The Los Angeles company last year began testing a platform that helps it be relevant to customers at the local level at 25 stores — across the Guess, G by Guess, Marciano and Guess Factory divisions.
The technology from Radius8 allows people to place store orders at their local Guess from the web or see what’s trending at the store closest to them online. At the store level, employees can take those orders and prepare dressing rooms, sprinkling in a few other items for good measure. The same functionality is now on Facebook and plans also call for widgets to eventually be installed that would help make weather-based suggestions.
The idea is to cross- and upsell to get people to buy into Guess for the whole outfit — not just a pair of jeans or a dress here and there, said Edward Park, Guess senior vice president and head of retail, digital, allocations and wholesale for North America. It’s part of the broader vision set into action by chief executive officer Victor Herrero that focuses on the total look.
“Denim for us is a very important category, but it’s not the only one,” Herrero told WWD in February. “I was mentioning from the very beginning on all my analyst calls that, for us, denim is relevant. But at the same time, we want to do the total outfit, which is very important. I don’t want to miss anything.”
Making the Guess stores more high-tech — by giving the store employees tools to get more savvy about selling — should help.
“One of the things for me, being in charge of retail, digital and wholesale is aligning all the strategies. Really creating the synergy,” Park said. “As I started with my stores, my number-one objective was to give all these tools to the stores for empowerment. They were all being held accountable but they didn’t have the tools to really own their business….So it’s about turning the store digital, but empowering [stores] with all of these tools.”
Park was brought in about a year and a half ago and previously worked at Inditex’s Zara with Herrero, who served as Inditex head of Asia Pacific before joining Guess.
Since testing the Radius8 platform, Guess employees can now create weekly sub-department reports, monitor bestsellers by store or region, do hourly replenishment from an iPad and scan tables or walls to determine how much revenue that section generated in the week prior.
“Those are just some of the tools that I’ve implemented to give them the commercial mindset,” Park said. “We were telling them to work and they were working blindfolded [in the past].”
Now it’s time for phase two, which is a focus on the digital team, Park said.
“There was a lot of working in silos,” he said. “Brick-and-mortar was doing their own promotions and e-commerce was growing but growing with unhealthy sales based on the promotional cadence in North America. The number-one thing was about creating the synergy and a focus on the customer experience.”
Even with no marketing of the Radius8 solution, customers that have stumbled upon it appear to like it. Conversions are up, Park said.
Plus, the tech company’s a good match for Guess, Park said of the Princeton, N.J.-based business, which bills its technology solutions as the tools national chains need to get back in tune with customer needs at the hyper local level. Radius8 is flexible and can shift course to keep pace with him and the rest of Guess, Park said.
“If you ask people in the office, I’m the guy who likes to get things done quickly,” he said. “I want to do it the right way, too. For me, branding is very important as well as the agility.”
For more on Guess and Radius8 in WWD: