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

“Top 10 Visual Merchandising Secrets” by Melissa Stivale via Independent Retailer

Visual merchandising plays a pivotal role in converting sales at the store level. The concept seems simple: display inventory in an organized way that engages and informs customers. However, there should be a lot of thought and purposeful planning that goes into designing everything from the store layout and signage to the proper lighting and product arrangements.  Here are some tricks of the trade that retailers will want to keep in mind when implementing visual merchandising strategies for your store that work no matter what you are selling: 1. The Rule of Three: Not only is this persuasive as a writing principle, but the rule of three is also a smart technique for grouping products. The small amount prevents customers from being overwhelmed by too many choices, and the asymmetry effectively captures their attention since the brain takes longer to process odd numbers.  You can use this strategy to group similar competing products together or cross-sell related items from the same brand. Clothing retailers benefit from placing a trio of mannequins styled in coordinating color palettes in display windows, while electronics stores can use it to emphasize their range of gaming consoles. 2. The Pyramid Principle: While seemingly like the rule of three, the pyramid principle deals more with height and balancing the dimensions of your displays. The goal is to create a visually appealing triangle by placing the largest or tallest items at the center and surrounding them with smaller products on either side.  Display tables come in handy here, as do acrylic risers and pedestals, which all allow you to vary the height of merchandise to build the right... read more

“True Employee Engagement is a Two-Way Street: Here’s How to Build It” by Gys Kappers via Total Retail

When it comes to nurturing a successful frontline team in a retail environment, employee engagement has to be a top priority. However, many employers find engagement to be a slippery, elusive quality. According to a 2021 study, 73 percent of employees would consider leaving their current jobs. The struggle to engage and retain employees is one without a single cause. Employee engagement wanes for a variety of reasons. For a start, retail can be a difficult place to find community. With scattered locations and a geographical disconnect, not only do employees feel disconnected from each other, but more importantly, they feel far away from the head office and the heart of their company. This can also coincide with a more ideological gap. Frontline retail employees often feel uninformed about what goes in their company. They’re separated from the company’s critical communication and major business decisions, and the information they do receive is removed from the bigger picture. Related story: 3 Data-Backed Ways to Drive Worker Retention, Productivity, Revenue and More Why is Information Crucial to Employee Engagement? Disconnected employees will be more likely to feel underappreciated and unheard. This can lead to a lack of motivation, a sense that nothing they can do will matter to the organization at large, and makes employers ignorant of the actual needs of their frontline. All of this adds up. It should come as no surprise that companies with a poor information-sharing chain will soon face problems with customer service delivery, dips in productivity, and a level of despondence that negatively impacts their bottom line. Sharing information with employees should go way beyond simply relaying facts and figures. Information and... read more

“The Best Advice I Can Give Retailers Right Now” by Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys

It would be easy to start this article by talking about how we’ve all been through the craziest times in our lives.  But you already know that.  I could also talk about how challenging things can be now, with the extreme difficulties in the supply chain causing many to struggle to keep up with increasing demand.  On top of all that, we’re dealing with mask mandates and all kinds of political noise that affects retail.  But you know about that too, and you’re already navigating that. So let’s get down to something important.  In times like these, the winners are those that can become hyper-focused on the truly important things.  It’s very easy to get distracted by the problems that exist in our industry, to throw up your hands and just hope that things work out.  You could do that, but you’re also better than that. At this moment in time, my most successful clients are focused on 2 things, and 2 things only: Their customers and their inventory.  It could be argued that staying hyper-focused on those 2 things has always been the key to retail success, and that’s true.  That said, it’s especially true today, given everything I wrote in the first paragraph, the fundamentals of focus are more important today than ever before. But how do you do that?  The nature of our business is such that there seems to never be enough time to get everything done, and lots of small details seem to block our ability to focus on the things we want to focus on.  Push play to hear about how Dan Jablons... read more

“‘Femme Ocean’ Tells the Stories of Four Women Breaking Boundaries in Surfing” by Staff via The Inertia

Maryam El Gardoum tears into a blue Moroccan wall. Photo: Femme Ocean. ‘Femme Ocean’ Tells the Stories of Four Women Breaking Boundaries in Surfing The ocean nearly took my life,” says filmmaker Annika von Schütz. “Now it’s giving me life.” Premiering July 9 at the International Surf Film Festival in Anglet, France, Femme Ocean profiles five women from Portugal, Morocco, and Sri Lanka, who fell in love with a sport long dominated by men. They are pioneers, athletes, adventurers, activists, and artists who share a unique bond with surf and the sea, pushing the limits of social convention. “Our relationship with the sea is a relationship of vitality,” von Schütz continues. “We take risks on the water. We trust in nature. We confront our fear and we begin to trust ourselves. We build that courage and take it with us back to the land, to our communities and beyond. Globally, women are an increasing part of the surfing community and surfing can be seen as a tool for women empowerment. So I went on a trip from Portugal to Sri Lanka to meet women who are making their own way.” The characters in the film bring with them a variety of perspectives. When Teresa Ayala started to surf 44 years ago on the Portuguese coast, there were only men in the water. Joana Andrade is fighting for her dream of surfing big waves at Praia do Norte beach in Nazaré. Also from Portugal, Lizzy is transforming her love for surfing into art and creating awareness for environmental topics. Maryam El Gardoum is a female surf pioneer in Morocco and Sithmi Nawodya, the daughter of... read more

“4 Examples of Great Customer Service in 2022” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

I’ve written extensively about creating a customer service strategy, how to improve your retail customer service, and retail customer service on the front line so I was anxious to see what I’d encounter when a couple of weeks ago I traveled down the California coast. The trip’s finale would be a classic car show in San Diego where I’d show my classic Bentley coupe. How would all the news reports of a lack of workers, inflation, and general dis-ease play out as I checked into restaurants, checked up on retailers, and checked out of hotels? What are four principles of customer service? Four core standards of great customer service every employee should exemplify: Remove stressBe seamlessBe humanBe seen I witnessed the first principle in action before I even left home. The car was to be shipped to San Francisco and had to arrive by a specific date or the whole journey would be disrupted. While interviewing one car carrier about the firm deadlines, the guy stopped me, “Whoa wait a minute. With traffic and delays, we might be there a day or early or late, we just can’t be responsible for that.” At McCollister’s, the company that got my business, the guy who took the call said, “What day and time do you want it there? We have several warehouses so we can hold it if we get there early.” When my flight landed in San Francisco, I got a call that the car had arrived and been delivered. Even though the original truck had broken down, they had sent another to continue the journey. “No need to bother you – we had... read more

“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — After going on a frenzied hiring spree for a year and a half to meet surging shopper demand, America’s retailers are starting to temper their recruiting. The changing mindset comes as companies confront a pullback in consumer spending, the prospect of an economic downturn and surging labor costs. Some analysts suggest that merchants have also learned to do more with fewer workers. The nation’s top employer, Walmart, said it recently over-hired because of a COVID-related staffing shortage and then reduced its head count through attrition. In April, Amazon said it, too, had decided that it had an excess of workers in its warehouses. And FedEx, whose customers include big retailers, said late last month that it was hiring fewer people. In addition, new data shows that retailers in recent months have been scaling back sign-on bonuses and are no longer relaxing job requirements — a sign that they no longer feel compelled to expand their applicant pool, according to the labor analytics company Lightcast. And Snagajob, an online marketplace for hourly work, reports that job postings in retailing have been slowing in the past couple of months, though they remain up from a year ago. Retailers “are going to take a conservative view of what’s possible and what’s necessary, because the price they will pay for being wrong will be minimum if they run out of goods and don’t have enough staff, and massive if they wind up with an inventory glut and they have too many people employed,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University and a former CEO of Sears Canada. The... read more

“4 Tips to Help Your Business Sell More Gift Cards” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

Consumer demand for gift cards, both physical and digital, continues to rise. According to the Gift Cards – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics report, the global gift card market is forecast to reach $1.4 trillion(USD) by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent over the analysis period (2020 to 2026). More specifically, digital gifting presents a real opportunity for merchants. A recently released report from Incisiv revealed that 67 percent of customers prefer instant/digital gifting. To help retailers and brands capitalize on this rising consumer demand for gift cards, NAPCO Research, in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, recently completed its annual comprehensive review of the state of merchants’ gift card offerings. The 2022 review and subsequent report included an assessment of retailers’ e-commerce/digital, mobile, and in-store gift card offerings, as well as tips for merchants on how to improve the consumer gift card purchase and recipient experience. The full report can be downloaded here. Here are just a few of the tips included within the report: Ensure that gift cards are easily discovered across all selling channels (in-store, digital, and app). You can’t sell gift cards if consumers can’t find them. Make it as easy as it is to find other products you sell. This includes adding gift cards to your homepage (ideally top navigation) and optimizing site search results for “gift cards” and other variations of that search term.Offer flexibility within your gift card program, including types of cards (physical and digital); cross-channel purchasing (e.g., the ability to buy physical cards online, digital cards in-store); selling of own brand’s gift cards as well as multibrand cards; multiple payment and delivery options; denomination... read more

“A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO OPENING A SKATE SHOP” by Larry Lanza and Aubrey Fisch via Jenkem Mag

Similar to how we cling to technology of the past, as skaters, we also hang on tight to the olden ways of doing commerce. Handshake agreements, payment in products, and brick-and-mortar retail locations are all things that many industries have moved past or at least tried to modernize. Although we’re not fully in the stone age, and modern marvels like online retail are a huge part of skateboarding today, we’re still seeing new physical shop locations pop up all the time. Opening up a skate shop requires a lot of money, time, and effort that most skaters, including myself, could never commit to. If you are a brave soul looking to venture on that journey yourself, though, we’ve got your back. We spoke to a few different shop owners who have opened their doors within the last few years to find out more about the process of opening up a skate shop in today’s economy and compiled their advice into this handy guide for future skate shop owners of the world. FINDING A LOCATION Lord Harold Samuel, a UK real estate scumbag of the early twentieth century, coined the phrase “Location, location, location.” And although trusting a British guy from the early 1900s seems like a trap, what he said rings true for skate shops. A good location is absolutely key to the success of a shop. Ideally, you’d like to find an affordable space with a lot of foot traffic from skaters and non-skaters alike. Having your shop full of yuppies and tourists might not be what you imagined, but those regular-ass people who don’t know what is cool and... read more

