State electric retail choice programs are popular with commercial and industrial customers – Today in


#retail choice

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U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis

Today in Energy

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have adopted electric retail choice programs that allow end-use customers to buy electricity from competitive retail suppliers. While residential customer participation rates are low in almost all of these states, a majority of commercial customers have signed up with competitive suppliers in 9 states and a majority of industrial customers have signed up in 12 states. The highest participation rates are found in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states, and Texas where electricity is supplied through Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and states have unbundled generation from retail delivery and sales.

Below are state-by-state percentages of residential, commercial, and industrial sales volumes by competitive suppliers for 2010 (the most recent data available from the Form EIA-861 survey). Overall, competitive retail suppliers provided 16% of total U.S. retail sales by volume in 2010.

Retail sales for Texas are not shown below since participation is mandated for all customers served by investor-owned utilities located within the ERCOT region that covers much of the state. Participation is not mandated for municipal and cooperative utilities within ERCOT. About 60% of residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Texas buy electricity from competitive suppliers.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Note: *Denotes less than 1% of sales in a customer class.
Download CSV Data

Northeastern States: In five states in the Northeast, 65% to 75% of industrial customers buy directly from competitive suppliers. Except in Connecticut, the participation rate for the commercial sector is significantly lower than the industrial sector. Connecticut has the highest residential sector participation rate outside of Texas at 29%. Connecticut’s Energy Information Center provides easy-to-use price comparisons for utility and competitive supplier service.

Maine is not included even though it is a retail choice state because reporting issues prevent calculation of these percentages. Vermont does not have retail choice.

Mid-Atlantic States: The District of Columbia’s only industrial customer participates in a retail choice program. Maryland has the third-highest share (84%) of electric provided by competitive retail suppliers among Mid-Atlantic states. The industrial and commercial sector competitive supply participation rates in Delaware and New Jersey are above 50%.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Note: *Denotes less than 1% of sales in a customer class.
Download CSV Data

Midwestern States: Only three states in the Midwest have adopted retail choice programs. Illinois’ industrial and commercial participation rates are among the highest in the country, at 85% and 56%, respectively. Ohio’s residential sector participation rate at 19% is the third highest in the country after Connecticut and Texas.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Note: *Denotes less than 1% of sales in a customer class.
Download CSV Data

Western States: Other than the industrial sector in Montana with 63% participation, the participation rates in all sectors in the three Western retail choice states are small. As early as 2001, more than 50% of Montana’s industrial sector sales were provided by competitive suppliers. All the competitive retail supply in California occurs in the area supplied by the California ISO. which is an RTO that serves most of the state. An RTO does not operate in the other two Western states.


Macy s Sales Fall Sharply Again and More Store Closings are Coming #coupns


#stores with sales

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Macy’s is Closing Even More Stores

Macy s M cold streak just keeps getting colder.

The department store reported Wednesday that comparable sales fell 3.9% last quarter for their third consecutive drop. Overall revenue totaled $5.87 billion for the period ended Oct. 31, well below Wall Street forecasts. Investors punished the stock, sending it down 5% in premarket trading. The company also said it would extend an already announced schedule of store closings.

Macy s, the largest U.S. department store company by sales, has been trying to navigate a consumer shift away from apparel—a category that makes up the bulk of its sales—to items like cars, electronics, and home repairs, which are areas where Macy s is virtually absent. Meanwhile U.S. malls, many of which are anchored by Macy’s stores, continue to be hit by falling shopper traffic.

Compounding the retailer s challenges even further: Tourism in the U.S. is way down, hurting its stores in Manhattan, San Francisco, and Miami, its highest grossing locations. Macy s gets 5% of sales from international tourists. The company also owns the Bloomingdale’s chain.

We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, Macy s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement. Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories. Simultaneously, the slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact Macy s and Bloomingdale s.

Earlier this year, shortly after reporting poor results, Macy s announced it would close up to 40 stores. On Wednesday, the retailer said it expected more closings beyond the current round, which are slated to happen by the end of January. About 800 Macy s and Bloomingdales stores are currently open in the U.S.

The company also announced it would not spin off its stores into a real estate investment trust, something activists investors were pushing it to do to unlock the value of its real estate, which notably includes Macy’s Manhattan flagship, a store that could be worth $5 billion on its own. Lundgren said a REIT did not have an upside, but he did leave the option on the table. (This week, McDonald s also said it had opted not to create a REIT.)

Macy s has been trying to diversify its business. It is opening a store in the United Arab Emirates in a few years and has launched T.J. Maxx-like rival chain called Backstage.

