Congratulations to one of RMSA very own customers.

Congratulations to Schuler Shoes on 2017 Minnesota Family Business Award

Twin Cities Business magazine recently honored Schuler Shoes with the 2017 Minnesota Family Business Award. The awards ceremony took place on November 30th.

The Maple Grove-based, eight-store retailer, headed by CEO John Schuler and his children, was chosen for the award along with four other notable Minnesota family-owned and -run companies. Twin Cities Business looked at the accomplishments for each, and asked the following questions: How do family members work together? How do they prepare the next generation for leadership? How do they maintain their success? How do they confront challenges and changes-and how do they adjust to them?

                                                        
Left to right_ Lance Vidger_ Marie Schuler Vidger_ John Schuler_ Nancy Schuler_ Michele Schuler_ Mike Schuler.

The magazine stated, “how dedicated the honorees are to their employees and the communities they serve. The commitment to giving back has carried on as their companies have evolved and as the business passes from one generation to the next. That dedication, along with exceptional customer service and innovative thinking, has helped each of these companies grow and expand. Family businesses have much to teach businesses of all kinds about managing for success and balancing the needs and contributions of those who work for them.”

The small company Schuler bought from his father in the early 1970s is now a big player that produced $43 million in revenue for the 2016 fiscal year. While he led the business for more than four decades, he turned over some key leadership duties to two of his children this year — Mike Schuler and Marie Vidger who assumed the responsibilities of co-presidents. His son Scott Schuler remains in charge of information technology, while his daughter, Jennifer Heaton, and wife, Nancy, oversee warehouse operations.

The 128-year-old business employs 250 people and benefits from a loyal clientele that buys several pairs of shoes a year.

Fedor, Liz. “Schuler Shoes.” November 1, 2017. www.tcbmag.com. Web. December 1, 2017. http://tcbmag.com/honors/articles/2017/2017-minnesota-family-business-awards/schuler-shoes.

Consider Adding Categories to Increase Sales.

This Article was written by Ritchie Sayner, and is published in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Shoe Retailing Today. Click here to read the full article.

EXCERPT: “As independent retailers struggle with ways to compete with online retailers, remember to consider any classifications of merchandise that augment the current assortment, add interest and diversity to the presentation, and offer more choices to the customers. Or, as retail experts keep reminding us, expand the shopping experience. “

Can You Afford Your Frequent Buyer Program?

This Article was written by Ritchie Sayner, and is published in the July/Aug 2017 issue of Shoe Retailing Today. Click here to read the full article.

EXCERPT: “I believe that some retailers have begun offering frequent buyer programs simply due to the fact that many Point-of-
Sale (POS) systems can now track the “points” automatically thus eliminating the need for punch cards or bar-coded plastic tags that wind up cluttering most key chains..”

“One Minute Merchandise Manager”

We thought you might enjoy a brief audio clip that we call a “One Minute Merchandise Manager”.  You can listen to this by clicking here.

RMSA is a provider of merchandise forecast, planning, and analysis solutions. For over 60 years our solutions have helped retailers successfully manage their biggest and most critical investment Inventory, and we have solutions for all sizes of retailers.

Sharing the Pie with Online Retailers

This Article was written by Ritchie Sayner, and is published in the May/June 2017 issue of Shoe Retailing Today. Click here to read the full article.

EXCERPT: “Though online purchases account for a growing percentage of retail sales, “about 80% of consumers still want to browse and shop in-store,” according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in a piece datelined December 30, 2016.”

What does it mean to look outside your “Comfort Zone”?

I’ve come to believe that we are truly creatures of habit. Have you ever noticed if you attend regular meetings people will sit in the same chair even though there are no assigned seats. We generally take the same route to and from work daily. Most family meals consist of ten meals rotated over and over again. We buy the same gas, frequent the same stores, read the same papers, and listen to the same music over and over again.

I think this is true of most of us and that’s okay. In fact, our “routines” allow us to feel safe because we don’t need to venture far from our comfort zones. However, what works in our daily lives will often fail if we practice the same habits in retail. Retail demands experimentation, investigation, and reaching out to embrace the opportunities that exist outside our comfort zones.

The best advice for new ideas that we can come up with is simple. Be on the look-out for “Furbies.” Unless you were out of the country you know that Furbies were the wonder toy of 1990’s. Kids either loved or hated the little battery operated fuzzy gremlin look-a-like.   But even with this love/hate relationship the Furby was still the hit of the season.

Retail is not altogether different than the stock market. You are taking a risk every time you write an order.  Since you’re taking a risk, why not go after the next “Furby” of the season.  Think of that sought after item as an undervalued stock that has the potential to become the next, Furby.  Break out of your comfort zone.

Take a look at your company and ask does it look pretty much the same now as it did the same time last year? Are you presenting the same vendors from two or three years ago?  Are your sales tactics the same?  Are your windows reflecting changes? Are yours sales associates introducing your inventory in pretty much the same way?  Sameness in retail can be a very dangerous symptom. How many new lines are being introduced this season?  How many do you intend to present next season?  How many new shows have you attended? Do you intend to attend any next season?

Years ago a fine men’s shop client, introduced some of the finest tablecloths and napkins available anywhere in America, you may ask Tablecloths…in a men’s store?  Surely it didn’t fit the mold, but every piece sold, exclusive women’s stores presenting some great home furnishings or Golf shops selling cigars. It makes sense now, but who would have imagined it ten years ago?  I can picture fine apparel shops introducing fine wines, and specialty foods, because of the symbiotic relationship between the culinary arts and fashion apparel. Several successful apparel retailers are in the restaurant business as well.  I guess good taste bridges across several lines.

The fact is, the use of innovative tactics isn’t against the law of nature, nor should it be against the law of retail.  On the contrary, it should be against the law of retail not to try new and unusual tactics in your quest to grow your business.

Try stretching yourself to see beyond the same vendors with products that you invariably display in the same old ways.  I’m not suggesting you abandon what you stand for in the eyes of customer, but do try to incorporate new approaches that allow your clients to see your shop in a fresh new way.

The most pleasant surprise you can give your customers is the unexpected, the “Furby” you discovered, and the new item you looked high and low for. I would venture to say locating this item might be the most pleasurable aspect of buying and retail. Retailers are having a very difficult time looking different; they are struggling to find ways to differentiate themselves. It does take work but it’s worth the effort. One or two unusual items, inventory that says it has never been here before, can make all the difference in the world.  Well, maybe not the world, but it can make a difference in a season.