“Who is Crystal Media? plus special BRA Member discount and access to view the ‘Reels Means Deals’ on-demand webinar right now” by Doug Works via BRA

A warm and enthusiastic WELCOME to our newest BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Crystal Media!    As a Board Retailers Association member, you save 15% on select Crystal Media Services! As always, we at BRA continue to bring you Supporting Vendor Partners that are here to save you time and money.  Crystal Media is one of them.  Take a look and decide for yourself whether this will work for you and your company,  Please give us feedback at  with your opinions.  For a decade, Crystal Media has been devoted to helping retailers—just like you—grow through social media. Their team has worked with thousands of companies in the retail industry to help them generate millions of dollars in additional revenue by deploying successful social media campaigns, providing consulting services, and managing digital marketing on their behalf. They’ve also taught thousands of retailers how to implement social media that delivers powerful results. What makes Crystal Media special is their unmatched expertise of retail and social media which allows them to produce what their clients care about most—results. Their passionate, approachable team of experts that, as a client, becomes an extension of your team—encouraging and supporting you no matter what your comfort level is with social media. They live their happy-to-help motto everyday, and are grateful to play a small role in helping independent businesses make a positive impact in their local communities. Check out these Crystal Media services to see what’s right for you and your business.Board Retailers Association members save 15%!  Use code BRA15 at checkout.➤ Insider: The social media membership every retailer needs. Get comprehensive, on-demand training, transformative virtual and in-person... read more

“A Closer Look at Retail & Labor in Inflationary Times” by Rob Kaufelt via The Robin Report

As the former owner and CEO of Murray’s Cheese and a veteran supermarket executive, I feel compelled to weigh in on the current economy with some insights from the past. Having experienced the best and worst of times, I am only mildly optimistic about the future. That said, the headlines grow increasingly dim: inflation, recession, global stagflation, even “greedflation.” On the one hand, job openings are near record highs at 11.4 million in April alone. On the other hand, 6.5 million jobs were added in the last year. Record numbers of workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs, often without another offer. Yet wages are up and that’s part of what’s stoking inflation. The Economist predicts, “The next downturn ought to be mild. But even a mild recession must be followed by an upturn for the economy to return to full health. And with a fiscal policy on the sidelines and monetary policy badly hobbled, the chances are that America would face a painfully slow recovery. After two years of focusing on high inflation, low growth may move back to center-stage as the economy’s principal problem.” Sometimes inflation is an excuse to raise prices. Anticipating that prices would rise allows us to raise prices on existing inventory, purchased at a previously lower cost. Today, we read about inventory overstock, following dwindling demand after the surge of consumer purchasing during the Covid lockdown. Just look at Target’s current dilemma. Added to inflation, the current headlines admittedly make it hard to stay upbeat: war, an endless pandemic, climate change, supply chain disruptions, governmental dysfunction, and schoolchildren being massacred. That uncertainty makes even... read more

“42 Things No One Told You About Starting A Retail Small Business” by Bob Phibbs via Retail Doctor Blog

Owning your own small business or retail store is a goal of many. You can be one of the few small business owners who make the dream a reality. You just need to understand what you are in for as far as start-up costs, cash flow, as well as what it takes to be profitable before you open your doors. Your marketing strategy should include understanding your target market and what products they will buy from you in enough volume with high enough profit margins for you to live the lifestyle small business owners dream of. While I don’t believe in build it and they will come, I do believe if you go in with your eyes open, you can have it all. I’ve met thousands of business owners from all over the world who prove it. And, you’re going to learn how to increase retail sales sooner or later anyway, why not learn the pitfalls you will encounter when you start a retail business before you take the plunge? If you’ve already opened a new store, read on to see how many you’ve already encountered… 42 Things no one Told you About Starting a Retail Business: 1. Your retail shop will be solicited for donations before you make your first sale. 2. People in your town will assume you are rich because you have your own business. 3. Some days you will donate more products to charities in your community than you will sell in your store that day. 4. As soon as you figure out what your customer wants, they will want something totally different. 5. Every lunch will be eaten standing up, and only one bite... read more

“You Might Not Need to Worry About Breaking a Brand New Surfboard Ever Again” via The Inertia

Editor’s Note: Just bought a new surfboard? Check out Surfcare, a new option for peace of mind. You just dropped an unforgiving grand(ish) on a creamy white hunk of fiberglass – straight off the rack from your local surf shop. It’s silky to the touch. Your eye skims its clean eyes with adoration. You’re beaming with pride. You’re also a little sheepish about the purchase. The expense to fragility ratio is merciless. The reef doesn’t care about your investment. Nor does the minefield of surfboards at crowded spots like Malibu. Nope. They’ll happily break your board for you and kill that joy at no cost. The fragility of expensive surfboards has long defied logic for addicted, cash-constrained surfers. But a sensible solution may have just hit the market. Enter Surfcare: insurance for your brand new surfboard. “I was on a six-month trip to Indonesia when I had my ‘aha’ moment,” says Surfcare Founder Nick Stolz. “I showed up to the tiny Island of Sipura in the Mentawais with a brand new quiver of boards. Within a couple weeks, however, I broke every single one of them surfing HT’s and waves on neighboring islands. That’s when I decided to make Surfcare a reality.” Surfcare cofounder Nick Stolz charging Nias prior to breaking all of his surfboards and deciding to do something capitalist about it. Photo: Courtesy Stolz According to Stolz, the brand launched last month after three years of development and hoop-jumping to abide by regulations in the understandably no-nonsense insurance industry. Insurance is not a bro-bro industry.  Warranties must be vetted and maintained. “To get a little into the weeds, I didn’t know what I was... read more

“7 Ways To Transform Retail Store Displays Into Sales” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

There are a lot of ways your sales displays can be your silent salesperson. The trick is to make sure your displays include some of the basics. Try these seven ways to make your retail store displays do more than just look attractive. 1. Change your displays monthly You’ve got to keep your customers guessing – a little, anyway. Every couple of weeks move the sales displays around to keep them from getting stale – and certainly move them when new merchandise comes in. Since the fairly new products will still be selling, switch your displays two weeks after their arrival. Move one display from the front to the middle of the store and another display from the middle to the back. Discover: How to craft a retail merchandising plan with this comprehensive primer 2. Try a little tenderness In merchandising, as in life, the best things are things you want, not what you need. So give your customer that as well. Put the fanciest, newest, most expensive, dream-worthy items in the most prominent place in your store. Be sure to have several levels of height and enough products so that the customer can pick up and touch these desired items without having to totally dismantle your beautiful display. 3. Never, never, never, EVER build a monochromatic display Generally speaking, group items by product use or two or three colors – you’re looking for the one thing that makes it a group. Unless you run a grocery store, your grouping shouldn’t be entirely made up of one product. That’s warehousing, not merchandising. You can create a sales display by product... read more


Collecting skateboards is a pain in the ass. Boards are heavy, you need a lot of space to store them, and they will happily catch fire if your house ever burns to the ground. But that hasn’t stopped a small group of hardcore collectors who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours finding and preserving iconic boards from the past. We’re not talking about your average skater who has a couple of old scratched-up decks lying around in the garage, we’re talking about the big fish – the guys who could put a downpayment on a house if they were to liquidate their collections. As we have very little experience ourselves collecting decks at that level, we hit up three collectors to learn the basics and how they found themselves deep down the rabbit hole. If you ever wanted to reclaim a piece of your childhood and cop that elusive Muska deck or Think board you saw in a CCS catalog, hopefully, this guide will be a solid place to start. Happy Hunting! DAVE SKOOT How long have you been collecting, and how much have you spent on decks so far?I’ve been collecting seriously now for the last six years, but my love for certain graphics started when I first started skating. I don’t really like to talk about money but hey, this is Jenkem, right? So let’s just say I have over 600 boards. Most of them are worth over $400, some a $1000, and I didn’t pay anything close to that for any of them. Also being single with no kids at 42 allows me to... read more

“UCSD Surf Team Awards First College Scholarship for Surfing” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

We all know that you can get your college tuition subsidized, even fully covered, for playing sports like basketball, baseball, or football in college. Well, now the same holds true for surfing. University of California San Diego just handed out the first college surfing scholarship recognized by the National Scholastic Surfing Association, the governing body for youth competitive surfing. The scholarship went to Makena Burke, a freshman at UCSD who has been topping the podium quite a bit recently and absolutely shreds – just check out her Nicaragua edit, above. The 19-year-old from Ventura, Calif. recently won the state championships at San Diego’s Seaside Reef in March, and three days ago won the NSSA National Championships at Salt Creek while carrying the UCSD surf team to a third place finish. UCSD is likely the most surf-oriented college in the nation, with surfboard-shaping classes, research programs such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and famous surfer graduates like Holly Beck, Cliff Kapono, and others. Oh, and the college itself is located right above Black’s Beach in San Diego, a.k.a. the “Californian Pipeline.” Which also happens to be the training ground for the UCSD Surf Team. “Being able to give out the first surf scholarship gives us great pride and (the) support from like-minded organizations in our home town means a lot,” says UCSD Surf Team Head Coach of 20 years Tyler Callaway, speaking to the donors that made the scholarship possible. Be sure to visit The Inertia website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. Speaking of helpful articles from the good people behind The Inertia, you may want to click on... read more

“View the most recent BRA X M1 quarterly webinar about e-commerce featuring George right here. You can also view the previous quarterly webinar about staffing plus all four 2021 BRA quarterly webinars here on demand at no cost” via BRA and Management One

