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

“‘We’re no longer a photo-sharing app,’ says head of Instagram” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: As multiple social media platforms adapt to shifting user habits, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, recently announced that the app is pivoting away from being primarily a photo-sharing app. Instead, the platform will enhance its features in four key areas: creators, video, shopping and messaging, Mosseri said a week ago in a video. During the video, Mosseri noted that the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated the shift of commerce from offline to online by a number of years, and we’re trying to lean into that trend” through its shopping features. Dive Insight: In his video announcement, Mosseri cited the success of competitors like TikTok, YouTube and smaller platforms as part of the reason for focusing more on video. In the coming months, the social network will be experimenting with recommendations — starting with sharing content to consumers, even from accounts they’re not following, based on the topics they’re interested in, he said.  “People are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do. Then we have to embrace that. And that means change,” Mosseri said in the video.  Instagram has taken its cues from other platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse, the audio social media app. Clubhouse, founded in early 2020, features live audio chat rooms and recently launched a direct payment tool for collecting tips from users. Similarly, Instagram launched its rooms feature in March to let up to four users chat live with one another simultaneously. Last month, Instagram also unveiled features to help creators monetize their audience.  Meanwhile, TikTok teamed up with Shopify last Fall to introduce e-commerce tools on the app. Instagram debuted its Shopping in Reels feature in December to let sellers... read more

“Class Is In Session: Examining the Evolution of Surf Schools” by Sam George via The Inertia

It ain’t easy being a newbie. Photo: Tim Marshall//Unsplash Editor’s Note: Welcome to Surf History 101, where we look at innovations in the world of surfing and beyond that changed the pursuit forever. In this edition, Sam George examines the surf school and its impact on our culture. What Is It Exactly what it sounds like, a surf school is a service in which instructors with varying degrees of experience and qualifications teach those who would like to learn, or at least experience, surfing. Who Developed It Earliest European descriptions of surfing in Polynesia and Africa make note that children in those cultures took to the water at a very early age, most probably following the example of older siblings and parents. While no doubt a sequential learning experience, there are no 19th century accounts of formal instruction. This changed at the turn of the  century, however, with the advent of Hawaii’s nascent tourist industry. Due, in part, to the efforts of a tireless journalist/promoter named Alexander Hume Ford, the exotic, eminently romantic “sport of kings” was billed as a major attraction at Waikiki and as the number of visitors increased it was only natural that the local “bronzed Mercurys” would begin taking tourists for a ride, so to speak. As such, the ensuing “Beach Boy” culture that sprung up along with the Moana Hotel in 1901 can be pointed to as the origin of surf instruction. This unique occupation flourished and by the 1920s Waikiki watermen had become essential Island ambassadors, not only providing the inherent thrills of board and canoe surfing, but sharing with visiting malahinis an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience that no contrived hula show or... read more

“Blind & Adaptive Skaters Take Over a Skate Park for the Weekend – A group filled with Ambition, Perseverance, and Grit” by Kelly Anne Walborn

Over the weekend of June 19, 2021, a group of 7 blind skaters and 1 adaptive skater joined forces at Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak, Michigan. Dreaming of getting this group together for several years now blind skater Nick Mullins finally made it happen and coordinated the entire event from start to finish. “My idea was to basically bring everyone together to kind of learn from each other,” Mullins stated. A weekend filled with excitement and thrills as well as some unfortunate unexpected events. A weekend that will go down in skate history and make a path for up and coming skaters of all ages and abilities. A weekend that would not have been possible without the generosity and care of George Leichtweis, the owner of Modern Skate Park for the past 41 years, who decided to take skateboarding to the next level once again in 2021. Blind Skater, Anthony Ferraro (left) learns how to navigate the bowl from Blind Skater, Nick Mullins at Modern Skate Recapping moments from a weekend like this was not a simple task. All skating aside, watching a group of individuals come together that as Mullins kept saying “all deal with the same problems” was an incredible thing to observe. The persistence of a blind skater trying to learn a trick for the first time and not stopping for hours until success is reached is not something that can be easily forgotten. Three virtues can sum up the weekend, ambition, perseverance and grit. Ambition – a passionate desire for rank, fame, or power The word humble should be attached to the beginning of ambition when describing anyone who... read more

