• Mars Retail Group
  • Overstock.com
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
  • Food City
  • Nicole Miller

Even as technology becomes more accessible and consumers demand faster service, many retailers are reluctant to adopt the solutions they need to grow successfully. Instead, they rely on manual spreadsheet tracking to maintain inventory, orders and other important information. But as a business grows to multiple sales channels, manual systems won’t be enough to support a scaling company.

Here are four reasons why spreadsheets are detrimental to a business:

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Many consumers see a retailer’s marked down price versus the original selling price and believe they’re saving a lot, but it literally pays to know what the numbers behind the deals mean.

Some retailers have been accused of showing inflated retail prices to make their deals look better. More often than not, they are showing the actual manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), but no one actually sells that product at that number. These five simple steps can help you uncover the deals from the duds.

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Supply chains - often involving many vendors and complex relationships - have always been a logistical challenge. As business evolves in our modern, mobile world, and enterprises are doing more global transactions than ever before, it is also becoming a collaboration, communication and accountability challenge.

While the process of managing a supply chain is getting more complex, the environmental consequences, labor considerations and sustainability of supply chains is also under extreme scrutiny. These challenges can all be rolled into the concept of supplier responsibility; how responsible is an enterprise when choosing suppliers and how socially responsible are those suppliers when creating their products or services?

Supplier responsibility is especially important when scaling for large orders and quick ramp-up, such as is the case now for Apple as they start selling their new watch and updated laptops. In fact, while Apple’s approach to suppliers has been interesting with the Apple Watch - they are relying heavily on just two suppliers - Apple is a great example of how companies can excel when it comes to supplier responsibility.

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With the prevalence of online shopping and increase in showrooming, one of the biggest challenges facing today’s brick-and-mortar retailers is how to drive in-store traffic and sales. With so many online and in-store options, sensible consumers have an abundance of options when it comes to purchasing the newest consumer electronics.

Five years ago, the average consumer knew little about trading in used electronics for cash or store gift cards. Today, awareness of trade-in is much higher and continuing to grow. Because of this opportunity, many big box and niche retailers are already leveraging in-store electronics trade-in programs. In fact, according to NPD Group, smartphone trade-in is “one of the most dynamic, leading tools that carriers and retailers use to drive new device sales.”

Providing valued customers with the convenience to sell used smartphones, tablets, laptops and video games for store value can result in a huge return for retailers – not only providing increased store traffic, but also an upsurge in customer loyalty and in-store spending. Read more on the RM Blog

Demand volatility is the number one risk for retailers and consumer product manufacturers with 83% stating that is a concern. Visibility to risk is the challenge for 2015.

SCM World’s 2014 CSCO study asked respondents about their companies’ visibility of potential risks across the retail and consumer value chain. Each respondent was asked to rate visibility within its operations and then further into the supply base and demand channel.

Layering visibility for each of these industries together provides insight into where companies in the consumer value chain have good visibility. As the figure below shows, manufacturers across the board say they have better visibility into their operations than retailers do for themselves and, with the exception of food and beverage, better visibility into the retail channel as well.

Read the full story and check out an infographic on the RM Blog

No matter the product or service you offer, engaging customers is key to growing your business. Luckily, with the popularity of social media, reaching out to potential customers has never been easier. But what are the best ways to connect with your customers in such a saturated market? Interact with your customers with freebies, promos and contests to increase your traffic and create loyal customers.

Read more on the RM Blog.

Beauty blogging is a serious business. The space has grown so large and is so powerful many bloggers are now becoming “celebrities” and are receiving their own television shows and ad dollars from beauty companies around the world. The vast number of these bloggers is growing daily and for beauty companies, answering requests from bloggers for product and even sponsorship money has become a job on its own. Many savvy beauty PR contacts say they are becoming overwhelmed with requests. It seems like it would be easy to look up someone’s popularity and audience reach, but it can become a time consuming chore for beauty companies to navigate the heavy onslaught of product and sponsorship requests. We have created a strategy and tips for beauty companies to vet these requests to quickly determine if they will help the beauty brand grow or just be another free product shipped.

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The business environment is constantly changing and entrepreneurs need to be prepared. Although the business world is becoming more globalized, there also is a push for small local businesses and face-to-face interactions. While emails, texts, chats and video conferences are necessary to do business, in-person interactions can make a difference. According to a study by psychologist and professor at National University of Singapore Richard Arvey, 77 percent of people still believe in the value of offsite meetings.

Although in-person meetings help make a connection, another barrier in the past has been that business payment systems were simply not mobile enough to be used outside of the office environment. This meant that you could make a sale in person, but you couldn't close the deal right then and there. Your clients either had to give their credit card information over the phone or arrange an alternative payment method. That gives enough time for the deal to fall apart.

Fortunately, with the various apps and software systems available today, you can carry everything you need to complete the sale from start to finish. Consider the following mobile payment options:

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