Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Launch LA Tradeshow - West Coast Culture Embodied

One Step Retail Solution's blogger, Amy Hanson attended day one of the first LA Launch Tradeshow. Held at Barkar Hanger just off of the Santa Monica Airport in an appropriately unique location. With over 60 exhibitors and a solid showing of retailers and buyers, LA Launch looks to have some serious staying power.

Urban and hipster sheik strike me as correct words to describe the event, board shops and So Cal boutiques will love the laid back feel, comfortable space and the decidedly hip products you will find. Many of the products were eco friendly, made from recycled wood, coffee bags, plastic, etc.

"Launch is a carefully curated collection of brands, designers, artists, and visionaries at the vanguard of design and West Coast culture." - Launch LA

Some of the attendees and exhibitors of Launch LA 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Independent Retailing Like an Internet Giant - What You Can Learn From Amazon

When a company implements a wide internal campaign and then shares that knowledge broadly, it is not because they are only searching for more job applicants. It is because consumers will support a company that is giving back.

As a result of their recent (and ongoing) employee perks Amazon will not only have happier staff but they continue to establish themselves as the kind of company you feel comfortable supporting even if they are not "local" and they are the "big bad" on-line store.

How can independent brick and mortar stores integrate giving back to their staff and community in a way that makes you more appealing to customers? DO YOU give back to your community and your staff AND most importantly, are you making that information broadly known (press releases to media outlets, promotion through social media, blogs, etc)?

Related idea: A tip jar, if I see a tip jar and I get good service I almost always throw (at least) my change in there. Doesn't just have to be in place for coffee shops. It could even say "(insert name here)'s Paris fund" or "Let's help (insert name) fund her next year of college!". Each member of your team could even have their own box that they decorate and has labeled what they are saving for (travel, education, an iPod, etc).

As of July 24th this open letter can be found on the Amazon home page.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Retailing is a Service: Definition of Service

1[sur-vis]  noun, adjective, verb, serv·iced, serv·ic·ing.
1. an act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service.
2. the supplying or supplier of utilities or commodities, as water, electricity, or gas, required or demanded by the public.
3. the providing or a provider of accommodation and activities required by the public, as maintenance, repair, etc.: The manufacturer guarantees service and parts.
4. the organized system of apparatus, appliances, employees, etc., for supplying some accommodation required by the public: a television repair service.
5. the supplying or a supplier of public communication and transportation: telephone service; bus service.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Retail Party July 2012: Independent Retailers Battle Showrooming

On July 20th at 11:30am retail industry experts gathered for our monthly "Twitter Party" hosted by One Step Retail Solutions. The theme of the month was indepedent retailing in honor of Independent Retailer month (July). Active contributors included Retail Smart Guys, King Retail Solutions, Independent Retail USA and Smart Retail. This discussion was on the topic of showrooming and indie retail versus internet giants as suggested by Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys.

Independent retailers competition for sales against internet giants is exacerbated by "*showrooming" which effectively puts independent retailers resources to work for the likes of Amazon.

The general observation is that this is very much an ongoing issue for independent retailers and attendees offered several tips to counteract show rooming, key being strategic merchandising and top-notch customer service. Other suggestions are educating your sales staff on the benefits of shopping locally so that they can in turn educate your shoppers and have way to address showrooming.
Benefits of buying local include feeding into your own communities economy and avoid unnecessary pollutants through excess shipping and transport of goods.

An additional resource is opening up your very own eCommerce site, made possible by top of the line Point of Sale systems.
a) Making your products easily viewable by your customers at all hours, everyday.
b) Make it so that your buyers can make a purchase at any hour, everyday. Pick-up in store may be a good arrangement.