“5 ‘Tiny, Noticeable Things’ Guaranteed to Build Customer Loyalty” by Adrian Webster via Total Retail

If you’re looking to build customer loyalty, there’s no simpler nor effective way of doing it then by fully utilizing what I call TNTs. TNTs are “tiny, noticeable things.” They’re all the little things that we don’t need to do, but when we do do them, they can have a seismic impact. They could be as small as a smile, as tiny as a “thank you,” remembering someone’s name, or perhaps recalling if they prefer their coffee with or without sugar. All little things, often overlooked that may cost nothing, yet they make and break relationships. They’re the difference between a four- and a five-star experience, and they’re the difference between a customer choosing, or not choosing, your brand over a competitor. TNT behavior is centered around being sensitive to and then acting upon things that may at times appear insignificant to us, but mean a lot to someone else. Here are five TNT behaviors that can instantly be put to good use, and are guaranteed to keep customers coming back: Related story: New Data Reveals Retailers Need to Create More CX Value Post-COVID-19 If you want to grow customer loyalty, start by making your team members feel taller. If your people feel good about themselves, the chances are they will want to make your customers feel good, too. “Great people make people feel great” is something I repeatedly find myself saying when speaking at conferences. A TNT gesture such as sending a handwritten note to someone’s home address or personally thanking them for all their hard work will give that person a huge lift, and probably never be forgotten.Always be... read more

“Surging Sales Continue in Surf and Skate Shops” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Strong sales in the core channel are showing no signs of slowdown as shoppers continue to embrace local retailers and the surf and skate lifestyle. According to the ActionWatch Retail Panel, year-to-date sales are up 89% vs. the same period in 2020. Click on the following link to view the rest of this informative Shop Eat Surf Article: “Surging Sales Continue in Surf and Skate Shops” Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

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

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

“Despite Monthly Decline, May Retail Sales Reach Near-Record Level” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

Retail sales remained at elevated levels in May despite month-to-month fluctuations that masked near-record performance, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that May retail sales declined 1.3 percent month-over-month. However, the industry’s largest trade association says the May sales data doesn’t tell the whole story. “While May retail sales were down slightly, largely due to supply chain constraints, the more accurate indicator remains in the year-over-year data which, as the NRF calculates, showed growth of over 17 percent,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “For the first five months of this year, retail sales are already tracking 17.6 percent above the same five months of 2020, giving us further confidence in our newly revised sales forecast of growth between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to more than $4.44 trillion for 2021. While there are downside risks related to labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, tax increases and over-regulation, overall, households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend.” Total Retail’s Take: The ominous headlines that May’s retail sales declined, suggesting a slowdown in the economy’s recovery, need to be taken with a grain of salt. The retail sector has recorded solid growth in the first five months of the year, driven by a combination of factors, including stimulus packages, increasing vaccination rates, and greater consumer confidence. The NRF is banking on those trends continuing for the second half of 2021, illustrated by its recently boosted annual sales forecast. “The YoY comparison shows a robust rebound in May,” says Naveen Jaggi, president, retail advisory services, JLL. “This summer, we can expect consumer confidence to continue to make gains as more... read more

“Surfrider Foundation Welcomes Global Celebrations for International Surfing Day” via Surfrider Foundation

