11 Tips To Keep Your Retail Business Thriving

There are many ways to make your retail business stand out if you’re willing to rethink the customer experience and get a little innovative. The key is to do something…something bold, different and innovative now. Otherwise, your existing and emerging competitors will act and win the day and the future.

11-trends-in-the-future-of-retail-according-to-brian-solis-12-638The concept of future retail is constantly evolving. But what isn’t evolving as quickly is the understanding and widespread experimentation to bring the future to life today.
“This is an incredible time to see things differently to do things differently. The future requires a new blueprint and we are or can be its architects” states Brian Solis from Altimeter. Mr. Solis gives us an overview of the top trends that retail businesses can use to survive and thrive in today’s environment.

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, a Prophet company, world renowned keynote speaker, and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Invite him to speak at your next event.

Leveraging Video To Successfully Market Your Small Business

Using video marketing can boost your small business exposure in many ways.

Not only are videos a quick way to communicate information to your customers, they are immediately engaging and can be fun!  Feel free to get creative when making your marketing video and consider adding music to draw in your viewer.

Ivystone, a national Gift and Home sales and marketing agency creates unique videos simply by utilizing a variety of Gift and Home product images along w upbeat and captivating music to promote their national showrooms-featuring a variety of Ivystone vendors and products for the wholesale gift and home market.

View Ivystone’s summer 2016 Atlanta Showroom promotional video here.

Read more for 7 proven tips to use videos for your small business and go ahead and make some video fun!

Our 20 Billion Dollar Day of Love (Infographic)

Valentine’s Day has surpassed the football craze with total spending set to hit a record $19.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Some 54.8 percent of Americans celebrated the holiday this year, with candy, greeting cards and an evening out at the top of the gift list.

Valentines_Day_Infographic

Holiday 2015 Retail Sales Surge in Furniture & Apparel

Solid holiday sales results were released,  giving 2015 a happy ending for most retailers. Strong demand for furniture and women’s apparel helped U.S. retail sales grow by a “solid” 7.9 percent this holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

Furniture was a bright spot this holiday season. Sarah Quinlan, the head of market insights for MasterCard Advisors, said that solid spending in this category — which includes many big-ticket items — is a sign that consumers are plenty willing to open their wallets for purchases they’ve carefully researched. Bloomingville_Furniture

Another encouraging sign for retailers in MasterCard’s data was its finding that apparel sales saw “high single-digit growth” during the season. Shiraleah_boho-iconComing into the holiday rush, apparel sales had been soft at many retailers due to unseasonably warm weather which initially appeared to keep consumers from scooping up cold-weather gear.  As warmer temperatures hung on throughout December, there were reports that apparel retailers were missing out on millions in clothing sales this holiday season.  However MasterCard’s data suggests that consumers ended up ponying up for clothing after all. MasterCard found that women’s apparel sales saw robust growth.

Read the full Reuters story here.

13 Step Road Map to Maximize Business Results with Hyper-Local Marketing

It’s a no brainer. Local businesses that want to maximize their business results should implement hyper-local digital marketing.  Identify your most critical local markets, and deliver compelling localized  messaging, content, programs, offers, and calls to action based on the area or  neighborhood.

 

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • 13 tips for effective local marketing
  • How reaching a local audience can drive business results

More folks turn to the Internet than any other medium—including newspapers, TV, or word-of-mouth—for local information, according to the Pew Research Center. Furthermore, a whopping 83% of local search users contacted businesses offline, with 46% of consumers making contacts over the phone and 37% visiting the businesses in person, and half of all local business searchers eventually made purchases, according to TMP (15miles) and ComScore. Numbers like those demonstrate how digital marketing can take local businesses to a whole new level.

If you are a local business looking to grow (and who isn’t?), follow this digital road map and get hyper-local (with amazing results).

Read more here

 

Learn and Earn Word Of Mouth Marketing For Your Business

If you could master what has been identified as one of the most valuable forms of marketing, the one that most people trust above all others Word of Mouth Marketing 4and the one that is most likely to deliver sales for your company, would you instead choose to ignore it or leave it to chance?

Why would you simply choose to sit back and hope conversations will just happen organically about your brand? If you want to win the marketing race you need to unleash the power of word of mouth marketing (WOMM).

Most of the time, your talkers will come from the everyday actions you take to be a great business – they recommend their friends because they really like you. But sometimes you have to be more proactive about earning those talkers and getting them to spread the word.

Word of Mouth Marketing-GraphLook at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of  marketing.

