Digital Retail Catalogs- Your Next Channel Of Distribution

Put Your Print Catalog Online To Reach More Customers

So you have a print catalog and you have a website. What’s next? To stay current with customer expectations, it’s time to think about making a digital catalog your next channel of distribution.

Almost 90% of those who responded to a 2012 Catalog Spree survey indicated they would opt out of receiving some or all of their mailed print catalogs if the catalogs were available digitally. And over 55% would prefer to receive all of their catalogs digitally.

A digital catalog can be created simply by creating a PDF of your print catalog, but that really is just the start of an array of possibilities. Digital catalogs today increasingly include rich interactive content with audio, video, search functions and web links. The possibilities are endless, and meaningful content will increase your catalog’s chances of being viewed. Continue Reading…

Mobile Devices Pose Benefits and Risks

Assess Risks Posed By Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices Pose Benefits and Risks
Are You Prepared?

Chances are, some of your corporate data, and likely even that of your customers and clients, is walking around in someone’s back pocket or stuck in the side of someone’s purse. Perhaps your sales manager even handed it over to her 13-year-old for a quick call home when the Saturday night movie lets out.

Every business needs to develop a mobile device policy, whether it conducts business transactions via mobile devices or not. Because whether it’s the internal company contact list, a spreadsheet with last year’s sales data or your customers’ credit card numbers, some of your data is probably residing on the phones, notebooks, and tablets of your employees. And whether or not you have an operating policy to guide usage and access, they are probably using those same devices to access your network.

The statistics reported at MobiThinking by various analysts are staggering: Six billion mobile subscriptions held by an estimated 4.2 billion people! Itís time for all enterprises to take advantage of this growth and also protect both businesses and employees from risks inherent to such power. Continue Reading…

Will 2013 Be a Lucky Number for Entrepreneurs?

Optimism In 2013

Will 2013 Be a Lucky Number for Entrepreneurs?

With retail sales inching upward in advance of the holiday shopping season and economic indicators looking better than they have in recent years, we’re wondering whether 2013 will prove to be a turnaround year for the economy. We certainly hope so and we’re taking a few minutes away from flurry to think about what has sustained us through these tough times.

Stores.org reported earlier this year that market research leader IBISWorld identified these retail sectors as the top five prospects for 2012, based on start-up costs, barriers to entry, and estimated 2012 revenue: tires; handbags, luggage, and accessories; art; furniture; and specialty foods. Not only did the decidedly unglamorous tire dealership top the list, its expected growth of 10% is almost double that of the leading trailer, handbags and related goods, at 5.5%. Continue Reading…

Make Way for Millennials In The Workplace

Preparing For Mellinials In The Workplace

Make Way for the Millennials

We’ve been giving thought lately to generational differences across the workforce and specifically how businesses can work best with the generational group just now beginning to enter the workforce, young people born between 1981 and 2000; the cohort dubbed Millennials.

There’s a ton of information being written about the Millennials right now, and while we think much of it is speculative, there are a some recurring characteristics that do ring true.

1. Millennials are tech savvy.  Just watch a 20-year old setting up a smartphone to realize Millennials have an intuitive comfort with technology. Earlier generations get comfortable with new technology in the workplace; Millennials come that way. What does that mean for training?  Think interactive technology. Continue Reading…

Prepare For Inventory Returns

Minimize Returns To Maximize Profits

Every year, the sales peak ends at Christmas for most direct retailers. That means that the inventory returns peak is just starting.

While returns are inevitable, they often affect warehouse operations and customer service departments the hardest. However, these end-of-season returns also affect financial results because of their toll on profits. Merchandisers and inventory planners must account for returns throughout the year.

Soft goods (apparel) tend to have high return rates. Menswear and footwear averages a 10% to 20% return rate. A 20% to 30% return rate is typical for women’s basic apparel. Returns on women’s fashion apparel can go above 30%.

