Tusco Display blog
Tusco Display blog

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When we speak or write about retail environments, we usually envision places like Macy’s or Target, Home Depot or CVS, Kroger or Staples, Circle K or – moment of silence, please – Toys’R’Us, right?

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In reality, retail environments cover a much wider range of shopping experiences. How about optical stores? Doctors’ offices? Auto dealers? Restaurants? The break room at work?

Vending machines in the US sell about $7 billion in goods annually. Kiosks in quick-service restaurants (QSR) impact your lunch purchases as McDonald’s rolls out order kiosks at a pace of 1000 US stores per quarter. Subway and Panera employ order kiosks to speed order entry and increase the timely delivery of food. And Carvana is...

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As we approach Independence Day 2018, it’s worth considering the many freedoms that we as Americans enjoy. You know the ones guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights like freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom of assembly and association, to say nothing of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Let me add one that we often overlook: Freedom to shop. Today, more than ever, if you have the means, you have the freedom to buy what you want when you want it and from whom you want to buy it. Stores are open more hours than ever. Does anyone remember “blue laws?” They used to prohibit not just alcohol sales on Sundays but ALL retail activity. Online has ushered in 24/7/365 availability to b...

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I have a confession to make: I believe in physical retail as a powerful and enduring means of reaching shoppers. Even in the Age of Amazon, I know that over 90% of all retail US purchases (excluding restaurant and gasoline sales) still happen in physical stores. I trumpet this fact in speeches, articles, and even around the dining room table (to the chagrin of my kids).

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A recent study cited by Retail TouchPoints found 71% of shoppers believe in-store employees aren’t helpful. Stores are living down to shopper expectations when they fail to hire, train and manage staff effectively.


See for yourself. Visit a favorite store. How engaged, knowledgeable and truly helpful is the staff? Are they attentive without being pushy? Do they genuinely and creatively engage or simply say, “Can I help you?” which generates an equally automated response, “Just looking” and everyone pretends some customer service just happened.

Stores are more than physical places to showcase products. At their best, they are intriguing locations for shoppers to enjoy exploring, for staff to truly assist, for b...

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Recent studies have shown that shoppers often leave stores without purchasing anything. Why? One study found two-thirds of the time the store didn’t have or the shopper couldn’t find the desired product. Fifty-one percent of the time they found lines were too long and nearly 40% of the time shoppers left due to poor customer service.

A Wall Street Journal study published today finds that big chains are slashing head counts faster than store counts. Over the past 12 months alone, 86% of U.S. consumers say they have left a store due to long lines, according to a survey conducted by Adyen, a credit-card processor, and payment system. Adyen estimates that it resulted in $37.7 billion in lost sales for retailers.

Jessica Tokarski re...

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Rod Tidwell exhorted Jerry McGuire, “Show me the money!” Investors in retail and skeptics alike require retailers and brands to do the same.


We see more retailers and brands engaged in systematically testing new approaches to engaging shoppers and selling products. It’s ROI, baby. Yes, fear of being Amazoned out of existence drives some of this. More importantly, though, it’s about finding ways to better connect with shoppers – and having the numbers to prove it.

Nordstrom Local is an example of experimenting with new formats. Amazon Go, c-store startup Foxtrot and even venerable Macy’s are others, too. The first Apple Store appeared 17 years ago next month as a whole new way of retailing and they’...

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Traditional retail is catching on. Like turning a battleship, it’s taking time but many of the big retailers are figuring out how to better perform in the emerging retail scene. They are doing it with many tools, three of which I highlight here.

Recognition refers to the fact that retailer c-suites understand that they must drive change to survive. They’ve dumped bad leases and their worst performing stores by the thousands over the last couple of years. Many still play catch up on clicks but haven’t forgotten the importance of bricks too. Target’s CEO understands as they innovate.

Sophistication speaks to the increasing use of technology in physical stores. From iPads with instant client profiles and RFID beacons t...

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If e-books are the future, why do stores still sell hard-copy books? Electronic book sales have doubled over the past five years to about one-quarter of worldwide book sales. But those sales are slowing.E-book revenue among 1,200 publishers reporting data fell to $743.5 million from January to August last year, 5.3 percent below the same period in 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. E-book sales were down 18.7% in thesame period in 2016 while paper books rose 7.5%. Why?Experts surmise the decline has been driven in part by “digital fatigue” among readers who spend hours looking at computers and smartphones and want an escape by picking up a paper book. The majority of Americans who read regularly are ag...

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Strong consumer confidence and a robust job market fueled the U.S. retail sales rise at their best pace since 2011. Excluding automobiles, overall sales rose 4.9% (Nov 1 – Dec 24), compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payment. E-commerce grew 18.1%, outpacing in-store sales growth but still totaling less than 10% of sales annually.

Not coincidentally, retailer stocks have rebounded along with their sales. Stocks like Macy’s (up 24%) and Gap (up 18%) are up big just in the last month. Could it be that people will keep buying products in stores and not migrate entirely online?

Retailers have learned some valuable lessons over the past few year...

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Retailers enjoyed brisk sales with 174 million people shopping compared to the 164 million expected. Online sales grew about three times faster than in-store sales, continuing a trend of the last decade. Whether you bought online or in-store, it’s all good, right?

Not if you are the retailer. According to UPS, almost one-third of all web orders get sent back vs nine percent at physical stores. A full 75% of shoppers returned some merchandise this year by shipping goods back to the merchant. The expense of processing and shipping those boomeranged items can range from 20% to 65% of e-tailers’ cost of goods sold. Managing returned goods is a dream for shippers like UPS and FedEx,...

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