fbpx Join RICS and RMSA as they talk open to buy planning for retail. Watch this free webinar to learn how to create a better buying plan for your business. You can find our additional webinars by clicking here or check out our Youtube playlist. Data has become instrumental in running a successful business. When you use your data to forecast, plan markdown strategies, and analyze business results,  you’re able to make a positive impact on your bottom line. But many retailers are faced with uncertainty when it comes to understanding their data. Whether they don’t have the right technology in place to store and analyze their data, or they are unsure of what metrics are most important, many retailers aren’t using their most valuable asset to their advantage. Join RICS’ Jimmy Richburg and Potomac River Running’s Ray Pugsley and Ryan Long as they discuss the importance of data analysis in your business. Our free webinar, Understanding and Using Data to Increase Profits, will cover how you can be using reports and data points to influence the business decisions and strategies that most impact your profitability. In this webinar, we’ll break down: Join us on Thursday, May 25th at 2:00-2:30 pm EST for this exciting discussion. Register now! A lot of small to medium-sized retailers don’t put enough importance on their brand. A brand is not just a logo and colors. Yes, it includes the visual aspect of a business, but also the messaging, customer service, and the intangible perceptions of a business. Few recognize the impact or are too preoccupied to worry about it. But why is your brand so important?
  1. You only get one first impression Whether it’s your website, social media, or storefront, the first impression your brand makes is lasting. Poor execution on a website will turn people away and give negative perceptions about your physical store.
  2. Brand can make you memorable Small businesses have the advantage over the big guys by being able to develop a unique and recognizable brand that is ingrained into the community. You know the people and can speak directly into their lives.
  3. Start Smart Spending the money up front to build a quality brand may seem expensive, but it will help avoid a costly redesign down the road. There is also longevity in quality design. Avoid falling into the trendy mindset and instead go for a look that will weather the test of time.
  4. Design isn’t just about pretty Everyone wants a beautiful store and a brand to match, but beauty alone won’t make you money. It must convert into profit. Design is a tool to persuade people to spend money with you. Use it wisely.
As you are thinking about new initiatives you want to implement in 2017, have you considered taking advantage of your store space for more than just selling your inventory? It is clear that shopping is taking a turn towards convenience (ecommerce, same-day delivery, curbside pickup) and interactive experiences. How can you leverage your store to create experiences that shoppers seek out? What will allow you to stand out and be unique among your competitors? An easy place to start is to offer food and drinks to your shoppers. Who doesn’t love a good bite to eat while out shopping? This will encourage shoppers to stay and enjoy their time. Did you know that alcohol while shopping leads to increased sales? If you are able to obtain a liquor license, offer a glass of wine to those who come into your store. If you like the results, you could even go as far as putting a full bar in your store. This is great both for the shoppers and those dragged along to come with. Your main goal should be to get shoppers to stick around, so do whatever you think will offer the largest return on your investment. Another way to utilize your store space is to allow people to host private shopping parties in your store after hours. Whether the event is for a company’s happy hour or a girl’s night out, give these attendees the opportunity to look at your inventory and makes purchases. If the main purpose of the event is not to shop, don’t be a pushy salesperson, but instead friendly and knowledgeable. An inviting and comfortable store space is essential for multipurpose use. Start with redesigning your layout to create space for people to gather and hangout. You can check out our infographic for specific ways you can perfect your store’s layout to create a better customer experience. Now that the new year is here, think about how you can capitalize on your store to distribute your inventory and create memorable experiences that will get your customers talking and increase foot traffic. F0r more suggestions on how to increase your in-store experience, read this free guide! Now that 2017 is in full swing, what plans are you making for your store this year? Make sure to check out the 2017 Retail Trends Report to learn more about what you can expect this year, including increased customer expectations for their online and in-store experience. When thinking about increasing your sales this year, you should consider what holidays exist each month that you can use as traffic driving events. Here are some of the important dates and events to look forward to this month:

Exchanging and Returning Holiday Gifts

It’s no surprise that January is filled with people coming back into your store to exchange or return gifts they received over the holidays. Consider creating a marketing campaign that can help shoppers know your store hours, your return and exchange policy, and what other specials your store is running at the time. Once customers are in your store, offer promotions that encourage them to either stay in your store and shop or return to your store in the coming weeks to use a time-sensitive coupon.