But within its own department stores, Macy s is looking to branch out of apparel a bit more and is focusing on its 150 best stores to improve merchandise presentation. Those stores will see more assortments in key destination departments such as jewelry and watches.

For now though, the results are worrisome coming just ahead of the key holiday shopping season.

Macy s M cold streak just keeps getting colder.

The department store reported Wednesday that comparable sales fell 3.9% last quarter for their third consecutive drop. Overall revenue totaled $5.87 billion for the period ended Oct. 31, well below Wall Street forecasts. Investors punished the stock, sending it down 5% in premarket trading. The company also said it would extend an already announced schedule of store closings.

Macy s, the largest U.S. department store company by sales, has been trying to navigate a consumer shift away from apparel—a category that makes up the bulk of its sales—to items like cars, electronics, and home repairs, which are areas where Macy s is virtually absent. Meanwhile U.S. malls, many of which are anchored by Macy’s stores, continue to be hit by falling shopper traffic.

Compounding the retailer s challenges even further: Tourism in the U.S. is way down, hurting its stores in Manhattan, San Francisco, and Miami, its highest grossing locations. Macy s gets 5% of sales from international tourists. The company also owns the Bloomingdale’s chain.

We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, Macy s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement. Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories. Simultaneously, the slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact Macy s and Bloomingdale s.

Earlier this year, shortly after reporting poor results, Macy s announced it would close up to 40 stores. On Wednesday, the retailer said it expected more closings beyond the current round, which are slated to happen by the end of January. About 800 Macy s and Bloomingdales stores are currently open in the U.S.

The company also announced it would not spin off its stores into a real estate investment trust, something activists investors were pushing it to do to unlock the value of its real estate, which notably includes Macy’s Manhattan flagship, a store that could be worth $5 billion on its own. Lundgren said a REIT did not have an upside, but he did leave the option on the table. (This week, McDonald s also said it had opted not to create a REIT.)

Macy s has been trying to diversify its business. It is opening a store in the United Arab Emirates in a few years and has launched T.J. Maxx-like rival chain called Backstage.

But within its own department stores, Macy s is looking to branch out of apparel a bit more and is focusing on its 150 best stores to improve merchandise presentation. Those stores will see more assortments in key destination departments such as jewelry and watches.

For now though, the results are worrisome coming just ahead of the key holiday shopping season.


Retailers Are Missing Out On A $9 Billion Plus-Size Opportunity – Top Curvy Models #best


#plus size retailers

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Retailers Are Missing Out On A $9 Billion Plus-Size Opportunity

Plus-size bloggers including Chastity Garner-Valentine were invited to the launch of Lilly Pulitzer for Target in New York City on April 15.

Retailers are largely ignoring plus-size women.

According to IBIS World, the market for plus-size women was worth $9 billion in 2014. The average woman in America is a size 14 (plus sizes are typically between sizes 14 and 34). Yet retailers barely cater to this crucial demographic.

Plus-size women have raised their voices, but that doesn t mean retailers are listening.

Earlier this year, Dana Drew created a petition on Change.org imploring Victoria s Secret to stock its stores with larger sizes.

I love Victoria s Secret so much that I even have their credit card, she wrote on her petition. My money and my credit are good enough for them, but the fact that I can only buy items like perfume, lotion, and body spray sends the message that my body is not. Every year I watch the Angel fashion show and would love to purchase the items I see on my screen but can t because Victoria s Secret doesn t sell plus sizes.

Many retailers send similar messages to plus-size women.

In 2013, Abercrombie was notoriously under fire for not selling XL and XXL women s sizes (the retailer still sold those sizes for men). Abercrombie s former CEO, Mike Jeffries, said he didn t want people wearing his company s clothes if he didn t think they were sexy.

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids, he told Salon. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don t belong [in our clothes], and they can t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.

In 2013, Abercrombie gave in and started to sell larger sizes.

The popular teen retailer Brandy Melville sells only clothes for smaller women. Most of the clothes claim to be one size, but the one size is a small one (the clothes claim to fit size small/medium ).

In a passionate op-ed article in The Daily Trojan, the University of Southern California campus newspaper, student Rini Sampath described the key problem with this strategy.

One size does not fit most, she wrote. According to the Los Angeles Times, the average American woman is a size 14. The crop-tops and miniskirts that litter the shelves of Brandy Melville would barely cover the average American.

If the average American woman is a size 14, retailers are missing out.

Last year, ModCloth conducted a survey with the help of Paradigm Sample to highlight grievances of plus-size-women shoppers.

Unsurprisingly, 92% agreed with the statement I get upset when I can t find cute clothes in my size.

Sixty-five percent of all women agreed with the statement the retail industry ignores the needs of plus-size women. And only 28% of women agreed with the statement plus-size women are included in the fashion community.