Once per Quarter, Board Retailers Association hosts relevant and helpful webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. You can view the 2nd Quarter 2022 webinar as well as the 1st Quarter 2022 webinar and all four of the excellent 2021 collaborative quarterly webinars below (scroll down). Description of The 2nd Quarter 2022 Webinar: If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that retailers who stayed ahead of the curve survived and thrived after the shutdown. Every business has unique internal and external factors that affect its ability to pivot and adapt to the evolving retail landscape, but it is critical to remain open to progression. View our live panel discussion with Nico and Dane of Management One, Dan of Retail smart Guys and George (our very own Chairman of the Board Retailers Association) on June 16th as we break down the strategies that are helping retailers achieve success in 2022 and beyond. Learn how independent retailers are strengthening their e-commerce, digital, and analytics strategies to maintain growth and overcome a changing economic landscape. Presented by Management One and Board Retailers Association Push play to view this informative and fun 2nd Quarter 2022 collaborative BRA + M1 webinar featuring BRA Chairman and Owner of Modern Skate & Surf, George Leichtweis, as well as BRA Supporting Vendor Partners Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys and Dane Cohen & Nico Cabral of Management One, We have embedded the recordings of the 1st Quarter 2022 webinar as well as all four of the excellent 2021 collaborative quarterly webinars below for your convenience. “Talent Acquisition: Building a Team Structured... read more

“The Technologies Reinventing Physical Retail” by BOF Team, McKinsey & Co. via The Business of Fashion

Engagement with in-store technology can lead customers to spend up to four times longer shopping than customers who simply browse. (Getty Images) In-store mobile apps and micro-fulfilment tech can address consumer pain points and enable companies to incorporate their physical retail networks into omnichannel shopping journeys. KEY INSIGHTS In store, customers who engage with technology spend up to four times longer shopping than those who do not.Mobile apps provide a frictionless shopping journey, whether a customer is seeking convenience or an engaging, social experience.Micro-fulfilment technologies enable brands to process orders efficiently from stores, reducing associated costs by up to 90 percent, and can lead to higher conversion and customer satisfaction rates. This article first appeared in The State of Fashion: Technology, an in-depth report co-published by BoF and McKinsey & Company. The rules of physical retail are changing. Pressure on the economics of operating stores has been mounting, particularly since more and more consumers began embracing the convenience — and safety — of e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic. But physical retail is far from dead. A 2020 survey of European consumers showed that 60 percent of respondents wanted to see or touch products in-person before buying, while 50 percent shopped in stores so they can take items home immediately. As pandemic restrictions subside, the percentage of customers shopping online is expected to fall 3 percentage points from 2021 levels across key markets, including Europe, the US and China. This presents an opportunity for players to reshape the role of stores in their overall retail mix. Engagement with in-store technology can lead customers to spend up to four times longer shopping than... read more

“Life Jacket Essentials: What to Keep in Your Life Jacket if You Want to Get Found” by Mario Vitone via Wakeboarding Mag courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

Pockets in life jackets serve an important purpose. The best life jackets have pockets for a reason – Mario Vittone explains what to keep in them in case of an emergency. Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard When it comes to life jackets, there can be a big difference between what the U.S. Coast Guard requires and what you may need in an emergency. The requirement for having life vests aboard is obvious, but should you go overboard, keeping your head above water isn’t the only thing you’ll need to worry about. In many overboard scenarios, you’ll also need to be found. That’s why my favorite life jackets have something in common: pockets. Choosing a brightly colored life jacket with reflective strips is a good start, but no matter how bright the material, it gets dark at night. Rescuers searching for even the most colorful life vest will have to put a light directly on you for the color or reflective strips to matter. Pockets allow you to tie in a few modern and extremely effective active signals so that your life jacket, and you, will get found easier and faster. Bring a Light Absolutely nothing screams “Look over here!” like a waving flashlight. A small waterproof flashlight that you can point in the direction of a searching boat or aircraft can make a profound difference—and it’s handy around the boat even if you don’t end up in the drink. Search and rescue crews use night vision technology, allowing them to see even the faintest light from great distance. But be careful: night vision goggles are not very good at detecting... read more

“Do mental illness and retail entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Andy Dunn selfie from June, 2018 – Source: Twitter/@dunn In his book, “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind,” Bonobos co-founder and former CEO Andy Dunn opens up about his bipolar disorder diagnosis, exploring the inherent challenges as well as how it fueled his entrepreneurial spirit. On the positive side, Mr. Dunn writes in the book that his “controlled hypomania” helped him work long days and generate “kinetic positive energy” to inspire his staff, recruits and innovation. He writes, “Everything is clicking, everything is making sense, life has purpose. Colors seem brighter; gratitude flows. This is the zone where creativity and productivity flourish.” Mr. Dunn hit a low point about a year before Bonobos’ 2017 sale to Walmart when he spent a week in a psychiatric ward and faced assault charges for hitting his future wife and kicking her mother. The book brings up the fate of Tony Hsieh, who died a few months after stepping down as Zappos’ CEO from injuries in a house fire following a drug spiral. Mr. Dunn told CNBC, “He was a hero to me. And then, obviously, he had been privately suffering. I think that’s a part of the typical entrepreneur archetype, someone who’s got that — a brilliant, charismatic spirit. And it’s expected, right? You got to show up with that every day, and that’s inhuman to expect out of anyone.” A UC Berkeley study found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48 percent of non-entrepreneurs. Of the entrepreneurs they studied, 30 percent had a history of depression, 29 percent had ADHD, 12 percent had... read more

“Building Lasting Customer Loyalty Amid Inflation” by Matt Ramerman via Total Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic plus the war in Ukraine created a perfect storm for inflation, and now the prices of goods and services are dominating the minds of consumers everywhere. Annual inflation rose by 8.3 percent in April, close to a 40-year high, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Everything from food and gas to travel and housing is more expensive, which has many consumers watching their wallets and shopping around for the best prices. With many concerned about rising inflation, we can expect once-loyal customers to switch brands if it means cheaper prices. The stakes have never been higher: in addition to inflation challenges, 87 percent of consumers across all generations avoid buying from brands they don’t trust (especially boomers). Now more than ever, you need to understand what your customers are facing and ensure they both trust your brand and feel supported. Since people are increasingly using their mobile devices to shop, this means your brand must be present where your customers are, regardless of time, location or channel (e.g., SMS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.). Related story: AI in the DMs: Seizing the Social Commerce Opportunity With Conversational Messaging The Secret to Communicating With Customers: Have Open Dialogs As consumers keep a close eye on prices, ensuring they’re able to converse with your brand is key. Now is not the time to be using high-pressure, high-frequency one-way campaigns focused on driving conversions. Remember, since they’re ready, and willing, to experiment with new brands, your communications strategy with your customers needs to focus on inviting a relationship as means to build loyalty. Implementing a conversational marketing strategy not only allows you to have... read more

“BC Owner on Snow Season, Sales Trends and Inventory” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

BC Surf & Sport in Lone Tree, Colorado – Photo by SES Company Owner {and BRA Board Member} Bruce Cromartie answered some questions for us about how the snow season turned out, including what brands sold well. We also asked him about current sales trends and concerns about the potential for inventory buildup in the market. Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up for access before viewing: Click here to login or click here to sign up for a free 30 day Executive Edition trial. 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 ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more


For as long as I have been skateboarding, there have been so many debates over which trucks turn the fastest, which trucks grind the best, and which trucks last the longest. Each brand has their own specialty, and there’s no telling which trucks are truly “the best,” (although there are some that can be definitely be considered the worst). To get more familiar with the history and intricacies of these old metal contraptions, we put together a list of truck facts that you may not have known or even cared to think about. Hopefully, something is useful here, or at the very least, will help you the next time you play skate trivia. 1. THE SHOP THAT SOLD THE FIRST PAIRS OF TRUCKS IS STILL IN BUSINESS In 1962 Val Surf in Los Angeles was the first shop to sell trucks with the intent to use them on a skateboard. Ordering trucks and wheels from a roller skate company, they would put together DIY boards with help from students at the local high school. 2. THE RIVALRY BETWEEN THRASHER AND TRANSWORLD IS BASED ON TRUCKS In 1981, Fausto Vitello, one of the owners of Independent Trucks, founded Thrasher Magazine as a way to promote Independent and other brands. Two years later, Larry Balma, owner of Tracker Trucks, followed suit and launched Transworld Magazine. The two magazines had different views on skating, (“Skate and Destroy” [Thrasher] vs. “Skate and Create” [Transworld]) but were both created to promote their respective truck companies. 3. THE WORD “TRUCK” DATES BACK 1800 YEARS Short for “truckle,” which is a “small wheel or roller,” the word truck is derived from the Latin... read more

“Retail Moves From ‘The Great Acceleration’ To ‘The Great Rebalancing’.” by Steve Dennis via Forbes

A Best Buy store, a retailer of consumer electronics, operating in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.GETTY During the early part of the pandemic, it became popular to say that we had experienced 10 years of e-commerce growth in only 10 weeks. While that was rather obviously not close to being true, the idea of a “great acceleration” in just about all things retail made its way into the popular vernacular. Moreover, many media outlets and retail pundits declared that some trends—most notably grocery home delivery—were permanent sea changes. As it turns out, not so much. While it’s clear that some important shifts did occur during the Covid crisis, it’s also quite apparent that right now we are experiencing much more of a “great rebalancing” and a rather clear return to more familiar shopping patterns. As revealed in the today’s US Census Bureau monthly sales data report, spending in the areas with the greatest activity spikes over the past two years are almost all decelerating significantly, and the most pronounced spending shifts of the recent past are seeing a reversion closer to the mean. For example, big ticket purchases and fitness equipment outlays that had been way up, are now seeing year over year declines. Apparel and restaurant spending, which had been hard hit during the depths of Covid, are both now registering solid gains. The rate of increase in eating out now greatly exceeds food purchases for the home, bringing us closer to the pre-Covid relative share of spending. As more data comes in, the supposed massive acceleration of online shopping is now turning out to be closer to one or... read more

“Surf Cams Might Be Secretly Ruining Your Session” by Ella Boyd via The Inertia

Yes, you can see yourself surf. But do you want to see yourself surf? Photo: Screenshot//Surf Cam Rewind Why do we surf? Is it to escape reality and enjoy a connection with nature? Is it to challenge your personal limits, try new tricks, and progress as a surfer? Is it to “get away from it all?” With surf cams, and especially with the rewind function, all but one of those options are ruled out, leaving room for only hyper fixation on performance and an unnecessary obsession with personal appearance. In California, at least, surfing and filming are so heavily intertwined (Bruce Brown recorded The Endless Summer over three decades ago!) that one almost expects to spot at least one or two people pointing handycams in their general direction from the water. And this is fun, most of the time.  Walking down to the water through little groups of people basking in the sun, holding up vintage camcorders and squinting to find their surfer in the lineup is not only endearing, but nostalgic for a time where the only way to capture a moment was to grab your friend and give them a camera. Or, if you’re good enough, to be recorded for a surf film.  Being from Maine, I’ve not only accepted but even come to appreciate filming as another part of California surf culture. What I have not accepted, however, is the obsession with cam rewinds. In my experience, cams drain surfing from everything that makes it enjoyable. Back home, surfing was truly an escape. There was a cam for the local spot, run by some real estate guy, and sometimes... read more

“Instagram is Becoming the New Mall: 3 Ways to Start Conversational Commerce Marketing” by Beerud Sheth via Total Retail

Credit: Everyone knows Instagram as a social medium, but only a few realize it’s now becoming a conversational medium as well. Recently launched features now enable brands to conduct business with customers through private conversations. Businesses can now directly carry out commerce through Instagram. This is a powerful capability poised to transform e-commerce as we know it. There are over 1 billion Instagram users worldwide who actively follow businesses, and 90 percent of Instagram accounts follow at least one business. With a majority of users in the coveted 18-34 age group, Instagram is becoming one of the most important social engagement channels for businesses, along with WhatsApp. Today, businesses use Instagram to reach existing and future customers and partners as well as the general public with rich media content, including videos and sponsored ads. While Instagram has already become a huge asset to digital marketers, it now has additional capabilities that can drive overall business growth by fostering what’s core to achieving that growth — conversational commerce. Conversational commerce goes beyond collecting likes, shares and comments on product marketing posts and advertisements. It requires businesses to use Instagram to deliver personalized two-way conversations with followers across the consumer pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase journey. According to research from Meta, half of buyers said they engage in conversational commerce primarily through social media and messaging platforms, with 90 percent reporting they do so on Meta platforms (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram). Implementing Conversational Commerce Via Instagram to Fast-Track Business Growth Here are three ways to start your conversational commerce journey on Instagram and grow your business faster: Related story: There Can Be No Denying:... read more

“Airports and Mountain Resorts” by Jeff Harbough via JH&A Market Watch Blog

Seattle’s main airport is surrounded by communities and has grown like a weed right along with the Seattle metropolitan area.  It has no practical way to expand.  Through recent technology and some clever evolution of facilities the airport authority is doing everything it can to shoehorn more passengers and flights into the same space.  But there’s a limit.  Airplanes, which are big and fast moving, need a certain minimum vertical and horizontal separation no matter how sophisticated the technology of the plane and control systems are.  They also need to park and move around while they are on the ground. The same is true of skiers and snowboarders at mountain resorts in case you hadn’t figured out where I was going with this. It’s unlikely many new winter resorts are going to open.  Climate change, at least for the immediate future, will mean an overall decline in snow days and season length (yes, I know- good for some mountains, bad for others).  Here’s an interesting article on how conditions are evolving in Norway. Like with airports, technology in the form of snow making, faster lifts, etc. will try to ameliorate this where possible.  And mountain resorts will increasingly try to build their year around business. It might be ten years ago I first suggested the National Ski Areas Association change its name to the National Mountain Resort Association.  Still waiting, though the case is even stronger now.  I’m wondering if resorts, or I suppose resort groups as things have evolved, will offer not just multi resort but multi season passes.  Consider the permutations of passes you could sell- not just days... read more

“5 Ways To Ace A Quick Store Refresh Of Your Retail Merchandising” by Bob Phibbs via Retail Doctor Blog

When I lived in Los Angeles, I did business makeovers for the Los Angeles Times. Now that I speak and travel more, I only do business makeovers as a paid consultant.  Recently I was contacted by a spa and outdoor furniture retailer for help with a storewide refresh focusing on their Retail Merchandising. I’m sharing five tips any retailer can use to help refresh your store. Of course, if you’re looking for my personal help, you can contact me here. When I approached the store I was taken by how much Big Green charcoal was piled in the windows and throughout the store. There was no focal point so upon entering, your eyes would be drawn to the cabinet lights on the mezzanine. One of the traffic draws at the location is free water testing on the mezzanine. How to interrupt shoppers to see all we had? How to focus their attention down and not up? How to draw customers’ eyes to the other parts of the large store? And finally, how to help people clearly see their complete product offering? I can’t go into all we did but these are some clues to follow for your own store reset. You can see my live video of the start here and the conclusion 9 hours later here. These are not the ultimate final pictures as they were in the process of setting up a whole new outdoor kitchen area and we had a lot to clean up, but you’ll get the idea. How to Remerchandise Your Store Color leads the way. One of the things outdoor furniture stores have that most others don’t are umbrellas.... read more

“Why Retailers Should Refocus on Customer-Centric KPIs” by Greg Chen via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Fang Xia Nuo The science of customer attraction these days goes beyond offering a helpful, useful and accurate product that fulfills a need; it’s also about ensuring the customer is satisfied throughout their journey with your brand. Being top-of-mind for customers has become more difficult, with around 53 percent of global consumers having higher customer service expectations than they did a year ago. But how do you know if you’re meeting these customer expectations? The way to track this and to a successful digital transformation for startups is through data analysis. And yet, for all the different marketing channels and profit-centered metrics, many businesses fail to put customer loyalty and satisfaction at the heart of their data efforts. Without them, teams would blindly follow numbers instead of encouraging critical thinking and the implementation of value-based, customer-centric metrics. With so many different marketing channels and profit-centered metrics to keep track of, retailers often overlook crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on the relationship between a customer and the brand and how this ties into building solid customer loyalty and a customer-focused product. Building a data-driven organization around customer-centric KPIs helps startups guarantee sustainable strategies to keep them competitive and lead in their respective industries. Small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) especially must seize this opportunity and reap the benefits of a startup or SMB culture willing to act fast on meaningful data. Crucial customer KPIs are paramount to help measure and effectively monitor retail processes and performance. But what exactly are these KPIs that retailers must be aware of, and what do they mean for their business? Let’s take a look.... read more

“PALATE CLEANSER: MAKIES SKATESHOP – A Book of ’80s Skate Shop Photographs by Francis Makiej” by Anthony Pappalardo via Artless Industria

PHOTOS BY FRANCIS MAKIEJ SPOILER ALERT: I Made a Book/Zine Facebook sucks. (Full stop). If I were to think of something valuable about the platform or “product” as some call it, I wouldn’t try to kid you with claims about “connecting the world” or “providing a space for people to share ideas.” Nah. It’s not that. If I collected things, I might say Facebook Marketplace is kind of great but I rarely use Zuck’s creation. However, several years ago a page appeared with the images above, along with a grip of other equally stunning, weird, cool, and innocent photos of kids and their (mostly) new skateboard decks. I may not be a collector but I’m a digital hoarder so I downloaded them all, contacted said admin, and waited. The photos are from a shop called Mackies Skateboards and Bicycle Shop but for the skate of brevity, we’re going to refer to it as Mackies Skateboards. Notice there’s no apostrophe? That’s how it was written back in the ‘80s and I’m going to honor that. Mackies was located in Lowell, Massachusetts. I went there once. All I remember was that they had a great board wall and low ceilings. I don’t remember who told us that Lowell was a great city to ride skateboards in but it was, so one Saturday we convinced an older cat to drive us there and he did. That’s huge. He even took us to RRR Records and I bought a Uniform Choice cassette for $3.99 (the good one). Anyway, we were skating some stairs and I broke my board. One of the members of... read more

“Is an urban retail recovery underway?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“It’s slow progress, but retailers’ interest in urban corridors is returning and deal volume is inching up, while shoppers, workers, travelers and diners return to city life,” according to a new report from real estate services firm JLL. Are they right? The report finds more workers heading into the office, although well below pre-pandemic rates. Since March, the average occupancy rate for security firm Kastle Systems’ 10-city average has hovered at around 43 percent of their pre-pandemic occupancy level, up from 17.5 percent at the start of the year. Recent analysis by The Wall Street Journal found cities with longer commutes have taken the biggest economic hit, while urban areas where people live closer to work have a higher return-to-office rate. Tourism has revived with Times Square and San Francisco’s Union Square seeing the biggest gains in foot traffic from last year. According to JLL analysis of data, foot traffic from domestic tourists is up 14 percent in New York City from 2019. San Francisco is still below 2019 levels, but foot traffic to Union Square has doubled over the past year and retail leasing interest is starting to return. Foot traffic to Chicago’s prime urban corridors is within 10 percent of 2019 levels. Miami’s hotel lodging rates are well above 2019 levels despite restrictions on international travel. The U.S. still requires pre-departure COVID-19 testing for international passengers. Meanwhile, dining is poised for a “full recovery” to support city visits as concerns ease about eating out, according to JLL. According to a Morning Consult survey, Americans’ comfort with dining out sits at 75 percent as of the end of May, 14 points higher than it was at the start of... read more

“Boost Sales With Gifts & Impulse Buys” by Krystina Morgan via Independent Retailer

With the prime tourist season upon us, this is the perfect opportunity for indie retailers nationwide to capitalize on gifts and impulse buys. Whether shoppers are looking for something to bring home to their family and friends, or you need small influential products that can easily be placed next to registers to increase a sale, Independent Retailer has you covered. Global Gift Industry Statistics In the face of ever-changing consumer habits, the gift industry is constantly evolving. The global gift market’s worth is currently estimated at $62 billion, according to SaveMyCent, and 38 percent of consumers look at physical store displays for gift inspiration. Jewelry is a popular gift option, seeing as 58 percent of women prefer to receive jewelry as a present. This presents a huge opportunity for retailers to take advantage of and ensure sales in a difficult economy. Impulse Buys Are Changing Smaller gifts that can be placed by the register make for perfect impulse purchases. After taking a hit early in the pandemic, sales of impulse buys are beginning to rebound, but they are looking a little different now than before the outbreak. Elizabeth Crawford details in an article some different impulse products that consumers are on the lookout for, such as multi- and variety packs of snacks. Physical storefronts are not the only places that shoppers are making influential purchases. With the pandemic-driven rise in online sales, making impulse buys has also seen an increase. According to Statista, almost six-in-ten women surveyed in select countries worldwide said they mainly bought clothes or shoes online by impulse. Less than 40 percent of male respondents reported impulse online shopping in this category.... read more

“Cure Retail Disruption With A Customer-Focused Approach” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

A lot of money is chasing the term of disruption in retail and examining radical disruptive trends. From innovative AI chatbots to new payment solutions, everyone is hoping to disrupt – or more accurately steal – market share from established companies the way Uber disrupted the taxi as we knew it. Yet the more profound disruption in most businesses is the everyday kind. It’s the kind of daily disturbances that interrupt a business’ ability to provide customer service, build a relationship with their customer, and entice that customer to return. It can show up in the way your existing technologies handicap you, in the training, or lack thereof, you give your employees and extends all the way to the standard you hold everyone accountable to in your organization. It’s easy to have a customer gush about a great experience they had in a store once. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But in order to succeed, you need to be able to execute flawlessly time and time again with every customer… every time. It’s what I call being brilliant on the basics. Customer service disruptions eat away at a brand’s promise to its customers. Sloppy operation disruptions handicap many businesses, the inability to execute brilliantly, again and again, takes its toll. It’s the laziness that spills out into other departments. It’s the goal of getting someone out of your face rather than trying to fix the problem. It’s the lack of checks and balances. What is disruptive retail really about? The customer.  It can’t be all about you — It has to be all about the customer. Here’s an example of my own experience... read more

“Compassionate Retail is the Differentiator Your Organization is Looking For” by Bobby Marhamet via Total Retail

It turns out the American consumer of 2022 isn’t all that complicated, at least according to Raydiant’s State of Consumer Behavior 2022 report. Shoppers today want bang for their buck, they expect a positive all-around experience when they enter your stores, and have just a few other requests that most retailers can easily honor — with little more than attention to detail. In a trying time, why shouldn’t retailers and customers lean on each other? By every metric, customers need all the help they can get. Showing attentiveness to customer needs, now and for the foreseeable future, is the greatest gesture that a retailer can make. Compassionate retail isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the sage move for organizations serious about differentiating themselves from carbon-copy competitors. Several findings from our study are especially prescient for those seeking to gain customers’ trust and business in 2022 and beyond. Related story: Consumer Trends That Every Brick-and-Mortar Brand Must Respond To Finding No. 1: Experiences Have Become the Clearest Way to Differentiate Your Organization In a marketplace where prices are more or less the same among similar retailers, experiences have emerged as the primary way to set your organization apart. Seventy-seven percent of customers define the in-store experience as either “important” or “very important” to how they view a brand. Brands that provide customers far more than just products show compassion by delivering extraordinary value. It’s easy enough to put products up and to price them fairly. Organizations that go the extra mile at no additional expense to the customer, though, show where their hearts truly lie. Ikea shows how simple delivering excess... read more

“A VISUAL GUIDE TO SKATING CARS” by Larry Lanza via Jenkem Mag

According to a stat I just made up, there are about one billion cars currently in circulation across the globe. Yeah, cars are a leading cause of global warming and an insane amount of deaths, but they offer endless possibilities for the people who own them. Besides just driving them to your shitty job, you can soup them up Mad Max style, get laid in the backseat, and of course, use them to get an unforgettable clip. Skating on cars is definitely not a new trend. In fact, Natas was doing it 25 years before I could legally drive. Since then the tricks have gone to new heights, just like gas prices, and there have even been entire videos dedicated to skating cars. So in honor of the pioneers of car shredding, we sifted through tons of footage to pick out some of our favorite car clips to share with you. Before you ask, no, this post isn’t sponsored by Toyota like all the US Olympic athletes are. But if anyone from Toyota happens to be reading this, if you give me a free Tacoma, I’ll be sure to skate the bed of the truck and post it to the ‘gram. NATAS KAUPAS – STREETS ON FIRE [1989] Like most things in street skating, Natas is the true trendsetter when it comes to skating on cars. This boardslide in Streets on Fire is likely one of the reasons a ton of contests in the early ‘90s had a random car in the middle of the course. Thankfully, the whole high tops with high socks thing Natas was pushing here was a trend that was lost to time.... read more

“Surf Travel and a Brief Lesson in Localism” by Connor Macanally via The Inertia

Small-ish wind-kissed waves are your best bet at sliding in unnoticed. Photo: Sebastian Mitterm//Unsplash The Basque culture is one of the oldest in existence. How old? No one really knows. There’s good evidence to suggest the Basque language, “Euskara,” has origins that predate all Indo-European languages and the Roman Empire. Before that, records tend to get a little hazy. One thing is for certain, the Basques haven’t managed to protect culture, language, and country for thousands of years by being submissive pushovers.  At the end of Franco’s brutal 36-year regime, the Basques sought autonomous rule from Spain and gained it in 1978. During the dictatorship, the Basque language was forbidden, and anything significant to Basque culture was banned. Not cool Franco. Since autonomy, their culture has prospered, and the Basque Country is back to being the proud nation at the end of the earth.  Why am I telling you this? No, you haven’t stumbled upon a European history lesson. This is simply setting a historical backdrop to a place where I recently spent two months. Winter in this part of the world is a dream scenario for surfers. Instead of European crowds flocking in, they tend to dissipate and wait for warmer weather and summer waves to return (the beauty of the European surf scene).  What is left is the locals (who all surf well), and a few miscellaneous crew who have made the great decision to be there. Surfing in the Basque Country is a completely different thing from the endless beachbreaks of Les Landes to the north. At the western end of the Pyrenees Mountain range, the coastline is craggy with... read more

“7 Best Selling Techniques to Increase Your Sales” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Looking for effortless retail sales training that can transform your staff? Are you willing to do the hard work to achieve it? Sorry, it’s not easy to transform your staff into selling powerhouses. Oh sure, you’ve probably heard it said of someone, “They could sell ice to an Eskimo,” or something similar to that. But how did they get that way? Is the ability to excel at retail selling an easy instinctive talent that can’t be learned? Not at all. Anyone can learn the best sales techniques in retail. If you want to hit the target, you just have to be more human… Here are the best selling techniques in retail 1. Sell people on benefits The “selling ice to an Eskimo” comment may be intended as a compliment of someone’s selling ability, but in truth, it highlights what a salesperson shouldn’t do. Selling products or services that aren’t genuinely useful, enjoyable, or in some other way beneficial to a customer, may help a salesperson’s short-term retail sales numbers. However, in the long run, you can’t be a great salesperson if you don’t consistently provide value to your customers. Selling things to customers that they’ll later regret buying will result in them never returning again and likely spreading negative impressions of your brand across Facebook and Twitter. The best salespeople not only understand this principle, but they also put it to work for them when they are selling. They make it clear to the customer how an item will benefit them, and then they repeat what the customer will get from buying the product throughout the selling process. 2. Be honest Never overstate the... read more

“3 E-Commerce and Social Media Trends to Watch Through the Rest of 2022” by Jessica Hawthorne-Castro via Total Retail

E-commerce sales have been on the upswing as a share of total sales since before 2000, and in the last decade, social platforms have played an increasing role. Then 2020 happened, driving an unprecedented spike in online sales. This year so far, we’re seeing social media mature as a force that drives e-commerce, in addition to emerging technologies like the metaverse and 5G. Here’s a look at how e-commerce and social media will intersect across three major platforms through the rest of 2022. 1. Instagram Retains its Leadership Position in the Social Commerce Sphere This image-forward social platform is already a major player in e-commerce, with 72 percent of users reporting that they’ve made a purchase decision after seeing a post. Savvy brands have capitalized on Instagram’s visual-first design, placing content on the platform to keep consumers current on what’s new in stores or available online. With a successful suite of e-commerce features and the No. 1 rank among social platforms consumers use to follow brands, Instagram is still in a strong position in terms of e-commerce and brand communication, and that’s unlikely to change in the months ahead. Keep an eye on new features on Instagram like variable focus and augmented reality (AR) tools. Related story: Authenticity, Social Commerce Spur D-to-C Brand ZOX’s Growth 2. Snapchat Plays Catchup It may seem counterintuitive because Snapchat has a cutting-edge AR system, but the popular instant messaging app is losing ground in terms of active users relative to its competitors, and that makes it less of a player in e-commerce today. Instagram has well over twice as many active users, and TikTok has pulled far ahead,... read more

“HR In Retail: 5 Ways To Retain, Attract, And Keep Employees Happy” by Adam Hill via Retail Minded

The retail sector struggles to maintain a stable and content workforce. It has one of the highest turnover rates averaging above 60%. Most employees work long hours with low wages and no benefits. The great resignation brought about by the Covid-19 made things worse because the retail sector suffered the second-highest number of resignees.  However, most retail companies are now on the road to recovery. This crisis was also a chance for retailers to develop their online sales channels and reinvent their strategies. Here are five tips to attract, retain and keep your retail employees. Prioritize Work-Family Balance Whilst long working hours seem to be the standard, flexible working hours will allow for some sort of work-life balance. Balance takes planning ahead, good coordination, and organization. One way to achieve this is through shift scheduling in advance and allowing employees to trade in shifts.  When you offer retail employees the power to choose their own shifts, their satisfaction increases. They will likely remain in the company for a longer time. Women make up the majority of the workforce in retail – company benefits like paid time afford working moms the opportunity to be with their families without worrying about finances. Through company support, work-family conflict can be greatly reduced. Encourage Career Growth Employees value companies with development opportunities and clear, defined career paths. Companies that take a blind eye to the employees’ quest for growth risk losing high-performing individuals.  To support the career progression of retail workers, companies must offer professional training and development opportunities that can help them to expand their skills and further their experience in the company.  To entice long-term stay in retail... read more

“Buy now, pay later players’ losses grow as costs soar” by Jonathon Berr via Retail Dive