The Beach Belongs to Everyone! On Saturday, June 19, the Surfrider Foundation and international affiliates will host events worldwide in recognition of the 17th annual International Surfing Day (ISD) to celebrate the sport of surfing and the protection of clean water and healthy beaches. Held each year on the third Saturday of June, the global holiday founded by the Surfrider Foundation brings communities together to enjoy coastal recreation and raise awareness of urgent threats to the coasts. Every day, the Surfrider Foundation and our network of volunteer activist’s work to protect our coasts. On International Surfing Day, we come together and take a moment to celebrate the waves and beaches that we all love. The theme of this year’s ISD is “The Beach Belongs to Everyone.” For decades, Surfrider has championed to keep our beaches accessible and welcoming for all people to enjoy—regardless of race, socioeconomic background, ability or gender identity. This International Surfing Day, we are celebrating the joy and excitement that the beach brings to all of us. Surfing is an amazing gift and the beach is an incredible place that should be healthy, safe and accessible to all people. As surfers and beachgoers alike, it is our responsibility to foster a vibrant, inclusive community that comes together to protect and enjoy this extraordinary resource. Ways to Participate in ISD While Maintaining Correct Physical Distancing Due to the effects of the coronavirus, surfing and beach regulations throughout the country are constantly changing. Please review your local guidelines and adhere to any curent restrictions in place.If your chapter is having an in person ISD celebration, let’s do everything we can to ensure a fun,... read more

“DISCUSSING SKATEBOARDING WITH NEUROSCIENTIST ANDREW HUBERMAN” by Karl Watson & Rob Fraebel via Jenkem Mag

A few weeks back, Karl Watson introduced us to his friend Andrew Huberman, who is a neuroscientist and tenured professor at Stanford. Andrew also grew up skating San Francisco’s Embarcadero in its heyday where he met a number of amazing skaters, Karl being one of them. Andrew’s research touches on fear responses, as well as sleep and dream states and how they relate to learning. You can learn about this stuff on his podcast which can be very science-heavy and dense at times, but Andrew shares some groundbreaking findings that we and Karl felt other skaters could greatly benefit from. So when Karl asked us if he could interview him and help introduce the research to the everyday skater, we immediately jumped on. We parsed their convo down to give you the best, most digestible bits, but if you are intrigued and want to dive a little deeper into the full studies, make sure to check out Andrew’s site and Instagram where he posts more info on his research and findings. TIMESTAMPS 1:21 Andrew’s background and mission.3:13 Skateboarding’s connection to science.4:12 Why are somedays better than others?5:06 Breathing techniques to remain calm.7:10 How do you get over fear?8:31 Dopamine in skateboarding.11:05 Learning tricks in your dreams.12:19 How do you not let fear get to you?14:14 Muscle memory is a myth.14:46 Are skaters better off in society?16:40 How to slide into Andrew’s DMs. CREDITS 0:15EMB shot by Jacob Rosenberg0:56Candyland by Bill Strobeck2:46Mike Blacbac via Chromeball2:14Dan Mancina by Christian Alexander2:56Danny Way shot my Mike Blabac3:21Jenkem The Second Coming of Brandon Turner3:51Genesis 2 by Ian Ostrowski7:42Welcome to Hell by Toy Machine9:52Thrasher My War: Sammy Baca12:40Thrasher My War: Jamie Foy13:00Thrasher My War: Dane Burman15:10Emerica Stay Gold B-Side: Jerry Hsu15:34@fancyladskateco on Instagram15:39Modus Operandi by Transworld skateboarding Interview by: Karl WatsonEdited by: Rob FraebelShare this with an AI robot... read more

“The Post-Pandemic State of Mobile, Part 2: Mobile’s Role in BOPIS and BOPAC” by Alex Campbell via Total Retail

During the pandemic, retailers faced once-in-a-lifetime headwinds, including closed physical locations, limited in-store capacity, slowed shipping times, and a customer that was oftentimes scared to leave the house. As a result, they turned heavily to buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online, pick up at curbside (BOPAC) to make their customers’ buying journeys easier. These options combine the benefits of convenience and instant gratification, while making the shopping process safer. Prior to the pandemic, BOPIS and BOPAC were growing. However, the pandemic forced brick and mortar retailers to significantly increase investment in digital to physical shopping. And this customer behavior is here to stay. During the holiday season, BOPIS usage increased 400 percent from 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Major retailers are seeing success from adopting this omnichannel strategy. For example, by introducing BOPIS, 40 percent of Bed, Bath & Beyond‘s revenue now comes from its digital channels. Now that BOPIS and BOPAC’s are here to stay, mobile engagement must be integrated into the process. Reduce Consumer Friction While BOPIS and BOPAC improve the customer experience by making the consumer shopping experience easier, retailer to consumer communication is tricky during this process especially because it is so time dependent. The biggest complaint with BOPIS is that customers arrive before their order is ready. This means effective communication between the retailer and the consumer is critical to a positive customer experience. Most retailers still use email to communicate with customers during BOPIS and BOPAC experiences. The problem with email is that 80 percent of people don’t open emails from brands. The channel just isn’t an effective way to inform customers of time-sensitive information. With mobile engagement, and... 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