More than half of the women sampled called plus-size offerings frumpy and shapeless. Forty-nine percent called the clothing boring.

It s not as if these women make up a sparse demographic. More than 50% of women Paradigm Sample spoke to wore at minimum size 16 in some stores, and more than one-third of the women combined regular and plus-size clothing. To highlight that statistic, Paradigm Sample pointed out that the number of women who wore a size 16 was more than the number of women who wore sizes 0, 2, and 4 combined.

Plus, these women are willing to spend.

Eighty-one percent of women said they would shell out the money if there were more options in their size. Eighty-eight percent said they would buy more clothes if there were trendier options in stores.

And plus-size women actually spend more than straight size women as it stands — 21% of plus-size women spend at minimum $150 a month on clothes and accessories, whereas only 15% of women in standard sizes do the same.

ModCloth notably sells clothing for plus-size women. In fact, when ModCloth was purchasing plus-size clothing from vendors, chief creative officer Susan Koger was confounded at how few vendors were willing to sell plus-size clothing at all. Out of 1,500 vendors she reached out to, only 35 responded.

So why are retailers avoiding an extremely profitable market?

It s likely fear.

This is only speculation, but the reason I would argue that why many non-plus-size designers don t go into plus size is fear, Amanda Czerniawski, sociology professor at Temple University, former plus-size model, and author of Fashioning Fat: Inside Plus-Size Modeling, told Business Insider. Now, there s two dimensions of this fear: It could be fear of [fat, like] Karl Lagerfeld — I don t want to be associated with fat people kind of thing because of the stigma maybe for some it could be this element, but I think overwhelmingly it s a fear of failure.

That failure to create flattering designs for these kinds of different bodies — and part of it is the fact many of these designers, when they go to design school, they re not taught to make clothes for plus-size bodies, she said.

It s fascinating why they re not being taught, why they re not being pushed, because there is such great potential, she added.

Kenyatta Jones, CEO of the clothing line Bella Rene (and a plus-size woman) told Huffington Post Live that the fashion industry had a serious misconception about the way plus-size women behave, and therefore shop, citing the false notion that they don t need clothes, all they do is eat Twinkies.

But some retailers are listening to these women. Target is tapping into this market with its line AVA + VIV, even if the clothing is meh, as Lindsay Louise of Jezebel put it.

There are, however, anomalies. Search plus-size clothing at Bloomingdale s, and clothing from designers such as Michael Kors, Eileen Fisher, and Ralph Lauren will appear.

But what Rachel Pally — of the designer plus-size collection Rachel Pally s White Label — told the Los Angeles Times in 2009 still rings true, based on ModCloth s survey. Fashion-forward plus-size women have no options, she said. They re so thirsty for the product It s like, Hello? Don t you guys want to make money?’ (Further suggesting that plus-size women will spend, in 2009 the Los Angeles Times highlighted that the White Label was one of the top-selling lines at Nordstrom.)

But some major mid-tier retailers do, in fact, sell plus-size clothing. The lingerie retailer Adore Me sells options for plus-size women. Fast-fashion giants Forever 21 and H M sell larger sizes, as well. But as the Los Angeles Times noted, plus size women are mostly restricted to online shopping.

To underscore that notion, plenty of popular brands are, in fact, selling larger sizes online — just not in stores, The Huffington Post reported. It seems as if retailers aren t willing to risk that plus-size women are willing to shop and spend money, even though there is evidence to the contrary.

One solution to solve this problem might be a shift in marketing.

One thing that would vastly improve visibility of the growing plus-size market is if designers who currently offer plus sizes invested more of their resources into publicizing and marketing their lines, offers Nicolette Mason, blogger and contributing fashion editor at Marie Claire, told Fashionista in 2013.


Confessions of a Cosmeholic: Plus Size Retailers, What are you thinking? #sporting #goods #retailers


#plus size retailers

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As a plus size woman, 260 lbs 5’11”, I’m not exactly the standard of beauty. Does this make me not beautiful or take away from my beauty because I’m not the standard? Absolutely not! I do want to discuss with you all how I feel about the plus size industry and how passionate I have grown to see a change.

Many brands of clothing would have you believe that you need to loose weight to be stylish. Many major brands only carry straight sizes. Straight sizes are the average 1-10 or s-xl sizes. Stores that do carry both straight and plus size clothing will rarely advertise it. Plus size clothing at a mixed sizes store will often be hidden in the back of a store, wedged between other departments like children or home goods, while others won’t even dedicate floor space, these stores would rather not see you at all but don’t mind taking your money online (. Target).

