Are men the salvation of brick-and-mortar retail?

Mall retailers have long considered women to be their primary shoppers, but all that might be about to change.  A study from new product solutions provider First Insight found that men are more likely than women to want to touch and feel a product before buying it, more likely to pay full-price at a retail store, and less likely to turn to Amazon for a cheaper alternative.

I loved this post and knew you’d be interested in reading about this issue. Enjoy Barbara

First Look: Zara unveils pioneering store concept

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Global apparel giant Zara has taken the wraps off its transformed flagship at Westfield Stratford mall in London, debuting a format that revolutionizes the in-store shopping experience.

I read this article with great interest. Hope you do to .The two-story, 48,000-sq.-ft. store feature digital technology that integrates the online and offline shopping experiences, with such features as automated order collection points, self-checkout, interactive mirrors and mobile payment systems.

Five Must-See NYC Holiday Window Displays

Since the 1870s, holiday window displays in New York have been a tradition. The tradition continues to present day as stores large and small create an awe-inspiring tapestry of decorative scenes, from the cute and cozy to the magnificent and dramatic.

I was so inspired by these windows I just had to share them with you. Enjoy…
After strolling through the major shopping avenues of Manhattan, here’s my list of “must-see” window displays for this year’s holiday season. Marrying today’s latest tech with timeless sentiments, each of these cleverly designed displays will add wonderment and joy to your day, so be sure to take time and explore each of these special worlds:

Lord & Taylor: The Best and Brightest

For its 80th annual holiday display, Lord & Taylor transformed its Fifth Avenue windows into a whimsical journey as seen through the lens of enchanted snow globes, featuring over 60 variations throughout the display. Snow globes, and the animated figures playing within them, provide the unifying motif that pulls together the retailer’s five magical window scenes.

Macy’s Herald Square: The Perfect Gift Brings People Together

Photo: Diane Bondareff

Macy’s Herald Square brings people – and window themes – together. There are six windows lining the Broadway- facing side of Macy’s, each with its own theme. One focuses on the holiday tree as the centerpiece of family and home, and two show the holiday metropolis filled with life and activity as animal creatures enjoy the coming of winter in their own festive ways.

The third features a viewfinder through which visitors can take a better look at this panoramic winter scene, featuring Santa flying high above the city.  The fourth gives a look into a holiday spectacular being staged in a giant theater, and the fifth focuses on transportation… all under Santa’s watchful eye, as he waves to the passersby. And the sixth depicts Macy’s Herald Square itself in miniature as shoppers dart by against a backdrop of Santaland and the giant Christmas tree.

Saks Fifth Avenue: Once Upon a Holiday

Each year, Saks Fifth Avenue’s display is made larger than life, thanks to its 10-story-tall theatrical light show that accompanies the 14-holiday window displays. But this year is a little different. First off, for the first time in its 94-year history, Saks is animating each and every one of the window displays. The displays all depict scenes from Disney’s animated film classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s a first-time collaboration with Disney. Probably the stylistic highlight of the display is the rich fairytale dress gowns Saks commissioned Alberta Ferretti, Naeem Khan, Monique Lhuillier, and Marchesa to design.

Bloomingdales: The Greatest Showman

 

This year, Bloomingdales’ windows also feature a movie tie-in, this one with the upcoming holiday release of “The Greatest Showman,” a musical depicting the life of P.T. Barnum and starring Hugh Jackman. Bloomingdales partnered with some of its best designers to assemble one-of-a-kind items inspired by the movie, many of which are featured in the circus themed window displays. And Swarovski created crystal-themed images bring glisten and sparkle to this circus wonderland.

Tiffany: A Tiffany New York Christmas

At Tiffany’s, each window features a wintry scene accented with the jeweler’s signature flair. Each window showcases the elegance of giving a Tiffany gift, from a diamond studded Christmas tree to a holiday table setting complete with jewel-filled Christmas crackers, champagne, and cakes.

Traditional winter accessories like woven hats, scarves and earmuffs, are given the Tiffany touch, using the iconic brand color to pull together each of the holiday scenes. (The 5th Avenue store also just made it possible to actually have breakfast at Tiffany’s in its just-opened Blue Box Cafe, fulfilling many the dreams of many women.)

7 Ways to Keep Retail Employees Happy

I found this information interesting, I am sure you will too!

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The employees you have working in your store are just as important (if not more important) than what you have in it. These people are the ones who have a direct effect on sales, customer satisfaction and ultimately the success of your store. So how can you keep them happy and encourage them to do even better?

1. Train them well

Are you thoroughly training your employees? Give them in-depth training so they can work to the best of their ability, and avoid frustrations and employee turnover. Show your employees that you are investing in them by retraining ones that have been with you for a while in more specialized areas.

