fbpx [vc_row][vc_column][minti_testimonial author=”Mark Denkler” company=”Vince Canning Shoes and Tootsies Shoes”]“Information is money. If you have information, then you can use it to improve your business and increase profit.”[/minti_testimonial][vc_column_text]Data is a key ingredient for the success of your business. But, it doesn’t mean anything until you can analyze it and understand what it’s telling you. If your technology can’t help compile, store, analyze, and report on your data, this can be detrimental toward growing your business. Mark and LaRonda Denkler from Vince Canning Shoes and Tootsies Shoes experienced this before switching to RICS. It wasn’t until a vendor came to them, excited about how well their brand was doing, that Mark realized they lacked true insight on product performance. They had thought that specific brand wasn’t selling well until the vendor told them otherwise.

Background on Vince Canning Shoes and Tootsies Shoes

Located in Delray Beach, FL, Vince Canning Shoes opened in 1952. Their business has been passed down three generations. Mark Denkler and his wife, LaRonda, bought the store from his uncle and have now been working in the footwear industry for over 20 years! Vince Canning Shoes became a partner with RICS in 2003. The Denklers chose to switch to RICS after their current system went out of business. “Time was the main focus- we needed an efficient solution to get business done,” says Mark. When they bought Tootsies Shoes, across the street from Vince Canning Shoes, the store didn’t have a retail management system in place. They choose to implement RICS because, without it, they lacked insight into how their products were performing.

Why RICS Software?

Before using RICS, Mark explains “you don’t know what’s selling; you have your daily recaps and look at the inventory wall.” Without inventory data, they didn’t have enough information to know how the business was really doing. After implementing RICS, they accessed important metrics like turns, gross profit margin, ROI, etc. This insight showed them inventory trends right away. Mark from Vince Canning Shoes and Tootsies Shoes recognizes RICS has greatly improved their business by stating how it, “allows us to do our buying better. We had no idea we were missing sales. Now, we know we have the information to make a sale.”  
Learn more with our customer case studies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The checkout is an important part of your store’s flow, and it shouldn’t just be the end of a customer’s shopping experience.

How can you make it a better experience for the customer and more profitable for your store?

Assess your checkout area using these 4 tips.

  1. Make Room – People need counter space for all their purchases and personal bags. Also, make sure there is enough space around the checkout counter for strollers and carts to maneuver easily.
  2. Use the Walls – The walls behind the register are a good place to reinforce your brand. Use the space to promote sales, events, or products. Give the customer a reason to put their phones down and take notice.
  3. Cater to the Impulses – Make every effort to encourage the impulse purchase. Put best-sellers close to the checkout and tastefully arrange add-ons.
  4. Charm – You may not be able to completely control your physical space or the location of your checkout, but you can control customer services.
For more tips on store design, check out our free guide Perfecting Your Store’s Layout For a Better Customer Experience. [vc_row][vc_column 0=””][vc_column_text]Training for a marathon or any kind of race takes preparation. You need to know the date of the race and work backward to develop your training schedule. You will determine running milestones before the race to prepare your body, schedule conditioning and rest days to improve endurance and speed and develop a nutrition plan to properly fuel your body. The more you prepare in advance, the more successful you will be at completing the marathon and setting a new personal record. The same is true when onboarding to a new Inventory Management and POS system. It is not an overnight decision or switch; it should be a thought out and planned process to give you the tools you need to successfully use the new system. The transition plan should include milestones, schedules, and training along the way. Once in the onboarding process at RICS, Vicki, Casey, and our Onboarding team will help: After you are ringing sales on RICS, there is a dedicated Support Team to answer questions, educate you on various aspects of the system and continue to guide you on the system. They are available 12 hours a day, every day. Using an Inventory Management system is not a sprint – it is a marathon. It takes preparation, thought and dedication in order to use the system most effectively and be able to increase profits while reducing inventory. If you would like to learn more about the RICS team contact us at sales@ricssoftware.com or click here to schedule a meeting.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] Staying connected with your community through the right customer communication channels (email, text, social, etc.) has become more important than ever in the retail industry. To effectively resonate with, attract, and retain customers, retailers must stay engaged with relevant and consistent marketing content. The businesses that effectively communicate to their customers and target audience will maximize their revenue potential. For this reason, RICS has partnered and integrated with Chatterspot, an automated marketing solution, to empower our retailers to act upon their data.

