Increase Instagram Followers for Your Online and Offline Store


Run Hashtag Contests

If you want an Instagram hashtag of your very own to start trending, contests are one of the best ways to make it happen. Most people aren’t going to just use your hashtags because you want them to. But they WILL use your hashtags if they know it is how you are organizing and collecting contest entries. If there is something in it for the Instagram user, they are much more likely to behave in the way you want.

It’s very easy to setup a contest for your online store.  Have Instagramers post a pic or video on their account and then have them tag it using your specific contest hashtag.  

What is an Instagram Hashtag Contest?

An Instagram Hashtag Contest is one of the simplest ways to get fans interacting with your brand. It involves an individual posting their own picture on Instagram, then tagging it with a specific hashtag that your business has chosen.

All pictures uploaded with that hashtag are then displayed in a gallery page on your website or Facebook Page as well as being shown in one single stream on Instagram.

This type of contest allows you to deepen the emotional connection you have with followers. You get them communicating about your business to their own networks while also capturing user-generated content which you can then use for future marketing efforts.

What’s better than having fans as brand advocates? Not much at all.

Once in the gallery, all photos with the hashtag can then be voted on, shared or liked. This increases the reach of your contest and your business massively, allowing other users to discover you on the platform. You can then choose if you want to display submissions in the gallery based on most votes, most recent submission, or randomly.

 What makes an Instagram Hashtag Contest so effective?

  • Using a specific hashtag allows you to spread the word about a campaign, exposing your business to new users

  • It requires little effort from your business - the hardest part simply being coming up with a good, catchy hashtag and theme

  • You get rewarded with engaged followers and authentic images from the customer themselves, showing your business through their eyes

  • A prize of a $100 gift certificate is relevant and valuable to Instagram users (more valuable, even, than a specific product worth $100). It is also proportionate to the level of effort required for users to participate. 

  • They have asked users to tag their business in the photo, allowing all uploaded images to also be shown on their account in their tagged photo section. 

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Walmart rolling out high-tech ‘pick-up towers’

Walmart is expanding its modern-day — and oversized — version of a vending machine — but the new model will come with an additionThe discounter plans to add more than 500 additional “pickup towers” to stores across the country, bringing the total to more than 700 by the end of the year. Walmart said the response to the existing 200 kiosks has been “overwhelming positive,” with more than half a million orders retrieved since the chain first introduced them.Based on customer feedback, the new towers will come with pickup lockers, which will allow customers to retrieve large items, such as TVs.I found this article very interesting. I know you will as well.

Physical Stores Win Out Over Online Competitors In This Category


Apparel ranks as one of the most purchased categories online, but clothing stores in malls still own a strong advantage over e-commerce competitors.

That’s according to a survey by Valassis, the consumer promotion and coupon company, which surveyed consumers who visited an indoor mall more than times in the past year and found that 60% of them prefer to shop apparel in the physical marketplace. Their chief reasons for doing so: being able to try on items and visit — and compare selections — at several different stores.

I found this information fascinating.

Online Shopping Goes In-Store

At the base of Canadian Tire Corp. headquarters on Yonge St. near Eglinton Ave., a small, chic experiment is taking place.

Humble products, including baseball caps and cotton T-shirts, toques and hoodies, branded North Point, hang like designer wear off elegant racks in a small concept store being tested. The atmosphere is spare and white and bright.

It’s not just a different look for the retailer, which also runs more workmanlike Mark’s stores. Beside the wall of sneakers and shoes at the concept store is a tablet, where customers can swipe to find the shoe they want, to see whether it is in stock in their size, and have a sales associate bring it out of the storeroom to try.

In the store’s change room, another tablet. A shopper with an armful of products to try on can order a different size or colour, or a different product altogether — perhaps a pair of shoes suggested by the interactive tablet — without having to poke their head out of the room, flag down an associate and wait while the associate searches the floor and returns.

Loved this article. I know you will too.

Green Monday

Hi Everyone,

Not  a lot is know about Green Monday. I loved this article and hope you will as well.

Green Monday is the second Monday in December. It's also known as Cyber Monday 2 because it's the second biggest day for online holiday shopping.

For that reason, Green Monday is promoted by top stores like Wal-mart, Target and Amazon to extend the excitement around Cyber Week and the Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

In 2016, Green Monday online retail sales were $1.621 billion.



