Digital native Adore Me Inc. knew that to compete in the lingerie market, it needed to have stores to meet its customers and allow them to try on its products, said Camille Kress, director of retail, at the National Retail Federation conference this month.
What it didn’t anticipate was how hard operating stores would be.
“We were all data geeks,” Kress said. “No one had store experience.” But Adore Me took this lack of experience as a positive attribute, allowing it to have a fresh perspective. The lingerie retailer started opening stores in 2018 and today has six.
Adore Me quickly realized that it did not have insight into what was happening in the stores, and there was little consistency across its small fleet of six stores, Kress said.
For example, Adore Me could roll out new products and instruct its stores to put them in the front window. However, one store could have increased conversion for these products while others would not.
Adore Me would have to visit the store to realize that the store with the lower conversion didn’t set up the display properly or didn’t set it up in a timely fashion.
“When we asked a store to do something, one store would do it perfectly, and we’re not sure why but one store would do something completely different,” Kress said.
The retailer realized that the way its office staff communicated its initiatives, training and tasks to store associates was not aligned with how they work, Kress said. For example, in an office setting, employees are sitting fairly close to each other in front of a computer screen every day. At the stores, employees don’t necessarily work every day and are not always in front of a computer checking email.
The corporate offices sent its store staff PDFs, Google Sheets and emails and expected quick responses and actions, Kress said. That didn’t happen.
“Nobody had read the same thing, and nobody read it in timely manner,” Kress said.
At the start of 2019, Adore Me decided to implement store employee software from vendor Yoobic. The software went on each store’s four to five iPads (which also double as its point-of-sale system) and on the computer in the back office. Each employee has a login and can see alerts from management. For example, the office can send an employee a training module that includes a video and a comprehension quiz. The office will be able to see if the employee completed the module and understood it.
If the office sends a new design for a front window, the employee has to send a picture when she completes it. Then, the office can send feedback and even draw on the picture and send it back to the employee. They can communicate with pictures and feedback until the display is correct.
In addition, the management office now makes an effort to send store employees information in chunks, instead of one large PDF employees must download that they would maybe open once and scan. Plus, with the software on the iPad, employees can do these tasks while on the sales floor and can still be available to shoppers, instead of in the back office on a computer.
Kress attributes the new software with employees getting their tasks done twice as fast.
Adore Me experienced other positive results, such as increased conversion rate in the store, consistency across its store and enhanced employee productivity, Kress said.
Adore Me is No. 387 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500.Favorite