RICS and Chatterspot: Helping you build a community using the right customer communication channels.

This integration will enable retailers to use data stored in RICS to segment and target customers with personalized and relevant messages, increasing sales and creating loyal customers. Within the Chatterspot solution, retailers can build automated campaigns to communicate with their customers through several channels. This will ensure the right message gets to the customer at the right time. For example, retailers can announce store sales, new products from the brands customers love, and send notifications to customers when it is time for a new pair of shoes. RICS is excited about the value retailers will realize through automated email and text marketing campaigns that are informed by the customer and purchase information that is collected and stored in RICS. The possibilities for personalized and pertinent marketing communication are endless. To learn more about this integration and how to get started, contact the RICS Accounts team at accounts@ricssoftware.com! Looking for how you can set up your Tax Free weekend in RICS? Is your state hosting a tax holiday this year? With tax free weekends starting at the end of July and going well into August, it’s time for retailers to start planning for the event in your store. If they are, here are some quick tips for how you can use this event as a way to attract more shoppers to your store. Send a postcard to customers Many customers may be unaware that tax free weekends exist. Send them a direct mail piece that lets them know the dates and what in your store qualifies for tax exemptions! Send an email  Interested in getting the word out but not savvy on spending money on a mailer? Use your customer list to create an email that highlights the dates of the event and the merchandise you’ll have on hand that is tax exempt. Offer a coupon  Shoppers are already saving a little money on taxes, but why not sweeten the pot and offer a coupon? Offering a coupon for a total discount or a discount on one item is a great way to encourage shoppers to stop into your store over the weekend. Post on your social channels Use your social channels to spread the word about the tax holiday. This is a great way to get in front of your customers several times before the event. Post pictures of the inventory that qualifies and let them know about any other specials you’ll be hosting that weekend. Even though online shopping seems to be growing at a rapid pace, the majority of purchases are still happening in brick-and-mortar stores. Shoppers can’t seem to let go of the ability to physically touch a product before purchasing, and for small and local retailers, that’s good news. But how do you attract these shoppers to your store and beat out your competitors for their attention? Check out these three ways you can attract more customers into your store and increase sales. Host in-store events In-store events may sound like an expensive feat, but you can host an event that costs little to nothing and attracts lots of shoppers to your stores. Host a fun run or an educational event that highlights the uses of some of your products. Send out an email letting your customers know about the event and provide a few light refreshments and you’re ready to host customers in your store! Offer in-store coupons This seems like an obvious, easy way to entice shoppers. But it’s surprising how few retailers actually make coupons in-store only. Coupons are a great way to attract shoppers, but getting your customers to purchase from your physical store instead of online is an important distinction. When customers have a great in-store experience, they really value that and are more likely to come back. Send out in-store coupons to customers you haven’t seen in awhile. This is a great way to get customers back into your store! Send out product updates Whether you send a daily email or post updates on your social media sites, flashing your inventory in front of your customers is a great way to get them to stop into your store. Do you have employees on hand who can model your inventory for you? Even better! Shoppers love to visualize what a product looks like on (and not on the hanger). Use your daily posts as a chance to show them what you have in your store in the moment and what it looks like on! Whether you are trying to increase foot traffic or make an effort to connect with your customers more, these are all great ways to get in front of your customers. Take the time to reach out and remind them why they were loyal to your brand in the first place. Interested in learning more about how you can attract more customers to your store? Check out our Store of the Future guide that focuses on creating a more memorable in-store experience. Gen Z Influencing Family Spending According to a new study from NRF and IBM, “Uniquely Gen Z,” 70 percent of Gen Z-ers say they influence their family’s spending on everything from household items to family vacations. Even more interesting, in a survey by InfoScout parents agreed that their children are influencing their purchasing decisions. In the survey, 67% of parents said they seek their children’s input before buying products and 59 percent won’t buy a product if their children don’t approve. (NRF) Toys “R” Us Still Facing Challenges Amid many big box retailers closing their doors, toy giant Toys “R” Us faces a tough challenge with poor Q1 performance. At the end of Q1, the toy company saw a net loss of $164 million. “The challenges we faced during holiday 2016 continued in the marketplace during the first quarter,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us. “Overall weakness in the baby business, as well as slower growth in the toy category and very aggressive price discounting by our competitors were significant contributors to our disappointing results.” (CSA) Dads Just as Likely to Use Coupons as Moms According to a new survey by Valassis, 96 percent of dads said they would use coupons, compared