According to Susanne Fanning, President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry, marketers need to focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower.  If you can master these, you can become the most beloved and talked about product in your category, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. “We’ve seen a good WOMM campaign generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year (yes, even for the boring products).”

Engage—Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Be a presence in your fans’ lives. @NikeSupport is a prime example of customer service done well. They constantly respond to followers on Twitter, whether it’s about their apparel, Fuel Band or other products. Every few minutes, you can watch them respond to someone new.

Equip—Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. It’s on you. It really depends on you understanding your consumers and what they like about you and providing whatever it is they need from you. Apple revolutionizes technological devices and delivers amazing products to its consumers, allowing them to naturally rave about the newest iPhone. Another area to excel in and that’s on the rise is social customer service.

Empower—Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Help them find ways to share within their circles and find ways to help move their conversations around. Lay’s is an excellent Word of Mouth Marketing 2example to highlight how they empowered their fans to “Do Us a Flavor,” and allow consumers to create a new flavor of potato chips to hit store shelves. Over 3.8 million submissions were sent in 2013 making it one of the biggest marketing campaigns for PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay.

As is typically in these times, technology has increased social connectivity making it easier for consumers to do your marketing for you. A post Word of Mouth Marketing 3that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write will be seen by hundreds of friends who trust them, and it can rapidly travel out to thousands more. Very well planned messages have been shared by millions within the span of days.

Look at the Epic Split video by Volvo featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the video was released on YouTube on November 14, and on the first day the film was viewed over 6.5 million times and shared over 32 thousand times. Then in four weeks it was shared over 6 million times across social networks. It quickly became the most shared film on YouTube. The clip has received extensive media coverage from all over the world as well, and has been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online thus far.

It is simply not possible to achieve these kind of results without technology. The results are undeniable; consider the fact that those who read these posts as well as yours could potentially have hundreds of offline conversations with friends, families and acquaintances.

Engaing, Equipping and Empowering  your customers will fuel conversations and drive passionate Word of Mouth marketing that will make a huge difference for your brand and your sales.

Send us examples of your Word of Mouth achievments and be on the look out for Part 2 next week as we share these and more powerful WOMM success stories.

 

Suzanne Fanning is the President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry. Her social strategies have been featured in Advertising Age Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, and PR Week.

 

What Will Overtime Pay Mean For Retailers

Overtime Pay Changes For Retailers

 

A proposed new rule governing overtime pay will mean bigger paychecks for up to 5 million workers, Obama Retailer workingadministration officials said Tuesday.  Currently, certain salaried workers who make more than $23,660 cannot claim overtime; the proposed rule would raise that threshold to $50,440 per year for those workers now exempt from overtime benefits.

It could take months to finalize the proposed rule, which is now subject to a 60-day public comment period. Find out what the overtime pay change really means for retailers.  Retail Dive (7/7)

Gifted Women

Monica_Loving_Ivystone_VP_Vendor_Relations2015

Monica Loving | VP Vendor Relations- Ivystone

Gifts and Decorative Accessories recently interviewed 9 inspiring women who are making a difference in the Gift and Home industry.  These women brimming with drive and passion have been placing their indelible stamp on the Gift and Home industry for many years.

Read on to discover what drives women such as Monica Loving and many others to work tirelessly to make the Gift and Home industry a great place to work and build a lasting career.

 

West Coast Port Issues Resolved-Resolution Won’t Be Quick

Product manufacturers and retailers have had their patience stretched while trying to get products on the shelves due to the west coast ports labor dispute.  Finally a resolution is in place, however more time is needed before products are loaded and delivered throughout the country.  Port officials have informed retailers it will take 45 to 60 days to clear out the backlog, said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation trade group.    

According to Reuters reports: “It’s not going to be fast,” Jon Slangerup, chief executive officer of the Port of Long Beach, told CNBC television. “It’s going to take us a couple of months to dig out, but we were at full strength on Saturday night, all full strength yesterday, and we’re going to stay at it until this backlog is cleared.”  writes Reuters Lewis Krauskopf.

Ships sit anchored outside the Port in Los Angeles

Cargo containers sit idle at the Port of Los Angeles as a back-log of over 30 container ships sit anchored outside the Port in Los Angeles, California, February 18, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/BOB RIHA, JR

 

Retail Dollar Volumes Up for the 2014 Holiday Season

The data suggests that shoppers are ready to spend this holiday season.  Consumer confidence is rising due to an improving job market and lower gasoline prices. Couple standing in front of organic food store smiling If the early shopping days are strong indicators, this could be a positive shopping season for retailers.

Retail Dollar Volume Up 5.3% Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday