How Zebra helped Sally Beauty get front-line staff working smarter, not harder

(Source: Zebra Technologies)

With multiple store systems and communication channels, how can a major multinational retailer ensure its associates are getting all the information they need to ensure a consistent, positive customer experience across its entire chain?

Two years ago, that was the challenge facing Sally Beauty Holdings, an international retailer specialising in products to treat hair, nails and skincare. Fast forward two years, Sally Beauty’s operations have been transformed with the help of Zebra Technologies – which serves retailers of all sizes with a suite of hardware, software, services and solutions that digitise and automate workflows. 

Using Zebra’s Workcloud software solutions, the retailer has digitised and automated store execution, activity planning, corporate-to-store communications and document sharing among team members who can now access a single mobile touchpoint for all the store systems used daily. The result: less time spent on manual back-of-office tasks, improved operational efficiencies and customer service, and staff can now spend more time engaging directly with customers on the shop floor.

Sally Beauty operates more than 5100 retail stores under several banners. Its namesake-branded shops are consumer-fronting with around 8000 SKUs. Under the CosmoProf banner, the company distributes professional-quality products to salons.

Before engaging with Zebra, the company’s management realised team members were struggling with operational inefficiencies. With so many SKUs, store associates were struggling to provide expert guidance. District managers, who oversaw an average of 20 stores each, had no unified method of communication – each was spending hours trying to manually track stores’ activities and results via emails and phone calls.

As a consequence, the execution of appropriate promotions, planograms and other tasks suffered from a lack of real-time visibility.

In short, the company wanted its field managers, district managers and front-line staff to work smarter, not harder.

In turning to Zebra’s suite of Workcloud solutions, Sally Beauty was able to consolidate store systems to reduce third-party costs and streamline execution. Communications are now centralised to save time and ensure messages are effectively directed. Equally importantly, the line-of-sight for field and corporate managers was significantly improved. 

Workcloud Real-Time Task Management – in tandem with Workcloud Timekeeping Time and Attendance and Workcloud Scheduling – empowered Sally Beauty to create a central activity calendar and track the execution of important tasks like planograms. All the information is accessible to associates via a single mobile touchpoint provided by the company. It manages clocking in, checking compliance updates from the corporate office and completing both routine tasks and one-off projects and promotions.

Workcloud Docs enabled Sally Beauty to provide associates with easy access to vendor guidelines, compliance documentation, training resources and other vital information. 

“We were looking to also implement workforce management, so it was important that we had one platform that we could use with our stores,” explains Sally Beauty’s director of store operations Larry Kress. “Zebra had the platform that fulfilled all of the task, workforce and document repository requirements that we needed.”

The executive says that introducing an improved line-of-sight for field and corporate managers proved to be a major benefit. 

“Using planograms as an example, being able to tell our vendors that this particular planogram has been completed,” continues Kress. “We can look at price changes, we can look at all of the different tasks that we’re putting out in our stores. It’s critical that we had that ability to see into the stores … without having to visit every store.”

Additionally, with mobile access to policies, operating procedures and vendor documentation in Workcloud Docs, store associates can easily answer questions and execute projects more efficiently. 

Equipped with a searchable, up-to-date knowledge centre on a handheld tablet device, store associates can spend more time with customers, guiding them through the buyer’s journey.

“With Zebra’s Workcloud software solutions, we can consolidate multiple store systems, reduce costs and modernise execution,” continues Kress. “The solutions also enable us to reduce third-party costs, eliminate manual processes, and save time for district managers, store managers and associates. This improves store execution and provides a better customer experience.”

Suresh Menon, senior VP and GM for software solutions at Zebra Technologies, says Workcloud enables retailers to streamline and scale their store operations, improve visibility and resource allocation, allowing store associates to spend more time with shoppers to provide better service.”