New  Year’s Resolutions

January is always filled with many people making resolutions to have a better year. Your shoppers may want to live healthier by eating better or working out more, or they may want to spend more time with family and focus on being nicer to others. Whatever resolutions your customers are making, it’s important to set your store up to help them succeed in those endeavors. If you’re a specialty run store, you might run a promotion that centers around your products helping people meet their healthy living goals.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day  falls on Monday, January 16th. This holiday is a bank holiday, meaning a lot of people will be off of work, giving you the opportunity to drive more traffic into your store. It might be worth sending out an in-store coupon or hosting a sale on this holiday to encourage people to stop in on their day off. You can also use this opportunity to move some of your extra inventory – check out this blog on how to make more money with your markdowns. Stay tuned next month to learn about what’s going on in February! As mobile and social commerce are taking off, it’s becoming increasingly important to connect with your customers outside of the four walls of your store. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram offer different ways to connect with your audience and marketing your store. You don’t have to use all the channels to be successful at social marketing, but utilizing channels your customers frequent is a great place to start. Here’s a look at how you can use Instagram to reach your audience in new, exciting ways and market your offerings!

Post pictures of people using your newest products

Have you ever followed a brand that posts pictures of people doing fun activities in their newest clothes? These brands are capitalizing on experience marketing. When you see people using or wearing products and having a great time doing it, you want to experience that too! So what better way to showcase your newest jogging jacket than by showing it on a runner having the best race ever?

Tell a Story

Storytelling is a very powerful way to win customer loyalty. Whether you share information about your employees or a glimpse of behind the scenes of every day logistics, storytelling gives you the ability to show off your personality. Customers like to feel connected to a brand and storytelling gives you the ability to give them that added connection.

Promote Giveaways

Hosting a giveaway on Instagram is a great way to have your customers do your marketing for you. How so? Many of the most popular brands use a very simple technique to give away products. The technique is to put up a picture of a giveaway and ask people to like their brand, like the post, and comment tagging a friend. The concept is simple and people will be more willing to follow your brand and tag their friends on your posts with a chance to win. As customers become more ecommerce and social savvy, it’s important to learn how you can leverage those channels to drive customer loyalty. To learn more about how your business can capitalize on customer loyalty, watch our webinar, “Increasing Sales by Driving Customer Loyalty.” As retailers prepare to navigate shopper expectations in 2017, it’s no secret that winning customer loyalty is a top priority. It costs retailers 5-10 times more to bring in a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. Not only that, but returning customers spend 67% more on average than first-time visitors. So how can you stay top of mind for your customers and win their loyalty? Check out these 3 easy ways that can help you impress your customers.

Reward loyal customers

Frequent buyer and reward programs are a big hit with shoppers. But how do your programs differentiate you from your competitors? Implement a yearly reward for your top shoppers. Pull a list of your top 100 customers and send them a $20 gift card they can use in stores in the next 2 months. Not only are you showing you pay attention to customers who show you brand loyalty, but you’re also getting them to come back into the store and potentially spend more.

Say thank you

A great way to stand out in a sea of competitive retailers is to actually thank your customers. Sure, you probably say thank you when they’re making the purchase, but what about thanking them for being a customer between sales? If you’re a small business, consider sending a hand written thank you to new customers (who’s information you’ve collected). Don’t have addresses or have too many customers to send out thank you cards? Consider a thank you email. An email thanking customers for joining your ‘family’ this year can go a long way with customers!