My issues with plus size retailers is a list that grows longer and longer everyday. Why, as plus size women, must we accept being told we have to buy first, try on later (shopping online) or told to go to the back of the store, or speciality store? Plus size women account for 64% of the american population and yet we are segregated. We accept it since, lets face it, we can’t all walk around naked or with sheets draped over us. We accept the fact that we are told to shop like those that shop for porn. The good videos are in the back, behind the curtain, online, we want your money, we just don’t want you to bother the other shoppers with what your buying. Its as if retailers believe if their customers see a “fat” women shopping their store won’t be trendy, or appealing. Studies have shown that heavier individuals are thought of to be lazy, sloppy, smell bad. How horrible is that? So stores will either cut their losses and not cater to 64% more income or hide it.

Open up the current issue of vogue, cosmopolitan, Elle. Any magazine really, you’ll find two things: one will be mini articles with plus size women included into how to wear (insert clothing article here). Secondly, flip through the ads and you’ll be hard pressed to find the plus size retailers or straight size retailers that carry plus size advertising. You would be surprised at how many higher end stores carry plus sizes secretly.

Personally, my struggle with plus size clothing began when I was a teenager. I would go shopping with my friends only to discover the only items available to me in most stores are accessories and socks. I would watch my friends try on all different styles of clothing when I knew that all racks were hands off to me. Why even bother browsing when I would only walk out empty handed. I would cry about it. I wanted to look like other teen girls but I dressed like a Tom boy- oversized old navy shirts and ill fitting Lane Bryant Pants, I had obvious self esteem issues. It’s one thing to feel ugly all the time because you don’t like your body, face, hair, boobs, ass, it’s a whole other issue when every store reminds you that you don’t belong. I didn’t come to terms with my size or how I looked until my early 20s and I was 2 sizes larger than I was in high school. There are so many young girls and women who want to feel confident, want to love their bodies, want to spend some money and get a cute outfit, but can’t and are, instead, fed constant Images of very thin, blow average, women in advertisements, television shows, music videos etc. to reinforce the idea that its you, not them, that have something wrong with them. Even plus size models on plus size sites look like average, everyday women. Why are these average beautiful women labeled plus size?

This all brings me to my final issue: my experience with shopping. Recently I saw a great pattern on a skirt, it was Tetris, I’m a bit of an old school video game nerd, however an extra large was the circumference of my head. I bought two skirts and two tops and made a skater type skirt dress.

What do you think?


Who we are: Retail Store Consultants, Retail Consulting #merchandising #jobs


#retail consultants

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Retail Store Consultants

You might know us already. Maybe, you saw us speak at a conference. Or, you attended one of our training workshops or participated in one of our consulting sessions at your company or at a meeting. Or, you just ‘landed’ here from our big sister site www.dionco.com.

Whichever way you came here,

it is important that you know that we are Retail Store Consultants and are passionate about retail. Also, you need to know that we have been working in the retail industry for over four decades. Yes, that makes us feel a little old but, you could also argue, that’s when you can claim to have seen it all!

You should also know that we have worked as Retail Store Consultants with some of the largest and some of the smallest retail companies in the world. Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Williams-Sonoma. HoneyBaked Ham. the Bata Shoe Organization. Microsoft. ASICS. Ritz-Carlton. Intel to name a few of the large ones. The Man Alive. Potomac ABC. Sam’s Wines Spirits. and Poster Plus among the smaller ones. Large or small, it does not make a difference to us and to the consumer. Retail is retail and consumers expect the best of retailers whether you are a 4,000-employee operation or a 5-person independent store. So, if the best of the best is out there – and we have the luxury to know what it looks like – you’d better know what it is and match it or, rather, exceed it. Because if you don’t. Well, that is what we, in our role as Retail Store Consultants. are good at: telling you how you can be the best and helping you get there.

And it does not hurt that James Dion. President of storecheckup.com and Dionco Inc. (www.dionco.com ), is an Industrial Psychologist by education and has worked in retail for companies of the likes of Sears, Levi’s Strauss, and Gilmore Department Stores. Or, that he wrote three books on retail selling and how to start and run a retail business (www.dionco.com/books/ ).

Now, let’s get a little more formal. Here are the bios of the brains behind storecheckup.com.

Jim consults, trains and speaks on consumer trends, retail technology, selling and service, retail merchandising and operations, marketing and leadership.

With a BS, MS degree in Psychology from Chicago State University and a Ph.D. (abd) in Industrial Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology combined with over 30 years of progressive retail experience working at Sears, Levi Strauss and Gilmore Department Stores, Jim is one of the most sought after Retail Store Consultants and Retail Speakers in the US and internationally.