2. Recognize them for doing good work

Affirmation of a job well done can go a long way. If your employees are doing well, tell them! The more someone hears about how they are doing a good job, the more it will make them want to go above and beyond in the future.

3. Give them incentives to do better

Consider offering bonuses or prizes to employees who are doing exceptionally well. You may also run contests to encourage harder work. This will boost employee/team morale and at the same time make your store a pleasurable work environment.

4. Ask for their input

Considering your employees are interacting with customers and selling your products or services, they are a goldmine of information. Show your employees that you value their expertise by asking for their input on how business is going.

5. Give them better tools for the job

Working with old and outdated equipment can make a job more cumbersome than it needs to be. Keep your staff happy and increase their productivity by investing in the equipment that they use on a regular basis. See what tools can be upgraded and replace them if necessary.

6. Avoid scheduling conflicts

There is no faster way to create an unhappy work environment with your employees than abusing their schedule. Remember your employees are real people and not disposable labor. As far as possible avoid last minute changes to the schedule,

7. Play games

Yes, your employees are there to work but there's no reason it can't be fun! Fun is motivational and so is competition. Combine the two into a retail sales game that meets company goals and watch your employees and sales thrive.

 Barbara

What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

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Really found this post interesting. Had to share it with you. Here are three explanations for the recent demise of America’s storefronts.1. People are simply buying more stuff online than they used to.The simplest explanation for the demise of brick-and-mortar shops is that Amazon is eating retail. Between 2010 and last year, Amazon’s sales in North America quintupled from $16 billion to $80 billion. Sears’ revenue last year was about $22 billion, so you could say Amazon has grown by three Sears in six years. Even more…..Read more : What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

How to Make a Newsletter More Engaging With Two Little Words

By Miranda Paquet | Jun 13, 2017how-to-make-a-newsletter-ft-image

Wondering how to make a newsletter that drives action?It comes down to using two simple words:“Read more.”Why? If your business is in the habit of sending jam-packed newsletters, filled with updates, articles, and tips — you might be unintentionally turning your readers off.Rather than overwhelming your subscribers with text-heavy emails, add Read More blocks to let readers quickly skim your emails and find the topics that interest them.This will increase your email engagement and help you learn what topics are most interesting to your audience. 

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

I thought you’d find this information  interesting;

Barbara

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

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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.

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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

Survey: America’s favourite stores are…

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Survey: America’s favourite stores are…

Thought you might be interested in this information:A regional department store, a warehouse giant, a discount supermarket and an online powerhouse rank among the nation’s favorite retailers.That's according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which rates consumers’ satisfaction across six retail industries. The report found that satisfaction with the overall retail trade rise 4.7% in 2016 to a score of 78.3 (on a 100-point scale) an all-time high for the sector.Dillard's was tops among the 15 companies surveyed in the department and discount store category. It received a score of 83 out of a possible 100, up 4% from the previous year. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. took second place with a score of 82, and also had the largest increase from the previous year, up 11%.Nordstrom was the only department store to deteriorate in customer satisfaction, slipping 2% into a three-way tie with Dollar Tree and Belk at 80.Customer satisfaction with Walmart rose 9% as the company's renewed attention to customer service via "holiday helpers" to expedite checkout lines and aid shoppers paid off. Despite the ACSI gain, however, Walmart continues to anchor the low end of the industry with an ACSI score of 72.The supermarkets sector was led by Trader Joe’s, with a score of 86, followed by Publix at 84 and Aldi, H-E-B and Wegmans at 83. Whole Foods climbs 11% to 81, ahead of Hy-Vee, Kroger and ShopRite (all 79). Meijer matches Target at 78, followed by Bi-Lo (+4% to 77).Costco led the specialty retail category, with a score of 83, followed by Sam’s Club, L Brands, and Barnes & Noble, all at 81.Home Depot rose 10% to 80, ahead of Lowe’s (79) for the first time, as well as Menards (79). Ascena, which recently acquired Ann Taylor, makes its debut at 78 and ties with two pet supply stores: Petco and PetSmart. Best Buy, Big Lots and Toys “R” Us follow at 77. Abercrombie & Fitch improved the most, up 17%, but remains last at 76.In the online category Amazon continues to hold first place, advancing 4% to 86 amid a strong holiday season, followed by Newegg at 83 and eBay at 81.The ACSI report, which is based on 12,515 customer surveys collected in the fourth quarter of 2016, is available for free download here.

5 Types of Customers

smart ideas Barb pic

  

Increase Loyalty to Increase Sales!