Give back to the community

Customers, millennials especially, enjoy spending money with brands who have a cause they believe in. Whether your store sponsors a family every year for the holidays or hosts an in-store event where all proceeds go to your favorite local charity, these are things you should share with your customers. Send out a flyer or email telling your customers about the events you’re doing to give back. Obviously the point of giving back isn’t to win new customers, but it never hurts to let your customers know that when they support your business, they’re also supporting a local cause. Customer loyalty is becoming increasingly important for retailers. Showing your customers you appreciate them and that you appreciate their commitment to you as a local business is a great way to leave a lasting impression on them! Interested in more ways to drive customer loyalty? Check out our webinar on Increasing Sales by Driving Customer Loyalty. [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Is your retail operation prepared to manage and mitigate business risk?[/vc_column_text][minti_testimonial author=”John F. Levy”]All we really know is the past, but what really matters is the future.[/minti_testimonial][vc_column_text]Following a process to manage your business risk is simple but takes time to establish and discipline to follow. Here is a framework to consider when establishing how you will address Enterprise Risk Management. Step 1 – Establish your Risk Appetite – this is the amount of risk that an organization is willing to accept in pursuit of increasing profit and business value. Step 2 – Identify potential events that may affect the business. Step 3 – Manage the Identified risks from step 2 within the Risk Appetite identified in step 1. Spend some time with all the entity stakeholders to brainstorm the risks involved with your business and how you will address them. Successful businesses are not risk averse, they are better at mitigating the negative impact of the risks that they take on the overall operations. A simple example in retail could be a decision to open an additional location. In following the framework above you would (Step 1) consider the capital reserves (or access to additional capital) that your company has to invest in the build out, promotion, and providing inventory (working capital) for the new location. (Step 2) Consider the impact of what negative cash flow in that new location will do to the rest of your organization. Determine how long you can sustain negative cash flow from the new location and the timeline you are prepared to tolerate before exiting the expansion, and what costs would be associated with breaking the lease and retracting from the expansion. (Step 3) Make the decisions to sign a shorter term lease that coincides with your timeline for determination of success for the new location. Remember, past performance is not always an indication of future results. A fun example to consider this time of year is the that of the turkey. For the past 330 days of the turkey’s life things have been great and only getting better. The turkey is well fed, lives in a clean pen, and gets fresh water. If you were to ask the turkey (and the turkey could understand and respond), “how do you feel about the next two weeks of your life?”, we are certain the turkey would project that things can only keep getting better, why not, they have all the way up until this point. We all know what risks the turkey faces over the next 30 days of its life. Don’t be a turkey. As Yogi Berra once said, “prediction is very hard, especially about the future.” By Mark Brown, CFO, RICS Software[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] Join RICS experts, Jimmy Richburg and Brett Mcgrath, as they talk customer loyalty for retail. Watch this free webinar to learn how to increase sales through customer loyalty. You can find our additional webinars by clicking here or check out our Youtube playlist. On average, return customers spend 67% more than one-time shoppers. With online purchases and spending continues to grow, customer loyalty is becoming an increasingly important part of increasing sales in your business. If you can develop an experience that wins customers over, you can count on increasing your store visits and in turn, increasing your sales. But how do you deliver an experience so memorable that it trumps the convenience and sometimes price of online shopping? Join us for a free webinar, Increasing Sales by Driving Customer Loyalty, Tuesday, December 13th at 2:00 PM EST to learn how you can give your customers a personalized experience that will bring them back to the store again and again. In this webinar, we’ll discuss how retailers can use frequent buyer programs, in-store experiences, and promotion channels to create the personalized and memorable experiences customers crave. See real world examples of how retailers are winning at increasing customer loyalty by using customer data, their industry expertise, and promotion channels. We’ll also give you tips and tricks for developing a customer loyalty strategy for your store. In this webinar we’ll break down: Register for the webinar here. Sign up to learn more about how you can drive customer loyalty through personalized and memorable experiences. With repeat customers spending between 60-70% more than one-time shoppers, it’s becoming increasingly important to create an experience that makes customers want to return to your store. One way many retailers are attracting more foot traffic is by hosting in-store events that offer product previews, education, and customer appreciation nights. In-store events can act as a reward to customers