As a Retail Store Consultant, he has helped hundreds of retailers large and small successfully reposition their retail business, including Ritz-Carlton, Harley-Davidson, Hummer, Poster Plus, The Hat Shack, and Potomac ABC to name a few.

A PC expert and a Microsoft Developer, Jim has conducted major retail system and POS installs at retailers nationwide. He also studies and evaluates new retail POS, EDI, merchandising systems and relationship marketing software. He has been a judge for the Microsoft Retail Developer Awards as well as for CIO Magazine Top 100.

As a Retail Speaker. Jim has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches, seminars and workshops for some of the largest companies in the US and internationally. Companies like Microsoft, Maytag, Vestel (Turkey), IBM, Honey-Baked Ham, Williams-Sonoma, ASICS, JDA, Swarovski, Macy s and others have all benefited from Jim’s insights on retail selling, merchandising, technology, and consumer trends. Jim is also a frequent Retail Speaker for leading associations, including the National Retail Federation, the Association of Golf Merchandisers, Narta (Australia), the National Shoe Retailers Association, the National Sporting Goods Association and many others. He is a faculty member in the MBA program at Harley-Davidson University and works with Harley-Davidson dealers around the world.

A writer for hundreds of national and international trade magazines and a regular contributor at www.allexperts.com. Jim is consistently ranked at the top for his insights and practical advice. He has also appeared on NBC, Fox News, First Business and CNN US and Turkey.

Stefania Pinton has been a partner at Dionco Inc. since 2002. Her in-depth knowledge of the retail industry gained in almost 25 years of working with some of the largest retail companies in the world along with her international background have greatly contributed to making Dionco a firm of national as well as international standing. Learn more

Stefania’s expertise covers a broad spectrum of strategic planning, concept development, and performance optimization in the areas of human resources, store operations and training and development .

Traveling internationally, she was exposed to diverse culture and business practices which contributed to broadening her understanding of global business issues and opportunities.

At Dionco, Stefania works on human resources management consulting, instructional material design and development, retail and consumer trends reviews as well as retail best practices research and market studies. Some of the clients she has worked for include Sam’s Wines Spirits, Healthy Back, HoneyBaked Ham, Harley-Davidson, TitleMax, Ritz-Carlton, Louisville Tile Distributors, Williams-Sonoma, Nokia, M
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TainoSystems – What are Retail Management Information Systems? #online #shopping


#retail management system

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What are Retail Management Information Systems?

Retail management means running a store where merchandise is sold and Retail Management Information Systems include using hardware, software and procedures to manage activities like planning, inventory control, financial management, logistics and point of sale transactions. You can use a retail management information system in your business to manage your store, finances and inventory from one office.

What are the features of Retail Management Information Systems?

Retail management information systems support distributed stores by linking them. By allowing information to be exchanged instantly, store managers can stay in contact to more effectively control profits for the whole company. RMIS should support product management and should also enable a detailed analysis of customer data. It is a flexible system that allows managers to set prices for variable time periods based on the store location and to meet the needs of sales and inventory managers, retail management information systems involve the use of a mobile user interface.

How do Retail Management Information Systems function?

Retail Management Information Systems support the basic functions of procurement, storage and delivery. With a retail management information system a manager can manage customers, inventory, suppliers and product sales. The system also allows you to track purchase orders and update inventory records with dynamism. Moreover, you can analyze cash, check and credit card transactions to reconcile information and improve efficiency by examining overage and shortages to reveal developments that can be remedied.

What types of Retail Management Information Systems are there?

Retail management information systems can be customized for each industry. For example it can be customized for sports, department stores, supermarkets, furniture, fashion, jewelry or for prescription drugs. Some systems also support multiple languages, currencies, tax systems and cost structures. With retail management information systems there is support for different business models and can accommodate franchise, consignment, direct sales or online business models.

What are the benefits of Retail Management Information Systems?

Operations are improved and costs are reduced by preventing duplicate entries because RMIS facilitates the integration between payments, inventory and transactions. By effectively tracking inventory, customer requests can be dealt with faster. With expedient responses you can also improve service, expand your customer base and increase profits. Easy access to data allows you to identify opportunities to improve waste reduction, recycle materials and choose environmentally friendly packaging. These strategies pave the way for profitable business. With system safeguards adherence to legal restrictions on pricing, promotion and other policies are ensured.

What considerations do Retail Management Information Systems require?

To identify new customers and personalize their service, exploit your databases and utilize sophisticated data mining techniques. Also avoid overstocking by analyzing customer behavior to predict sales and the market need. RMIS are essential for managers in a complex, dynamic global marketplace.

Check out to see if SysGestock, our RMIS cannot be a good fit for your business.

