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The latest in retail news, industry insights, and advice you can use – delivered straight to you.

  • Retail Round-Up: Back-To-School Fever!

    The time to send emails promoting a new fall collection is now. With colder-than-usual August temperatures in North America and the UK, and the first day of Fall (September 22nd) approaching, major department stores like Selfridges and Neiman Marcus are taking advantage of the season to drive their colorful email campaigns. (Luxury Daily)

    Back-to-school shopping has changed dramatically. This year, mobile shopping has skyrocketed, whereby consumers are using their mobile devices in every facet of the retail experience. (ADWEEK)

    According to this research in the U.K., back-to-school shopping is often left to the very last minute. After a long summer holiday, it’s no wonder that parents and students procrastinate when it comes to gearing up for school. For retailers, those who are able to blend online and offline components will get top grades for handling the last-minute rush. (Breed Communications)

    What are the top back-to-school shopping trends this year? Looks like over half of this school-bound group in the U.S will head to department stores for their supplies, followed by discount stores, clothing stores, and office supplies stores. Macy’s, Wal-Mart, and Target all have extensive promotions to entice students. (NRF News)

    For retailers who might not have had strong sales this summer, this period should be a reason to be more optimistic. JC Penny has reported healthy sales so far, as have Kohl’s and Wal-Mart. (CNBC)

  • 5 Ways to Boost Profits With Proper Inventory Management

     

    How you manage your merchandise can mean the difference between smooth sailing, and missing out on sales; between having a healthy amount of stock, or running out of space and cash because you bought too much. Managing inventory perfectly is an art form, but with the right tools, it can be reduced to a science. Here are 5 ways a POS can help you get it right.

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  • How to Find the Perfect Space for Your Pop-Up Shop

    This is a guest post by Hunter Kubryk of Storefront

    E-commerce may provide a home base for brands, but consumers still seek the in-person retail experience of interacting with products. Pop-up shops fill this void by creating unique brand experiences for short periods of time. If you decide to open your own pop-up for a product launch or trunk show, the location of your event will set the tone for this experience. Here are some tips to help you choose the right retail space for your brand, from pop-up expert Hunter Kubryk:

    1. Know your pop-up goals

    Pop-up shops can serve many purposes, from generating sales to raising brand awareness. Deciding why you’re opening a pop-up will help you best determine the best type of space for your event.

    2. Know your target demographic

    Knowing your target demographic is crucial, as you’ll want to pick a neighborhood that fits your brand. Researching the demographics of neighborhoods that you’re considering for a pop-up will help you get the right kind of foot traffic in the door.

    3. Research locations

    For a pop-up shop, location is key to ensure that your shop gets the foot-traffic it deserves. Talk to nearby businesses and walk the streets to make an informed decision about the right space for your brand.

    4. Be strategic about your hours of operation

    After determining your goals, target, and location, set hours of operation that will bring you the most success. For example, SK-II’s pop-up studio in San Francisco offered half-hour lunchtime facials for women on the go. These details can go a long way, especially if you know who your customer is.

    5. Find a space

    Once you’ve considered these goals & needs, head over to our online marketplace to look for a space in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Chicago. We make it easy for you to quickly search by location, space type and price to find a space that fit your needs.

    6. Communicate your needs

    When you’ve chosen a space, submit a request for the space you want to rent. Be clear in your request: let the space owner know what you’re looking to do in their space, when you’re planning on popping up, how much inventory you’ll bring, and any other special needs you may have. If the space owner decides you’re a match, you’ll be fully insured and ready to pop up!

    Storefront allows you to find stores on the right streets, in the right neighborhoods, to get you the most foot traffic and drive transactions. Find the perfect space for your brand today and show the world what you’ve got.

  • The new LightSpeed Cloud is coming to everyone

    Last year, MerchantOS joined the LightSpeed family with the goal of building the best cloud-based point of sale system for our customers. On launch day, almost half of MerchantOS customers upgraded to the new LightSpeed Cloud interface, and during the past 12 months we have been working hard to bridge the feature gap between the two, in order to ease the transition for everyone.

    Over the next 8 weeks, the new interface will remain as an optional upgrade, giving you the flexibility you need to try it out in your own time, test it with your employees, and voice any concerns you may have. Following this period, on October 15, 2014, all customers will be upgraded to the new interface, creating a single, better user experience for all LightSpeed Cloud customers.

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  • Retail Round-Up: The Magic Mirror, and Solutions to Fit Problems

    Imagine a mirror that can analyze your face, remember your past cosmetics purchases, and suggest a flattering lipstick color. The Magic Mirror is just one of Maxus’ new technologies that are elevating the in-store experience. The iShelf and an app called Wayfinder are also designed to better interact with today’s hyper-connected consumer. (MediaTel)

    In Philadelphia, the Rittenhouse district is currently undergoing a retail makeover—and it seems to reflect the city’s buying habits perfectly. Brands like Vince, MAC Cosmetics, Uniqlo and Nordstrom Rack offer a better selection of affordable luxury and fashion-forward basics for a population whose fashion personality is described as “a little schizophrenic”. (philly.com)

    Celebrity endorsements are coming to an Instagram feed near you. Aritzia is using celebs and well-known fashion bloggers in their latest fall campaign for the popular social media platform. They understand that their customers turn to Instagram for style inspiration, and are using it to tell stories about their brand. (Marketing Magazine)

    Millennials constitute a super important consumer segment. With daily articles about their shopping behavior, it can be confusing to paint an accurate portrait of this group. This easy-to-follow infographic in Melissa Hoffmann’s article breaks it down into digestible stats. (ADWEEK)

    Shopping online can be a frustrating experience when the item for which you waited a week finally arrives—only to be a poor fit. Several tech start-ups have set out to solve the problem by creating advanced fit recommendation algorithms, and have been raising millions of dollars to do it. So far, the solutions have been difficult or expensive for companies to implement. (Business of Fashion)

     

  • 4 Ways to Compete with Fast Fashion Retailers: Become a Fashion Hijacker

    This is a guest post by Jill Sherman, CEO & Co-Founder of Modalyst

    Watch out – we’re in an era of ‘fashion hijackers’! With the quick turnaround of fashion trends from Catwalk-to-Main Street, it is becoming harder and harder for independent retailers to compete with those who mimic and sell runway collections quicker and cheaper. There is no better time to talk fast fashion – fast!