or as a chance to educate customers on certain aspects of your products. But how do you create buzz around these events and encourage customers to attend? Check out how you can use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get customers excited about events. Twitter: Create an event hashtag to live tweet during events. Hashtags are a great way to not only generate buzz about events but also to get customers involved in promoting your brand. Tweets in a feed won’t last long, but a hashtag can collect all of the tweets for your followers to see. This can help you encourage customers who didn’t attend to check out some of your events in the future. Facebook: Go out on a limb and live stream parts of your event on Facebook. This new feature allows you to give your customers live access to education and product previews as they are happening. You can show customers what your events include and generate excitement for them to attend future events. You can also preview your event live to your followers in the days leading up to the event to encourage your customers to attend. Instagram: Preview giveaways on Instagram. You can use Instagram stories and your Instagram feed to share the products and services you plan to give away at your next event. Encourage customers to attend for a chance to enter to win one of your giveaways. Instagram is a great way to showcase items in your store, whether they are new items or as part of a promotion. Interested in learning more about marketing to your customers? Check out our Marketing with Your POS guide! Did you know that returning customers spend on average 67% more than first-time visitors? With a number that high, it’s incredibly hard to ignore the need to win loyal customers. But with so many ways for brands and retailers to compete with your brand, how do you stand out and create a need for your customers to come back for more? Check out a few quick tips for educating your clients that will turn them into repeat customers. Offer free fitting or gait analysis When you can teach your customers something about their needs when purchasing, they’ll automatically assert that you are the expert moving forward. Offer customers free fittings or gait analysis to determine the size and type of shoe that is best for them. Many shoppers are unaware of their true size or the type of support their body requires for a comfortable walking (or running) experience. Teach them about their personal needs and they’ll be more likely to visit your store when a need arises in the future. Host educational events Outside of fit analysis, offer nights that feature education and special discounts. Host an event with one of your brand partners or alone, but make sure to add an educational aspect to showcase you and your staff as the expert on the matter. If you’re a running store, an educational session about race training nutrition can bring people into your store and encourage them to try out different nutrition products you offer in your store. Train your employees extensively on products If your sales reps aren’t extensively trained on the latest products and how they can help your customers, you may find yourself losing out on sales. Training employees on new and existing products gives them the product knowledge they need to help customers solve problems. No shopper likes a pushy salesman who is just trying to meet a quota. But what customers do like is someone who understands their needs and can recommend the right products help them accomplish their goals. Training employees offers your customers a better experience and gives you the tools to win more sales. When it comes to creating loyal customers, education is a great tool for differentiating yourself from your competitors. Interested in learning more about winning repeat sales by offering customers a great experience? Check out our Store of the Future: Upping Your In-Store Experience guide. After hosting our ‘Using Data to Make Moves in a Bad Economy’ webinar, we had a lot of great questions! While we responded to each one individually, we thought it might be helpful to answer some of the most popular questions on the blog. Below you’ll find four popular questions attendees had after watching. Q: How do I find data for customers who have purchased a specific model of shoe to let them know about an update? A: In RICS, the report you will use to find this data is the Export Customer Purchase Details report. This report can be found under Reporting : Data Export : Export Customer Purchase Details. To run this report to find a customer who had purchased a specific model, enter the SKU information on the Customer Filter by Purchase tab and enter the time period you want to view. Q: How do I find customers who have not shopped with us in the past 6 months? A. To run this report to find customer who have not shopped with you in 6 months (or any time frame), navigate to the Additional Customer Criteria tab. Under the Limit to Customers with Last Purchase During, choose Selected Dates and enter the time frame where you want to find their last purchase. Q: How do I run the reports you outlined in the webinar? A: The two reports that were used for the data in this webinar were the Sales Analysis Report, which can be found under Reporting : Sales : Sales Analysis and the Export Customer Purchase Details Report which can be found under Reporting : Data Export : Export Customer Purchase Details. How you set the criteria for these reports will depend what type of data you want to view and how you want to view it. Q: What is your strategy around a product exit strategy? How would you plan your buy to ensure you did not end up in the same situation as