Contact Us.

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To what extent are video game retailers threatened by digital distribution? #retail #news


#video game retailers

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Video games are a unique medium, and in today s market big box game retailers are not hurting to the extent that bookstores, video stores, and music stores did when everything started to move toward digital. That isn t to say they haven t been affected at all, but several factors come into play which insulate games from being overtaken by digital distribution, at least for the next few years.

1. Movies and music can be streamed, and in fact that business model dominates their landscapes today. Since they re passive (you listen or watch, you don t interact), they can be buffered, which means that the user experiences continuous, uninterrupted playback (assuming network conditions are good). Games can be streamed, too, but the experience is far from ideal. To interact with a game that is being run on a machine located somewhere far away, the network speeds need to be very good, and since it s an interactive medium, the data transfer has to happen in near instantaneous time (no buffering). Many people today still don t have fast internet connections, or aren t being provided access to faster speeds. To compensate for a poorer connection, the game resolution drops (less data to push), resulting in artifacting and poor image quality. Also, since you re interacting with it, your button presses must be sent over the network to the server to register an action in the game. Under ideal circumstances, this results in tens of milliseconds of input lag. Under normal circumstances, it s usually much higher, resulting in certain genres of games being nearly unplayable, such as shooters and fighting games. Imagine trying to play Call of Duty and having your inputs delayed a half second. For a series that thrives on twitch response times, it would kill the experience. Also, trying to render 60 frames per second consumes extreme bandwidth, so there s yet another roadblock to unlocking the full experience.

2. The major consoles price themselves out of competition. Digital should be cheaper since there s less overhead, but physical disks thrive on the new and used market. Often, a game can be had for 50% cheaper or more versus its digital version. Even with major sale events, it s almost impossible to find a current game priced less digitally. Why this is, I have no idea, but you don t have to be a financial guru to understand that people want to pay the lowest possible price for a product.

3. The launch of the Xbox One was a bit of a debacle not because of Microsoft s lack of focus on games or even it s higher price, but because they were effectively pushing a digital only, internet required platform. The people spoke with their money and bought the PS4 in droves, leaving MS scrambling to catch back up. In a sense, both consoles are already digital only, since all the games are installed entirely to the hard drive and not run off disk. MS quickly removed the internet requirement (which is going to be necessary for a fully digital ecosystem). Given how turned off consumers were to an internet required system, it s unlikely we ll see a major console maker try it again soon. If one did, their competitor would simply pull a Sony and offer offline, physical discs and watch the money come in.

4. This is to say nothing nothing of PC games, which are basically all digital now. Retailers barely have a PC presence anymore, if at all, so it really doesn t apply to the topic at hand.

TL;DR
Digital streaming is neat tech, but impractical with today s bandwidth. Digital versions of games are often more expensive than physical copies. Microsoft tried to usher in a console to lay the groundwork for moving to exclusive digital distribution, but consumers spoke with their money and bought the PS4 in record-breaking numbers at launch, causing MS to backtrack. It will require massive bandwidth upgrades and more competitive pricing before retailers are truly threatened by digital game sales.

200 Views View Upvotes Not for Reproduction

Shawn Freeman. Working on the next generation of digital retail experiences for the best Ame.

I m biased of course, but I think we have a real chance to be a significant player in digital. We have great relationships with millions of core gamers (as evidenced by our highly successful PowerUp Rewards program with over 10M members in less than a year) and we are making great investments and building the right technology to deliver digital games to those customers.

Meanwhile, the retail business is strong and we don t expect physical retail sales to go away anytime soon. the fact is that AAA titles continue to grow in size and at current average bandwidth can take over 10 hours to download.

Having said that, we don t have our heads in the sand and we do believe we can leverage our existing customer relationships and brand to become a meaningful player in digital games.

189 Views View Upvotes Not for Reproduction Answer requested by Michael Sinanian

  • With digital publishing platforms, are video game publishers obsolete?

  • In the near future, will independent video game/software developers become more reliant on digitally distributed subscription-based services, as opposed to manufactured one-time product sales through physical CD copies, as a source of revenue?

  • In 2016, are digital PC game sales making more money for developers than retail?

  • Video Games: Which video game maps of the real world have the most realistic distributions of metals/minerals?

  • When will all major console gaming titles move to digital distribution?

  • How can I set up my own video game distribution service, and how can I acquire games for distribution?

  • Why do game industries distributes video games for free on torrents?


  • These are the 7 most important skills retail managers need to have #retail #signs


    #retail skills

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    These are the 7 most important skills retail managers need to have

    Retail managers have to do it all: work with customers, manage sales associates, hit monthly store quotas and pitch in whenever something needs to get done.

