Welcome to Vend’s top 25 list of retail websites! We’ve hand-picked the best retail-centric blogs, publications, and sources that every retailer should check out, and put them in one handy list. Whether you’re looking for tips and tricks on running a better store or you want to stay abreast with current events in the retail industry, the sites below can definitely give you your fix.
How we created the list
While we looked at the readership and influence of these websites, the main factor we considered when formulating this list was value. We checked out several retail-centric blogs and publications and asked questions such as, Will retailers get a lot of value from this site? Will they learn a lot from reading it? And–since we know you’re busy–Is this website worth their time?
Needless to say, every site on this list passed the above criteria with flying colors. So put on your reading cap and get ready to start bookmarking websites.
1. NRF News
The National Retail Federation’s “News” section is one of the top sources for news on retail trends, public policy, technology, and more. But one of the things we love about this site is that aside from publishing news articles, NRF News also puts out posts containing tips and insights, and they regularly write feel-good stories featuring retailers who are doing great things for their business and community.
If you’re looking for down-to-earth advice on retail sales, staff training, and running better stores, Bob Phibbs’ (aka the Retail Doctor) blog is one of the best ones around. His articles are always packed with tips to help retailers close more sales, motivate their staff, and serve customers better. Be sure to subscribe to his weekly newsletter to get his awesome content straight to your inbox. You should also look into SalesRX, Bob’s interactive and on-demand sales training program. SalesRX offers comprehensive training on how to sell and provide exceptional customer experiences, and has proven to improve staff performance and sales for retailers. Check it out!
RetailWire is more than just a website or blog—it’s a forum for the retail industry. Every business morning, their editors publish discussion articles on newsworthy topics in retail, and they invite members of their “BrainTrust” panel of industry experts to weigh in and offer their opinions. This format results in “virtual round tables of industry opinion and advice,” so instead of just getting a news article or one-sided analysis, readers get views and insights from various independent sources.
A trusted resource for independent retailers and other small business owners, Retail Minded has been providing news, education and small business support since 2007. In addition to offering valuable resources through its website, Retail Minded offers resources and solutions for merchants (both in and out of their stores) through the Retail Minded Magazine, Retail Minded Resource Guide and their Retail Minded Partner Program.
As its name clearly states, Retail Customer Experience is a site dedicated to helping merchants improve the customer experience. Its focus is empowering retailers to compete on experience rather than price, and helping merchants understand that “staying competitive requires a new, holistic understanding of customers and how they want to shop.”
A trade publication for independent retail store owners and managers, this site (and its print magazine) offers expert advice on marketing, management, web profits, and more. IndependentRetailer.com also has a special section on retail and wholesale industry trade shows, if you’re looking to fill up your calendar with events. Independent Retailer magazine is the official publication of WholesaleCentral.com, the internet’s first and largest wholesale directory website. Together, WholesaleCentral.com and Independent Retailer connect retailers with timely, relevant information and provide a huge array of trusted suppliers of quality wholesale merchandise.”
Being a well-informed merchant isn’t just about staying updated on retail trends; you also have to keep a close eye on consumer trends. That’s where Minding the Stores comes in. A Forbes column by retail journalist Barbara Thau, Minding the Stores covers all the latest in consumer news, social trends, retail developments, and more, helping you stay in-the-know when it comes to issues that matter to your customers and your fellow retailers.
What are the top headlines in the retail industry? Which trends are worth paying attention to? These are just some of the questions that FierceRetail.com answers. This site delivers the latest on business strategy, consumer trends, and store operations, among other topics, and it serves as an excellent source for breaking news in retail, as well as analysis and special reports.
9. RIS News
A website that focuses on the intersection of retail and information technology, RIS News is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay updated on retail and tech. On top of publishing the latest news, the site also has blog posts, research, and reports on the technologies that matter to retailers, including POS, business intelligence, mobile, and more.
10. Retail Dive
Retail Dive provides news and original analysis on the latest happenings to over 500,000 retail executives. With a mobile-optimized daily email newsletter, website, and app, Retail Dive keeps you informed on the go. You’ll get coverage of topics such as marketing, e-Commerce, technology, corporate news, loss prevention, payments, consumer trends, logistics, and more. With Retail Dive you’ll gain the industry’s most important news, tweets, events, jobs, stock updates, and more.
11. Graff Retail
The Graff Retail blog publishes weekly posts on helping retailers improve their performance. It tackles various topics, ranging from sales to staff training. One of the things we love about the Graff Retail blog is that its posts are short, but highly thought-provoking and actionable. And, if you like what the team at Graff is discussing each week in their blog, we encourage you to check out Graff Retail TV for award-winning online training solutions to help drive your sales revenues even further! Watch a video to learn more!