the sample store did with the Adrenaline? A: My strategy is to: If there was an opportunity for risk inventory (potential excess pairs after the product updates) 30 days prior to update, I would work with the rep on a stock swap or stock buyback plan and work with them to create a markdown strategy to move remaining inventory within MAP policy. Note: There are many different ways to approach this problem, this is just one opinion/strategy. We received lots of great questions, but these were some of the most popular. If you missed the webinar, you can watch it here. If you find yourself with more questions, please feel free to reach out to me at jrichburg@ricssoftware.com. [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For retailers, change can often spark feelings of fear and anxiety. They think, “Why should I change something that works?” But the problem with that mentality is that if you’re not assessing the status of your processes and strategies, you may miss out on a tool that can add value to your business. The fear of change can ultimately harm the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Changing and part of your retail technology doesn’t have to be something that you fear, in fact it should be something that excites you. Change gives you, as a business owner the opportunity to improve upon tactics that are working and overhauling things that aren’t, setting you up for the ultimate success. But if change can do great things for your business, why are people so hesitant to embrace it? A few reasons we’re all a little scared of changing comfortable aspects of our business (and life) include: While change can seem scary, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right partner and the right plan, you can execute a process, strategy, or technology change easily. At RICS, we have proven time and time again to our new clients that they had nothing to fear in switching systems.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Learn more about overcoming the fear of change with our guide below:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_divider style=”4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column text_align=”center” width=”1/2″][minti_headline type=”h2″ font=”font-special” size=”fontsize-xxxl” weight=”fontweight-800″ lineheight=”lh-12″ transform=”transform-uppercase”]Get the Guide[/minti_headline][minti_button link=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/eBook-Overcoming-the-Fear-of-Change.pdf” target=”_blank” icon=”fa-chevron-right” appear=”true” size=”medium”]Download Now[/minti_button][minti_image img=”3904″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/eBook-Overcoming-the-Fear-of-Change.pdf” target=”_blank” hover=”image_tilt”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_divider style=”4″][/vc_column][/vc_row] [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ecommerce is more than just online shopping. It’s important to recognize that having a website is only part of creating an online presence. There are several ways you can improve your online experience to reach millennials. Getting a website set up is important, but that’s only half the battle. One easy way to increase your online presence is through social media. Setting up accounts are free, easy, and help customers find you more easily. A Facebook and Twitter account can provide pictures, reviews, and an easy way to communicate with customers. Make sure your customers know about your new online presence by sending out an announcement via postcard or email. This lets customers know where to find you and could even offer a coupon for their first online purchase. Encourage your customers to follow your social media accounts for special offers or campaigns. Your new online presence should be consistent with the brand you promote in store. Having a uniform brand creates trust with the customer because they know what to expect from you. It is also helpful for employees to fall in line with the brand. Your online store should show the same products you have in store because over 80% of shoppers research their future purchases online before purchasing in store. Offer a ‘pick up in store’ option to let customers know that the product they’re looking at is available. This is convenient because they can try it on and don’t have to wait for shipping.  Showing the actual number of products you have left could create demand through a “buy now or miss it” mentality. You can also use your online presence to deliver valuable content to your customers about the products, how to use them, and the life experiences they offer. This content can showcase your knowledge and improve customer loyalty. Create a blog on your website where you can share your ideas and interact with customers.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

To learn more, see our guide below:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_divider style=”4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column text_align=”center” width=”1/2″][minti_headline type=”h2″ font=”font-special” size=”fontsize-xxxl” weight=”fontweight-800″ lineheight=”lh-12″ transform=”transform-uppercase”]Get the Guide[/minti_headline][minti_button link=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Creating-a-Better-Ecommerce-Experience.pdf” target=”_blank” icon=”fa-chevron-right” appear=”true” size=”medium”]Download Now[/minti_button][minti_image img=”3715″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Creating-a-Better-Ecommerce-Experience.pdf” target=”_blank” align=”center” hover=”image_tilt”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_divider style=”4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]