    That s why employers in the retail industry often look for a blend of diverse, transferable skills on a resume that are indicative of a versatile, well-rounded candidate who has a good understanding of the industry and is able to adapt as needed , says Michael Lan, resume consultant at Resume Writer Direct in Wilmington, Delaware.

    These are the seven skills you most need to be a success as you rise in the ranks.

    Customer service is critical for everyone in retail, says career communications specialist Kelly Donovan in Los Angeles. Retail is all about making sure the customer has an excellent experience every time, so this skill should be at the top of your list.

    As a retail manager, you ll be supervising a team that may include inexperienced employees earning modest wages for a tough job, Donovan says. You ll need a track record of your leadership capabilities, and you must be able to provide examples of how you motivate people.

    Devin Pappas, who works as a store manager and visual merchandiser for Clearwater, Florida-based Patchington, says that being able to assess other people s strengths and identify areas of opportunities is key. Depending on how the store or chain is managed, you may be asked to provide one-on-one management and written action plans for store teams. You ll also have to create a team environment to get everyone working together.

    You may also be responsible for employees training and development, and you will need a background in recruiting or networking in the retail market to help fill positions, Pappas says. You ll need to be able to handle delicate situations with fairness and patience, follow corporate guidelines and hold every employee to high standards.

    Most retail employees are responsible for sales, Donovan says. So sales skills are essential for the majority of retail applicants, whether you re going for an associate position or a management position.

    Have examples ready that show you understand how to turn a browser into a buyer, and how to maximize sales by upselling customers with add-ons to their purchases.

    Your own sales experience may not be enough. Not only do you need to motivate people to work, you must motivate people to sell, Donovan says.

    A background in sales leadership is vital for retail managers. You may be asked to train sales associates and then improve their sales numbers over time.

    Retail is constantly changing, says Lisa Ritchie, vice president of human resources at Match Marketing Group in Mississauga, Ontario. Retail managers need to be flexible and mentally tough to deal with day-to-day variations. While the uncertainty of the industry can be exciting, it can also lead to burnout if you don t have the chops to handle the ups and downs.

    Retail is a fast-moving and dynamic industry, and it takes a lot to stay on top of everything that s going on. Successful retail managers are organized, good planners and strong troubleshooters, Pappas says. Being able to multitask helps as well.

    You ll need to draw on your communication skills to work with employees, customers and your own manager, Pappas says. You ll be directing store meetings and will need to confront a variety of internal and customer-facing situations, both positive and negative. Being able to communicate effectively will serve you well through it all.

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    Why Retail Strategies are in Desperate Need of Change #retail #design #jobs


    #retail strategy

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    Why Retail Strategies are in Desperate Need of Change

    Accurately Responding to Market Change to Create Competitive Advantage

    Retail strategy is at a reset moment. Historically, retail CEOs have designed business strategies by creating differentiation among the 8 primary factors of location, store, merchandise/assortment, visual merchandising, staff, service, mass media and communications, and price. A retailer could achieve sustained leadership by standing out in at least 2 of these dimensions.

    For example, Walmart’s differentiation is based on broad assortments and low price, or Nordstrom on Service and highly specific assortments.

    However, an unprecedented change in consumer technologies, and more so consumer behaviors, has transferred the balance of retail commerce power from retailers to consumers. Consumers are now more connected and informed, and have far more purchase options than ever before. Their personal technologies have changed their behaviors. Consumer expectations have increased, their loyalty has decreased and because barriers to switching brands continue to decline they are in fact switching brands at an accelerated pace.

    To respond to consumers’ new behaviors, technologies and purchasing power, retailers must append their business strategy with new forms of differentiation, recognize that customer relationships increasingly influence consumer purchase decisions, understand that mass media communications have given way to consumer preferences for highly personalized messaging, and that business intelligence is a new basis for competitive advantage. My diagram below visually illustrates the adjustments needed for todays successful retail strategy.

    While the 8 historical differentiation factors still apply, they are fleeting and insufficient by themselves. They are also being copied and replicated by existing and new competitors in shorter and shorter time spans a trend that will continue to erode differentiation and accelerate commoditization.

    The definition of competitive advantage is differentiation that is relevant, measurable and unique. If you recognize that the retail market has changed in a way that none of the original 8 dimensions are unique, you also recognize that they are no longer capable of creating competitive advantage by themselves.

    Fortunately, the rise of consumer empowerment also brings new opportunities for retailers. Consumers want to engage with their preferred brands pursuant to their terms and using their personal technologies. Retailers that apply Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategies to engage consumers and nurture consumer relationships can find that these Customer Relationships trump every other competitive differentiation factor for certain classes of consumers, such as loyalty members, repeat customers and high value customers. Further, customer relationships don’t deteriorate over time. In fact, just the opposite, they normally get stronger over time, making customer relationships one of only two sustainable competitive advantages available to retailers.