Another great B2B media site for retailers selling through multiple channels, Multichannel Merchant has everything from news and how-to articles to in-depth analysis, exclusive video interviews, blogs and executive summaries. Some of the main topics that the site covers include ecommerce, marketing, operations and fulfillment, omnichannel marketing, global ecommerce,data & analytics, and more. It also has a job board where retailers can view and post relevant job openings.
A blog by consumer anthropologists Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, this is a super insightful site that talks about a variety of topics including customer service, sales, technology, and more. Whether you’re looking to ramp up your social media strategy or are in need of sales tips, you’ll likely find some great words of wisdom in this website.
Any retailer who wants to be more innovative and improve their omnichannel efforts should bookmark Retail TouchPoints (RTP). RTP keeps merchants up-to-date with industry trends and insights emerging across all channels. The RTP team is constantly releasing blog posts, reports and exclusive surveys to keep you abreast with what’s new in retail, and they often publish success stories and video interviews spotlighting the cool things that other merchants are doing.
15. CNBC Retail
The retail section of CNBC’s website is a great source for the most recent news on big box retail, consumer trends, retail stocks, and more. If you missed the morning news segment but still want to stay abreast on what’s going on, CNBC Retail has you covered.
Anyone looking to improve the customer experience should check out IMS Results Count. Chris Petersen, the man behind the site, does a superb job of exploring omnichannel trends and what they mean for today’s retailers. His articles highlight CX concepts and strategies in a down-to-earth, but entertaining manner. You’ll always pick up something useful from his blog posts, and reading his articles regularly will help you understand today’s consumers, so you can deliver better experiences.
17. Retail Times
One of the UK’s top retail-centric websites, Retail Times covers all the popular retailing category sectors and offers news and insights on product and store launches, retail and consumers surveys, legal issues, and technology. The site also has a rich opinion section that’s chock-full of commentaries, analyses, and views from top retail commentators and observers.
Need lessons on how to be more customer-centric? Some of the best customer service and experience articles can be found on Shep Hyken’s website. His blog is packed with insightful posts on delighting customers and providing amazing experiences, and it’s sure to give you some ideas on how you can serve shoppers better.
19. Chain Store Age
A leading source of news and analysis for retail executives, Chain Store Age covers topics such as finance, ecommerce, technology, operations, and more. The site also has interesting sections, such as Hot Concepts, Store Expansions and Store of the Week, which gives retailers a look at some new and upcoming shops and store formats. Perfect for retailers who are on the lookout for cool and innovative ideas!
If you have an ecommerce store, then you may want to add InternetRetailer.com to your list of sites to follow. It’s a leading destination for ecommerce news and developments, and has special sections on mobile commerce, marketing, and technology. It even has a Charts + Data” section that’s packed with studies and graphical data illustrating “where e-tailing has been and where it’s going.”
21. Tony D’Onofrio
Like many retail-centric websites, Tony D’Onofrio’s blog talks about retail innovation, technology, and other issues. What makes it unique, however, is that many of his posts talk about retail from a global perspective, thus giving readers a wider view of the retail industry. It’s a great site to follow if you want to stay updated on retail issues beyond your home country.
22. Total Retail
Formerly known as Retail Online Integration, Total Retail offers the latest news and insights on the omnichannel retail industry. In addition to its daily-updated website, www.MyTotalRetail.com, Total Retail also delivers content through quarterly print publications, virtual and in-person events, and more.
23. Retail Insider
Founded by business writer (and retail influencer) Glynn Davis, Retailinsider.com “offers up a cocktail of opinions and insights on the retail industry along with the occasional leisure sector content to spice up the mix.” Retail Insider also publishes the Top 100 Movers & Shakers report, an annual publication that highlights the most influential players in the retail industry, and the Digital Retail Innovations report that highlights the 50 most interesting digitally-driven initiatives. A sister site Beerinsider.com has recently been launched.
If you’re looking for practical retail tips or info on retail solutions, be sure to swing by Capterra’s Retail Management Blog. It’s packed with great info and insights on running a retail store and using the right tools and technologies. Best of all, its posts are written in an engaging (and sometimes even humorous) manner, so the articles are easy to understand and fun to read.
Any forward-thinking retailer should be reading The Future of Commerce. A site that can keep you ahead of commerce and consumer trends, it serves as an excellent source of analysis and insights on topics such as customer engagement, marketing, and analytics, among others. It’s a must-read for modern retailers!
Bonus: The Retail Digest
The Retail Digest is a community news site that brings some of the world’s best retail-centric content to the forefront. Content is curated by the industry’s top 100 influencers, and can be upvoted by readers, so you can bet that every article that makes it to the site offers a lot of value to the reader. Check out the site here to start reading. If you want to become a contributor to the community, you can fill out this form, and The Retail Digest will will consider you for the site.
We hope we were able to add some valuable sites to your online reading list! Do you have other suggestions or feel that we missed a site or two? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see if we can update our list.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.