to 98 percent of moms. These numbers are higher than the general population of adults, whom 90 percent said they would use coupons. “Dads are readily influenced by coupons and other relevant discounts before, during and after their shopping journey,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “Marketers should take these findings into consideration as they seek to fully understand how dads shop, and then develop an omnichannel approach to reach and activate this savings-minded target audience.” (FierceRetail) Every day, we make choices from choosing how to spend our days to what we want to eat that day. According to Dr. Joel Hoomans from Roberts Wesleyan College, the average person makes 35,000 decisions each day. Whether if you are a business owner, a corporate executive, or a student, 35,000 decisions can be overwhelming and even exhausting. Some scholars call this decision fatigue. Decision fatigue describes your decreasing ability to make strong, thought-out decisions the more decisions you make during the day. This explains why leaders such as Steve Jobs decide to wear the same outfit every day – so they can eliminate more decisions from their busy days! Now, I’m not saying to go to your nearest clothing retailer and buy seven identical outfits. However, the above example highlights the importance of making the most of your decisions. Not all decisions are equal. In fact, most of them are relatively meaningless, such as which burger to order at lunch, while others are critical to making your business profitable, such as which inventory management software to implement. Take some time to reflect on the decisions you make daily. What decisions do you make that are critical to your success, and the success of your specialty retail store, every day? Which ones aren’t? What decisions can you make that will free up your “decision meter” to make more decisions that matter? If you want to learn more about making decisions, check out this article.
Fit. We hear this word often.
Regardless of what industry you may be in, you’ll hear this word referencing how well things are going to work together. For retailers, fit can be about merchandise and their customer. But the fit they want to make sure to get right is with their POS and inventory management system. Just like a pair of jeans that really fits feels like it was made for you, RICS is a POS system that was made specifically for footwear and apparel retailers. But what does that mean? It just feels right? Well, kind of. The truth of the matter is the business process that we have developed for running our shoes stores or apparel boutiques match up really well with a corresponding functionality inside RICS. Things we do everyday to run our business are addressed inside the program. Almost like it was originally developed by people with practical retail experience. And that’s because it was.
So for example…
Special Orders Special orders are a thing we may not love to take and process in our shops, but many times its necessary.  RICS knows this and gives you a way to easily process Special Orders. From taking the order, printing off tickets for the customer, store, and to attach to the merchandise, to printing out a Special Order Activity report every time you are ready to place your specials, with all the information in one document. Grid Analysis RICS uses a grid system to help you see your inventory in the same way retailers have traditionally looked at items. This allows you to quickly asses how well various sizes are selling, not selling, or need to be ordered. It can also help you quickly determine that the traditional size runs you believe are applicable to most SKUs in your store, may be totally off for certain, styles, classes, or brands of merchandise. Retail Experience Finally, RICS has continued to embrace it’s retail roots by hiring retailers for the team. That means people on our sales, on-boarding, training, and support team all have practical retail experience.  They all worked in retail stores using RICS to run their shops. If you’ve ever tried to explain something to a customer service rep who just doesn’t get it, then you know how helpful this will be. So if you have a retail shop and you happen to sell footwear or apparel, make sure your POS decision is made with much consideration. Because as retailers and technology experts we both know we have to find the right fit. Online Shopping Forces Retailers to Alter Trade and Brand Marketing In a new report from Criteo and Kantar Millward Brown, “Trade Marketing in Transition,” ecommerce growth is forcing retailers to rethink how they are budgeting for trade and brand marketing. “Trade marketing is undergoing a profound shift,” said Jonathan Opdyke, president, brand solutions, Criteo. “To profitably target and acquire shoppers, both online and offline, marketers must adapt their trade practices and budgets,” he added. “Retail marketers need solutions that allow for real-time measurement of ROI, and an end to the debate between offline vs. online, in favor of an omni-channel approach.” (CSA) Nine West May be in Trouble According to Loyalty Data With retail closings expected to hit a record high this year, brands and retailers everywhere are scrambling to make sure they aren’t the next casualty. For Nine West, their efforts to win customers is falling short and may cause them to be the next retail power player to fall. According to data from inMarket’s spring loyalty report, Nine West finds itself in a dire situation where it may have to close doors or layoff employees. Other retailers hitting the bottom of the list for loyalty points include Crocs, Toys ‘R’ Us, and Wet Seal. (CNBC) Store Employees Lack Digital Tools  According to the 2017 Retail Associate Technology Study from Salesfloor, 25% of retail employees said they are not given the right digital tools to do their job. The study also unveiled that 72% of employees would be more willing to work for a retailer who gave them access to those tools, and 50% felt they weren’t reaching their full potential in their roles. The study was presented last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, where Joe Milano, senior vice president of digital retail at Saks, discussed their use of Salesfloor’s Storefront. (RetailDIVE) Technology has armed consumers with apps that compare prices and tools for research and purchasing; but consumers still want to see, touch, and try products before they purchase. Does your store give people a reason to spend their money in-store? Here are some areas on which to focus:
