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.

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

 

Viva Las Vegas and the Ivystone Showroom!

Ivystone_LasVegas_LookBook

 

Visit the Las Vegas Market in person and join Ivystone and their vendors July 27-31st (Bldg C-Showroom #696) for day long hospitality starting with Starbucks coffee each morning along with great products, food and events throughout the day.  If you can’t make the trip in person, view Ivystone’s Las Vegas Showroom Look Book for an in-person “feel” of the irresistible product options during and after market.

Either way you can’t lose…..after all it’s Vegas!

Be sure to contact us for additional show and product details.

For details on Ivystone’s Las Vegas Showroom visit us here.

 

Ivystone Events at Dallas Market Center-New Showroom Look Book

Ivystone Look Book- Dallas 2014Dallas summer market is here!  Join us in Ivystone Showroom #236, Dallas Market Center June 18-24th for a fantastic showcase of vendors and entertaining events throughout the market.

Your Ivystone sales rep will be on hand to help with products and events.

Preview Ivystone’s Dallas Showroom Look Book  for Every Style, Every Look, Everything You Need.

 

 

 

Tips for Building Better Passwords

Love them or hate them, passwords are the initial line of defense in our daily digital lives, usually playing the leading role as gatekeeper to our precious online information.  This inevitability leaves people stuck attempting to remember several passwords and manage them properly, something that usually means they’ll create an easily remembered and crackable password once and use it everywhere.

While online security professionals can enforce policy on a password’s length, expiration and use of character types, typically only a small segment of the population creates truly strong passwords they will remember and avoid using elsewhere.

There are ways to build better passwords with simple changes that can add strength to your current password status.  Note this phrase: two-factor authentication is a big deal in the security world.

With that said, here’s a primer on passwords, easily shared with business colleagues or family members who like us might need a reminder about the importance and practice of online security.

Why are passwords important?                            Password Security

Having a password is the most basic level of protection you can have for the information you are storing in services or applications, be it your personal Facebook account, your online banking site, or your company’s customer tracking system. The problem is that everything is online now, and everything needs a password. So it’s tempting to make your password simple and easy to remember. Perhaps you have a go-to password you’ve used for everything since college. Or maybe you write your password down so you don’t forget it.

If you do any of those things, you’re probably in the majority, not the minority. Creating long, complex passwords that are unique for every service you use is a challenge, and remembering them all is near impossible.  (Learn about Last Pass, a password tool highlighted in the video below).

The problem is that simple, easy-to-remember passwords are also easy to “crack.” That’s likely why a major study found that 76 percent of network intrusions (breaches) in 2012 involved weak or stolen passwords.   A fix may be easier than you might think. For starters, head to Intel’s Password Grader to see just how easily cracked your current password is.

Once attackers have your password, they have access to your account and any information stored in it. From there, they may be able to do all sorts of things, and what was intended as a form of protection could become a threat in itself. For example, if you use the same password across multiple sites, once an attacker has compromised your information on an unimportant one, they can turn around and use it on a site you do care about.

Or say you use different passwords, but the same security questions. They could find the information for your security questions and then set up a fake “change password” request using your information and actually lock you out of an important account.

Bottom line: passwords are an important security measure for every aspect of your life, the key is to make them workable for you yet extremely difficult for offenders to crack.

How can you protect yourself?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk and increase the protection offered by passwords.

Tips for passwords to protect your security

What NOT to do when creating online passwords

 

Stay on Trend With the Pantone 2014 Fashion Color Report

For more than 20 years, Pantone, the global authority on color, has surveyed the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond to bring you the season’s most important color trends. We are bringing you the report of the most prominent hues for spring 2014.

Designers are taking a modern twist on the traditional for spring 2014 by pairing soft pastels with vivid brights to create a colorful balance. Inspired by a mixture of blooming flowers, travels abroad and strong, confident women, designers use color to refresh, revive and defy conventional wisdom.

“This season, consumers are looking for a state of thoughtful, emotional and artistic equilibrium,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “While this need for stability is reflected in the composition of the palette, the inherent versatility of the individual colors allows for experimentation with new looks and color combinations.”

Be the trend setter you want to be by using and introducing these beautiful hues into your 2014 gift, home décor and fashion merchandise.

Pantone 2014 Fashion Color Report

If you are looking for direction on 2014 products for your business, please contact the professionals at  Ivystone and Simblist  for assistance.

Pantone Fashion Color Report-Spring 2014

Pantone Fashion Color Report-Spring 2014

 

 

Smart Retailers Plan Ahead for Successful Holiday Sales

Whether it’s Halloween in April or Christmas in July, smart retailers look ahead and develop a plan to help them get ready for the holiday and make the most of every sales opportunity.

Here are a few of our own suggestions on helping you prepare for holiday 2013 with awesome product selections, unique collections and merchandising and smart marketing tools.

Planning for Successful Holiday Sales

Read more to learn what other retailers around the country are doing now to plan for a successful holiday season.

Buttery Hot Rolls & Fashion- A Scrumptious Pairing at Americasmart!

Looking smart and put together on the outside isn’t always easy. Life is busy and though you take the time to put together a fabulous ensemble, in reality lipstick fades and hairstyles sometimes droop. While not a cure for all that’s ailing the modern girl, a great bag that does duty as a carry on for travel, a market tote and an insulated food transporter is a step in the right direction.

Sister Schubert w Haul Couture cargo bag

Sister Schubert showing off her Haul Couture cargo bag

Sister Schubert filling her Haul Couture cargo bag

Sister Schubert filling her Haul Couture cargo bag

Enter the Haul Couture Cargo and Cargo Mini Bags. Striking fabrics and innovative design combine to make it the bag you want and need.  The possibilities are endless and uses are only limited by your imagination.

Join Ivystone’s newest partner, Haul Couture, on Saturday, July 13th in Americasmart (Atlanta Gift Mart, Bldg 2, #1801) from 10:00-3:00 along with Patricia “Sister” Barnes, founder of Sister Schubert Homemade Rolls while she serves hot rolls from her very own Haul Couture bag.

A huge fan of the Haul Couture Cargo Bag, “Sister” will demonstrate how she cannot get through her busy days of cooking AND travel without the help of her “Milla” and “Tiger Walk” Cargo Bags! See why Haul Couture is “…more than just a bag!”

The original Haul Couture Cargo Bag already enjoys a bit of fame in features on the Today Show, The Next Iron Chef and most recently in O magazine.

Find these and other great wholesale product lines for your retail business in the Ivystone and Simblist Atlanta Showrooms (July 9th-17th) and through your Ivystone and Simblist sales reps.

Smiles Prove to Make the Difference in Customer Service

Need proof that congenial customer service matters? A recent study from London’s Kingston University found that a smile and a friendly greeting were the most common reason why shoppers felt loyalty toward independent businesses.         Smiley Face!

The study examined more than 2,000 consumers and 1,200 small- and medium-sized businesses and found that more than one-third of shoppers come back to stores because of great service, and 20% say having a salesperson remember their order is important.

While great customer service seems like a no-brainer, only half of the businesses surveyed said a smile and greeting were a common practice for their staff.

Customers willing to pay for smiles

 

 

See How Small Businesses Are Competing Successfully With Big Brands-Infographic

Having quick access to online, mobile and social platforms along with the value consumers place on one-to-one relationships and customer service, makes it easier and likely for small businesses to succeed in more ways everyday.

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