Don Arnold via Getty Images BNPL providers are paying a hefty price to keep up with surging consumer demand for their financing services, spending large sums to add new tech and more employees. The buy now, pay later boom had an inauspicious debut more than a decade ago. In 2005, three Swedish entrepreneurs, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson, decided to see if their installment payment loan service, then called Kreditor Europe and now called Klarna, would attract the attention of investors attending a Shark Tank-like contest in Stockholm.   As Klarna’s website points out, Klarna came in last place. A person in the audience, which included Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, came up to Siemiatkowski and told him he should pursue the idea because the banks would never do it. Klarna’s website asks for the man to come forward and identify himself because the founders have no idea who he is and presumably want to thank him.  BNPL has morphed from a shopping novelty to a multibillion industry on three continents in less than 20 years. Its explosive growth hasn’t been cheap. None of the major pure-play BNPL competitors, including Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay and Zip, currently is profitable. And some of their merchant clients are starting to wonder if they are paying hefty fees to the BNPL fintech companies for sales they would have gotten anyway. At the same time, regulators such as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra have raised concerns about whether consumers are becoming too indebted from using the installment payment services. Plus, industry competition and consolidation are mounting, as new entrants flock to the U.S., where penetration rates for the installment financing service are lower... read more

“5 Surf Non-Profits That Are Making Waves of Change” by Rebecca Parsons via The Inertia

Surf non-profits do lots of positive things for the surf community. Photo: Courtesy of Me Water Foundation. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that surfing is a business. It is, after all, the “surf industry.” A large part of surfing is centered around selling boards, products, getting views, getting clicks, etcetera. But outside of the big-name brands and money driven businesses, there are a number of surf non-profits that are centered around giving back. Here are five incredible non-profits that are doing amazing work for the surf community. MeWater Foundation Founded in 2015, MeWater is a non-profit whose mission is to educate, inspire, and empower youth and families through the magic of Mother Nature. Run by surfers and mental health professionals in San Francisco, California, they provide day and overnight camps for youth, families, and groups and work to address trauma and stress in young people from backgrounds of poverty and violence. Run almost entirely by volunteers, MeWater is proud to offer their programs 100 percent free to participants. Moore Aloha Founded by five-time world champion Carissa Moore in 2018, Moore Aloha is focused on inspiring young women and quite literally, spreading aloha. The non-profit hosts three to four events a year where the girls participate in activities like surfing, lei making, journaling/goal setting, beach cleanups, and more. The organization’s core values are centered around love (a pillar of Moore’s philosophy) and treating yourself, others, and the world with kindness. Surfrider Foundation The Surfrider Foundation is “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.” The non-profit fights for plastic education, ocean protection,... read more

“What Every Brand Should Know Before Launching Into Live Selling” by Finn Faldi via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by fizkes For retailers and brands, “going live” consistently can drive conversion rates that are higher than what they see on their e-commerce sites. Here are some tips that businesses of all sizes should keep in mind when expanding into the high-potential live selling channel. Live selling proved a lifeline for retailers and brands over the past couple of years as the pandemic disrupted store operations and consumers moved online in droves for shopping and entertainment. Many retail operators that have recently dipped their toes into this new selling medium have quickly discovered that “going live” can generate higher conversion rates than they typically see on their e-commerce sites. It can also turn occasional customers into dedicated brand fans who habitually tune in to engage with their favorite live selling hosts to learn about new products and make repeat purchases. In fact, successful brands and retailers have found that their customers are tuning in not only to shop, but also for entertainment and personal connection. Coresight Research forecasts that the live selling market in the U.S. will reach $25 billion by next year; McKinsey estimates that by 2026, live selling will account for 10 percent to 20 percent of global e-commerce sales. As the consumer audience for live selling continues to grow, the platforms where retailers and brands can stream are multiplying. Businesses can now live sell not only on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other social media sites, but concurrently on their own e-commerce websites and, if they have them, on their own mobile apps. One major benefit of live selling is that it allows retailers and brands to... read more

“PacSun opens metaverse store, auctions NFTs” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Courtesy of PacSun Dive Brief: Joining other brands in experimenting with the metaverse, Pacsun launched a three-level store in ComplexLand 3.0, a metaverse shopping festival taking place between May 25 and May 27, the youth clothing brand announced on Tuesday.Virtual shoppers with customizable avatars can browse curated products from Pacsun, and its resale arm, PS Reserve. Once consumers find an item they want to buy, they’ll be redirected from the virtual store to Pacsun’s website to make their purchase, the company said.The clothing brand is also auctioning off a non-fungible token of a Pacsun Mall Rat in ComplexLand’s virtual gallery. Buyers of the NFT will receive a sneaker from PS Reserve, per the announcement. Dive Insight: Pacsun’s entry into the ComplexLand 3.0 festival is part of its ongoing experimentation with the metaverse and blockchain technology. Last October, the apparel brand began accepting cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin via Bitpay to appeal to Gen Z consumers interested in digital assets. “Being part of ComplexLand 3.0 is a big step for us in the metaverse, coming almost a year after we introduced our first offering of Pacsun branded items on Roblox,” Brie Olson, president of Pacsun, said in a statement. “It is undeniable that metaverse as a whole has an incredible network effort. Not only do consumers find community in the space, but we, as a brand, get to connect with them in an authentic way and ultimately grow our Pac Community in the both digital and physical worlds as well.” Multiple brands and retailers, as diverse as Forever 21, Crate and Barrel, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Walmart, have turned their attention to the metaverse. However, a Gartner report noted that companies shouldn’t devote too many resources to one metaverse component,... read more

“Guinness Just Verified That Sebastian Steudtner Set a World Record at Nazaré” by Will Sileo via The Inertia

Sebastian, focused amidst the chaos of Nazaré. Photo: Joerg Mitter. We know this: several massive swells have occurred at Nazaré in the past couple of years. And with them have come the things we aren’t so sure of. Namely, if the world’s largest wave may have been surfed during that time. Claims of catching the elusive 100-foot wave have been made time and time again, so much so that it tends to become background noise. At least until someone confirms it using a plausible system. Measuring waves is a difficult task, especially the shifty monsters on offer at Nazaré. In recent years, however, attempts have been made to standardize the way big waves are quantified, hopefully bringing clarity to the often murky claims. That’s becoming increasingly important as the hunt for the “100-foot wave” has gained mainstream attention thanks, in part, to the recent HBO documentary. “You want the largest ruler possible in the image and to validate its size,” Adam Fincham recently told the Washington Post. Fincham is a University of Southern California associate professor of engineering specializing in geophysical fluid dynamics, who led the analysis of Steudtner’s wave. As they can be easily measured, the “largest ruler possible” is often a Jet Ski. In the case of Steudtner’s wave, though, there wasn’t one positioned correctly within the footage. Instead, they used something else: Steudtner’s lower leg. “That distance does not change since you can’t bend your lower leg,” Fincham explained. The surfer’s entire height is less useful as a reference point since big-wave surfers are often low in a crouch, zipping along at breakneck speeds over often-uneven faces. Using Steudtner’s lower leg as a ruler,... read more

“7 Tips To Visually Optimize Your Website” by Krystina Morgan via Independent Retailer

With retail ecommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart setting the bar extremely high for website design and experiences, smaller online stores are left behind to constantly make updates to ensure their websites are similarly easy to use. It is absolutely crucial to have a visually appealing website, seeing as 38% of consumers will leave if they find the layout unattractive.  In order to prevent future customers from abandoning your site, here are 7 tips to visually optimize your website:  Include the Most Important Information Above the Fold The content on your homepage that is “above-the-fold” is visible before any scrolling occurs and will be the basis of a user’s first impression, so it needs to be good. Putting the wrong content above the fold may result in a high bounce rate and a loss of customers and revenue.  Pro Tip: According to Wingify, brands should include their logo, contact information, navigation and search bar, current promotions, shopping cart, and calls-to-action above the fold.  Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly Mobile commerce makes up 30% of all U.S. ecommerce, and mobile traffic represents 53% of all ecommerce traffic. If your website does not conform to smartphone viewing, you can easily lose all of those shoppers. In order to make your site mobile-friendly, you will need to:  Choose a mobile-responsive theme or templateStrip back your contentMake images and CSS as light as possibleAvoid FlashChange button size and placementSpace out your linksUse a large and readable fontEliminate pop-upsTest regularly Include Images & Videos Images and videos are great for enhancing the user experience, especially when it comes to showing off your products. Clicking on a website, only to stumble upon... read more

“Most Product Purchases Aren’t Impulsive, So Why Sell Them That Way?” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

I walked into a store in California last year and they had what seemed like thousands of mason jar candles stacked on a glass fixture from the ’80s.It was right next to the register.I could see the logic of putting the display there. Candles are an impulse item. We probably don’t have to talk much about them. They could be a grab-and-go and increase sales.The flaw in this thinking was the price point. These were $24.95.That is not an impulse item.Even though it is a small product, the price point made it a considered purchase and demonstrated what I want to draw a distinction for you about today in this post.A considered purchase is one that makes the customer stop and ask themself questions: Is this a good value?Do I really need this?How does it work?What happens if I get it home and it isn’t right?Will this last? Obvious examples of considered purchases are flooring, automobiles, window fashions, and furniture – these are all large purchases that people have to think about not only before going to the store but also incorporated with new information they will receive in the store before they buy.So, what made these candles a considered purchase?Right off the casual glance, the merchandising said commodity. Once you saw the price tag, you had questions. What is the scent? What are they made of? What am I getting for $25? What are the differences between these items?A customer who has questions arise in their mind doesn’t buy…they move on. This is why there were so many candles left sitting on the shelf.Now if those candles had a sign that... read more

“Did the Pandemic Change Retailing Dramatically?” by Jan Rogers Kniffen via The Robin Report

Any professional observer of retail trends and every shopper in the U.S. would tell you that retailing, and retailers changed dramatically during the pandemic. But many of those changes were already in the works before the pandemic even started. One of the interesting things that happened during the pandemic is that Amazon announced the closure of almost all their test stores that were in the works. On the surface, one might think that online retailing charged ahead so rapidly during the pandemic that Amazon decided to withdraw from stores altogether, concluding that the world had passed brick-and-mortar stores by. Well, there is no doubt that online selling charged ahead during the pandemic. It went from about 9 percent of retail sales to over 18 percent in that short (very long living through it) pandemic period. But Amazon’s move to close stores and try “something new,” which right now seems to be a 30,000 square-foot department store, seems to be driven by the poor consumer reception to the various test stores tried so far, not a belief that stores are not still important. 1/ The Physical Store Actually Became More Important My conclusion is that despite the explosion of online selling during the pandemic, stores became even more important as retailers realized that physical stores were going to be great support for online retailing going forward. They saw the billboarding effect of the store was real, using the store as a distribution center was necessary and using the store as a customer service center for online sales was a requirement. Despite Amazon arguably (some experts would say unarguably) being the very best online retailer in... read more