So why do these percentages matter?  Think of it this way. A return rate of 20% for a retailer with $10 million in apparel sales means $2 million in returned sales. Include the resulting reduction in gross margin dollars plus the cost of processing returns:  free return shipping costs, demand on your call center, funding a returns department, managing what becomes distressed inventory and it’s obvious that returns can deeply impact a company’s bottom line. Continue Reading…

Ten Ways to a Winning Website

Winning Sites

Think your small business doesn’t need a professional-looking, effective web site?  Think again.

Leading provider of website packages for small business, 1&1 Internet, Inc., reports that 45% of U.S. consumers have changed their minds about ordering from a small business based on the quality of its website. So if the online presence of your small business is a sloppy, poorly-designed site designed by the brother of your spouse’s best friend’s sister who “does websites,” you might want to rethink your approach. Continue Reading…

Get a Fresh Perspective on Sales

Feature Best Sellers First

Whether you distribute your catalog in print, email, online or some combination of all three, you can drive sales by identifying your true top sellers and placing them where they can grab the attention of both your customers and prospects.

How do you identify your top sellers?

Most of us have a box full of tools upon which we rely to track sales and most of them boil down to tracking purchases by item. Susan J. McIntyre, “Catalog Doctor” at Retail Online Integration, suggests taking a different approach that has caught our attention: create depiction-level sales reports. For example, implementing this approach here at Working Person’s Store, we would track the sales of a depiction in our print catalog, online or in an email that might include an ensemble of a Carhartt jacket, Timberland work boots and a pair of Wrangler jeans. McIntire reports that tracking sales of all items included in a single depiction can result in sales numbers quite different from those created by traditional tracking methods that focus on single items. Continue Reading…

Five Ways to Unleash the Power of URLs

URL Optomization

In real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. As it turns out, a web page address – it’s URL – is also an important key to success. While working to create great titles, copy and internal linking structure on your website, don’t forget to pay attention to your page URLs – all of them.

As the first-generation of online businesses matures, most of us know at least the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of using keywords in titles, headings and page copy.  And online businesses put a lot of thought, money and effort into creating a memorable, easy-to-find domain name so that potential and returning customers can easily find them.

But did you know that every one of your website URLs can provide important attention-getting opportunities, and that poorly-structured URLs can actually drive potential site visitors away? Optimizing URLs can be a hassle, but the payoffs are greater visibility and better click-through rates. Continue Reading…

Take a Personal Approach to Wellness Incentives with Gift Cards

Wellness Programs

Here at Working Person’s Store, we are always looking for effective ways to reward our team and provide meaningful incentives. Why? Because while pay is important to all of us, most of us also want to recognized as individuals – to know that our contributions and achievements, large and small, are appreciated by both the organization and its individual members. While a pay raise tells an employee that she or he is valuable to the organization, an incentive personally acknowledges individual achievements and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to each person that makes up the whole.

While job-related incentives have long been tied to workplace performance issues such as production, safety, and customer service, employers today recognize the tremendous benefits of providing employee incentives tied to personal health and wellness. Continue Reading…

Sales Tax For Online Retail Purchases

Sales Tax Collection For Online Retailers

A Fair Solution for all Business Models

The time has come for uniform national legislation on the collection of taxes for online purchases, and we at Working Person’s Store support quick passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).

As a major online retailer specializing in clothing, footwear and gear for working people around the world with online customers on five continents and in-store customers in a Midwestern brick-and-mortar storefront, Working Person’s Store understands first-hand the arguments for and against e-commerce taxation and tax collection.

While the explosion of internet retail sales over the last decade has brought this issue to the forefront, whether to collect taxes on interstate retail sales has its roots in pre-Internet catalog sales and has been discussed and argued for at least the last 45 years. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court discussed the burdens that the multiplicity of rules, regulations, rates, and recordkeeping across state lines would place on retailers. Then in 1992, with the explosion of online retailing, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed online retail sales tax collection head on and determined that the collection of sales tax was only required in states where an online business also had a physical presence. Continue Reading…

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