 


 

In the retail industry, it seems as though we are constantly faced with the issue of trying to find new customers. Most of us are obsessed with making sure our advertising, displays, and pricing all “scream out” to attract new business. This focus on pursuing new customers is certainly a good idea and necessary but, at the same time, it can wind up costing you money and having anything to show for it.  Therefore, our focus really should be on the 20% of our clients who currently are your best repeat customers.

In retail, this idea of focusing on the best current customer should be seen as an on-going opportunity. To better understand the rationale behind this and to face the challenge of building customer loyalty, we need to break down shoppers into five main types:

  • Loyal Customers: They represent no more than 20 percent of our customer base, but make up more than 80 percent of our sales.

  • Discount Customers: They shop our stores frequently, but make their decisions based on the size of our markdowns.

  • Impulse Customers: They do not have buying a particular item at the top of their “To Do” list, but come into the store on a whim. They will purchase what seems good at the time.

  • Need-Based Customers: They have a specific intention to buy a particular type of item.

  • Wandering Customers: They have no specific need or desire in mind when they come into the store. Rather, they want a sense of experience and/or community.

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If we are serious about growing our businesses, we need to focus our effort on the loyal customers, and merchandise our store to leverage the impulse shoppers, the other three types of customers do represent a segment of our business, but they can also cause us to misdirect our resources if we put too much emphasis on them.

Best,

Barb

 

Building Professional Window Displays

How to Build Professional Window Displays...A Few Great Tips

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Focus Attention

 Have you ever tried to persuade someone who wasn’t really listening? It doesn’t work.People only have so much attention to give. Show a customer one product and you’re dealing with 100% of their attention. Show them two products and you’ve got only half as much attention on each. That’s called splitting attention. And the more products you add, the worse the math. Some store owners violate this principle hoping that something in the window will catch the eye. In practice, however, the normal result is to catch nothing at all. So little attention is available for any given item, the average passer by sees nothing at all.On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with grouping related products together and selling them as a package. 

Mask Distractive Background

 What else can the customer see through your window? If they can see into the store, you must ask yourself if this is going to enhance the overall effect or detract. Depending on the setting, this could go either way.If viewing above and around the display is distractive, if it looks cluttered, use a backdrop of some sort to wall off distractions. Cover the background panel in fabric or display vinyl. This could be a large panel, or even fire-resistant seamless photography paper. 

Keep It Clean

 A dirty or dusty window display lowers not only perceived value of the product, but also the integrity and control of store management. Five minutes with a feather duster can make a huge difference. Window glass is best cleaned before the display is done, using a solution of clear ammonia and water. Wipe edges with clean paper towels or newspapers. 

Present The Correct Quantity

 Now that you’ve selected an item and limited distractions, you need to decide how many products to put on display. This decision may pivot on price. Generally speaking the less involved the customer is in the purchase of the item, the more you may want to display a volume of the items on display. For example, a potato does not require a lot of thought on the part of a buyer, whereas an expensive watch does. So display only one of the watch, but offer potatoes in a huge pile. 

Elevate

 Get your items off the ground. To put something on a pedestal or platform is to glorify it. Remember the old idiom about putting someone on a pedestal. You can cover a box in velvet or display felt, buy a plastic column from a display supply, or use a table. Never place items on the floor in a display. Make it special. Elevate.  

Use Signage

 The use of signage in a window display gives the chance to reinforce the purpose if tasteful and clever. You want your display to be as powerful as possible but since the ultimate goal is to sell there are times when the whole composition will benefit from a word or two. Or perhaps a brand name or logo positioned somewhere. In fact, there are times when the omission of the brand name would be sheer idiocy. Take, for instance, a series of window displays interpreting a new fragrance. Such a display would make no marketing sense without the name of the brand somewhere visible.But in most cases, unless you have a really good idea for a sign, leave it out. As a comparative, advertisements sometimes include a tag line or slogan. Today the rule is, unless the tag line is spectacular leave it out! Like a bad haircut or botched plastic surgery, a mediocre tag line will do more harm than good. Many advertisers don’t understand this. “What’s our slogan for this campaign?”,  they think they have to have a slogan -not true.  ... The moral of the story, use signage, ( Link to Shoppetalk to Buy! ). 

Add Trim

 Foliage, flowers, ribbon, a velvet pillow, rusty steel, a wicker basket... in the display profession, props such as these are called “trim.” Older dictionaries give a definition of trim as a, “decorative addition.”In fact, it might interest you to know that for decades, a display artist in the apparel industry was called a “trimmer.” In the main, trimmers worked with wires instead of mannequins, making clothes appear to hang, float or fly in mid air as if by magic. They habitually added in decorative additions such as dried foliage, flowers, ribbon, and all manner of things to tell a story.

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas ..… Robyn hand made all the butterflies . Nice Trim!

Send me pictures of your window displays. Best Barbara