Here are some of the most memorable Tweets.
@danjab Another point: retailers should not try to compete on price. You never win that battle! Hold price, provide great service!
Shopping local helps biz owners who are passionate about making a difference. They're the first to give back to their community.
@danjab Benefits to buying locally: Esp in fashion, you need people who can help you look great by choosing the best items for you.
Mom & Pop Stores account for >1/2 of US retailers! Great service in store is always memorable!
@danjab Make sure your staff has COMPLETE product knowledge. Customers will buy if they are educated.
@kingretail we just did a survey (results not yet announced) but basically yes, Americans love local grocers, boutiques, etc.
@danjab Indie retail defeats price by providing better value & service & being FIRST with new fashion & product. Trumps price every time

To follow any of these active Twitter accounts:
@danjab Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys
@kingretail King Retail Solutions
@indieretailUSA for Independent Retail USA
@smartretail for Smart Retail

To attend our August Retail Twitter Party go to http://twebevent.com/RetailParty, with the look and feel of a chat room it is easy to discuss concepts amongst your peers and retail industry specialists.

August 17th at 11am PST - Discussion of Visual Merchandising and Retail Design

*showrooming, where a buyer checks out a product in store to ensure quality or value and then purchases on-line for better price. Your retail store acts as a showroom for e-giants.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yahoo! Feature of 6 Biggest Challenges White Paper

Check out our most recent feature of 6 Biggest Challenges Retailers Face Today in Yahoo news!

This white paper has been downloaded by thousands of retailers nationwide and was recently updated to fit the current economic trends and retail scene. A must read for retailers both big and small.

About Us: One Step Retail Solutions is celebrating its 27 years of experience in the retail point of sale / inventory control industry, with over 3000 stores currently being serviced and supported across the US. As one of the largest retail service providers in the United States, it has supplied retail technology solutions to well-known name retailers in apparel, sporting goods, museums, jewelry, shoes, entertainment venues and sports arenas. Its corporate headquarters are in Phoenix, Arizona with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Website: http://onestepretail.com.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Social Media Explained

Social media is a fantastic resource that will continue to increase in capabilities and resources. These graphics explain in all too simple terms what the difference is between some of the leading social media sites.

Or if that doesn't help, here is an example using donuts...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Retailing: Making Your Social Activities Valuable

You may be wondering what to do on your social media sites and how to get more interaction. One surefire way to increase your value is to create helpful everyday tips. This is an excellent real life example of a retailer doing just that. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Retailers Are Saying About the Future of Retailing?

"Retailers appear to understand the need to customize the in-store experience to appeal to the modern shopper, yet a high proportion are unable to do so. Three-quarters of retailers said they don’t know when a specific customer is in the store, and 85% cannot customize a store visit. Additionally, 89% are unable to connect customers’ activities online with what they do in the store today."

The retail industry is on the fast track technologically. Media Post and Motorola Solutions have published some very interesting statistics on what retailers are projecting for the future of retailing and retail technology. The full article will very much be of interest to retailers.

As you note in the above chart, evolving the in store experience for customers is viewed as "critical" and will advance greatly in a vast majority of retail stores over the next 5 years. Engagement comes in several forms; requiring customer contact capture, a comprehensive CRM, OMNI channel and much more. You may wonder what exactly that will mean and how you can maintain your brands personality and evolve without breaking the bank, there are few systems that can support the needs that retailers will be facing in just 5 years and we are more than proud to have a variety of options to suit retailers of all kinds.

One Step Retail Solutions is currently working with dozens of retailers across the US to create customized and all-inclusive retail management systems that will take them into the future. Our systems are top of the line, highly regarded within the industry and our consultative approach will ensure all of your personalized needs are not only met but surpassed.

We wish you all of the best in the exciting years to come and hope that we can be of assistance in making your dreams come true.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Retailing Lost Profits

One Step Retail Solutions recently contributed a highly informative original article regarding retailing lost profits to Resource Nation. This article can be found exclusively on the Resource Nation Blog 

This article includes; what are some of the symptoms of a retail store lacking proper inventory control, how can a store appear health on the surface but have fatal weaknesses and what are some of the top reports recommended for retailers to generate from their point of sale.