“9 Tips For Hiring And Training Seasonal Retail Sales Employees” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Let’s be frank when it comes to the seasonality of hiring and training part-time retail employees… All you really care about is that they show up when scheduled and don’t detract from your brand. Your seasonal retail sales employees are there to take a lot of the grunt work off your best trained regular staff. And that’s important to recognize in your seasonal planning. Don’t assume they can perform at the level of your permanent employees – they’ll only be there short term – or you’ll be disappointed again and again. Seasonal part-time employees should free up your regular employees’ time and be well trained in what to do when your store is slammed and when it is calm.   Just because Billy quit and you need someone now, don’t throw a new hire into the pool to sink or swim with minimum training or expect them to shadow a sales associate to figure it out. You, your customers, and your business deserve better. Here are my nine tips for seasonal retail hiring and training: When hiring … 1. Hire more.  Vacation and holiday times are demanding. Good people who sincerely think they could work it, find out they can’t, so do more seasonal hiring than you think you initially need. Then be quick to let go of those who can’t learn. And do all of your seasonal retail hirings before Memorial Day pre-summer season and before Thanksgiving prior to the winter holidays; after then it is simply too late. SalesRX has an entire courseon hiring smarter When interviewing… 2. Long-term goals – You are not looking for a long-term relationship, so this is not important. Consider these... read more

“The Electric Acid Surfboard Test Shaper Reveal – Meet the crafty hands behind Mason and Coco’s colorful quiver” via Stab Magazine

Words by Stab. Photos by Ryan Miller It’s a pleasure each time we set out to film the Electric Acid Surfboard Test, pairing surfers with unfamiliar shapers and foreign models, and patiently waiting for unexpected results.  Today we’d like to take the time to introduce you to the craftsmen behind the vibrant quiver we sent with Mason and Coco Ho. The brother-sister duo cycled through twenty-five surfboards during a two-week stint in Southern Mexico, and we filmed every last second. Photo by Ryan Miller. Here is this years mixed bag Electric Acid Surfboard Test roster: Album Surfboards / Matt Parker Panda Surfboards / Blake Peters Pyzel Surfboards / Jon Pyzel Channel Islands / Britt Merrick …Lost Surfboards / Matt “Mayhem” Biolos Thomas Surfboards / Thomas Bexon Dark Arts / Justin Tiernes Pukas Surfboards / Axel Lorentz Dead Kooks / Eden Saul Morning Of The Earth / Simon Jones JS Surfboards / Jason Stevenson Rusty Surfboards / Rusty Priesendorfer Be sure to visit the STABMag website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“A pair of 12-year-olds qualify for Olympic skateboarding. So does a 46-year-old” by via NBC Sports & Yahoo Sports

