Smartphones Gaining Retail Dominance

wholesale merchandiseAn interesting new study has been released that shows consumers are using their smartphones and tablets as shopping tools at a higher rate than reported previously. Over 55% of all retail-related internet time is starting on a smartphone or tablet as opposed to a desktop computer system.

 

Interestingly though, consumers were less likely to complete a shopping transaction on their smartphones and completed those transactions while on their desktops. Clothing and accessories were the category leaders for online shopping.

 

The motivation for the use of mobile devices has been shoppers who are “show-rooming,” looking for cheaper prices while inside the store! Almost 2/3rd’s of the users were visiting the stores website or APP while they were inside the store, to see if there were online discounts, etc. They went online in hopes of finding a better deal.

 

Another interesting fact was that men outpace women in making mobile purchases using their smartphones, indicating that they may be more trustful of using mobile devices to transmit credit card data, etc.

 

Welcome to retailing in the 21st century. Highly competitive in every way with margins cut to the quick for the retailer. Good times!  Retailers Forum magazine and website welcomes your comments and opinions. Feel free to comment on this article and others. Remember to join us every month for the best wholesale merchandise sources in the industry!

 

 

 

 

NYC Wholesale Expo – 2 Day Format

NYC-Wholesale-Expo-Sept-2013-0101Just back from the NY Wholesale Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Having done wholesale merchandise shows in New York I realize the need for this wonderful regional show to connect wholesalers and east coast buyers and couldn’t be happier that the New York show tradition continues.

 

Over the last several years there has been a lot of changes in the merchandise shows around the country. There is a resurgence of regional shows that are doing very well across the country and while the shows bring in less traffic than the mega-shows in Las Vegas, they are quite important to the local regional markets.

 

NYC Wholesale Expo Sept 2013 002One of the major changes for the NY Wholesale Expo was the creation of a 2-day trade show instead of the standard 3-4 days. This is unique and I have not seen this done before, so asked several of the wholesalers at the show how they felt about it. The response was overwhelming that as long as they got orders from the show, they were ecstatic about being able to compress 3-4 days into 2. And from what I was able to view at my day at the show, there was excellent order writing so I think most exhibitors were happy about the shortened show time.

 

Personally, on smaller regional shows, this new format is ideal for both the buyers and sellers. Having two days to explore the smaller show leaves plenty of time to view all of the merchandise as well as interact with the exhibitors. Being someone that drives in and uses the local lot for $50 a day, cutting a couple of days off the show can save money also!

 

Congratulations to the NYC Wholesale Expo for pioneering a new concept in shorter, more intense trade shows and for continuing to develop the New York City market, which we feel is one of the most viable in the USA!

 

What did you think about the show, or the new 2-day schedule. Blog with us!

 

 

How Is Your Store Doing?

Link

wholesale merchandise shoppingWell, we are getting set for the last quarter and that is the time that all retailers look forward to, as they do a bulk of their business at this time. The reports in the news and trades show that the economy has improved somewhat and that consumers have been going through spending spurts.

 

The holiday season has always been successful for retailers, regardless of the economic climate. While the large mega-stores get upset by not posting gains, the small independent retailer is happy to clear their shelves and move inventory for the last quarter. All that the retailer wants to see is profits at the end of the year and this is the time that with proper marketing and merchandising he will be able to see that!

 

Your merchandise mix is extremely important to your sales success. Having the right blend of merchandise at the right prices is going to dictate how you do this season. Many retailers have been using our wholesale merchandise magazine, Retailers Forum, to find merchandise, as well as visiting all the popular trade shows.

 

Now is the time of the year to start your holiday marketing programs and promotions. The more you promote your store the more sales you will have. Make sure you take full advantage of the inexpensive social marketing that you can be doing for your business. This is a good time to update your customers mailing list info, email addresses, twitter accounts or whatever to get the word out…. We’re here and ready for business!

 

 

Showrooming – A New Twist!

window-shopping1Well, just when I thought I’d seen it all with regards to “showrooming” — you know what that is – when shoppers come into your store to view the goods and then search online for it to get it cheaper and make the purchase elsewhere.

 

Many of the larger retailers have started changing the SKU numbers so that shoppers cannot easily search online for the items, but we all know that a good description will turn up the item online. So, what to do? Some retailers trail behind the shoppers interacting with them and in my opinion that makes for an unpleasant shopping experience for many of them. Aside from getting into the shoppers face when they jot down the item there really hasn’t been a good solution.

 

Today I read the ultimate solution – and it really is a crazy idea that only seems to have been tried overseas. Pay to browse!

 

At the Vera Wang bridal boutique in Shanghai, customers must pay 3000 yuan (approx. $480 US) for a 90 minute time slot to browse and try on dresses. There is also a food store in Australia that charges customers $5 for coming in to browse.

 

Could you imagine your store implementing this policy? Seems that these fees are quite drastic and not really the answer to keeping brick and mortar stores around. Educating the consumers is key here — they need to understand that if they like their local neighborhood or chain stores to go shopping in – they need to do just that — SHOP!