    Fortunately, in here lie some interesting lessons on how independent retailers can stay ahead of the curve, bringing fashion to their racks even faster. And we, at MODALYST, have built the very tools that independent retailers need to grow strong and compete with the changing trends of the times. Now you can become the fashion hijacker.

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  • Retail Round-Up: Etsy Goes Offline, Get Ready for the New Mall and Back-to-School means Back-to-Stores


    The mall of the future won’t look anything like it does today: Big box stores will give way to smaller spaces as anchors (think Walmart and Macy’s) invest instead in cost-effective distribution centers; cash registers will disappear as the Apple-model starts to gain more ground; and mall tenants will constantly be changing, providing a time-sensitive incentive for shoppers to head to the mall. (CNBC)

    Etsy, the online marketplace for indie artists and designers, is officially launching a wholesale model after a two-year beta run. Sellers can now sign up to have their handcrafted goods sold through brick and mortar stores in the U.S., including partner boutiques and nationwide chains like Nordstrom and West Elm. (Forbes)

    For parents, the most wonderful time of the year still means a trip to the mall. An ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey found that roughly 90% of back-to-school shoppers prefer the brick and mortar route to online shopping for clothes and supplies. And it’s not just discounters who should expect to see increased volume during the back to school season; speciality apparel stores are expected to jump from an 8.4% market share in 2013 to 10% this year. (Small Business Opportunities)

    Sephora Chief Digital Officer and CMO, Julie Bornstein, weighs in on how the retail cosmetics giant plans to survive in the digital age. At the brand’s new New York flagship for instance, customers can find their perfect perfume with help from a touchscreen quiz or bring up online reviews of skincare products. They’ve also piloted innovative programs like ColorIQ, a piece of hardware that helps customers match their skin tone to the right foundation. The added benefit: lots and lots of data. (Wired)

    Are you an independent retailer, a speciality retailer, or both? Matthew Hudson of Rick Segel and Associates, a retail consulting firm, opines that for small businesses the path to success is by becoming your area’s local expert. Not only does that mean your store must have a focussed selection, but your staff needs to be knowledgeable about your product so that customers keep coming back for your unique expertise. (RickSegel.com)

  • Tips for Getting More from Your Online Store


    e-Commerce: everybody is doing it, or at least thinking about it – this according to our first annual Retail Technology Forecast, which surveyed 640 independent brick and mortar retailers about the tech that matters to their business.

    Almost 40% said they plan to offer their customers the option to shop online in the near future, up 100% from those who currently own a web store. But without an army of e-com specialists in their back pocket, many indie retailers struggle with how to make the most of their online venture. In fact, for 54% of cases, e-Commerce only accounts for less than 10% of sales, even though for 75% the main goal of e-Commerce is to drive revenue.

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  • Retail Round-Up: Social Media Customer Service Strategies, and Back-to-School Promotions are Back On

    You might think you offer great customer service, but do your customers agree? Consumers expect companies to swiftly respond to their questions, comments, and grievances over social media, but too few businesses respond quickly enough – if at all. (ClickZ)

    Physical stores can take advantage of  new technologies that can help them understand people’s shopping habits. Location-based apps and services with GPS and beacon integration are becoming important,  as the opportunity to use them to target offers at shoppers nearby will likely boost in-store traffic. (Innovation Insights)

    It’s already the time of year when retailers vie for back-to-school sales. Macy’s initiative to attract students this month includes lip-dub contests and a transportation program that will bus students from various college campuses to its stores. (Advertising Age)

    The holy month of Ramadan means boom time for retailers – at least in the Middle East and in South East Asia. Even businesses in the U.S recognize this opportunity to sell, as many observers spend a great deal more on gifts, eating out, and consuming more in general during this time. (Business of Fashion)

    Shipping costs are a turnoff to older female online shoppers. Men and millenials are more accepting of shipping costs, and more willing to pay for same-day shipping. (eMarketer)

     

     

  • 3 New Videos to Guide Your Purchasing in LightSpeed Cloud

    LightSpeed Cloud enables retailers to manage their stores remotely. From employee performance data to end-of-day sales, you can make decisions about your business from anywhere, including creating purchase orders.

    We’ve just released three new videos that will walk you through the basics of creating and managing POs, as well as receiving items. Depending on whether you have one physical location or several, we’ve made the process of ordering from vendors simple, here’s how:

    Multi-Store Centralized Purchasing

    Whether your business includes a warehouse or distribution center that purchases stock and then transfers merchandise to your stores, or a corporate office that creates purchase orders for each shop with direct shop shipment, these versatile purchasing features help you get the job done.

    Single-Store Basic Purchasing

    For single-location businesses, purchasing your inventory with LightSpeed Cloud is a process that takes mere minutes.

    Basic Purchasing in Cloud - https://vimeo.com/102274028

    If you’re searching for a POS that enables centralized purchasing workflows, try a free 14-day trial!

     

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