Skateboarding’s Olympic debut will truly be one for the ages. World Skate announced the 80 qualifiers for the Tokyo Games on Wednesday — 20 each for men’s and women’s park and street. The youngest qualifiers are 12 years old — Brit Sky Brown, who turns 13 on July 12, and Japanese Kokona Hiraki, who was born two days after the Beijing Olympics ended. Brown and Hiraki are ranked Nos. 3 and 6 in the world, respectively. They are younger than any Olympian since Cameroon swimmer Antoinette Guedia at those 2008 Olympics. Either could become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Brown suffered skull fractures in a spring 2020 crash off a vert ramp. The oldest qualifier is a man known as The Danish Destroyer. Rune Glifberg, 46, competed at the very first X Games in 1995 — and took third in the vert event won by Tony Hawk in Rhode Island. He was also in the very first Tony Hawk Pro Skater game for the original PlayStation in 1999. The 34-year age range is not close to the Olympic record. In 2016 alone, equestrian featured an 18-year-old and a 62-year-old. The U.S. Olympic skateboarding team of 12 is here. Skateboarding was added to the Olympic program for Tokyo under new rules that allow hosts to propose sports strictly for their edition of the Games. Skateboarding was added along with baseball, softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing. Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were also added for the 2024 Paris Games. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“LearnWake Trick Tips: Teaching Kids How to Wakeboard – Introducing kids to the sport doesn’t have to be hard or stressful” by LearnWake via Wakeboarding Mag

this It’s Friday, and with that we have another great video from our friends at LearnWake. With summer approaching, hopefully teaching others to ride is in your plans. And even more so, we hope some of those learning are children. Wakeboarding is a fun, healthy sport that will bring a smile to kids’ faces once they learn to get up and ride on the water on their own. That is sometimes easier said than done, though. In this video we walk you through the step-by-step process of teaching kids to get up in simple, easy-to-understand tips. If you’ve ever struggled teaching kids in the past, or had reservations about doing it, this video is for you. For more interesting wakeboarding related articles and remarkable wakeboarding action, check out: WakeboardingMag.com If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“It’s Official: Here’s Who Will Be Surfing at the 2021 Olympic Games – MEET THE 40 OLYMPIANS WHO WILL BE HEADING TO TOKYO IN JULY” via Surfer.com

Over the past week, surfers from all over the world have been duking it out in El Salvador for the chance to compete in surfing’s debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Towards the tail-end of 2019, right before the world shut down due to COVID-19, 18 ‘CT athletes provisionally qualified for the Olympics, with the remaining 12 slots allotted based on the outcomes of the 2019 Pan Am Games and the 2019 and 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, according to the somewhat byzantine Olympic qualification process. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO SURF WITH A WORLD TITLE AND OLYMPIC SPOT ON THE LINE?A new mini-doc goes behind the scenes at Honolua Bay with Carissa, Lakey and Caroline Now that the last path to qualify has run its course (you can read all about the ISA World Surfing Games Now that the last path to qualify has run its course (you can read all about the ISA World Surfing Games here), the 40 Olympians have now been officially solidified. The roster below–broken down by the avenue each athlete qualified through–features a wide range of surfers, representing 17 different countries. At this moment in time–despite Japan recently extending its COVID-10 state of emergency–the Games will start July 23 and run through August 8. We’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Team Japan during the ISA World Surfing Games Closing Ceremony Women: 2019 WSL Championship Tour Carissa Moore (USA)Caroline Marks (USA)Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)Silvana Lima (BRA)Brisa Hennessy (CRC)Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)Johanne Defay (FRA) 2021 World Surfing Games Yolanda Sequeria (POR)Teresa Bonvalot (POR)Daniella Rosas (PER)Leilani McGonagle (CRC)Mahina Maeda (JPN)Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)Pauline Ado (FRA) 2019 World Surfing... read more

“Why and how your business should be texting in 2021. – Webinar | June 10th, 2021 @ 1 PM EST” (register here) via Podium

