Do you read any blogs that discuss the business of retailing? I’m looking for more good ones if you’d care to share. I have a few I read periodically, not nearly often enough. My first pick is Retail Minded, she even had a post up about Fashion-Incubator but I can’t find it now. Maybe she took it down after that tweet I sent her saying her blog was so good I didn’t want to tell anyone about it. I was kidding! My mouth buys me more trouble. Anyway, Nicole’s site is broken down into categories such as Customer Service, Inventory, Marketing, Pricing etc. The only downside is one element of site navigation. You click on a category and it feeds you one (full) entry and you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to click through to the next page and repeat. She says she’s in the process of redesigning the site. Now that she has more content, you might find the archives page easier to scan for items of interest. Here’s a few must reads:
What’s in a Buyer’s Packet?
Pitching Retailers – What Retailers Want From You
Wrong Product, Wrong Time, Wrong Market
Do Designers Need “Look Books”?
Another site I found after listening to a story on NPR called Level of Consumerism is Out of Control, is Retail Anarchy. I suppose you could call Sam Pocker, Paco Underhill’s acerbic and somewhat resentful little brother. The entries impart lessons quickly with humor, photos and short text.
Speaking of Paco Underhill, he still doesn’t have a blog. Too busy I imagine. He is author of two books I consider to be mandatory reading for DEs, Why We Buy (new edition) and Call of the Mall, both inexpensive. You may also consider reading books he recommends. I haven’t read any of them. See Gladwell’s cheat sheet on Paco if you want the Cliff Notes version. Note to Gladwell: white space is good.
Speaking for the last time about Paco Underhill (promise), KIZER and BENDER’s Retail Adventures in the REAL World™ BLOG (seriously, that ™ is in there) similarly describe themselves as retail anthropologists. Yep, they do. Just for kicks, I looked up Retail Anthropology to see if there was any kind of coursework. Not yet. Anyway, once you get past the somewhat overt commercial bent of this site, there’s some great content, rather generous in fact. One sample must read is Straight Talk about Diversity & Demographics: What works for one generation is Kryptonite to another.The downside of the site is the platform (Blogger) which doesn’t lend itself to facilitated navigation. I suppose in retail parlance, it’d be like opening a high end boutique in a seedy strip mall tenanted by resale and auto parts stores. Seriously, I wanted to find some more selections because the content is really good but it’s buried. I should send them to my site designer. Poke around.
Speaking of my site designer, I found him via Eric Busboom, owner of Retailing Together. As I understand it, Eric is passionate about independent retailers developing online store fronts. If you have a web presence, his site slices matters of particular interest to apparel sellers. In Gallery of E-Commerce Design Excellence, he highlights a site service called ecommr (that is definitely worth a trip!). Stop in and say hi to Eric; he’s also a member of our forum.
Next is No Turn on Red, which since I just found it (via Eric’s site), can’t say anything about is except it appears to be a must destination for online retailers. He analyzes various site designs for navigation, focus and promotion. This could be a good resource to analyze your web retail presence.
An all grown up site for heavy hitters in apparel retail collaboration is VCF. Not a blog, content heavy, with lots of business speak if you’re into that. Here’s a sample:
Welcome to the leading collaborative retail organization facilitating profitable relationships between retailers and suppliers. VCF, in association with Trade Promotion Management Associates (TPMA), is an advocate for retail-supplier trading synchronization and champions initiatives to increase strategic industry-wide productivity, profitability and growth. While still possessing the core values of its large membership, VCF marks a transition to serve more touch points in perfecting retailer-supplier execution to shorten cycle times and drive overall velocity in the supply chain.
I suspect the aptly named Retail Blog Marketing has excellent content but the right sidebar just kills me. It is FLUORESCENT RED and I can’t read the entry titles comfortably (I’d settle for not painfully) to point anything out. Hopefully someone who’s color blind can help me out here.
Last of all is this very humble simply designed site, Manufacturers Credit Cooperative. I think Corky’s Coats told me about it. He heartily recommends their service (inside information on which stores pay on time etc). On the left are some links to various categories with some (again) great content. For example, this entry on fraud is a 39 point checklist you can use to avoid selling to a customer who has less than ethical intentions.
This is all I have, if you have other retail related sites you like, kindly let us know.