Converting Brick-and-Mortar Retail into Customer Fulfillment Hubs

hand of young woman with multi-coloured bagsWhile some brick-and-mortar retail stores scramble to keep pace with online commerce, others are finding a new niche in the supply chain…and customers are taking notice. Satisfying immediate demand with a new wave of product delivery options, traditional retail outlets are discovering new revenue sources through conversion to omnichannel fulfillment centers.

By serving as a fulfillment hub, retailers are filling a critical link in the customer shopping experience. While giants like Amazon have changed the shopping and ordering experience, that immediate purchase gratification for customers can disappear quickly with poor/slow delivery. Enter the retailer for “final mile” delivery.

According to a recent Total Retail article, increased demand for BOSS (“buy online, ship from store”) is something retailers face in an area where they’re traditionally prone: the downstream delivery network from store to consumer (upstream logistics going from supplier to distribution center to stores).

To tackle the challenge, retailers are developing new relationships with smaller but tenacious third-party delivery networks like Instacart, Lyft, and Uber. Operators also realize, according to the article, that consumers don’t mind pick-up of online orders if they have already arranged and paid for products and can save on delivery. Facilitating that process quickly enough for instant customer satisfaction may test inventory management skills but a well-trained staff that can integrate the digital approach, smooth out initial pratfalls, and engage customers with orders almost as fast as ordering a pizza, bodes well for repeat business.cubicle setting PNHLT4R

Total Retail also points out that “new technologies like heat mapping, embedded sensors, digital store tags and connected assets allow customers, associates, and store managers to interact with each other based on geographic location and inventory availability.” Using these tools helps retailers co-exist with customer-controlled fulfillment…and with the e-commerce market.

Physical brick-and-mortar establishments also deliver a customer’s need to see a tangible product in-store – 75% of customers, according to Alliance Data. And that ties into something else up-close-and-personal: how signage is displayed once they arrive. Essential for new customer fulfillment hubs? Brochure Holders for informational pamphlets…Sign Holders for cross-promotions and policy statements…and Name Plate Holders for department/staff ID and directional signage. Nothing fits this modern landscape better than acrylic!

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New Technology and Teacher Training for the Campus of Tomorrow

professor-talking-to-students-in-classroom-468839083-59a6f5769abed50011fb57c6Today’s “iGen” generation is the first to be born in the age of the internet, never knowing a world without modern connectivity. For those slightly older, catching up with new technology is not always easy. Still, it’s imperative that technological know-how and navigating through it is embraced by all ages…not just for those who use and implement it, but also for those who need to lead and teach it to others.

New approaches to teaching and learning in campus and other types of classroom environments will be the focus of a July conference in Minneapolis. The EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Program (LTL) is a comprehensive 5-day “immersion experience” geared for professionals in a cross-section of areas from instructional design to e-learning.

According to the event’s website, attendees will be those aspiring to higher levels of formal and informal education, learning how to use technology more advantageously in the process. The LTL will cover a broad range of topics, including “Diversity and Inclusivity” across wider demographics in age, background, and socioeconomic level.

Another session will work to develop “a framework for making decisions and choices about innovation…in sync with your institutional context.” The aim is to illuminate newer ways of thinking in an age of changing information technology and creating implementation plans more successfully.

Beyond the conference, EDUCAUSE research on higher education IT trends and emerging technologies highlights challenges in cloud, data, and mobile infrastructures. As campuses ready for a new school year, there’s no doubt that preparations extend further than planning a traditional syllabus.NPAA085025-GG-Insert-600px

Some traditional campus exhibits more alive and well than ever are also getting a modern new look. Dynamic name plate holders in colored borders or glass green make a more visual impact. Also going hand-in-hand with interactive campus technology? Custom Acrylic Tablet Holders, perfect for any busy kiosk!

As for EDUCAUSE, its’ community boasts membership of over 99,000 in 45 countries, with member institutions reaching over 16 million students!

Making a Healthier, Dynamic Work Environment

workplace-health-promotionThere’s a lot of discussion about divisiveness across many segments of American society. Ironically, “us vs. them” debates are also fostering a notion of sticking together…a key component in the workplace where millions of Americans spend so much of their daily lives. Regardless of beliefs about politics or a myriad of other topics, creating a cohesive work environment is more critical and potentially challenging than ever.

Large offices, floor layouts with cubicle divisions, and areas separated by departments that rarely if ever interact can leave staff feeling disengaged from co-workers they pass every day. Sparking a sense of camaraderie helps make work feel more welcoming, and that can be critical to both worker happiness and productivity.

Dr. Bill Morrison of The Globe and Mail recently cited research in positive psychology identifying “key conditions essential for building healthy and effective workplace environments” that directly affect employee well-being and how he/she thrives.

The first of those conditions ties directly to that “sense of ‘relatedness’ or connectedness among employees,” according to Morrison. Simple greetings and friendly exchanges help “people gain a sense of positive connectedness” and that can translate into a family-like support system. Work results tend to be better and more people feel better about their involvement.

How to connect staff in work environments that tend to be otherwise anonymous? Something as simple as your office name plates can help put a name to a face. Addressing individuals by name creates a sense of belonging and makes exchanges more probable: starting with “hello” is more easily accomplished by name identification.

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When workers see one another as nameless drones, office morale and a sense of teamwork can suffer. NPBR Desktop Name Plates in Silver or Black Borders can help break the ice, or a slanted look in NPAA Glass Green. Several exceptional Name Plate options are now available!

Keeping your work team cohesive is important…especially when you consider that some people spend more hours in the office per week than they do with their own families!

Top Trade Shows for July 2018

TOP TRADE SHOWSJuly is right at the top of peak trade show season and some of the biggest are taking place from San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas to Chicago, Miami, and overseas. Cigar aficionados converge on Vegas for The International Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association’s premier event of the year. “Swim Show” in Miami seems the perfect place for a worldwide exhibition in swim wear and lingerie. And the IFT Food Expo in Chicago is termed “the single most important event for professionals involved in food science and technology.”

One of the most renowned conventions by any standard also takes place in July: Comic Con in San Diego. Comic Con started in 1970 as an inspiration of comic, movie, and science fiction fans. Its popularity has exploded with attendees and celebrities on hand, many dressed for the experience as their favorite characters.Comic-Con-2017-Saturday-Schedule

Comic Con has become part of the social culture lexicon, popularized even further in TV and movies from The Big Bang Theory to Ted 2. According to the official Comic Con website, attendance has topped 130,000 in recent years, getting so big that it has even spawned mini one-day events across the country.

Do you have a trade show or convention in your immediate future? If you plan to run a booth, be sure to grab attention and add to the allure with the latest in Sign Holders, Brochure Holders, and literature displays. Draw passing eyes and foot traffic to your promotions with the professional Executive Series. Swivel Base Sign Holders also deliver maximum visibility and appeal.

If you really want to know what time it is, check out the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, the “World’s Preeminent Timepiece Event.” Albena, Bulgaria is your destination for geo-science research at the International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geo-Conference and Expo. As for AMTEX, the Asian Machine Tool Exhibition? Sorry, you just missed it in New Delhi, India. Maybe next year!