As part of its profit-driven circulation, Appleseed’s has a streamlined product line. “We’ve developed a central artery process, linking from financial planning to inventory planning, and a merchandise assortment plan,” she said. “We make sure every product has a reason to be, because it costs a lot to build products that are unproductive. The energy level and activity around every SKU is big.”
3. Cross-training and developing muscle groups. “We’re working hard to become a true mulitchannel business,” Spofford discussed. The company has opened seven Appleseed’s stores over the past three years and intends to open more over the next few years because 90 percent of dollar volume in the mature women’s clothing market is done at retail.
But citing that its multichannel customers are two to three times more valuable because they shop more than single-channel customers, she noted, “we’re still trying to keep our catalog business productive.”
The company also is catering to its older clientele being less inclined to adapt to Web ordering than younger consumers. Just 20 percent of Appleseed’s customers and 10 percent of The Tog Shop customers buy via the Web. But Orchard Brands is forging ahead with multichannel branding, having conducted a denim (jeans) sales event last spring that communicated the same message across all its channels.
4. Tightening the belt. Appleseed’s has a systematic approach to cost savings. “We make it part of the culture,” Spofford said. “Profitability teams deliver $1 million-plus in annual savings.”
She discussed how profitability enhancement is about how to do things more profitably. “It’s not just about cost savings,” she said. “It’s something we [always] do, like breathing.”
How? The company benchmarks relentlessly with its sister companies, both from a best-practices and how-to-do-as-well-as-you-can approach. “We bring the team together, find out how we can join forces, what we’ve learned, etc.,” she said. “It’s a big part of the activity across Orchard Brands.”