The way that consumers communicate is different. No longer will phone and email be a sufficient way to maintain contact and interact with your customers. Today’s consumer is much more comfortable communicating via text or other messaging apps. Businesses that aren’t catering to these differing communication preferences could be left behind.In this webinar, we will discuss how using messaging to augment your service will significantly boost your customer service, while vastly improving your retention. We’ll also give you tips and tricks for implementing a messaging strategy that works best for your business.Key Objectives: – Gain an understanding of today’s communication landscape– How messaging can improve customer service and retention  Register  Request Recording  Can’t make it to the webinar? Register anyway and we will send you the recording.  Presenter    Mark EvansSr. Director of Retail Sales — Podium  Register  Request Recording BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“5 Trends Shaping the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Was it a rough year for many individual retailers? No doubt. We saw too many organizations close their doors in the past year-plus. However, as a whole, brick-and-mortar retail is booming. Total retail sales rose by 6.9 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, per the U.S. Department of Commerce (via The Balance). The final take in 2020: $1.47 trillion. Despite the impressive metrics, changes must continue to take place if brick-and-mortar retailers are going to maintain momentum. This is particularly true because of e-commerce’s increasing market share. Customer experience continues to be the great advantage of brick-and-mortar retail. Paul Greenberg, founder of NORA Network, explains the importance of creating the most memorable customer experience possible: “The in-store experience will continue to be deeply engaging, making that transition from a transactional environment to an experiential and entertaining experience.” The prominent trends that we’ve seen in brick-and-mortar retail reinforce the importance of creating memorable in-location experiences. Our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report found that 90 percent of consumers will return to your store if they have a positive experience. The inverse is also true. From providing unique in-store promotions to personalizing the customer journey and making your brand socially relevant, your organization should embrace trends that are shaping the retail experience right now. Related story: Why In-Store Experiences Are the Key to Thriving in 2021 Maximizing Both Online and Offline Customer Channels Apps and online storefronts are allowing brick-and-mortar retailers to remain competitive with e-retailers when it comes to convenience. Organizations likes Starbucks have leveraged online channels — an app specifically — to reduce customer wait times and enhance the convenience of the customer journey. This... read more

“Retail Pricing Strategies – Six Mistakes To Avoid” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

A retailer must be extremely aware of their pricing strategy to ensure that their pricing is done accurately and in a timely manner. Failure in this seemingly simple matter can lead to all sorts of problems, from unintended “loss leaders” that sap profits, to confused customers who become indignant if a wrong price cannot be honored. Here are 6 pricing mistakes that retailers should avoid: 1. Phony savings A recent story about JC Penney illustrates one of the top pricing mistakes for retailers: placing price tags that are higher on top of originally tagged items that were lower. Nothing makes customers madder than peeling back a price tag, in this instance, a men’s short sleeve shirt on sale for $13.99 marked down from $20 with an original price tag under showing it originally sold for $10. Outfit your price-changers with a razor blade if necessary to scrape all of the other prices away – no one wants to emulate J.C. Penney. 2. Mispricing While a POS system will charge the correct price when scanned, the customer will demand the posted price on a mismarked item. Customer service demands that you comply but your staff has to be trained to correct this situation immediately on the entire inventory of the item still in the store. If they don’t, you risk losing your profit margin on every one of those items sold. Likewise, an item that is correct in the POS system, but holds a higher price on the shelf could cripple your turn of that line. The fix? Always have someone spot-check. 3. Markup Errors Figuring the markup on a product is... read more

“You Won’t Believe the Crap Female Surfers Have to Deal With in Surf Shops” by Naomi Blik via The Inertia

Girls don’t go into surf shops just to buy bikinis. Photo: Naomi Blik. Editor’s Note: The women interviewed for this piece asked to remain anonymous to protect their hard-earned standings in their respective communities. A girl walks into a surf shop and the ensemble of mansplaining commences. Pretty much every female surfer has a story of feeling patronized in a surf shop. As much as we like to think surfing is becoming more progressive and inclusive (and in many ways it has), surf shops seem to be stuck in the eighties with the automatic assumption that girls can’t surf. I sat down with some female surfers from different areas of California to gauge their experiences in surf shops. One female surfer entered a surf shop in Santa Barbara looking for a new longboard for summer. “They literally assumed I didn’t know how to surf and said ‘Weston boards are great for beginners,’” she recounted to me.  “I’ve always felt that way, even in surf shops growing up in Northern California. I’ve never felt fully comfortable there without going in with another guy.”  Another young woman told me about one of her experiences in a Central Coast surf shop: “I walked in to get tropical wax for an upcoming surf trip and the guy behind the counter said ‘this wax is meant for warmer temperatures or to be used as a base coat that goes underneath,’ assuming I didn’t know what I was buying,” she said. “Most of the time when I walk into a surf shop they automatically assume I don’t know what I’m talking about,” she continued.  It’s not uncommon for women to feel the need... read more