“Social Commerce is Having More Than a Moment – Brands not embracing this trend, or at least testing the water, will be left behind” by Stevie Morris via Total Retail

Credit: HubSpot Social commerce, the latest darling of digital marketers, continues its meteoric rise with the latest predictions putting the industry at $1.2 trillion in purchases by 2025. With more than $958 billion spent in 2021, it’s clear that social commerce represents a very real, profitable tactic for brands. No wonder there’s hunger to invest. But at this pace, strategic marketers must ask themselves a few questions. Social Commerce: A Moment or a Permanent Shift? Three major drivers are affecting the moment we’re living in: Time spent: Today, there are 4.5 billion people using social media — that’s more than half the world’s population.Content: With so much to see, do and learn, average daily time spent on social media is now 2.5 hours.Payments: Driven mostly by millennials and Gen Z, 2 billion people now use mobile wallets. As these behaviors shift, so do expectations with more shoppers seeking: Convenience: Research shows that 82 perfect of shoppers like how quick and easy it is to shop on social media, while 71 percent say they prefer to buy immediately after viewing content rather than switching to a retail site.Inspiration: 60 percent of users say they’ve discovered a product via social feeds, and 55 percent were moved to buy.Validation: Heavily influenced by community, 70 percent of people who watched livestreams hosted by an influencer say they were “highly likely” to buy the products recommended. While traditional e-commerce is calculated, self-prompted, and often cumbersome, social commerce is spontaneous. It allows you to be inspired in the moment and to buy without leaving the experience you’re in. Related story: Authenticity, Social Commerce Spur D-to-C Brand ZOX’s Growth What Are Social Platforms Getting... read more

“Audience Hijacking: How to Prevent Your Online Customers From Being Shoplifted” by Patrick Sullivan via Total Retail

Ensuring your website visitors have a positive experience is absolutely crucial for turning shoppers into buyers. But increasingly, the online customer journey is disrupted by pop-up ads, browser plug-ins and extensions designed to redirect shoppers away from your site. More than just distracting, “audience hijacking” can take a real bite out of sales, significantly impacting your bottom line. By some estimates, audience hijacking is costing retailers billions in revenue. Yet, because it’s occurring within the browser, retailers may not even be aware it’s occurring. A Common, Complex Problem How common is audience hijacking? One estimate suggests that between 10 percent and 20 percent of retailers’ shoppers are lured away by competitive offers — or, worse yet, by fraudulent offers. Audience hijacking can take several forms, most commonly injected ads or coupon codes. One concerning trend is the increase in affiliate fraud, where a third party “hijacks” credit for affiliate sales they didn’t make. In addition, there’s also the risk that your customers could be lured away to a phishing site designed to steal their credit card number or other personal financial data. And those attacks can go undetected for weeks or months. So why not simply block all third-party ads, extensions and scripts and eliminate the “threat surface”? The fact is not all third-party elements are problematic — and some may actually be beneficial. Customers are increasingly using third-party shopping apps and tools to find the products they want. You don’t want to miss out on those opportunities. In addition, allowing authorized affiliates to piggyback on your online presence may actually result in sales that you otherwise might not get. Therefore,... read more

“Malls and Shoppers Are Back In Droves” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor blog

Don’t look now, pundits, but those dire predictions of the collapse of malls are crumbling. I visited the Garden State Plaza in New Jersey Saturday around noon. It took me about ten minutes to find a parking place. Once inside, I found the mall packed with shoppers scurrying all throughout. Smiling, laughing, and most importantly, holding bags with their purchases. There was a line 30 people deep to get into Pandora. The Shake Shack was packed. There was no evidence of curbside or BOPIS like in previous months. The only way a time-traveler would know it wasn’t the Saturday before Christmas was the lack of decorations. That’s about it. I even made this LinkedIn live video I was so overwhelmed by the traffic. (Apologies for the wankiness of the video due to wifi.) That’s not to say retailers were dealing with it all equally. At Nordstrom: fully staffed, friendly help. A sincere desire to greet and meet like before. Several shirts and a new Canali jacket. Check. At Macy’s: though much better stocked than their location I visited in Albany a few weeks ago, there was a clear lack of help and desire to do so. Fitting rooms stacked with clothes, cardboard boxes of merchandise haphazardly left on the floor, and even shipping pallets (!). The employees stood behind their plexiglass giving the appearance of being forced to work in prison rather than being delighted they had work and people shopping with them. The only courtesy I saw was from the shoppers who were congenial and engaging each other. At Neiman Marcus: no one at all to be seen... read more

“U.S. Retail Sales Grew 0.9% in April – Retail spending rose for the fourth straight month as inflation remained high” by Harriet Torry via The Wall Street Journal

Americans continued to pump money into the U.S. economy in April, with increased retail spending offering the latest sign consumers are driving demand at stores and manufacturers despite the pinch from high inflation. Retail sales—a measure of spending at stores, online and in restaurants—rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9% last month compared with March, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That marked the fourth straight month of higher retail spending.Monthly percent change in retail sales. Source: Commerce Dept via St. Louis Retail sales aren’t adjusted for inflation. That means that while consumers have continued to spend more, they are getting less due to rapidly rising prices. Consumers spent more at restaurants and bars and boosted expenditures on vehicles, furniture, clothing, and electronics. They cut spending sharply on gasoline in April as pump prices pulled back briefly from a run-up related to the war in Ukraine. In another sign of economic momentum, the Federal Reserve said industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, increased a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in April—also a fourth month of gains. U.S. retail and food services. Source: U.S. Census Bureau via St. Louis Fed Note: Seasonally adjusted.RECESSION2020 $700million Economists said the figures showed the highest U.S. inflation in four decades and uncertainty from the Ukraine war haven’t deterred consumers from spending, which makes up the bulk of economic output. The U.S. is also experiencing a historically tight labor market—with April marking the 12th straight month of solid job gains—adding to positive signs for the second-quarter performance by the U.S. economy. “Today’s numbers suggest that domestic demand momentum is very robust,” said ING economist James Knightley. That gives the Fed a green light... read more


Skateboarding is so damn fun that it’s easy to forget it’s also an actual j-o-b that some people do to make ends meet. Just like the regular jobs you and I work, there are a lot of nuances, expectations, and obligations that the greater world doesn’t necessarily know about. We got curious about what some of those things might be, so we dug into our contact list of industry heads—who will remain unnamed—to get some insight from people who are truly in the know. If you’re a SLAP head, you might know most of this stuff already because you bastards seem to know everything. For the rest of you, hopefully, you’ll come out of this learning a thing or two, because we certainly did. 1. PROS MAKE MORE MONEY FROM ONLINE BOARD SALES THAN SHOP SALES Depending on the board brand or distribution, some pros can make as much as a $10 per board if you buy it directly from their sponsor’s website. The riders still make money from skate shop sales as well, but online is where they get the biggest chunk because it essentially cuts out the middleman and has a bigger profit margin. 2. PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDERS DON’T ALWAYS OWN THE RIGHTS TO THEIR FOOTAGE As Roger Bagley puts it, that’s “The person who hit record, or the person paying the person to hit record.” Given the buddy-buddy nature of the skate industry, this generally works, but it is far from beyond its downsides. This practice has definitely led to the occasional hostage situation where a filmer won’t give up a footage until they feel they’ve been compensated fairly.... read more

“The Best & Worst Times To Post On Social Media” by Krystina Morgan via Independent Retailer

Social Media plays such a huge part in brand growth, but unless you use it properly, it will not help you gain any extra exposure. There are many different factors that go into creating successful social media accounts, and one of the biggest ones is posting at just the right time in order to get the most visibility.  Before you know the best and worst times to post on each social media platform, retailers need to provide attractive content if you want all of those eyeballs on your page. Two of the main points to keep in mind is that not all content needs to be shared everywhere, and not all content is suitable for every social media platform. While some sites encourage videos and fun pictures, for others, it is best to post facts or polls.  The Best Content for Facebook According to Buffer, videos and curated content will get the most attention on Facebook. From their own research, video posts generated the highest average reach among all post types. The average engagement on their video posts is almost on par with that of their photo posts, which have the highest average engagement. Buzzsumo analyzed 68 million Facebook posts and found a similar trend: videos have higher average engagement than images and links.  The Best Content for Instagram Shopify says that it is important to have a mix of engaging content that will appeal to Instagram users at different stages of their customer journey. For example:  Show off your products with high quality pictures and videos.Be sure to avoid making your pictures look like ads, and include rich, interesting captions, not just product names and a... read more

“What Pandemic? Physical Real Estate is Having a Moment” by Andrew Flint via Total Retail

Credit: by dragana991 Online shopping might be easy, convenient and prolific, yet it hasn’t erased the need for flagship brick-and-mortar retail establishments. In fact, retail real estate is undergoing a phenomenal — and some might say surprising — comeback. As REJournals reported, roughly 60 percent of businesses with physical retail assets plan to expand their footprints in 2022. What’s driving the momentum? Retail stores offer the personalization and community that virtual shopping lacks. Plus, those stores can serve as locations to test concepts, continue customer journeys, and forge deeper bonds with patrons. Even brands with wildly successful online presences are bumping up their in-person shops. Take Warby Parker, for instance. As CNBC reported in late 2021, the eyewear giant, known primarily as an e-commerce destination, brought in 40 percent of its revenue from retail locations in 2020. Physical stores were essential for providing customers with full-service experiences. This isn’t to suggest that online buying isn’t increasing. It is. Instead of usurping physical browsing and shopping, however, e-commerce is augmenting physical shopping and fostering the growth of omnichannel retail. Omnichannel retail has been around for a while, of course, but McKinsey research shows that the e-commerce element soared in 2020 amid the pandemic. And it’s true that physical retail took hits during mandatory shutdowns. Consumers opted to stay at home and order items for delivery. Developers had trouble getting construction permits. Property managers lost tenants as they forced retailers to reduce payroll. But now, brick-and-mortar is springing back to life, thanks in part to the benefits of omnichannel retail experiences. Case in point: In-person shopping allows brands to develop deeper relationships with consumers. Even if consumers begin their journeys online, they frequently jump from... read more

