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June 24, 2014 - Front line staff are the face of your company. Whether you are a large retailer or small business, your employees will leave a lasting impression on each and every customer. That impression will determine whether or not that customer comes back and/or refers others. Keeping your front line staff positive and happy increases the likelihood staff will enjoy their jobs and go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.

There are so many aspects to owning and managing a retail establishment, employees sometimes unintentionally fall by the wayside. When staff do not feel valued or appreciated (either actual or perceived) the likelihood their discontent will spill over into their customer interactions increases significantly. Spending time on staff development is key. This article will discuss some ideas to help keep your front line staff smiling.

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog

June 20, 2014 – In the last few days, NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, announced several new licensing agreements. It entered into new partnerships with Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc., Penguin Young Readers Group and Funko, LLC. The news was announced from Licensing Expo 2014 in Las Vegas.

Read more: NFLPI links up with Pop Warner Football, Penguin Young Readers Group, Funko

June 18, 2014 – Hasbro, Inc. brought its Transformers brand to the International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas geared up and ready to go for the highly anticipated movie release of Michael Bay’s "Transformers: Age of Extinction" from Paramount Pictures, hitting theaters June 27, 2014. The Transformers franchise has agreed to more than 300 licensing agreements and promotional relationships worldwide supporting the brand.

Read more: Hasbro Reveals Transformers: Age of Extinction Licensed Merchandise

June 16, 2014 - Disney Consumer Products Executive Vice President of Global Licensing, Josh Silverman was joined by Mickey Mouse; Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter with Buzz Lightyear; Senior Vice President of Marketing, Marvel Studios and Television at Marvel Entertainment Mike Pasciullo with Iron Man; and Executive Vice President of Franchise Management at Lucasfilm Howard Roffman with a Stormtrooper during a private Disney Consumer Products event at the Licensing Expo, Monday June 16, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Read more: Disney Consumer Products at Licensing Expo

It’s no surprise that brick-and-mortar stores have been suffering a slow decline for years. Recently, Radio Shack announced that it will be closing more than 1,000 stores. Staples: more than 200. Increased competition from online retailers means less foot traffic and revenue, making it more difficult to justify expansion and growth.

Now more than ever, retailers need to identify where they can squeeze extra value and where hidden cost savings lie. The most comprehensive way to do so is by examining their supply chains, end-to-end, to understand all current costs, by category, department, supplier and brand.

To start this process, here are four methods that you can use to optimize a retail supply chain and as a result, improve profitability.

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

June 13, 2014 – Justin Pertschuk and Mimi Slavin have recently joined the DreamWorks Animation marketing team as Head of Digital Marketing and Head of Global Promotions respectively.

“The combined experiences and creative talents of Justin and Mimi in marketing and promoting family entertainment will be invaluable to us as we continue to grow and diversify the DreamWorks brand,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Taubin. “I am thrilled to have this duo join our team.”

Read more: Veteran additions to DreamWorks Animation marketing team

Mobile retail is facing some major challenges today.

More and more shoppers now turn to their mobile devices for product information and advice. But their trust of retailers has diminished. A Retail System Research survey found 54 percent of shoppers want knowledgeable store associates more than any other service. Yet 59 percent of them believed they knew more about the products than the people paid to help them.

These stats illuminate two important facts. First, shoppers want knowledgeable help they can trust to help them make their buying decisions. Second, they feel they are more likely to get that kind of help online—or on their mobile devices—than at a store. This shows shoppers want their product information from unbiased, knowledgeable, and available sources before they buy. This behavior also demonstrates that retailers are largely viewed as biased and untrustworthy.

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog

June 11, 2014 - Today, Lowe's underscored its commitment to advancing retail innovation as it introduced Lowe's Innovation Labs and the first concept to come out of the lab, the Lowe's Holoroom. Lowe's created Lowe's Innovation Labs to build new technology to solve common consumer frustrations while working alongside start-ups, universities, specialized professionals and other companies.

Read more: SciFi Inspires Lowe's Holoroom

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