A Mobile Employee Communications and Engagement Strategy in retail Provides Immediate ROI

Background:

rue21 is a fast-fashion retailer with 760 stores throughout the United States. Their goal is to make the latest trends affordable and available to anyone.

The company is continually updating its stores with new products, promotions, and displays to ensure their customers are always provided a great experience. Associates and Managers in the stores work on the sales floor to merchandise new products and interact with their customers.

A fast-fashion retail business model demands speedy communications to ensure the latest merchandise information is accurate and instantly available to their team.

Challenges:

Previously, rue21 would communicate to their Managers using their registers and a binder system (printed materials). All daily direction, email, policy and procedure and other documentation was accessed through the register system by Managers only. Documents were printed in black and white and filed in binders. In evaluating its overall communications effort and strategy, rue21 identified several challenges that it wanted to address:

  • Improve their connection with their Millennial workforce.
  • Streamline how, when, and where communications were received by the stores from corporate.
  • Improve communications by using video.
  • Improve Associate experience by allowing all team members to engage in communications instead of only management.

 

Solution & Results:

Starting in 2016, rue21 partnered with theEMPLOYEEapp and rolled out its employee communications app branded as rueStore. theEMPLOYEEapp technology solution is an app which the retail stores, as well as District Managers and Regional Directors access on their mobile devices. Through rueStore, the company has accomplished the following:

  • Speed in communications. Information is now updated immediately and pushed simultaneously to mobile devices in all stores. No more waiting for mail packs or fumbling through emails.
  • The company now delivers daily messages, visuals and other important information digitally.
  • All content now exists on an app accessible from iPhones and iPads rather than in large binders saving space as well as time associated with finding materials.
  • The company is able to better connect with its younger, Millennial workforce who have come to expect apps and mobile solutions as part of the digital workplace.
  • Given the importance of visual communications, the company is now able to create and distribute video content in a more effective way.

Mikki Cook, Associate Director of Store Communications and Associate Experience, commented on the success of rueStore, “Imagine receiving a packet of loose memos weekly along with random emails throughout the week. And then having to organize, read, understand, and then coach your team (the stores) with the information. It was a bit of a communication mess, but that is a very normal way of doing business in many retail workplaces today. When you work in fast fashion, you need fast and instant communication to support your workforce.

Having the rueStore app has transformed our store communications. Everything our teams need is now organized and instantly available at their fingertips. We create a better Associate and customer experience using rueStore as our employees are more informed. We are taking advantage of the app’s video capabilities to train our stores on critical subjects like customer service and visual merchandising. The generation of people working in our stores relates best to video – it captures their attention.

As a communications team, we have to think differently to engage the minds of our team and capture their attention. The app has provided major wins for us!”

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