“Displays looked the way they should this month, and that’s why our sales are strong.” – Kelsey Leach, Visual Merchandising Manager at Fuego HQ
Since 2003, Fuego Stores have grown across the Pacific Northwest United States and beyond, selling an eclectic mix of jewellery, accessories, novelty items, and apparel. With 45 locations across the country, communication between stores and HQ has been a challenge.
In the past, we had a definite lack of visibility between all of our stores when it came to merchandising, says Kelsey Leach, the Visual Merchandising Manager at Fuego HQ.
Leach would load the merchandising directives to the Fuego FTP site and set a due date. But due to a long feedback loop over email and subsequent poor reporting from stores, the visual team at HQ had no real way to verify that their instructions were being executed correctly in the stores or if they were being done on time.
The lack of visibility of merchandising execution meant that in-store promotions were often not effective because employees weren’t putting up proper signage in stores.
In 2016 Fuego rolled out Foko Retail to all stores for more effective merchandising validation and better visibility of in-store execution.
Once a week, Leach creates a Foko Task requesting specific photos of displays from each store, along with the visual directives of how each should look, and sets a due date. In-store associates use company iPads to take photos and complete their Task within 24 hours. Leach receives a notification when they are done and goes through each photo submission, comparing it to the directives given. If something needs to be changed, Leach can give real-time feedback by commenting and even drawing on the photos to highlight what needs to be fixed. The in-store associates then update the display and re-submit their photos.
“Our new process ensures execution is the same across the board in all of our stores and helps stores troubleshoot any issues they’re having at that particular location so we can work out a solution together. Now that we can do it in real-time, instead of waiting for emails to trickle in, we’re saving a significant amount of time on merchandising validation in-store and at the head office as well.”
Sales of the merchandise in store windows has increased by 25 percent as a result of the more accurate merchandising execution. Now that the visual team at HQ has a way to verify that proper signage and merchandising is being implemented in-store, they are able to track store performance and say, “Displays looked the way they should this month, and that’s why our sales are strong.”
“It’s a very direct process now, we’re able to ask for photos and give feedback much more quickly and easily.”
Fuego is now able to verify store compliance once a week, instead of once a month. The visual team at Fuego HQ can review photos regularly each week and give feedback in real-time. Since tightening up the feedback loop between stores and HQ, Leach estimates that she saves 4 full days a month in time she used to spend on emails. Merchandising compliance at each location has increased, while time spent by in-store associates taking and spending photos has been reduced by 50 percent.