“Top 10 Boating Safety Tips for the Busy 2022 Season” by The Watersports Foundation via the WSIA Newsletter

With a 35% increase in new boat ownership and 415,000 new boaters taking to the waterways since 2020, boating participation will reach historic levels of participation this summer, says Water Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Emmons. With the Memorial Day holiday traditionally serving as the kick-off to summer boating activity, Emmons says the Water Sports Foundation is taking a pro-active approach to promoting safe boating strategies prior to the busy season. “Especially with so many new boaters gearing up for a fun season of activity on our nation’s crowded waterways, we felt it was important to share these tips to keep boaters safe and alert this year,” said Emmons. #1 – Take a Boating Safety Class or Refresher The Water Sports Foundation recently reported a major surge in online education Water Sports Foundation Reports Pandemic Spike in Online Boater Education – Water Sports Foundation with many safety organizations now offering virtual training options in addition to traditional live instruction. In many states, new boaters are required to take mandated boater ed classes, but now there is a wealth of new online and hybrid classes also available on a variety of boating topics and for all skill levels, through public and private providers. “Whether a seasoned skipper or a boating newbie, everyone can benefit from a boating safety class, especially when it’s now just an easy click away,” said Emmons. For a list of educational resources, check out the National Boating Safety Media Resource Center: Boating Safety Education – Water Sports Foundation #2 – Buckle Up! According to the U.S. Coast Guard, drowning is the cause of death in 79 percent of fatal... read more

“Retail’s Bench Strength Is Dwindling, Here’s How To Build It Back” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Retailers are getting shoppers back in droves. That’s great news. For the most recent period, while online retail sales fell for the third straight month, visits to stores were up. In fact, NRF’s annual forecast predicts that retail sales for 2022 will increase between 6 percent and 8 percent to between $4.86 trillion and $4.95 trillion. The bad news is many retailers are still understaffed and bench positions of leads and assistants are going unfilled. The high labor demand is pushing employers to pay higher wages as they compete to attract talent, and that higher pay is luring workers away from their current jobs. That in turn is leading managers to expect even more from even fewer workers. No wonder the Labor Department’s April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, recently showed a record 4.5 million people voluntarily quit their jobs. But on my calls with retailers, I’ve found what is hidden from the news is the weakening of the support systems at the core of many retail operations; their very infrastructure. What is infrastructure at the store level? It is the system of leadership within a store’s four walls. It is the underlying foundation that allows a brand to exceed shoppers’ expectations. As a component of physical infrastructure is a bridge between two landmasses, so do store leads and assistant managers function as a bridge between management and floor associates. What is infrastructure failure in retail? Retail infrastructure failure is the interruption of the leadership systems that provide for onboarding, training, accountability, etc. It is the leadership vacuum that allows bad customer service, missed sales targets, and increased shrink. What... read more

“From Seed To Culture – Shaheen Sadeghi ran global giant Quiksilver back when soulless malls ruled the retail landscape. Now, he’s building the future at his cool, community-focused shop, Seed Peoples Market.” by Doug Schnitzspahn via Outdoor Retailer Magazine

Seed Peoples Market won an Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award in January 2020, but when I visit the Costa Mesa, California-based shop, I don’t walk out with anything I saw in the aisles at that Show. Instead of a recycled polyester Patagonia jacket or a technical headlamp, I leave with a beautiful set of wooden knives. This isn’t because the store failed to do its job—instead it made me discover something beyond my outdoor brain. I had, after all, wanted a set of knives like this for cheeses, but I never would have found them, or bought them otherwise. And this all went down exactly the way Shaheen Sadeghi planned it. Former Quiksilver president Sadeghi left the big corporate world in 1992. He wanted to explore a massive cultural shift he saw happening, to create the type of authenticity consumers were demanding, to build the type of community-focused retail center we now see as the hip norm. Seed People’s Market, which opened in 2013 in a spot once occupied by an Adventure 16, is the cornerstone in The Camp, Sadeghi’s green ecosystem of shops standing out in the bland sameness of SoCal strip malls. “Products with Purpose” is the shop’s mantra, written on the wall on a chalkboard—and that is what shoppers will find in the space here that feels like a mashup of World Market and Adventure 16 in its heyday. It’s a bazaar of sustainable, local-made, hand-made, and eco-conscious items and classic outdoor offerings that keep customers engaged. It’s also the culmination of Sadeghi’s vision of retail as a place of connection as well as commerce, the anti-mall.... read more

“Here Are the Winners of The Inertia’s 2022 Film & Photo Challenge Presented by White Claw” by Staff via The Inertia

Owen Beim with the winning entry of the Black and White Category presented by White Claw. Last weekend, at the Traveler Surf Club in Malibu, The Inertia awarded the winners of the 2022 Film and Photo Challenge presented by White Claw. And the talent runs thick. A big congratulations goes out to everyone who entered and many thanks to all the talented photographers and filmmakers who participated. It was a huge success! With nearly a thousand submissions and so many people sharing great work from around the world, it’s always tough to select just one winner of each category. This contest is a great reminder each year of the depth of talent in our community. You’re all an inspiration. With that said, here’s a quick look at the winners. Young Owen Beim gets us started with the heat and his Black and White beauty of Eimeo Czermak on a Tahitian bomb (above). “Absolutely pumped to have won the Black and White category,” Beim said. “This shot of Eimeo Czermak is no doubt my favorite shot in black in white and it was truly a moment I won’t forget.” Blair Conklin, deep in the belly of the beast, as seen through the lens of James Ferrell. In the Emerge category presented by Miir, a category dedicated to up-and-comers, James Ferrell captured this gorgeous shot of Blair Conklin in deep. The Wedge continues to help develop astounding young talent, and Ferrell is chief among the youthful photogs in residence at the famous mutant wave. This image of a solid winter swell won Paul Greene the Lineups category of The Inertia Film & Photo Challenge presented by White Claw. Photo: Paul Greene Meanwhile, Paul Greene captured... read more

“Retailers Should Be Texting Customers More: Here’s How to Do it Effectively” by Tom Sheahan via Total Retail

While many industries have embraced short message service (SMS, or more commonly referred to as texting) as a meaningful way to communicate with customers, many retail brands still haven’t adopted the practice with regularity. As retailers consider changes in marketing tactics, increasing text message campaigns should be part of the discussion. People are on their phones a lot, but it’s important to note they’re shopping on their phones a lot, too. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is on the rise. According to eMarketer/Insider Intelligence data, retail m-commerce sales hit $359.32 billion in 2021, an increase of 15.2 percent year-over-year. By 2025, m-commerce sales could more than double in the U.S. Sending a relevant, timely message is a great way to connect with consumers and potential customers in a place where they likely already do some shopping. Why Texting? Texting offers convenience, but also results. Research from OpenMarket indicates 83 percent of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. And Gartner research pointed at 90 percent of all people reading text messages within three minutes of receipt. These stats represent the fact that text messages are a desired form of communication for most, as also indicated by the amount of time people spend on their phones. Text message sends are also affordable, allowing retailers to reach their large lists of customers without breaking the bank. Retailers can send text messages for as low as pennies per message, depending on the SMS software provider. Related story: Soft Surroundings Sees Growth in Email, SMS Revenue Through Automation Texting as Part of an Overarching Marketing Strategy Text messages act as another touchpoint between a brand and consumers; they... read more

“Surf Shop Day is now being handled by the awesome people behind SIMA plus link to social media assets to use for SSD on May 21st” via Surf Industry Member Association blog

Let’s celebrate! A surf shop’s value according to Shaun Tomson, world champion surfer, environmentalist, and author: “Surf shops supply what surfers truly need – not what they want, but what they truly need – a great board, a wetsuit, some surf shorts, wax, and a few accessories. Products designed around that existential experience of paddling out towards that open horizon, waiting, and watching, and then swinging around, catching that wave, and getting stoked. Everything else is detail around this core. The entire surfing industry, and every dollar ever paid, is essentially to satisfy that need of being stoked.” Surf Shop Day is the day to celebrate the independent retailers that helped build and continue to maintain the surf industry. These surf shops are where so many of us found our surf stoke – the euphoric smell of surf wax, neoprene wetsuits, and resin curing from a fresh batch of surfboards. Surf Shop Day will celebrate the heart and soul of our business and what it means to our industry and its growth, from the hardworking owners to the enthusiastic sales staff, to the relentless sales reps who keep the machine of stoke going for customers. Let’s shine a light on surf shops in all communities, recognize those who have been there from the early days and throw sunlight on the new ones bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to make the in-person, brick-and-mortar experience more exciting. Retailers and brands are encouraged to find their own way of celebrating Surf Shop Day to bring positive attention to our culture, sport, and industry. To help stoke the imagination, the Surf Industry Members... read more

“Outdoor Sports Insurance Shares Best Crime-Prevention Practices Amid 50% Rise in Theft Claims” by Amos Horn via OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

With headline-making robberies of cycling, skiing, and outdoor retailers becoming a common occurrence, Outdoor Sports Insurance ( is encouraging outdoor businesses and specialty retailers to reexamine their security practices amidst a nationwide rise in outdoor equipment theft. “With the pandemic, there has not only been a spike in outdoor recreation, but also a spike in the theft of outdoor gear,” said Rob Martin of Outdoor Sports Insurance. “Implementing best practices and taking another look at security protocols can go a long way toward mitigating the problem.” Outdoor Sports Insurance works with over 2,500 specialty retail shops across the country and over the past two years has seen a 50% increase in theft claims, with the size of claims up 37%. From 2019 to 2021, 16% of all Outdoor Sports Insurance claims are theft related. And to make matters worse, one-fifth of those claims appear to be the work of coordinated crime rings. As the value of outdoor equipment is more widely understood, it is more important than ever for brands and specialty retailers to put an emphasis on their crime-prevention tactics. The following suggestions are a good place to start. Understand the ProblemThere are many different ways a person or a group of people can go about stealing merchandise. Understanding such methods as tag swapping, clothing concealment, and employee theft, along with high-risk areas and high-value items in the store, is the first step in addressing the problem. OrganizationA well-organized store with open aisles and uninterrupted lines of sight is important in making it harder for would-be shoplifters to find a place to privately conceal items. The reorganization process... read more