If you would like to arrange a free retail technology consultation with a One Step Retail representative click here.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Movies About Retail

Retailers! I have put together a list of the top movies either revolving around or influenced by retail environments, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Empire Records - A day in the life of an indie music store, fighting against the big box chain store by dancing and singing on the roof to raise funds.

You've Got Mail - Set around an independent book shop (Shop Around the Corner) and much about the fight between Meg (indie) and Tom (big box) to protect their respective family business while falling in love.

High Fidelity - John Cusak and Jack Black run an indie music store. John Cusak talkes into the camera a lot and straight into my soul.

Miracle on 34th Street - Santa shows up at Macy's and people can't take that he thinks he is the real Santa. Which is really ironic if you think about it.

Elf - An oversized Elf inspires a rag-tag crew of department store workers (and New York) during the holiday season.

ShopGirl - A fierce competition between the perfume girl and accessories girls in a department store. That may have been a subplot.

BIG - This movie was clearly about FAO Schwarz (New York) and it's big (ERGO, the name of the movie) piano.

Clerks - Kevin Smith slacker comedy about... clerks (see title).

Where The Heart Is - Stranded teen stays in Walmart overnight, goes into labor and becomes a media sensation. Names child "America".

Mallrats - See Clerks (above), 90's kids spent a lot of time at the mall...

Breakfast at Tiffanys - Slightly eccentric New Yorker enjoys standing outside of Tiffanys and drinking her morning coffee with a pastry. See title of film.

Shaun of the Dead - British electronic store worker makes it through a zombie apocalypse.

Little Shop of Horrors - Nerdy floral shop owner finds success and romance with the help of oversized and crazed Venus Fly Trap.

It's Complicated - Meryl Streep owns an adorable Santa Barabara bakery and makes chocolate pastries to woo Steve Martin.

Be Kind Rewind - Jack Black's best friend accidentally erases all of the videos in his small rental shop. They then recreate, film and records the top rented films in an attempt to keep the loyal fan base.

By: Amy Hanson, blogger for One Step Retail Solutions

Thursday, July 5, 2012

[Feature] Introducing Christopher Studach of King Retail Solutions

We are excited in introduce you to Christopher Studach, Creative Director of King Retail Solutions. Thank you Christopher for taking the time to speak with us and to also share some fantastic retail design tips for success!

KRS offers cutting edge retail design and manfacturing services with the convenience of one reliable vendor relationship. Retail design,
Manufacturing, Program Management and Installation.

What is your favorite thing about working with retailers?
The creative interplay that results from having well developed common goals.  Working with retailers that understand the importance of design to their business, willingness & trust to take risks makes the jobs more rewarding, and typically more successful.

What would you say is the most helpful thing about your product or services for a retailer? Good design = Great results (sales).  Period.

If you could offer any advice to retailers out there, what would you say? Economic pressures on business are more intense than ever.  In the retail world this means getting more for less, and compressing timelines to extreme conditions.  The old adage “Price, speed, quality – pick two” is certainly true to a point, yet conditions are such that this “truth” is being stretched and twisted to such a degree that something has to give.  We know that time is money, but for the sake of the job please allow enough time for the job to be done properly.  Everyone wins.

How did you get into the industry you are in?

Equal measures of skill and luck.

In you could live anywhere in the world, where would you and why? Every so often I think about all the places that would be really cool to live in – then why I don’t.  I like it here.

Do you have any retail design favorites? I don’t play favorites.

What do you think are retailers worst design habits? Turning their backs on the power of design for the sake of other factors.

What do you think are retailers best design habits? Those that get it really do.  They devote time, energy and (obviously) resources to maintain, or even better educated evolution of their best work.  Be happy, but never satisfied.

When looking to redesign a retail space, what would you suggest a retailers first steps be? Let a professional assess their your situation.

Designs evolve rather rapidly (especially now a ‘days) how do you suggest a retailer cost effectively go about remaining fresh? Avoid trends unless you can afford to remodel every 2-3 years.  Rather use solid design principles to arrive at an effective, “timeless” design.

