Beneath all the retail doom and gloom, there are brick and mortar retailers who are thriving in the changing retail climate and harnessing technology to catalyze their growth. Take retailer Scout & Molly’s, an apparel franchisor who likens shopping in their stores to, “browsing in your best friend’s closet!”
Needless to say, customer experience is paramount to this retailer, and to grow from a single store to 47 stores in the span of 4 years, they must be doing something right. Marisa Garcia, Sr. Director of Operations & Strategy, says they’re on track to grow at a clip of about 15 stores annually, which means the Scout & Molly corporate team has to be highly efficient and strategic with resource allocation.
Significant growth puts incredible strain on a lean organization. When she joined the team in 2016, Garcia’s challenge was to find ways to streamline operations and ensure that they were utilizing their software to improve productivity, harness data, and get their franchisees into the “profitable zone” as quickly as possible.
In 2014, after launching the franchise, the Scout & Mollys’ team made the switch to Springboard Retail for its retail management functionality, customizability and the ability for corporate to access each account. However, Garcia quickly discovered that she could add immense value to the organization by uncovering “ways to make the system run to its full potential — smarter, better and faster.”
In an effort to better track customer engagement, Garcia considered a new CRM. With franchisees being encouraged to hold weekly in-store events, they needed ways to aggregate all the details that facilitate a highly personalized experience. Events had lackluster attendance and were broadly blasted to a large email list. Very quickly however, Garcia discovered that Springboard had all of the CRM capabilities they needed. In consultation with the Springboard customer success team, they created the custom fields and custom reports needed to support a highly segmented customer strategy.
Now franchisees are trained to flip their iPads at the cashwrap to have customers fill in their key information while sales associates wrap the package. Post sale, employees add the “nitty gritty” details that make clienteling a breeze the next time a customer is in store. According to Garcia, “they can now keep track of their customers — their size, designers they like, even if they have a teacup Yorkie! When a new shipment arrives, they can look up customers that like that brand and call or send an email immediately.” Invitations to events are now targeted and as a result, attendance is up and they are seeing a higher ROI.
Garcia and team are also tasked with streamlining the onboarding process for all franchisees. Ease-of-use is critical when you consider that most owners don’t come from a retail background. Their skill sets vary so that a week of training becomes a retail boot camp. The fact that key reports are already pre-loaded into the system, like ‘sell-through by category’, allows franchisees to become sophisticated retailers quickly. “They learn to run the right reports and respond quickly if they have to buy more merchandise. With the click of a button they can analyze an inventory report and place a reorder right in the system.”
Not only does Springboard help franchisees spot opportunities, it gives the corporate buying team rich data sets that help them make better buying decisions. Couple that with the monthly check-ins Garcia runs with each owner, to review things like ATV’s and UPT’s, and you get an agile organization that is always on the lookout for ways to adjust on-the-fly. Says Garcia, “the integrity of the data and the flexibility of reporting benefits us throughout the organization.”
Garcia credits Springboard Retail with not only saving them money by not needing multiple retail platforms, but by having Springboard as the centralized hub, they gain efficiencies. She notes that by focusing on improving their franchisee training and use of Springboard’s reporting tools, they are seeing them reach the profitability threshold in half the time.
The future is looking bright as Garcia shares the team's plan to harness the data they collect to grow their reach in each individual market with “lookalike” audience targeting. And with the roll-out of ecommerce channels for individual stores on the BigCommerce platform (which boasts a seamless two-way sync of inventory with Springboard Retail), they are just tapping into the potential for increased sales in every one of their markets. There is absolutely no doubt that this retailer will continue to thrive.
"The access to so much data is invaluable, it helps us respond quickly and achieve profitability.”
— Marisa Garcia, Sr. Director of Operations & Strategy —