand) via Management One Retail

Click on the video below for a free, on-demand discussion with Josh Orr of Streamline Retail as we talk through the ways retailers are successfully using e-commerce to reach more of their “perfect customers” and how they keep them coming back again and again. The changes in 2020 forever altered retail. What was once a “nice to have”, e-commerce has become an expectation now for brick and mortar retailers. But how can you stand out in such a crowded market? We’ll dive into the practical ways brick and mortar retailers can leverage e-commerce to stay connected to their customers, drive in-store foot traffic and increase revenue. BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Management One has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director 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... read more

“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. 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 way to... read more

“A LOOK AT THE SKATEBOARD DROUGHT OF 2020” by Ian Browning via Jenkem Mag

If you’ve walked into a skate shop over the last couple of months, you may have had some difficulty getting your hands on the product you came in for. Sadly, these days it’s not unheard of for a shop to be fully out of boards, trucks, wheels, or bearings. Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for skate hard goods has gone up, but manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have all been put in a pinch. Unable to maintain production and distribution at pre-pandemic rates due to lockdowns and new health and safety guidelines, the demand for hard goods is now bigger than the supply, and the whole distribution chain is struggling to catch up. The pandemic had already taken hold in Tijuana in April 2020 when Grant Burns, who owns BBS Manufacturing contracted COVID-19 across the border in San Diego. He emailed his staff to let them know that he had gotten sick on a Friday, and by Monday, people were nervous. The state of Baja California, Mexico had already declared that employees with pre-existing conditions should be allowed paid time off, and Burns, gave the rest of his employees the option to do the same. Less than a quarter of his staff took him up on it, and the government ordered the shop and other non-essential businesses to close two weeks later. With the shop sitting idle, numerous skate brands that relied on BBS to press their decks lost their manufacturer, and their stock of decks was decreasing across the skate ecosystem. When the factory opened back up in May 2020, it doubled the number of busses transporting employees... read more

“Put Your “Retail Puzzle” Together” by Tom Schrepferman

Have you ever worked a 10,000 piece puzzle? Imagine all of those pieces spread out on your table. Where do you start? How do you start? You probably have these questions about how to thrive coming out of the COVID-19 retail challenges. Here’s how we recommend you start: Invest in e-Commerce: We expect e-Commerce growth trends to extend well past COVID-19.Control Inventory: Regularly review sales performance and inventory on-hand reports daily, weekly, and monthly to understand what inventory is moving.Reward Loyal Customers: Use frequent buyer incentives to support customers who support you. You can’t snap all the pieces of your business together at-once, but you could start here. The truth is there are many strategies to working puzzles, but the most important step is that you have to start. Marveling at all of the pieces won’t snap them together. BTW, the pro tip is to make sure all puzzle pieces are face up, sort them by color, and set aside the edges or corners. Reach out to book a demo with RICS and see how we can help! Tom Schrepferman RICS Software VP, Sales tom@ricssoftware.com 317-275-5941 BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that RICS Software is a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner who is currently offering fifty percent (50%) off all on-boarding fees and fifty percent (50%) monthly fees for the first twelve (12) months as well as a deferral of payments until 2021 for all BRA Distinguished Retail Members. Be sure to mention BRA when connecting with Tom and the solid people behind this outstanding resource. – Doug Works, Executive Director BRA If you are not yet... read more