Founded in 1952, O’Neill is an international fashion brand with a presence in over 86 countries worldwide. As the original California surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand, O'Neill's core values – innovation in style and technology – have seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of the action sports lifestyle.
Beyond making quality products for their customers, ensuring the best possible in-store experience for them is a top priority. In order to do that, they need to constantly evolve and find new ways to ensure brand consistency and great merchandising.
Bjorn Blankert, Visual Merchandising Manager for O’Neill, explains the value of MockShop – Visual Retailing’s extensive visual merchandising and store planning tool.
Complex Merchandising Pains
In the past, the merchandising process for O’Neill was developing a collection biweekly. A visual guideline was created along with it and sent to the stores in a big pile of paper. The stores then had to execute this visual merchandising guideline as best they could given the merchandising range they had, and then the local store staff sent photos of the execution back to headquarters for feedback. It was a long feedback loop.
“Our merchandising process in the past has been very stiff and rigid in terms of in-store merchandising. One of the big challenges we were facing was how to get faster and more agile in terms of our visual merchandising process. We were in the market for a tool that would allow us to become more reactive to what’s happening at the store-level.”
O’Neill uses Visual Retailing to easily disseminate range analysis, create merchandising guidelines and displays, identify problem areas, and collaborate on new ideas.
“We use it to facilitate our biweekly store changeovers, from sending directives to discussing what’s working and what isn’t. It saves a ton of time compared to our old process, and has quickly become an essential fixture of our operations strategy.”
Thanks to improvements in communication and process, Visual Retailing tools have positively impacted O’Neill’s company culture. The program facilitates a much more fluid, collaborative conversation, helping the company become more efficient in their day-to-day operations.
They now have a better connection with the in-store team, and the documents they’re sending out are more less cumbersome to put together – they know they’ll be able to answer questions and give feedback more readily, rather than putting together meticulously detailed planograms and waiting for photos from the individual stores.
“It’s not orders from headquarters kind of communication – the guideline still stays a guideline. Now there’s more connectedness and understanding between the store, field and HQ.”
Optimising already existing store layouts
Visual merchandising is the art of presentation, putting the focus on merchandise. It educates the customer and creates a desire to buy. It’s a presentation of a store. But what happens when each individual store is built differently?
As the science of how customers behave in stores, and thus how your product placement can provide them with the optimal shopping experience, it’s imperative to take distinct store layouts into account. Each store has its own unique high/low traffic areas and where people linger.
As retailers well know, operating across a whole country or even a continent means not every store is the same, not every store has the exact same assortment of merchandise. With such a varied store-to-store footprint, making one guideline to suit every store was clearly not the ideal solution for O’Neill.
“Even if it’s the same O’Neill store, the interior looks a little different due to the architecture of the building. So they need to make a compromise on how to use the guideline within their own environments.”
By using Visual Retailing software, O’Neill can design individual floor layouts, shelving and product displays to maximize sales and give customers an exciting shopping experience.
“You need to figure out the layout of the store, which styles are coming in, and what story you want to tell at this particular location. If you have that all dialed in, only then can you decide how you would present product within this particular environment.”
With Visual Retailing’s MockShop, O’Neill can easily change guideline layouts per store and cluster to better serve staff and customers.
“The benefit of planning a store in the MockShop program, in a
3-dimensional part, is being able to make quick changes in your presentation.”
“We use it to facilitate our biweekly store changeovers, from sending directives to discussing what’s working and what isn’t. It saves a tonnes of time compared to our old process, and has quickly become an essential fixture of our operations strategy.”
Bjorn Blankert, Visual Merchandising Manager at O'neill
Software that Improves the Planning Experience
An effective retail flow improves collaboration between teams and increases key retail KPIs.
“The ability to easily create guidelines in MockShop is really valuable. I see what a certain client has bought, make a range with the program and that gives me images of each particular item with the information that I’ve requested. That information is clear – style number, colour number, retail price, the shape and which gender it is.”
Visual Retailing’s technology is an all-in-one, customisable software suite to help save time and drive sales. The tool also incorporates drag-and-drop to deliver fast, concrete results.
“If I’m working for one client or 10 clients or 100 clients, I can serve them immediately by just sitting behind my computer. That makes the process faster and way more easier to roll out.”
Merchandising for year-round items
One of the biggest challenges for O’Neill is the changes in buyer behaviour… and the weather.
“The weather is one thing that really challenges everyone within retail. You used to go in September to buy your winter jacket for December, and now it’s really like ‘I want [it] now, I want to buy now.’ So it’s really the momentum people want to come in to buy stuff.”
With this new instant gratification shopping habit means that there isn’t really a true season for product. And having to merchandise boardshorts and bikinis next to ski jackets can be rather difficult. Not so with Visual Retailing. Thanks to the software’s easy to use 3D digital mock up stores, users can easily move store fixtures around to accommodate even the trickiest of planograms.
“MockShop changed how we use all the attachments – the brackets, the faceouts, the sidebar, the shelves – in terms of how the digital presentation looks. By making changes within your layout of a certain cabinet, you can make the distinction between one side (boardshorts) and the other side (winter jackets).”
With MockShop all of your product data is highly visual, making it easier to plan, manage and execute better collections for your store.
“We can now present our mix of products in a much more visually compelling manner. It's a much more accurate reflection of the unique in-store experience that we know our customers love."
“We can now present our mix of products in a much more visually compelling manner.
It's a much more accurate reflection of the unique in-store experience that
we know our customers love."
Bjorn Blankert, Visual Merchandising Manager at O'neill