Friday, September 28, 2012

Get Out Your Pumpkins, Fall is Here!

Traditional pumpkins
 
Classy pumpkins
 
Funky pumpkins
 
Shabby Chic Pumpkins

 
Gold Pumpkins
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Consumers Using Mobile Devices and eCommerce

It is estimated that 85 million Americans now shop on their smartphones, a staggering statistic driving retailers to understand mobile and design strategies to suit their specific business models. For the average retailer this means offering an e-commerce site and making it available in mobile formats. This is rapidly becoming an industry standard.

You may have heard the phrase "early adapter". As is the case with any evolution, change does not always come when you are ready for it.

As retail technology faces it's renaissance of sorts, following years stuck in the relative dark ages (or the 90's as you may call it), it is only an issue if you run your business in a way that is outdated and giving you a handicap against your competitors. A way of looking at it, if the average American has more power and resources to go about their day to day personal business with his nifty smartphone and iPad then many retailers in 2012... be sure to avoid cutting yourself off from the way that this world is doing business.

"..four out of five American consumers have used their smartphones to look up either a retail mobile commerce site or application." -
Retail Pro blog

Fortunately or unfortunately, the waves of change are coming up faster than many retailers may like, many are taking the "wave" and actively riding it straight on to the shore (imagine that shore is filled with over sized money instead of sand).

The above statistics are helpful to put the industry standard into perspective and will hopefully get many retailers looking to the resources available (not to mention cost-effective) to them through modern technology.

As previously noted, in order to accomplish this, a retailer needs a sound method to manage these new outlets through OMNI-friendly POS systems.


One Step Retail Solutions is ranked as one of the top resellers and service providers for some of the most comprehensive and state of the art retail POS software solutions in the industry. For a free retail technology consultation, click HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Pinterest is Ever Expanding as a Resource for Retailers

Over the past couple of years we have worked hard to create a wide variety of retailer resources and have been collaborating with industry leaders to bring the most useful content possible. One of our most popular retailer resources to connect and find additional resources has been on Pinterest.

We recently updated our profile to include boards representing each of our products. Bringing an increased pictorial layout of each product and hopefully answering retailers initial questions about our several POS solutions. We have also collaborated on additional boards varying from retail marketing, retail design and even current color trends.

We hope that retailers have found our resources to be useful and are exploring Pinterest (especially with the increasing rumors around Pinterest adding a direct e-commerce feature). In the near future it is possible that this social media giant may increase their repertoire and given it's existing success in inspiring buyers, it may just be a hit.

See you on Pinterest!
The One Step Retail Solutions Team



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Head to Toe Fashion - NYFW

Brought to you be resident One Step Retail Solutions Blogger, Amy Hanson

While it is almost impossible to keep up with all of the going-ons in NY over Fashion week, it is quite fun to see all of the wild images that popped up on our feed and hearing about some of the exciting trips retailers made out to the Big Apple. I would feel remiss if I didn't at least say something about Fashion Week, so here is it.

It was a bit all over the place but I love that even the wilder cuts had a level of class. Wild structure, fabrics and textures seem to be staying strong. Colors were slightly more muted and I spied less neon than the Spring line but the funky and envelope pushing continues.
(Is it me or are the hem lines starting to make their way back down below the knee? Please, I hope so).

Noted were head pieces, sunglasses (or sunnies as the youngins are calling them) and fun hair-dos (baseball caps don't count, eh hem). Who doesn't miss the pulled together look of the 40's and 50's and the fact that a "look" or "outfit" can be seen makes me happy. The occasional cape and shrug was fun to note and winter jackets seem to be taking a turn for the vintage/elegant feel.


I should wear this to the office and slow wave as I walk down the halls

Check out the Top-Knot, she looks like a Who and I kind of love it

Friday, September 14, 2012

True Retail Life: I Want to Run a Facebook Contest


By: Christian Kratsas, Snap Retail
A Facebook contest is a superb way to excite current fans, add value to your social community, boost key engagement metrics, increase your fan base, and much more. Sound like something you wouldn’t want to pass up? You’d be surprised how many retailers are interested in running a contest on their page but don’t know where to begin. We decided to paint the starting line. After this post, you’ll be able to run an effective Facebook contest that your fans won’t forget.

Do determine goals
Before deciding on the type of contest you’d like to deploy, you must first determine your goals. Are you looking to run a contest because you want to increase likes, sell more product, reward your customers, or grow your email list? Remember to choose one clear goal instead of launching your contest with the notion of accomplishing all of your marketing goals. If you’d like to increase email signups, you may want to run a sweepstakes that requires a customer to like the page and enter their name and email address for a chance to win a prize. If you want to capture new likes from friends of fans, you can run a contest asking customers to share a message with their community. You can entice customers to share by donating something for each new like,  unlocking a one-day-only sale or posting a coupon when you reach a certain goal.

