But losses mount for the home furnishings e-retailer that went public in October.
By using the web to make it easier for store personnel to implement merchandising plans, Borders expects to boost sales about 7% from customers who are greeted by sales associates, the retailer said at the NRF conference this week.
By using the web to make it easier for store personnel to receive and implement merchandising plans from headquarters, in the process improving customer service, book retailer Borders expects to boost sales about 7% from customers who are greeted by sales associates, the retailer said at the National Retail Federation conference this week.
Borders began using a web-based store management system from StorePerform Technologies in August, rolling it out to 450 stores within three weeks. The system replaces a method that relied on e-mail to distribute instructions on how to merchandise products and perform other store operating tasks. But where the old system forced store managers and employees to spend a lot of time compiling and figuring out the scope of required tasks, the StorePerform system presents instructions from headquarters in a way that both saves time and provides assurances that the tasks area actually carried out, Borders says.
“StorePerform puts the information in front of employees in an easy-to-understand manner,” said William M. Edwards, director of store operations, speaking to other retailers after a presentation sponsored by StorePeform. “Before, store employees had spent a tremendous amount of time to figure out their tasks.”
The new system’s ability to carry out instructions faster, he added, cuts to one of its major advantages: extra time that employees have to serve customers. “We see a 7% increase in sales from people who get directly helped by store employees,” Edwards said.
In addition, the new system is designed to help store employees get the proper promotional material on display on time, making it easier for customers to find advertised products, added Srikant Vasan, CEO of StorePerform.
Borders executives said the new system is helping both headquarters and store personnel to get better control over what can be tight deadlines to roll out new pricing and merchandising displays, improving relations with suppliers as well as customer service. Now, if a supplier questions whether Borders priced a product according to an agreed-upon level, Borders can show actual price and other information from vendor promotions scanned into the web-based store management system, said Paul Kundrat, Borders’ project manager for the StorePerform project.
The new system also supports faster feedback from store managers on instructions given by headquarters, Kundrat said. For example, store managers can immediately respond through the web application if their store didn’t have promotional signs to go with a planned promotion. “Field feedback in the past was two to three weeks out of date,” he said. “It was nice to have, but no longer actionable.”