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‘Speed of Change in Retail’ Spurred This Footwear Chain to Invest in Store Tech

As store fleets shrink, the brick-and-mortar experience matters more than ever. And one Canadian footwear chain is betting on a new technology system to elevate in-store operations.

In partnership with Opterus Inc., a global provider of web-based communication and management solutions, Canadian footwear stalwart Browns Shoes Inc., has big plans for brick-and-mortar.

On Tuesday the 79-year-old shoe chain announced plans to integrate Opscenter, Opterus Inc.’s centralized retail task management system, into its stores with the goal of gaining greater clarity and efficiency in its in-store operations.

Browns Shoes Inc., a family-owned business founded in Montreal, had been using a proprietary solution for its in-store communication and management systems but decided that now was the right time to upgrade—especially considering the mushroominging challenges permeating the North American retail industry.

“We’ve used an internally-built email and task platform for the last number of years and felt that now is the time to step up our communications abilities,” Eric Wagstaff, director of HR and retail support at Browns Shoes, said in a statement. “The speed of change in retail is increasing. OpsCenter is the right solution to enable us to deliver clear, concise information to stores enabling them to execute quickly and be better equipped to offer great customer service.”

Opscenter offers numerous advantages including increased customer loyalty, quantifiable accountability for brick-and-mortar employees and—for some—sales bumps as high as 20 percent during peak sales periods. Opterus claims retail clients find that on-time task completion can nearly double, potentially saving nearly hundreds of workload hours a month.

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Additional benefits that Opscenter users have reported include increased revenue due to improved markdown compliance, an over 25 percent improvement in timely, helpful responses in-store, and increased sell-through as a result of better execution when conducting transfers or returning products to a vendor.

Opscenter is designed to be user-friendly, featuring a “multi-modular” design that allows businesses to pick and choose the services that they want to use, which can lower training costs and increase user adoption. Since the program is cloud-based, it also removes a portion of the computing power necessary, allowing retailers to save on hardware costs for sales terminals.

By integrating the program into its stores, Browns Shoes Inc. plans to consolidate a wide variety of typical business tasks, including the control of day-to-day operations and communication between corporate offices and stores, onto a single platform.