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Going the Distance: How Foko Retail Connects Converse with Retail Partners Globally [Case Study]

Founded in 1908 as a shoe company that originally produced rubber galoshes, Converse released its first pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars in the 1920s, and the rest is history. One of the most iconic and enduring sneaker and apparel brands in the world, Converse sells its products in over 160 countries.

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Challenge

With merchandise sold across thousands of points of sale, Converse was having a difficult time ensuring that partner retailers were following brand standards accurately.

Communications, including technical guidelines and best practices, were being sent by email. But once sent out, the Converse team at HQ had no way of verifying that their directives got implemented.

“In the past, we’d get a good idea of what was happening in the market, but it was really only a snapshot,” says Jamie Tolentino, Retail Marketing Manager at Converse.

With limited visibility into store-level activities, compliance was suffering.

Solution

The leadership team at Global Partner Markets was looking for a tool to enhance communication between the direct-to-consumer (DTC), visual merchandising, marketing, and operations teams, who were communicating primarily through email and text messaging.

In 2017, they began using Foko Retail to streamline communication and get better visibility into Converse’s visual merchandising and in-store marketing efforts in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Results

Total Visibility and Real-Time Communication with Partners

With Foko Retail, the Converse team has a direct, two-way line to retail partners, allowing them to communicate efficiently with one another and collect photos from every store. When those retailers have questions, they can get in touch and seek clarification instantly, and access the latest reference materials and technical guidelines within Foko Retail. Stores are always up to date on brand standards and understand how to implement them.

“Now we know how our partner stores look around the world,” says Thiago Rigo, Retail Director – Online & Stores for Global Partner Markets at Converse. “We finally have proper visibility, can easily share documentation, and don’t have to wait days or weeks for email responses to come in.”

“With Foko Retail, we can ensure that merchandising and marketing standards are being followed, even if the store is halfway around the world.”

Thiago Rigo, Retail Director – Online & Stores for Global Partner Markets

Improved Compliance with Foko Tasks

Converse HQ uses Foko Tasks to manage in-store execution, from monthly changeovers to new campaign rollouts. With mobile surveys, there is a standardized set of questions used to gauge compliance for every store visit.

“Every month when we collect the results, if we see a partner is down like 12%, the first thing we do is go to Foko Retail, see the pictures that they’ve uploaded, and see if they implemented everything we wanted them to do,” says Rigo.

Converse DTC created a comprehensive checklist that spans visual merchandising, operations, and marketing, so there is an objective benchmark for measuring compliance in each area.

“With Foko Retail, we can ensure that merchandising and marketing standards are being followed, even if the store is halfway around the world,” Rigo says.

Better Team-Wide Communication and Collaboration

Converse uses Foko Retail to connect all of its internal DTC teams. With just one tool for all of their communications (from sharing announcements and the latest news, to having one-on-one and group conversations), they’ve noticed a significant uptick in alignment and response times.

“We went from having virtually no communication between teams to having one core, unified communication channel that connected our DTC visual merchandising, marketing, and operations groups,” Rigo says.

Now that the team has one place to go for all communications, they have a holistic view of what’s happening in other departments and can collaborate in real time.

“Suddenly, all of our partners can see what’s happening in the rest of the world— who’s doing what, what’s working well—and can start replicating those best practices in their locations.”

More Control Without Additional Headcount

Because they work with 24 different partners in various timezones, languages, and cultures, Converse’s Global Partner Markets team says they “needed a tool that wouldn’t increase our overhead but could get the same end result.”

With Foko Retail’s mobile app, Converse’s field teams can quickly fill out store
visit reports straight from their phones and collate information related to product, marketing, and operational compliance. By speeding up store visits and giving field reps a comprehensive tool to manage all areas of execution, the company has better visibility into stores, and more control over brand representation across different markets, without having to waste money hiring additional managers to oversee each region.

“Converse products are sold in so many locations worldwide—there’s no way to have district managers in all of those places,” he says. “Foko Retail helps us better leverage our traveling field teams so they can work almost like district managers on our behalf.”

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