Don’t get caught by the Facebook police
First, you must make sure your contest is legal. According to Facebook’s promotion guidelines, you cannot use a Facebook feature as part of the contest. Therefore you cannot ask customers to like, share, and/or comment in order to win. As a business, you are required to use an application in order to run a proper Facebook contest. You can select from many available social applications such as North Social, Wildfire, and Tabsite. Once you decide on which application is best for your business simply add it to your page and you’re ready to begin planning your Facebook contest.

Do create a sense of urgency
Your Facebook contest should be time-sensitive and should usually last between one to two weeks, depending on your goals. When launching your contest you must be clear with your customers on the duration as well as remind the end date.

Do promote, promote, promote
Aside from reminding fans when your contest ends, you must create a promotion plan during its entire duration. Be sure to create hype before launching by posting/tweeting teasers. You can explain that “something big is coming” or that “it could be a lucky week for one of you, so stay tuned!”

Once your contest commences, you should continue conversation around it until its conclusion. Each day you can thank everyone for participating, which will ultimately remind others about the contest. Be sure to follow up with your community afterwards and let them know that your business has more social media giveaways planned.

Do flaunt the prize
Be sure to show your customers what they can win. The prize is what ultimately drives the contest, right? Your fans want to be able to win something that really interests them, so choose the prize wisely based on your target audience. If you’ve created an awesome product bundle for the fall, be sure to take photos of it to post to your social networks to entice your customers to enter.

Don’t post the winner to your timeline
You already evaded the Facebook police, so make sure they don’t get you this time. Facebook makes it clear that winners cannot be announced by means of Facebook communication. Since you’ll ultimately be collecting email addresses during the contest, you can properly inform the winner through email. These are definitely tough terms, as fans are always curious as to who won the prize.

Do evaluate success
Be sure to evaluate the success of your contest by your customers’ interest, level of participation, and/or feedback. If it was a success you may want to hold a similar contest again. If not, it's time to brainstorm something new!


Bio
Christian Kratsas is the Social Media Specialist for SnapRetail, a Pittsburgh-based company that helps local retailers thrive and compete with national retailers by providing innovative and affordable software and services for buying, promoting and selling gift, home d├ęcor and furniture products. He has worked with many small businesses to establish a meaningful online community while providing quantifiable and measurable results. Christian has an advertising background and has been developing and implementing social strategy for small business since 2008. For more information visit http://snapretail.com.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vital Retailer Resources, A Breakdown


Do you call ‘em the way you see ‘em?

By Evan Wise, Management One  


There are three umpires sitting in a bar discussing a game they just watched. The first one says, “I call ‘em the way I see ‘em!” The second one disagrees and says, They aren’t anything till I call ‘em!  “Still wrong,” says the third one, I call ‘em the way they are! That illustrates three philosophies of calling balls and strikes and those three philosophies characterize how small business owners and retailers manage their business.

I call ‘em the way I see ‘em


This is the retailer who goes to market with a clean slate. They shop and buy what they like. If they really like an item, they buy more. They make decisions on the spot with little prior planning other than looking at what was sold last year. This is a great way for an owner to stay in control of the situation because no one else has an idea of how the owner “sees ‘em” so no one else can replace the owner in buying picking merchandise. This is truly the way for a small retailer to remain small.

They ain’t nothing until I call ‘em


This is the owner who will not allow anything to happen without his approval. Delegation is something he talks about but naturally his staff is not worth or capable of delegated responsibility.  Every decision must be approved by the owner. It is not a decision until the owner makes it. In the game, the players must adapt to the situation the umpire creates, regardless of how good or bad the call may be or how frustrating it is for players and fans. In a business, the employees are forced to do the same thing regardless of how frustrating it is for employees or customers. There is no instant replay in business nor can a customer throw a flag on the field and have the decision reviewed by a higher authority!

I call ‘em the way they are

These are the managers who are able to study the situation and draw conclusions from accurate data. They look at history and use it to identify the trends and the opportunities that exist for the customers. These owners understand the customers, the vendors and the markets from both a quantitative and qualitative viewpoint. These are retailers who invest in information to help everyone in the organization to make the right decisions based on reality. These are the owners who invest in training for their staff so that they can delegate and have the right decisions made by others. These are the owners who define what the goals are and then empower people to make them happen.

As a retailer, you must manage two key assets and get the most return on your investment in each:


·         INVENTORY
·         PEOPLE

ASSET ONE: INVENTORY

Too often we find retailers who say, They aren’t anything until I call ‘em. The way they judge success in the business is based on sales. If they reach their sales targets, they declare that they are successful regardless of any reality. Other retailers who call ‘em the way they see ‘em” are likely to focus on  profits. Inventory is an asset according to your accountant. This retailer may be profitable based on the level of inventory in the store but he cannot pay his bills because his cash is all tied up. The manager who calls ‘em the way they are recognizes that inventory is only an asset if you sell it profitably. It is a liability when it sits on the shelf. On the shelf, it ties up money that could be invested in fresh goods. It takes up space that could be used to show the items customers want. When you call ‘em the way they are,” you focus on cash and the key measurables, not just profits.
 