    1. Customer Service One of the singularly most important aspects of your business is taking care of the customer. If the customer leaves happy, they are more likely to come back and spend more. Online can’t have the same, personal touch.
    2. Take Care of Your Employees Happy employees give better customer service. They are the face of your store for good or bad, and their emotions bleed into every interaction. Give employees a reason to be excited to come to work. Make them proud to be part of your store.
    3. Make Visiting Your Store an Experience Make your store a destination. Keep the layout simple, logically, and flexible, and don’t make shoppers work hard to find what they want. Offer events and deals that online can’t match.
Want to learn more about capitalizing on the in-store experience? Read our eBook. While Wages Increase, Retail Employment Decreases According to the Labor Department, hourly earnings for retail workers are up 2.5 percent year-over-year, but retail industry employment is down 8500 jobs in May from April. “Though job growth in the retail industry decelerated in May, employment overall is above what is needed to keep sustained growth in the economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Solid fundamentals in the job market are encouraging for retail spending, as employment gains generate additional income for consumers and consequently increase spending.” (NRF) Amazon Granted Patent for Parachute-Dropping Drone After applying for a patent for an “aerial package delivery system” in August 2015, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon the patent on May 30, 2017. Though the ecommerce giant has already been experimenting with drone delivery technology, this new patent offers a new way to make sure packages arrive safely. The patent is for a label that is attached to packages and releases a parachute after being dropped to prevent damage to the package. The inventor listed on the patent is John Hanlon, senior technical program manager for Prime Air. Amazon has not said when it plans to use the technology of the parachute label. (CSA) More Woes for Luxury Retail  Michael Kors announced plans to close 100 to 125 of their shops last week after a disappointing fourth quarter. The company is facing “a difficult retail environment with elevated promotional levels,” said Michael Kors CEO John Idol. “In addition, our product and store experience did not sufficiently engage and excite consumers,” Idol said. “We acknowledge that we need to take further steps to elevate the level of fashion and innovation in our accessories assortments and enhance our store experience in order to deepen consumer desire and demand for our products.” (USA Today) As a retailer, avoiding inventory shrinkage should be at the top of your list. When inventory is leaving your store unnoticed, you’re not only losing money, but you could have a bigger problem lingering in your store. Check out these three ways you may be leaving yourself open to theft. Your technology is out of date When it comes to keeping track of your inventory, you need the right technology in place. Human error can cause hundreds of dollars in loss, but with up-to-date technology, you can avoid those errors and keep track of your inventory. You’ve put the wrong employees in place Human error and theft account for over 50% of all inventory loss. Meaning that if you’ve put people in place who aren’t right for the job, or aren’t the most honest,  you could be leaving yourself wide open for increased inventory loss. Going through a thorough interview process, including references and background checks could help you avoid those looking to steal from you. Once you have employees in the door, make sure you’re training them to be the most effective in their role. You don’t audit your vendors When you’re a retailer, it’s easy to let go and trust that your vendors are doing everything by the books. But the reality is, no one is looking out for your business more than you. Make sure you are paying attention to orders as they arrive and checking for damaged and missing inventory. If you do find something is off, make sure to call your rep right away to get things sorted out. Chances are, it was just a mistake, but multiple mistakes can cost your business money. Now that you know how you might be opening yourself up to increased inventory loss, find out how you can avoid theft and lost inventory with our free guide here. [vc_row bottom_padding=”40″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]See if your state is having a sales tax holiday so you are aware of what you can save on and prepare your retail store for the influx of shoppers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_image img=”4854″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Infographic-Tax-Free-Weekend-2017.pdf”][/vc_column][/vc_row] June is upon us, which means it is officially summer and kids are out of school. You will likely see more people out and about, so you need to start planning the best ways to get them to buy from you and escape the heat. Check out ways to get shoppers into your stores with some of these holidays and events: Father’s Day  Sunday, June 18th is Father’s Day and should be spent with all of the important fathers in your life! To encourage friends, families, and loyal customers to spend time with their fathers, you could close your store on Sunday. Instead, celebrate in your store on Saturday! Have a dad’s day