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How Shoe Sensation Optimized Labor Spend in 200 Stores

Footwear and apparel retailer Shoe Sensation has implemented a suite of software solutions from workforce management platform provider Reflexis to streamline communication across its approximately 200 stores, improve store execution and labor scheduling, while also optimizing labor spend.

The Reflexis software suite supports the chain’s retail transformation initiatives focused on “getting the right store associates in the right place at the right time,” Indiana-based Shoe Sensation said.

In particular, the retailer selected Reflexis Real-Time Task Manager, Workforce Scheduler and Employee Self-Service solutions, as well as mobile-first document storage and management solution Q-Docs.

The move comes as retailers across the board are trying to fill empty positions across their stores, and are taking steps such as increasing wages, or improving benefits or working conditions to keep and attract more employees. Companies still often struggle with communication between a retailer’s corporate headquarters and individual store managers and employees, where messages and tasks often get lost in translation.

With Reflexis Real-Time Task Manager, Shoe Sensation said it streamlined store execution by prioritizing work based on established best practices. Store managers and other key stakeholders now have insight into task completion rates enabling operational changes based on results, according to the retailer.

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For 52 percent of retail leaders, legacy systems are one of the biggest challenges in creating tomorrow’s stores, according to a recent survey from data capturing and barcode scanning company Scandit. Additionally, 39 percent cite store associate training as a top concern. Shoe Sensation CEO Dave Schoengart seemed to agree with these notions when describing the shift to the new software suite.

“Before Reflexis, the best way to define our situation was chaotic and not communicative between each party,” Schoengart said. “Different departments weren’t talking to each other.”

As a result, visibility into task management was low prior to the implementation. For example, managers sometimes found it hard to understand which tasks had been communicated to store associates, whether they were being worked on and if they had been completed.

With Reflexis, Shoe Sensation also sought to achieve better forecast accuracy and increase the efficiency of its labor schedules. In doing so, the company believed it would significantly reduce the administrative time spent on schedule creation and schedule editing, review and approval.

Using Reflexis Workforce Scheduler and Employee Self-Service, Shoe Sensation automated labor budgeting and forecasting, increasing the efficiency of their schedules and reducing the administrative time spent developing, editing, reviewing and approving schedules. Shoe Sensation said its associates also now have a way to view and adjust their schedules in real time resulting in better employee engagement.

While Workforce Scheduler is designed to optimize labor spend by helping retailers factor customer traffic, store workload and other variables into their scheduling processes, Employee Self-Service helps associates request to pick up or swap shifts and submit time-off requests via a mobile device.

“We selected Zebra’s Reflexis software solutions because they offer a unified platform for both store execution and labor scheduling—helping us improve efficiency while increasing the visibility needed to ensure tasks were completed in a timely manner to provide the best possible customer experience,” said Schoengart in a statement. “Our operations managers are now distributing tasks more effectively to stores, store associates have increased their productivity, and store managers are spending more time assisting customers and coaching employees.”

Reflexis, which works with apparel and fashion companies including JCPenney, Vera Bradley, Chico’s, Express, Rue21 and Fanatics, was acquired in 2020 by Zebra Technologies for $545 million.

“With Zebra’s Reflexis task and labor management solutions, Shoe Sensation has elevated the work of front-line workers without unnecessary complexity—ensuring every associate and team is engaged and enabled to do their best work,” said Suresh Menon, senior vice president and general manager for software solutions, Zebra Technologies. “Zebra’s retail solutions unify teams, inform priorities and drive results—enabling retailers to modernize their stores and scale and energize their customer experience strategy with a focus toward more meaningful shopper engagement.”

With the implementation complete, Shoe Sensation aims to continue innovating with Reflexis in the future.

“Our future plans are pretty open,” Schoengart said. “We’re going to continue to master the areas of Reflexis that we currently have, continue to talk with other users and see what their best practices are, and adapt the business as needed to become more efficient.”