 

Retailers Forum welcomes your two cents! Please share with our readers your ideas and opinions.

 

 

New Small Business Regulatory Website

small wholesale merchandise businessesHouse Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today announced “Small Biz Reg Watch”, a new initiative of the Committee to help small businesses participate in the development of federal regulations.  An online resource on the Committee’s website will highlight proposed regulations that could impact small companies and instruct business owners on how they can make comments to the federal agency considering the proposed regulation. 

 

“Most small businesses don’t have lawyers or lobbyists who focus on regulatory compliance, like larger corporations may have,” said Chairman Graves. “Therefore, our Committee wants to help them participate in the federal government rule-making process. Not all regulations are bad, but many can be unnecessarily burdensome and it is important that small companies express their concerns before a rule is finalized. Because small businesses bear a regulatory cost that is much higher than the cost of compliance for large businesses, our Committee wants to help small companies make their voice heard as federal regulations are being considered.” 

 

“Yesterday, we saw our economy contract and produce its worst quarter in 4 years. Exports are falling and small businesses are sputtering under harmful government regulations. It’s important that we communicate to Washington and its regulators that there are real negative impacts and consequences to over-regulating,” said Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. “This new initiative will keep small businesses current with the goings on in the regulatory community and ensure they have the opportunity to contribute as new regulations are being formulated and applied.”

 

The Committee will regularly communicate with small businesses via email, social media, and through district events around America when new comment periods begin for select proposed rules that impact a wide array of small businesses.  Since becoming the lead Republican on the Small Business Committee, Chairman Graves has built a large database of small businesses with which he communicates regularly.

 

The website URL: www.smallbusiness.house.gov/RegWatch

Retailers Forum magazine, leader in wholesale merchandise is happy to share this exciting and helpful website to you!

 

 

Showrooming — How Is Your Store Dealing With This Problem?

showrooming merchandise

SHOWROOMING is a relatively new term in the retailing industry. Time was when a showroom was the area where you went to see the merchandise and then whipped out your wallet and bought it.

 

Today you go to the showroom (a store) and view the merchandise but then whip out your smart phone, scan the bar code on the product and then go to the closest store selling it cheaper to buy it.

 

This has become a huge issue for many retailers, large and small. Best Buy is consistently used as a showroom for internet shoppers who seem to not get the buying experience of “feeling and touching” the merchandise when they go to the online stores. So, instead, they head over to local stores to “sample” the merchandise and then if they like it they purchase online or scan the barcode to find it cheaper in the neighborhood. And, many times they are saving only a few dollars, but are ruining the core business of the stores they do this at.

 

To combat showrooming many retailers have been asking their suppliers to use special proprietary bar codes that are inter-store only. In other words a Best Buy’s items may be bar coded with their own sku’s – making it impossible to shop the same item out of the store using the bar code. Of course, this only slows down the perpetrator, as let’s face it all you need to do is type in the name of the item into Google and you’re off to the races.

 

Is the customer always right? If you see someone scanning codes at your store would you stop them? Would you say something? All of these shoppers love the idea of having their local hometown stores along Main Street, but at the end of the day they want cheaper prices. Just another dagger in the independent store owner’s heart.

 

Is your store having any issues with this problem, and if so, how are you combating it. Share this with our readers.

 

 

 

Something Rotten At Apple?

Look, I am an Apple fan – I really do like my iPhone and have stuck with the “4” for a couple of years. What I do have some issues with is the company itself and the fact that over the years we have read much about the mistreatment of workers at their Foxconn plant in China.

 

We reported over a year ago about worker suicides at the plant because of poor conditions and treatment of the workers. Underpaid and overworked was the theme and Apple promised to do something about it – and they did by increasing salaries for the workers which were higher than other Chinese factories. It still begs the point that while they threw a few dollars at the workers to slightly increase their pay the monotony of the job still at low pay was an issue.

 

But things quieted down as we figured it would – Apple has a way to seemingly control their bad press. Until recently when because of high demand for the new iPhone the workers were pushed to their limits of production and riots ensued at the Foxconn factory. Last week it was also reported that some laborers being used to assemble iPhones were as young as 14-years-old. What child labor laws?

 

Well, here is the issue that I have that may spark some commentary. Apple is not the only company outsourcing so they can make their products as cheaply as possible and sell it for as much as possible. What do you think it costs over in China to make our $600 iPhone? The margins on these electronics is incredible and THESE are the types of manufacturing jobs that should be brought back to the USA. Not assembling dollar store merchandise that NEEDS to be made super cheaply – but items like what Apple sells and what Coach handbags sells. I read today that Coach is considering moving their operations out of China because the wages are too high! The average factory worker makes less than $200 a MONTH! A typical Coach Handbag can sell for $1500 or more. How many handbags can a laborer make in an entire month?

