Re-Inventing Retail

From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.
Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.

Christmas Gift for Retailers Bookmark

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This looks promising!

"Consumer confidence hits 18-year high" is a welcome headline to retailers. In The ROI's view, consumer confidence is one of the most reliable indicators of retail sales trends.

And just as the Conference Board was reporting that their consumer confidence index was at the highest level since September 2000, the National Retail Federation reported that consumers anticipate their Holiday spending to be 4.1% higher than last year. This corresponds with the NRF's economic forecast of Holiday spending increases of 4.3%-4.8% over 2017.

Ripple effect? Or tsunami? Bookmark

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How disruptive has the "digital revolution" been for your business?

We just came across this fascinating white paper – "How to Win in a Digital World Where Technology Is Rewriting the Rules of Retail" – produced by SAP, the very large global self-described "market leader in enterprise application software." 

We heartily concur with their initial assertion: "You can't fight your way through today's challenges by simply working harder." They then provide a compelling overview of the digital transformation that is well underway.

Here's a Customer Connection for you Bookmark

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We recently learned of a pizza parlor in North Carolina that has a kids menu that is quite unusual.

Of course, having a kids menu is not unique. But here's what IS unusual about this one! (And it just might inspire you to think of new ways to show your customers that not only are you listening to them, you actually are hearing them!)

Retailers: Unleash your imagination! Bookmark

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As we often discuss, retailing is a very dynamic industry, constantly changing and evolving. To be successful, retailers must pass frequent flexibility tests. So we paid particular attention to this recent headline in the New York Times*: "The freshest ideas are in small grocery stores." 

Lessons from Comic-Con? Yes, but... Bookmark

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You've heard of Comic-Con, right? It began in 1970 in San Diego to celebrate pop culture, from comic books to films and science fiction/fantasy literature. It has since grown into an extravaganza attracting 130,000+ costumed fans, industry professionals, Hollywood types, vendors and spectators. 

Or, as Patricia Vekich Waldron, the CEO of Vision First observed*, "After nearly 50 years, Comic-Con has turned in many ways into the ultimate pop-up store."

And she challenges retailers, developers and brands to "pay attention to how Comic-Con continues to captivate and delight its fans." 

2018 Holiday Prediction: "Umm, what happened?" Bookmark

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In any given situation, there are three types of retailers:

• Those who make things happen

• Those who watch things happen

• Those who say, "Umm, what happened?"

Increasingly, it looks to us as if the 2018 Holiday Season is going to be one where most retailers will be saying, "Umm, what happened?!?"

They're in Your Stores, Too Bookmark

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"Sausage stations, 'beer dens' cater to growing ranks of men in grocery store aisles," according to a July 10 article in the Wall Street Journal*. 

Much like car dealerships and consumer electronics stores who "discovered" female shoppers some years ago, the efforts of these grocery chains to cater to male shoppers are lauded with much the same breathlessness. Nonetheless, it is not to be dismissed.

Some grocery chains report that the share of male shoppers has risen from 30% to 40%.  "The dad has been the most overlooked population in grocery-store marketing and brand communication. By ignoring half the population, stores are leaving money on the table."

Confluence of two troubling trends Bookmark

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Perhaps you too have seen those worrisome articles about the "yield curve" recently.

No, it has nothing to do with the World Cup, nor is it another baseball analytic.

Instead, it pertains to the bond markets. It is the difference between interest rates on short-term and long-term government bonds. When long-term interest rates fall below short-term interest rates, the yield curve becomes inverted.

Here is why that matters: According to research by the San Francisco Fed, "Every recession of the past 60 years has been preceded by an inverted yield curve."

Pigeon Party Party Pooper Bookmark

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An outdoor, upscale mall in Southern California had an extensive renovation and expansion two years ago. As reported by Linda Childers in The Washington Post (June 22, 2018), "Unfortunately, the transformed mall attracted not only new customers but also dozens of pigeons." 

And, of course, pigeon droppings. 

Mall management rejected adding fabric netting or strips of spikes to their property.

About The Co-Founders

Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, The Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have been called "The Zen masters of retail finance!"

Since 1999, they have been assembling  their proprietary content into a unique self-help website. The Retail Owners Institute is an unmatched resource that assists retailers worldwide with basic financial training, assistance and easy-to-use tools.

Their engaging and empowering how-to resources about the financial levers in retailing are informative, fun(!), and retailer-friendly. Their promise: "Everyone will 'get it'!"

Pat and Dick are recognized experts in strategic retailing. Working only as a team – Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC – they have been consulting, publishing, and speaking professionally throughout North America since 1990.

They focus exclusively on retail, or wherever retail is involved. They work with CEOs, CFOs, boards and owners of retail operations, as well as manufacturers or wholesalers expanding into retail. And they also are Retail Turnaround Experts.

Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"