“How to Find Strength In Being A Brick and Mortar Retail Store” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

This is a post for retailers with physical stores competing with online shopping and technology that threatens their sales. Yes, it has been a year of chaos, but the pandemic in the U.S. is receding. That still doesn’t mean you can go back to exactly what you did before … especially if it wasn’t working. In some ways, the pandemic has been a gift. It forced businesses to evolve their operations, update their websites, payment capabilities, and more. We all cope with a world spinning out of control by controlling our own environments as much as we can. Our collection of followers, the pictures we curate to show we’re having a great time, and the people we text are all filtered versions of ourselves. We like to believe we don’t need anyone. We’re self-sufficient and smart.  I can do it myself and better. Many of us, when dealing with the stresses of everyday life, turn to our smartphones to make us feel we are loved. Research shows the chemical dopamine that is released when we get a text on a smartphone gives us the same feeling as gambling or drinking. Our focus on getting ahead and staying current means staying connected to social media platforms. Even with many followers, some people can’t rely on their friends because they know their friends will blow them off if something better comes along.  This has left many employees as well as shoppers adrift with the illusion of connection. The trouble is that we’re growing more addicted to that dopamine rush of a text message or a thumbs up. This is why we do more and... read more

“4 Best Practices for Creating a Social Commerce Experience That Converts” by Elise Stieferman via Total Retail

Online shopping received a serious bump in 2020. So did its offshoot, social commerce. In fact, among the strongest trends in the e-commerce industry, making purchases from social platforms seems to be the one to watch due to its projected year-over-year sales bump of 35 percent. It only makes sense that people would start using social media to not only find and explore items, but also to buy them. After all, social platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok have taken on a digital “hangout” role, especially for younger audiences. Being able to snag a deal without leaving a favored platform removes barriers and increases convenience. Social commerce isn’t just attractive because it’s easy for consumers, though. It’s also exciting because it can replicate the feelings elicited during in-store shopping — but virtually. Consumers can interact with brands in real time through likes, comments, direct messages (DMs) and chatbots. They can also share their “finds” with followers, creating opportunities for retailers to enjoy organic cross-pollination. From the retailer’s perspective, social commercemakes just as much sense — particularly for companies in tangible product categories like electronics, apparel, home decorations, jewelry, and cosmetics. Why? The business basically has a built-in pipeline to consumers without the need for a physical location. Additionally, most brands already have a social presence. Therefore, adding social e-commerce into the mix by using Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, or a third-party integration doesn’t involve a giant leap or learning curve. Related story: The Power of Social Media, Video and Storytelling for Two Blind Brothers Crafting Your Own Social Commerce Strategy Nevertheless, brands shouldn’t underestimate the need to map out their social... read more

“Is Your Business Prepared for the Unexpected? – take an inside look at how you can manage risk” by (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) Outdoor Sports Insurance

Surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding… Boardsports are inherently risky, butthat doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing them. And for a business, it doesn’t mean the riskcan’t be managed. Outdoor Sports Insurance is led by experts in managing such risk. We’re insurance agents, butwe’re also outdoor enthusiasts who are intimately familiar with the activities we cover. OutdoorSports Insurance has partnered with the Board Retailers Association to answer questions aboutbest practices, handle unforeseen risks and manage your exposure to 3rd party liability. To getyou started, here are a few topics we recommend as areas of focus for any retailer in theoutdoor sports space. Rentals & DemosRentals and demos are undoubtedly one of the most important tools in your toolbelt whenallowing customers to experience new gear they’re interested in purchasing. Whether acustomer is spending $200 or $2,000, we understand the desire to “try before you buy.”Product demos are one of the leading drivers of injury, and subsequent lawsuits against retailersin the board retail space. From catching the board’s edge on the slopes to taking a SUP intodangerous waters, a simple product demo can quickly turn into a litigation nightmare. This iswhere Outdoor Sports Insurance comes in. In addition to providing you with insurance coveragedesigned specifically to meet these unique exposures, we extend our service offerings toinclude reviews and recommendations of your rental and demo processes, equip you with themost current and comprehensive waivers and release of liability forms, and provide continuededucation around latest trends and emerging hazards so that you are prepared when aface-plant becomes a frivolous lawsuit. Special Events and ClinicsRentals and demos aren’t the only way to find new customers.... read more