sale and give your male shoppers a special discount. You could even serve beer in your store, have a barbecue, or some yard games outside! Make it a memorable day for everyone. Summer Solstice The summer solstice is the longest day of the year – meaning that it is the day of the year we see the most daylight. This year, the longest day of the year is on Wednesday, June 21st. What a great excuse to invite people to your store to hang out and celebrate! No need to have any sales, but you should definitely have something fun going on at your store or sponsored by your store to get the community involved. You could sponsor a 5k, host a BBQ, or partner with other local businesses to enjoy the longest day of the year. That’s all for this month! See you in July. [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The RICS team went to Gleaners Food Bank this week to volunteer and had a great time. We split into two shifts and spent the morning scanning and sorting food. We will feed 800 people with the amount of food we scanned. In the afternoon, the second group packed 400 boxes of food. It was a fun way to get the team working together and doing good. Have you considered getting your employees to do a service day? Check out volunteer opportunities in your community and find ways to jump in! It is great team bonding, while making a difference.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] Customer loyalty is a hot topic among retailers. Keeping customers coming back to your store, and staying loyal to your brand, ensures sales for your stores. One point of interest for shoppers when it comes to staying loyal to a brand is their in-store experience. Customer shopping habits are constantly changing, but shoppers are still purchasing in brick-and-mortar stores. So how can you make your in-store experience both memorable and worthy of your customers’ expectation? Join us for a free webinar that will break down how you can use your in-store data to create an experience customers can’t get anywhere else. Matt Schwartz (Aetrex, Co-Founder) and Jason Becker (RICS, CEO) will discuss how successful retailers can use their data to create memorable in-person experience that will make shoppers loyal customers. They’ll unveil how you can deliver an in-store experience that shoppers won’t find when shopping online, ensuring you’ll continue to drive business. In this webinar, they’ll break down: Register for the webinar today! Can’t make it? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording! “The cloud” is a term that is thrown around regularly these days and it seems that all technology is transitioning that way. You might be wondering, “what exactly does the cloud do and how can it help me?” Simply put, the cloud is place where you can store data and programs over the internet, instead of on the physical computer. The cloud eliminates the risk of losing important information if your hardware or server goes down, and it also makes that information much more accessible. At RICS, we have made the shift to the cloud and helped hundreds of retailers transition from outdated, installed software to a more beneficial point of sale and inventory management system. Running a successful retail operation no longer requires expensive servers and high IT costs. Fortunately, those days are behind us. By switching to RICS, you will eliminate the cost, data loss risk, and pain of operating on an old system. Using RICS, you will have access to your real-time data from anywhere, get updates and enhancements at no additional cost, and have unlimited live telephone help from our support team of former RICS retailers who understand what it’s like in your shoes. Are you interested in learning more? Contact us for a free consultation so we can get to know your needs and discuss how RICS is a fit to help your business. One of my favorite days at RICS is when we have customers and partners visit the office. For the RICS team, it gives us the opportunity reflect on the progress we’ve made as an organization and, more importantly, the impact we’ve made on our customers. The most recent visit we had was with our partner RMSA Retail Solutions. If you’re not familiar with RMSA, they are a consulting firm that help retailers look at their data to analyze the opportunities to be more efficient and profitable retailers. They’ve been around for over 60 years and are experts in retail. During their site visit, one of the many trends they shared with us is the importance of planning. One of the biggest overlooks that RMSA has found is that retailers don’t efficiently manage their inventory. Unfortunately for some retailers, they feel the effects at the end of year especially from Uncle Sam. Because they have excess inventory they don’t sell, they have to pay taxes on it. Those who have a plan are prepared for the additional expense, however those that don’t, get a sick feeling in their stomach during tax time. On a personal note, I’ve experienced the benefits of planning and sticking to it. I’ve always considered myself fiscally responsible however after reading some books about building wealth, they all recommended to have a budget. Ever since I took their advice and proactively tracked my finances, I instantly gave myself a $200 raise which made my paycheck go a lot farther. If I could receive such a positive effect from my limited budgeting, imagine the impact retailers could have with their larger budgets. Whether you’re a retailer or not, all of us can be better planners. If you’re trying to make the most of your budget, grow your business, or even mapping your career goals, having a plan gives you a track to follow and helps you focus on your goal. Take a moment to reflect. What are you trying to achieve? What kind of plan do you have in place to get there? The month of May is among us and people are getting more and more excited for summer and warmer weather to arrive. Find out what holidays and events are happening this month and how you can use them to your advantage!