Read on …..

That beat the 2014 record of $1.615 trillion. It's more than double the pre-recession high of $881 million set in 2007. Only Cyber Monday saw greater sales, at $2.5 billion.

Both Green Monday and Cyber Monday follow the bricks-and-mortar shopping done on Black Friday, the first shopping day after Thanksgiving. Bit the online days set greater records each year as more people enjoy the convenience of shopping with their computers, tablets, and phones.

Like Cyber Monday, Green Monday is more appealing to Millennial's and Gen X. Sixty percent of those under 40 buy their holiday gifts online, compared to just 40 percent of Baby Boomers.

The holiday shopping season is critical because one fifth of annual retail sales occurs between Black Friday and Christmas. Some, like jewelers, receive 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holidays.

How Did Green Monday Get Its Name?

In 2007, eBay reported that its busiest day was the second Monday in December. At that time, it was the last day shoppers could get gifts in the mail so they would arrive by Christmas. eBay christened it Green Monday for two reasons. First, green meant revenue for the company.

Second, eBay markets online shopping as environmentally friendly, or greener than brick-and-mortar stores.

Green Monday is no longer the busiest day, as shoppers are attracted to deals throughout Cyber Week. With Amazon Prime and other services, shoppers can wait until closer to Christmas to buy online and have it arrive on time. But Green Monday is still a good bargain. Retailers offer 50 percent to 90 percent offregular prices.

How to Get the Best Green Monday Deals

Deals can be found on each stores' Green Monday or Cyber Monday websites. You can find the best deals for all stores on FatWallet's Green Monday web site.

Green Monday sales can be found on, which promotes online discounts from 800 retailers year-round. These Cyber Monday Shopping Tipscan also apply to Green Monday.

Of course, the best deals are on Wal-Mart's site. More than 300 online specials are offered, including ten of the most popular deals from Black Friday.  Green Monday was’s highest traffic day in December for two years in a row.


Study: Why shoppers choose offline over online




Physical stores still have some key benefits over online retail. I found this info very interesting. Hope you do as well.An overwhelming majority (72%) of U.S. consumers cite “the ability to touch, feel and try products” as their top reason for shopping brick-and-mortar. That's according to a new study by Mood Media, “The State of Brick & Mortar: 2017,” which reveals consumer insights regarding the in-store customer experience and in-store shopping behaviors. The study is based on a survey of more than 11,000 consumers in nine countries across the globe, including Australia, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.Mood commissioned the survey to better understand what influences consumers’ decisions to choose brick-and-mortar over online shopping, what they most enjoy and don’t enjoy about the in-store experience and what most motivates them in the physical store. The study also explores the influence of a store’s atmosphere – including music – on the overall shopping experience. Read More….

Amazon buying Whole Foods Market


In a blockbuster deal, online giant Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods Market in an all cash transaction valued at $13.7 billion, or $42 a share. I am a Whole Food shopper and thought you might be as interested as I am to … read more about this recent acquisition.

Hudson’s Bay Company Announces 2,000 Job Cuts, Including Senior Management

I thought you’d find this information  interesting;


The Canadian-American department store conglomerate is flattening its hierarchy across businesses, generating more than $350 million in annual savings when fully implemented.



NEW YORK, United States — In February 2017, department store conglomerate Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) announced that it would “reduce expenses by rationalizing its corporate functions and overhead across North America.”

On Thursday, those layoffs — which will eliminate 2,000 positions when completed — began. Senior-level staff at Saks Fifth Avenue — including senior vice president of digital retail Joe Milano — Gilt Groupe and Lord & Taylor were asked to leave in an effort to flatten the organizations hierarchy. Several members of the buying team were also let go, and some staff were given demotions. According on one source, there were “hundreds” of layoffs at Gilt alone.

Dismissed employees were asked to stay at the office on Thursday while HBC readied a public announcement, which was released at 4.05pm ET.

