The Buzz: You Can't Fix What You Can't See
The job of in-store merchandisers is evolving, thanks to technology. The process of arranging products in-store for optimal sellthrough used to be manual and time consuming, consisting of a store staffer taking a photo of a display, attaching it to an email and then waiting for feedback from headquarters on how to modify the display to its liking — and then repeating the whole process over again. A new enterprise photo-sharing app from Foko is changing visual merchandising.
Dubbed the “Instagram for retail,” Foko’s private photo-sharing app is giving in-store merchandisers a tool for faster, more accurate merchandising validation, sharing of best practices and team communications. Merchandising teams, for example, can use Foko to request and receive in-store display photos, then give their feedback to store management in real time.
“Foko builds a culture of excellence around display and store management,” says Eric Sauve, co-founder of Foko. “Users can share images of merchandising, displays that worked, broken displays and pictures of the people behind the work, while significantly reducing the amount of time spent on merchandising validation.”
Retailers use the Foko app in three ways:
- Merchandising executives at company headquarters push out specific directions to in-store staff at multiple locations. They also use the app to review photos sent by store staff and then provide their feedback.
- Store teams share photos with each other. Retailers use Foko to collect images of displays across multiple stores, enabling merchandising teams to share ideas and make changes to displays to maximize sales based on which ones are performing best.
- Brands use Foko to cut down on email communications and share inspiration.
The Foko app is providing its 60-plus retail users, including Whole Foods, Victoria’s Secret and Esprit, a streamlined merchandising validation process that gives them real-time insight into company operations. Foko users are seeing, on average, a 50 percent reduction in time spent on merchandise compliance validation, and 75 percent less time spent to reach in-store compliance, according to Sauve.
“It has totally changed the speed at which we’re able to deploy updated visual guidelines and how we provide feedback based on regional and store adaptations,” says Arndt Brockmann, managing director of Esprit in Germany.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.