    The other sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to apply business intelligence for improved decision making throughout the enterprise. Business intelligence is the long heralded but seldom achieved capability to get the right information to the right decision maker at the right time. And for the record, decision makers are not found in just the C-suite. Too often, business intelligence (BI) is narrowly viewed as something for corporate leaders, somehow suggesting the remaining 99% of the business can operate just fine without intelligence.

    BI software can use data to create a differentiating customer experience and more accurate merchandise/assortment planning forecasts among other things. However, executive sponsorship is required to create a culture which discourages subjective, gut or intuitive decision making (risk taking) and instead favors data driven, fact based and evidence supported decision making in all areas of the business.

    Not Worthless, Just Worth Less

    So what about the original 8 competitive advantage factors?

    Location and Store. Omni-channel renders any single location and store less potent. More merchandise sold over more channels lessens the volume of business done in any single channel. This doesn’t suggest that the location, store or any single channel is unimportant but that channel diversification renders any single channel less important than the overall omni-channel strategy .

    Merchandise and Assortments. These are being copied by high volume imitators and lower cost competitors in shorter durations. For example, shoes, bags, apparel and new fashion trends revealed on Milan runways now have their designs copied and reproduced in hours, and are manufactured in China or Bangladesh in less than four days. However, on the flipside, better data is creating better science to compliment artful assortment planning so that any knowledgeable retailer taking advantage of the science can create improved merchandise and assortment forecasts and plans. Merchandise/assortments is still a critical success factor, but is increasingly replicable by competitors and available to any retailer willing and able to apply data and science to deliver increased accuracy, which thereby renders less differentiation and competitive advantage.

    Visual Merchandising. Still important but easily and quickly replicable. Little to no differentiation here.

    Staff. While most retailers view staff as expenses and not assets, a few retail leaders are upping their game in terms of staffing – mostly as it relates to their Customer Experience Management goals. Retail staffing as a differentiator varies considerably by sector.

    Service. Most retail customer service disappoints but the industry is taking note of the strategies and successes of retailers such as Zappos and Nordstrom. Pre-sale and post-sale service processes are easily and quickly replicable. However, upping the game from simple service scenarios to delivering rewarding and memorable customer experiences (CX) is indeed a strong competitive advantage. For reference, I include CX management within CRM. I know today they are often considered separate, but it’s clear to me they will merge. Understanding this now will help retailers create a single CRM strategy and avoid fragmented processes and systems.

    Mass Communications. Mass media branding value and mass communications conversions are dying. I continue to hear retail marketers suggest that mass media creates branding. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that consumers determine the brand value not from paid advertising (which is at an all-time low in terms of believability) but from social media and their own consumer experiences. Retailers must engage consumers via a social media strategy and finely tuned segmentation in order to deliver relevant, personalized and contextual messaging and offers that resonate in order to achieve conversions and campaign effectiveness. This is a big transition that most retailers make at a snails pace.

    Price. Unless you are Walmart, competing on price remains a fools errand.

    The unprecedented pace of change in the retail industry is producing a growing divide between those that act and those that wait and see. As innovative retailers respond to more demanding consumer behaviors they will in turn attract larger numbers of new customers while those retailers who procrastinate will involuntarily become the source of those customer defections and incur a steady business deterioration.


    What Skills Are Acquired in Retail Job Experience for a Resume? #the #retail #industry


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    What Skills Are Acquired in Retail Job Experience for a Resume?

    Working in retail is about much more than just selling products or working a cash register. If you are interested in a permanent retail career or just looking for temporary employment, a job in the retail industry will provide you with many important skills that will last a lifetime. Recognizing these skills and adding them to your resume can help advance your career in many ways, whether you plan to stay in a retail environment or branch into another field.

    Rocking Retail on Your Resume

    If you’ve worked in the retail industry, be sure to include your customer service skills on your resume. You have likely assisted customers in a variety of ways, including resolving customer complaints and disputes. Retail jobs also teach you how to stay cool under pressure and think on your feet, which is a skill you likely honed during the Christmas shopping season when lines at your register were long and customer patience was short. The accurate handling of cash, credit and debit transactions should also make it to your resume, as this skill is one of the most important gained from your work in a retail establishment. Some jobs may also teach you technical and computer skills, since the retail environment requires you to work with point-of-sale systems and inventory tracking and ordering programs, depending upon your specific retail role. Further, don’t forget your sales skills and that you thrived in a team environment.