In the release, HBC laid out its "Transformation Plan," which is a result of a six-month operational review that identified inefficiencies with the aim of streamlining and improving back-of-store productivity in North America. The company says that it will realise more than $350 million in annual savings when the plan is fully implemented by the end of the 2018 fiscal year, with approximately $170 million saved in the 2017 fiscal year.  "These savings are required to help offset revenue, margin and cost pressures the company is facing as a result of the current environment," HBC said in a statement. Along with the $30 million in severance charges incurred during layoffs in February, the company will incur another $95 million in charges related to the "Transformation Plan" over the next 12 months.

The plan calls for major changes in senior-level management, including the creation of two leadership teams, one focused on Hudson's Bay in Canada, and another to accelerate growth at Lord & Taylor. Alison Coville has been named president of Hudson's Bay reporting to Jerry Storch, chief executive officer of HBC. She has held leadership positions at the department store since 2005. Liz Rodbell, who previously managed both Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor, will focus completely on the latter, where she will remain president.

“Alison is a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of experience in Canadian retail, nearly two decades of which has been spent at HBC," Storch said in a statement. "She has proven herself to be a dedicated leader with great intuition and knowledge of the market and sector. I believe her track record, keen insight, and bold vision make her the ideal leader to drive our strategy forward and accelerate our growth plans for Hudson’s Bay."

 Other initiatives include integrating digital functions across the company — from marketing to operations and technology — and doing away with redundancies in departments including IT, digital, store operations and visual merchandising, buying and planning, and marketing.

In addition to Coville's appointment, several executives were promoted or hired to lead the newly streamlined groups. Janis Leigh has been promoted to chief human resources officer, responsible for all HR functions. Chief technology officer Janet Schalk will lead the newly created HBC Technology group.

Ian Putnam, previously head of corporate development, will take on the additional role of chief operating officer for HBC's joint ventures — which include HBS Global Properties and the RioCan-HBC Joint Venture — and he will also lead the HBC Real Estate team. Erik Caldwell has been named svp of supply chain and digital operations.

Kerry Mader, evp of store planning and operations, is now also responsible for visual merchandising, while Andrew Blecher has been named chief communications officer, assuming additional responsibility for the HBC foundations in the US and Canada.



A look at HBC's new operating model | Source: HBC

"We are reallocating resources to accelerate the opportunity we see online, as we run our brick and mortar operations more efficiently," HBC executive chairman Richard Baker said in a statement. "Our team is taking the right steps to optimise our North American business and create efficiencies by leveraging the scale of our company. At this critical moment of change in the retail industry, I believe in the future of our all-channel model and we are adapting to meet the evolving needs of our customers."

The restructuring is just the latest development in what has been a rollercoaster year for the company, which was reportedly in serious talks to acquire Neiman Marcus Group just a few weeks ago. In the past decade, HBC has been the driving force in many changes in the upscale department store landscape, forging a series of retail acquisitions — including Lord & Taylor in 2006, Hudson’s Bay in 2008 and Saks Fifth Avenue in 2013 — and financing the deals with mostly new equity and debt, but the real estate value seemed to be the biggest driver.

After the acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue, HBC laid off 265 people in corporate positions in an effort to do away with redundancies.

Under HBC's ownership, Saks Fifth Avenue has implemented a multi-pronged plan to refresh the department store’s identity and bring back luxury consumers. The chain saw positive comparable sales in the most recent quarter ending January 28 for the first time since 2015. However, the parent company posted a net loss of $152 million CAD in the quarter, including a $116 million impairment charge related to its off-price business, which include Saks Off Fifth and Gilt, acquired in 2016 for $250 million. In fiscal 2016, HBC retail sales hit $14.5 billion CAD, but consolidated comparable sales decreased overall by 1.7 percent.

In the three months ending April 29, 2017, Hudson’s Bay saw sales decrease 3 percent to $3.2 billion CAD, largely due a decrease in comparable sales of approximately $94 million.

“This was a tough quarter for HBC,” Baker said  in a statement.

Sales at stores opened at least one year declined by 4.8 percent at Saks Fifth Avenue (on a constant-currency basis), 2.4 percent at the combined division of Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay and Canadian home goods store Home Outfitters. and 6.8 percent in the off price division, which includes Gilt Groupe and Saks Off Fifth.

Related Articles:

Report: Hudson's Bay Taps Debt Adviser To Review Neiman Marcus Bid

Inside the Reinvention of Saks Fifth Avenue

With Gilt, Hudson’s Bay Company Bets Big on Off-Price