A retailer has two options to clear out goods that are a liability to his store:

·         MARKDOWN STRATEGY
·         MERCHANDISE PLANNING

Too often retailers are forced to take heavy markdowns to reduce inventory levels, raise cash to pay bills and generate traffic in the store. A markdown strategy can include offering incentives to employees to show the merchandise, increased marketing, re-merchandising to highlight the items and markdowns. All of these are expensive and serve to drain cash and profits from the business but these tactics are a fact of retail life. Many of the merchants who believe they ain’t nothing until I call ‘em,” make these offhanded and ad hoc decisions about markdowns. They approve every markdown based on “gut feelings”.

The owner who “calls ‘em the way they are” takes an approach of gathering the data and uses MERCHANDISE PLANNING.

ASSET TWO: PEOPLE

People are what make your store unique. Your people, your service, your policies and procedures should be unique to your store. They are what should set you apart from the competition and be the basis for your reputation and your brand image. Your people are truly your most valuable asset. In which type of management approach would you enjoy working? The most fair, predictable and reasonable approach is I call em they way they are. This is directed by the manager who gets the facts before jumping to conclusions.
 
That being said, most retailers take a haphazard approach to managing their staff. If you want to put more cash in your pocket, you must do a better job from point of hire to point of sale... period!  That is where we work with retailers on our solution called Winning@Business™. There are three components to the process of getting the most out of your investment in people:

      • STRATEGY
      • MANAGEMENT
      • TRAINING

A retailer who can get these right can truly dominate his marketplace, develop loyal customers, keep the best employees and have more fun and profit from the business. The reality is that most independent specialty retailers do not even have a written strategy. The few I have met who do have a strategy, have rarely shared that strategy with the rest of the organization.

The second step in the process involves the management process. A business that has a strategy must also have a process whereby the employees can be organized, motivated and involved in the achievement of that strategy. A method to enhance communication, collaboration and action that focuses on both the strategy and the customer is essential to achieve results. The Winning@Business™ solution involves the essentials of a management process including teamwork, problem solving, capturing opportunities, meeting technology, measurement and accountability. Moving the owner from “I call ‘em the way I see ‘em” or “they aren’t anything until I call ‘em” to “I call ‘em the way they are” is a critical part of success. A certified Management One® affiliate works hand in hand with the owner and the staff to not only set up the solution and teach the principles, but also to implement and nurture the process to be certain that the benefits are realized.

RESULTS

Inventory planning, strategic planning, management and training are key elements to success in any retail business. Management One® is focused and committed to the results we achieve for each and every client. It is critical to measure the return that a retailer receives on any investment and the investment in business coaching services is no exception.  Our clients generally see a return of three to ten times the investment in our solutions in the first year alone. We measure and report that information too!
 
The results are staggering. They include:


OWNER
        • Increase in profit and cash
        • Greater market share and sales
        • Greater peace of mind that the store can run effectively in his/her absence
        • Pride in a growing business that is a market leader
        • Freedom to grow the business instead of work in the business
EMPLOYEE     
        • The right merchandise is available to sell
        • A feeling of belonging, commitment, and involvement in the operation
        • Understanding expectations and empowerment lead to more significant action
        • More input
        • Often greater remuneration
CUSTOMER
        • A shopping experience that is fun and productive
        • A personal relationship in addition to a business relationship
        • A place where everybody knows his/her name
        • Convenience
        • Service
        • Loyalty

As a specialty retailer, you cannot afford to operate in an ad hoc, haphazard, shoot-from-the-hip or random manner any longer. When you do, you are providing your competition too many opportunities to take customers, employees and market share. You are robbing yourself of profits needed to grow the business. It is time you put the latest techniques to work to boost your business, find reality and start calling ‘em the way they are!”

Friday, September 7, 2012

We Hear Wedding Bells!

The One Step Retail Solutions Los Angeles office surprises Jess with a pre-wedding party! Congratulations to Jess and her soon to be husband Bill!!!
 
(from left to right)
Jess our Marketing Manager, Holly our Subscription Manager, Terra Russo Teamwork Retail Sales Manager
and Jocelyn Sanchez our Marketing Associate.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Focus on Omni-Channel, Featured by Future of Retail Alliance


FORA, the Future of Retail Alliance, seeks to provide a forum for discussion of the important issues facing the retail industry today. FORA recently featured a One Step Retail Solutions article entitled Increase in Omni-Channel Shopping Brings Opportunities and Challenges. [FULL ARTICLE]
 


One Step Retail Solutions is ranked as one of the top resellers and service providers for some of the most comprehensive and state of the art retail POS software solutions in the industry. For a free retail technology consultation, click HERE.