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What’s In Store for 2016

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Many companies are issuing year-end predictions on what they think will be the retail trends for 2016. Vend, a company that designs POS systems, inventory, customer management, and inventory software, sees an increase in mobile POS usage. They note that 2015 year-over-year growth rate of mobile POS software installs in North America is an impressive 41%. While traditional POS systems still exist, it’s predicted that almost all systems will be mobile by the end of 2016 because of several factors: mobile POS...

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On the Lookout for Holiday Fraud

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With fraudulent returns on the rise, many retailers are tightening their refund and exchanges policies. The National Retail Federation as well as state retail and merchant associations are warning stores to gear up for fraudulent store returns. Holiday return fraud is expected to cost retailers $2.2 billion this year, up 15% over 2014 levels, according to a National Retail Federation survey recently released, and that expense is being passed along to American families. Nine in 10 retailers said they have experienced the return of...

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A Shining Star Amid a Shaky Quarter

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What are certain stores doing right, where others are faltering? As retailers ponder lackluster quarters, there are some key players who seem to have a handle on turning profits. While fewer promotions may work for some retailers who have a brand image to maintain, it may not work for others. The shining stars in a sea of lackluster performances go to the off-price sector of retail. Companies like TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, have found the...

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Slow Shopping Encourages Lingering…and Buying

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An April 2015 study by TimeTrade asked U.S. internet users the main reason they decided to purchase a product at a specific store when choosing between four retailers regarding an item with the same price. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the overall in-store experience they had was the top deciding factor. You may be tired of hearing about “experiential shopping,” but no matter how large or small a retail space you have, to ward off the online blitz,...

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Go Digital!

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Digital merchandising and signage are becoming the cornerstones for viable retail operations. And in 2015, digital representation became more and more prevalent. “In human DNA, we are engineered to react to motion,” says Kevin Goldsmith, communication director at Ping HD, a company that provides digital strategies for industries ranging from sports and entertainment to retail and health care. “So to move from a static printed poster to something digital with movement is going to capture people’s...

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Decked Out for the Holidays in Décor and Spirit

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If this is the time of year that makes or breaks your bottom line, among the many factors that go into a successful holiday retail season is holiday décor. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, compared to the importance of efficient store operations, successful omni-channel marketing and proficient staff, but the way your store looks and feels sometimes makes a difference as to whether you’ll get much-needed foot traffic. When you’re looking...

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In-Store and Online Challenges Result in More Questions than Answers

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Initial reports for brick-and-mortar from the Thanksgiving weekend haven’t been that promising. Many shoppers have been making their holiday purchases online prior to Thanksgiving. Retail observers say many of those online purchases are coming at the expense of trips to physical stores, costing merchants more in shipping and depriving them of the impulse sales they often make to shoppers wandering their aisles.  In fact, online sales for Black Friday rose 21.5 percent from a year ago, with smartphones...

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A Challenging Holiday Season for Retailers Looking to Hire

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the national unemployment rate for the last couple of months of the year at 5.5%, a drop of nearly 50% from its post-recession peak in late 2009. In some parts of the country it’s even lower. This is great news for the economy and the labor force, but retailers may have a tough time finding qualified help for the holidays. Stakes are high when it comes to holiday hiring. Not only do better-staffed stores perform...

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What Customers Want

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RIS/Cognizant’s Shopper Experience Study conducts research every year on what the retail customer wants and what happens when they don’t get it. This year over 5,000 shoppers were surveyed. Why do we spend so much time talking about shopper experience? Because it’s what makes the current retail scene tick, and if the physical store is to survive, retailers need to not only know, but also need to implement these things—from...

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The Workplace: Retail Staffers See Practice of On-Call Scheduling Diminish….Slowly

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You can’t get away from it or ignore it. Customer service is the backbone of any good brick-and-mortar retail environment. There has been much written about and discussed regarding employee satisfaction and how integral it is to the overall performance of retail, but there’s still some work to be done. One of the hot-button issues has been employee scheduling practices—especially in apparel and footwear businesses. Software advances and programs have helped retailers lower costs...

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