 

GREED is what it is all about. How come when the politicians are squawking about outsourcing and how America’s losing jobs they are not citing companies like Apple or Coach or the others who profit by selling millions of dollars of goods to good old Americans. These high end brands can more readily afford to move jobs back to the USA because they have the margins. It really just comes around to making money- and as much of it as possible. I have nothing against making money and understand the buy low, sell high theory. It annoys me when both Presidential candidates bandy about bringing home the jobs from overseas and do not cite anything specific.

 

Obviously Americans are not going to work for $50 a week in a factory – but there was a time pre-China, pre-Vietnam and pre-Indonesia where American factories did hire Americans and paid a fair wage for their services. Outsourcing is not going away and until we figure out what kind of jobs should return to America it’s a great deal of rhetoric.

 

What do you think?

 

NYC Premiere of Glam Fairy – Season Two

Victoria, Forum Publisher Martin Stevens, Sharie ManonBling, accessories and cosmetics are big in retailing and getting bigger every season. A testament to the cosmetics and beauty industry is the show Glam Fairy, which became an instant Style Network TV hit last year when Sharie Manon (from Jerseylicious fame) developed the show.

 

An award winning hairstylist and creative director with over 20 years in the industry, Shari celebrated the show’s second season at a gala event in New York City October 7th. The event featured celebrities and well-wishers as the stars of the show were welcomed with red carpet treatment prior to viewing season two’s first episode downstairs at the venue in a special VIP room.

 

Forum Publishing Company director Martin Stevens was delighted to meet Sharie and her newest associate Victoria Doroshenko (pictured). With the success of Sharie’s program and the massive following she has in the beauty industry it is apparent that the beauty/hair care categories will remain extremely strong in the marketplace.

 

Back to School Will Have Late Start

The back-to-school shopping season is a boom to most retailers and while the numbers for 2012 are looking promising, they are much more sluggish than last year. The simple reason is that the season will start later as many students and their parents are delaying their purchases until after school actually starts.

 

With trends and styles changing weekly, shoppers want to buy the right items and thus are waiting for the school bell to ring so that the students can see what is popular amongst their fellow students. Of course, if you think about it, it makes no sense because if everyone’s waiting then they are all starting school with outdated styles! But, in the world of retailing not everything seems to make sense. This is bad news for the economy as the late start is not good and merchandise sitting on the retailers shelves waiting for the shoppers is never a good thing.

 

Large chains such as Wal-Mart and Office Depot have seen their customers playing the waiting game and buying only things that are necessary for the initial start of school. They also feel that the shoppers are waiting for the deals.

 

The consequences will be dire if the sales do not rebound. This selling season is the second largest period. By late August it is estimated that only 8 percent of shoppers with school age children had completed their back to school shopping, the lowest figure in the last several years.

 

Some stores like A&F overdid things by bringing in winter gear way too early and have performed poorly for this season. Heavy winter jackets and sweaters when it’s 95 degrees outside may not have been the smart move for the chain.

 

Many older students will be waiting until after Labor Day so that they can assess what their friends are wearing as well as what their favorite stores will be showing for the new season.

 

Retailers Forum Magazine keeps its readers on the cutting edge with business information and wholesale merchandise sources updated daily.

ASD Vegas Summer Trade Show

August in Las Vegas – only 110 degrees, but as they say “dry heat!”  Hot is hot and off we head to Las Vegas for the ASD Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Forum Publishing will have booths at both the lobbies of Central Hall (near Registration) and upstairs at the South Hall exhibit hall entrance. We will have our current issue free for the taking as well as a display of our latest books and directories available for purchase.

 

We are looking forward to a well attended show and over the last year have found the show more well organized than ever which makes it quite helpful for the buyers. Having all of the booths at one convention center (although I miss Sands Expo) is a huge deal. Especially not having to ride the bus or taxi’s from one location to the other. More productivity means more time for the buyers. Hopefully they’ll use that extra time buying instead of at the blackjack tables.

 

We are packing to head off to Vegas on Saturday. Considering the airlines are complaining about business and profits – how come it cost me 700.00 to fly from JFK and I am in the seat all the way rear, adjacent to the toilets! It’ll be a fun flight for sure.

 

We will report back from the show and in the meantime invite readers to post their comments: pre – during and post show and share their thoughts on the show.

 

Updates of the show…Well, thanks to the generous airline I was able to “upgrade” my seat away from the toilets for just 79.00. What a deal! The day before the show when I went to set up our booth none of our freight could be found. This was a good three hour delay while the good folks at GES scrambled around to locate 5000 lbs. of freight. You would think it would be hard to misplace that much freight. With the freight found our booths were set up and I went back to crash at the Hilton. Sorry, LVH – they changed the name but should also consider changing the decor. Same old tired Hilton. Everything is so tired that they even shortened the name to LVH because it is less words to speak.

 

A wrap-up of the show: I think the summer show is a bit less attended than the winter one so we expected less of a turnout. In all, the show lived up to expectations and connected buyers with sellers and remains one of the premier trade shows for our industry. Earlier I longed for the days at Sands Expo and learned that the March 2013 will have the show at both the Sands and the South Halls of LVCC. Sands means Venetian hotel….just what I wanted to hear. It’ll be a great show.