“SPRING 2021 SKATEPARK CONSTRUCTION GRANT WINNERS ANNOUNCED” by The Skatepark Project

(Vista, CA) – As the nation continues to overcome COVID-19 challenges, locally run skatepark projects are still in progress. Advocates from all over the country are working hard to provide a free and accessible skatepark for their community to enjoy. Out of the hundreds of communities that we provide technical assistance to each quarter, around thirty projects applied for a TSP Skatepark Construction Grant. With the help of the Grants Committee and approval of TSP’s Board of Directors, we’re pleased to announce this semester’s grant recipients. These applicants followed skatepark project best practices and demonstrated excellent community engagement in areas of need. SUMMER 2021 TSP SKATEPARK GRANT RECIPIENTS (scroll down to view skatepark designs) Duluth, MN – $5,000 (Alex LeVasseur Memorial Grant) Rustin, LA – $10,000 Leominster, MA – $10,000 Huntsville, AL – $10,000 (Alex LeVasseur Memorial Grant) Evansville, IN – $10,000 Kamiah, ID – $5,000 Superior, MT – $5,000 Prairie du Sac, WI – $2,500 Project Recognition Grants Hagerstown, MD – $1,000 Greenwood Lake, NY – $1,000 Dover, DE – $1,000 Bangor, ME – $1,000 SUMMER 2021 BUILT TO PLAY SKATEPARK GRANT RECIPIENTSThe Skatepark Project’s partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation continues, and we’re fully stoked to welcome the towns of Sweden and Hamburg, NY into the Built to Play Skatepark family! With our help, these two towns in WNY have pulled together representatives from their communities, municipalities, and businesses to create a vision for their public skateparks, and an action plan to make it happen.  All it takes is one person to spark the skatepark fire in a community. If you’re that spark, contact us and we’ll help you stoke your skatepark project fire! Hamburg, NY – $300,000 Town of Sweden,... read more

“Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?” by George Anderson with commentary by 38 retail experts via Retail Wire

Americans who have received full doses of COVID-19 vaccines (one or two shots, depending on the manufacturer) and have allowed at least two weeks to pass will now be free to go about their daily activities without wearing a mask. This applies both to outdoor as well as most indoor activities, with the exception of airline travel, public transport and certain other mandated situations. Everyone else needs to keep wearing masks, particularly in indoor environments. Those are the basic rules laid out in new guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provided the caveat that citizens should continue to follow local and/or state rules as they apply to mask wearing. The guidance did not specifically address businesses, although the takeaways seem clear for public-facing companies. Masks should continue to be worn by all that have not been vaccinated even when state or local rules say otherwise. That means, in practical terms, that unless a retailer has a way to verify people have been vaccinated before they enter stores, it is prudent that they continue to enforce mask wearing rules. This seems to be particularly true in locations where COVID-19 disinformation is prevalent and vaccination rates are low. Business owners and employers are being cautioned by workplace experts not to fling open the doors and throw away their masks just yet. Kevin Troutman, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Houston, told SHRM Online, that employers should wait until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updates its workplace safety guidance before making any changes. The New York Times reports that some states have lifted mandates following the CDC’s announcement and... read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click on the following link to view this relevant Shop Eat Surf Article containing the history behind and the future ahead of T & C Surf (BRA Distinguished Retail Member): T&C Surf Celebrates 50 Years in Business” Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article:   Snowboard Sales Boom This Season Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up and pay for access before viewing. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click on the following link to view this interesting Shop Eat Surf Article: Surf Parks and the Experience Economy with Endless Surf Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

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

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