Cinco de Mayo

As you probably know, Cinco de Mayo is on Friday, May 5th. However, you may not know what the significance of the 5th of May is. This day commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although this is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, the United States uses it as a day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage. Some Cinco de Mayo traditions that you could implement in your store on this holiday are a small-scale parade, mariachi music, or simply decorating your storefront and offering refreshments.

The Kentucky Derby

The 143rd renewal of “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” also known as the Kentucky Derby, is on Saturday, May 6th. The race distance is 1 1/4 miles long and is run on the racetrack at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a great opportunity to host a viewing party at your store! Invite your community to come shop, sip mocktails or mint juleps, wear their fanciest sun hats, cheer on your favorite horse, and watch the race. Giddy-up!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14th and is the perfect time to celebrate all mothers! Invite mothers and daughters into your store to have some special shopping time together. Don’t forget to offer discounts!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is on Monday, May 29th and is a federal holiday and is the semi-official start of summer. Since schools and banks will be closed, you are sure to get more foot traffic into your store. Make sure you display your newest merchandise and show off your summer collection. Give customers the price that will induce them to make a purchase. Happy May! The weather is finally nicer, it is staying lighter longer, and everyone is getting outside to enjoy the warmer temperatures. Now is also the time of year your customers do their spring and summer shopping, looking for the newest products. A spring sale is a great way to capture the available money being spent by consumers while showcasing your products and the customer experience your store is known for. Here are some tips to consider: At RICS, we are committed to helping you prepare for a special event or everyday operations. For more information on how to execute any of the above tactics for your next event, please contact us at help@ricssoftware.com