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The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) are proud to announce the honorees of the 2015 Tribute Dinner—Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Chef Juan Mari Arzak, acclaimed pioneer of Basque cuisine. Baseler and Arzak will be honored on February 21 during the Festival’s annual Tribute Dinner hosted by José Andrés and Master of Ceremonies Harold McGee presented by Bank of America, part of The New York Times Dinner Series, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The award recognizes their extraordinary contributions to the wine and culinary industries.

Getty Images photo from 2014 Tribute Dinner provided by Bullfrog + Baum

Read more: South Beach Wine & Food Festival announce the honorees of the 2015 Tribute Dinner

In many ways, our economy is still trying to find its feet since the last recession. Holiday sales in 2014 weren’t spectacular, which may have discouraged you. However, there are ways to beat the sales slump, whether your 2014 season exceeded expectations or underperformed. Here are the strategies you should implement to give your 2015 sales a kick-start.

Online Trends You Can Take Advantage Of

Some sales hacks are already established as being a good idea year round — and you should take advantage of this new consumer market! These include making your web design responsive (look equally good on any device) and optimizing your mobile presence (giving your mobile site just as many features as the desktop version has). The latter is especially important, as more and more shoppers are shopping on the go. Here are some other ideas to boost your post-December sales:

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NFL PLAYERS INC. UNVEILS “RISING 50” LIST OF FUTURE TOP-SELLING STARS  

Odell Beckham Jr. (left), Le’Veon Bell, Marcus Mariota, Antonio Brown andT.Y. Hilton Top Inaugural Rankings

NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, has unveiled its first-ever “Rising 50” list, aimed at identifying for sponsors, licensees, retailers and future partners the next crop of NFL players poised to break out and rank among top sellers of licensed merchandise.

Read more: As the Big Game nears, who are the rising retail stars in the NFL?

Anyone that tells you that technology does not affect their buying practices is probably saying it on their flip phone or mailing it to you on stationary. Not only is technology changing the way we make purchases, it is altering our entire perception of progressive retail interactions. From inception to the memory of a past purchase, Western society has gone digital.

Read more: From Concept to Completion, Tech Is Changing It All

There is an inexcusable and avoidable problem in customer service today: 73% of brands think they care for consumers, yet only 36% of consumers agree, according to a recent Mblox survey. The retail industry performed only slightly better than the cross-industry average (36%), with 41% of those surveyed saying they felt cared for by retailers. Clearly, there is major room for improvement – but where do retailers start, and why is this gap so important to fix?

Because this gap will impact the bottom line sooner rather than later. Take this year’s holiday shopping season, for example. Mobile stood out from the pack – Cyber Monday mobile sales were up 27.6% over 2013. Increasingly, consumers are making purchases outside of brick-and-mortar stores, underscoring the need for brands to reach outside their physical locations to care for their customers, taking advantage of various channels and messages. This approach will create customer advocates and set the tone for sustained business.

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Loyalty marketing was born in retail, a concept that started with S&H Green Stamps back in the 1930s and has been around so long that by now much of the practice is steeped in myth. Retailers often tend to side with historic “best practices” even when research points in the other direction. Using data to demystify the reality of loyalty, however, can give retailers a clearer picture about the true value of loyalty programs instead of the historical fiction that may be clouding their minds.

When it comes to consumer behaviors and preferences, there are numerous retailing myths that don’t hold up to current research. Here are five:

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It’s three days before Christmas and you just thought of the perfect gift to buy your friend.  You need to find this item - it’s just too right.  Do you rush off to your local store in the hopes they’ll have it? Not this year.

A recent study by YouGov, sponsored by GT Nexus, found that only 39% of US shoppers trust physical stores to have their desired last-minute gift items in stock this holiday season, leaving 61% of the consumer trust pie to online retail instead.  The findings are eye-opening since consumers historically have gone in-store for their last minute holiday purchases.  But this change is just the latest in a long line that has shaken up the retail industry.

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Consumers often dream of travel rewards, and high-dollar business travelers are the superstars of any rewards program. But what about the small earn-and-burn opportunities of everyday spend? Can loyalty programs at high frequency retailers capture the hearts of consumers and motivate them to truly change their behaviors? A recent study shows that yes, consumers do respond favorably to programs at high-frequency retailers like supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing retailers, convenience stores and gas stations, and are actually more engaged and motivated to spend than the high rollers.

Read the full story on the RM Blog