Guest Blog By Carrie Shea

Shoppers are in control. Retailers face this reality daily. What shoppers decide to spend their hard-earned cash on and how they make those decisions ultimately determine how retail merchandisers and marketers operate. So how are shoppers adapting to the recovering economy — and what does that mean for retailers? According to our biannual “The Why? Behind The Buy” report, in today’s sluggish economy, shoppers are still holding on to the budget-conscious behaviors they developed during the prolonged recession.

Guest Blog by Chip Averwater

A well-oiled, smoothly operating retail store is a beauty to behold. Its people are professional, they like what they do, their systems are efficient and reliable, the store is organized and everyone is happy with their transactions. People like doing business with them, and many do. The keys to putting together such an organization aren’t secrets. Most retailers recognize them. Yet most of us struggle to get them right.

By Rob Duncan

The Internet has made comparing prices before buying easy. Consumers love getting the best deals and are more price-conscious than ever before. Unfortunately, more comparison-shopping can mean lower profit margins and increased competition for many of today’s retailers. Retailers must find new ways to operate faster and leaner. Every area of a retailer’s business is now under intense scrutiny, and divisions previously thought of as “expense” centers are being required to either generate revenue or be eliminated, including call center operations.

Guest blog by Jeff Liesendahl

Just think, not that long ago, a security guard positioned at the front door and a video surveillance camera were all merchants needed to protect their businesses. How times have changed. With the rapid expansion of e-commerce as a profitable and oftentimes preferable way for merchants and customers to transact business, security and fraud prevention are clearly no longer as simple as a guard manning the front door. Increasingly, merchants are realizing that finding the right balance of protection that enables fulfillment of legitimate customer orders while also flagging fraudulent ones can be a difficult task.

The New World of Consumer Research

By Cliff Courtney

People make decisions on impulse. They decide what to buy with their hearts, not with their heads. So if you think for a second that you can quantify the emotional triggers of consumer behavior – the mysterious “why” people buy what they do – with traditional research, then perhaps it would be better to stand in a lightning field with a glass bottle and take your best shot. The fact is, the only way to understand what makes people tick is studying them while they’re ticking, and that calls for dogma heresy. Specifically, in the same way that buzz or word of mouth is now an actionable media tactic, research, too, can integrate consumers and researchers in a more organic way.

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