King Retail Solutions is part of One Step Retail Solution's Retail Professional Association. For more information on our association resources go to http://onestepretail.com/retail/recommended/ 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[FEATURE] Meet Michael Dennis, CEO and Founder of FindHire

Meet Michael Dennis, CEO and Founder of FindHire. FindHire is a hiring and recruitment application with a host of top of the line features, pulling from the most modern technology available on the market to streamline your hiring process.

How did you come up with the idea for Find Hire? After 7 years as a recruiter in a top agency in Los Angeles, I decided to put my experience into a software solution that could benefit any business. The idea was to make hiring easy and more affordable.

What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?
Working with so many different companies, and helping them build up great teams of employees.

What would you say is the most helpful thing about your product or services for a retailer?  When a retailer needs to hire someone (i.e. sales rep, store manager, etc). We have a database of retail professionals and let them post a job for free!

If you could offer any advice to retailers out there, what would you say?
I would definitely say know your culture/ brand and hire people that emulate it.

If you were a retailer, what do you think your favorite part of your day would be?
Seeing customers happy!

If you were a retailer, what do you think your least favorite part of the day would be?

Do you have any hobbies?
I am a private pilot and love to fly.

What is your favorite thing about retail? The uniqueness in experience of each store.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

[Guest Blog] 3 Steps to Getting Your Retail Site Mobile

Whether you realize it or not, getting your site mobile ready is now a necessary evil. Small Biz Trends says, “According to Google, 60% of users expect a mobile site to load in three seconds or less. More than half of users wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile site.” Not only do your customers expect it, but this is another outlet to reach those who may need to access you on the go. When you’re readily available, the chances of making a sale or gaining a new customer increase.

To get started, you’ll need to consider your budget, your needs as a business and then the options available to you.

Know Your Budget

Before you can consider any of your mobile website options, you first need to assess your budget. As an addition to your online marketing strategy, it may be wise to see where you have room to work within those parameters. There are a few options to consider when choosing what you can and cannot afford.

·         Do you want to turn your existing site into a mobile site? If so, there are tools available to do it on your own.

·         Do you want to build an entirely new site, similar to the one you currently have? If so, you can hire a mobile web design company if the resources aren’t available within your company.

·         Do you want something minimal, providing just the necessary information? There are easy site builders available to businesses like yours that make this process quick and simple.

Mobile Best Practices

Finally, once you decide the direction you’d like to take the site in, you’ll want to consider the best practices in this field. Even if you aren’t doing the site yourself, you want to be sure the company you’re working with is on the same page as far as what you need and what the website needs; mobile sites have a variety of different requirements than standard web pages.

·         Navigation: WP Widgets suggests, “Mobile web surfing is known for its high bounce rates … so focus on a few key areas of the web site and acknowledge your visitors’ short attention spans.” Get all the important links in an easy to find space, and eliminate anything unnecessary.

·         Bandwidth: Avoid object and java script. They are notorious for using excessive battery juice, and not supported on older smart phones.

·         Analytics: Be sure to have your analytics software set up with your mobile site, as well. This will be important in trouble-shooting and finding areas for improvement.

Assess the Options

Finally, it’s time to look through your options to pick the one that is best for your company.

·         Install a plugin: There are a number of plugins you can utilize to mobilize your site, such as Mobilize by Mippin.

·         Outsource the job: Before choosing a company to outsource the site to, look for references, testimonials and services provided.

·         Download a tool: Tools like bMobilized, allow you to convert your current site into a mobile site with minimal effort and a small monthly fee.

·         Create a new site: To create a brand new site for mobile, which would be wise if your business site is laden with thousands of pages and links, check out options like MoFuse. Here you can choose a new domain name and build up your site. There is often a small monthly fee associated with this option.

Creating a mobile site can be as easy or involved as you want it to. As a growing need for businesses, there are more than enough options available to you online. Be sure to assess each and every aspect of your budget and needs before making your final decision.

Bio: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for Resource Nation.