Increase Instagram Followers for Your Online and Offline Store

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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. 

Any questions. Let me know

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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.

2018 Holiday Retail Survey

Consumers are optimistic about shopping during the 2018 holiday season. This year’s holiday retail survey digs deep into consumers’ shopping behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes to help retailers make the most of this opportunity.

All Systems Go

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The forecasts are in and optimism abounds for the upcoming holiday season. Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast projects total retail sales will increase 5 –5.6 percent, with online sales likely rising 17–22 percent during the 2018 holiday season. Fascinating Information.

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.

Justice Department’s No. 3 official leaving for top legal post at Walmart

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The third-ranking official at the U.S. Justice Department is leaving to take a job in the private sector.

Walmart announced Rachel Brand will join the company as executive VP, global governance and corporate secretary, effective April 2. Brand, who will report to president and CEO Doug McMillon, will be responsible for the company’s legal, global ethics and compliance and global investigation, security, aviation and travel departments, along with her role as corporate secretary. She is replacing Jeff Gearhart, who retired at the end of January.

I found this very interesting:

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.

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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 CyberMonday.com, 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 Walmart.com’s highest traffic day in December for two years in a row.

Barbara

Prevent Shoplifting

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Thinking that someone doesn't "look" like a shoplifter might lull you into a false sense of security.  Prevent shoplifting by removing as many opportunities to shoplift as possible.

Merchandise: Arrange aisles and displays so that employees have a clear view of a much of the store as possible. Utilize convex mirrors for areas that are blind spots.2 Put less expensive items closer to the door, more expensive items further away. This prevents a shoplifter from being able to grab expensive items and be out the door in a matter of seconds. Put security tags on merchandise that can only be removed at the cash register.

Learn Shoplifting Techniques: Limit the number of items that can be taken into the fitting room. Lock all fitting room doors so that customers must have an employee them. Require your employees to note how many items the person is taking into the fitting room. Shoplifters will sometimes use a fitting room to put on stolen merchandise under their own clothes. Note anyone who seems to be wandering in the store, or who seems to be watching employees and other customers closely. They may be looking for an opportunity to shoplift when no one is watching. Take note of a person wearing a baggy coat, especially if the weather doesn't call for it. They may be hiding stolen merchandise underneath.

Involve Employees: Have your employees greet each customer as they enter the store. A shoplifter is less likely to go through with his crime if they think someone might be able to identify them. Offer bonuses to employees who catch shoplifters and alert security. Let your employees know that shoplifters often work in teams, with one person distracting the employee while the other one shoplifts. Tell your employees avoid distractions and to watch other customers at all times. If you have more than one employee, train them so that only one deals with a dominant customer while the other watches the store floor.

  Good-luck! -Barbara

Performance Review -Tips For Managment

smart ideas Barb picPerformance Review Tips Are Beneficial To Managers!

 


  Strike the right balance between praise and constructive criticism to achieve that elusive balance and make the review a productive one, start preparing for the next round of performance appraisals once the last round has been completed. performance reviews If you’re dissatisfied with the reviews you’ve given in the past, take steps now to improve the process before other priorities and deadlines force you to put it on the back burner. Performance reviews are a lot like walking a tightrope. If you withhold positive feedback, you’ll discourage and demoralize employees. On the other hand, if you hesitate to point out problem areas, you’ll never see improvement. ...

   

Maintain A Consistent Review Schedule


Performance appraisals should not be a one-time event. In addition to providing ongoing feedback throughout the year, let employees know what time of year that reviews typically take place. Seventy-seven percent of employees polled said they consider performance reviews valuable, so providing them with adequate time to prepare is critical. Give your staff the opportunity to identify their achievements from the past year and areas where they would like to improve. 

Keep  Files On Each Employee


Whenever you hire a new staff member or immediately after your review the performance of a long-time employee, set up a file in which you will document the good, the bad and the just-average aspects of that employee’s job performance and work habits. You can use the file not only to catalog accomplishments but also to track performance-related issues such as tardiness or consistent failure to meet deadlines. By keeping a performance file on each staff member, you won’t have to rely on memory when you find you need to discuss something that occurred months before the actual review meeting. 

Solicit Third-Party Input


Although the appraisal will be based on your observations and assessments of an employee’s performance, you shouldn’t rely solely on your own perceptions – particularly if your interactions with the individual have been limited. Seek input from colleagues and others who work closely day-to-day with the employee. Inquire about the person’s strengths, weaknesses, areas that have improved over time and special abilities. Ask specific questions. For example, how does this employee handle challenges and overcome obstacles? What contributions has he or she made to team-based projects? Does the employee seem committed to continuing professional education and skills development? Compare the feedback you receive with what you’ve directly observed. 

Allow Sufficient Time To Make An Assessment


Don’t wait until the day before the review to start tracking and critiquing a staff member’s performance – this is unfair to the individual and will not give you an accurate, comprehensive picture of his or her abilities and achievements. Instead, try to observe the employee in a variety of situations over an extended period of time. Ideally, you want to see how well he or she manages both independent and collaborative assignments. 

Create A Conducive Setting


Choose a quiet, private place for the review and try to schedule it at a time when interruptions can be kept at a minimum. When structuring the session, incorporate time for a two-way dialogue so that the employee can respond to your feedback and offer input of his or her own. To prepare for the meeting, organize all documentation – previous evaluations,  comments you’ve gleaned from colleagues and your own notes. Give the employee sufficient advance notice so that he or she can also prepare. 

Performance Reviews

Set The Appropriate Tone


The review itself should be handled in a professional manner and treated as a conversation, not a lecture. Open the discussion by talking about the employee’s accomplishments and positive attributes. When it’s time to shift to negative or problematic areas, focus not on mistakes but on ways to improve performance. Most employees will not be surprised by anything they hear during a review. However, if there’s a gap between an employee’s perceived versus actual performance, be sure to explain the difference and suggest ways performance goals might be met. As you speak with the employee, invite comments on your observations. Once you’ve reviewed past performance, begin talking about future expectations. Clarify his or her job requirements and responsibilities as these can change over time. Also inquire about the employee’s professional development goals and discuss how you both might work toward meeting them. Throughout the meeting, be courteous and tactful. If you must criticize, focus on behaviour rather than personality. Remember that encouragement is the best incentive for improvement. 

Maintain An Open Door


Because employees may need time to digest the feedback from a review, encourage them to come to you afterward if they have questions or concerns. If you show that performance is not a once-a-year issue but a matter of ongoing importance, your staff will focus less on the formal review itself and more on the feedback and guidance they received. They’ll be motivated to see feedback as help with their performance. By preparing well in advance for performance reviews and developing a systematic, consistent appraisal process, you’ll turn what could be an uncomfortable time into a chance to dialogue with team members and set goals for the future. Who knows? You and your employees may start to look forward to these feedback sessions and your employee may improve.  BestBarbara