Vera Bradley Flips the Script on Traditional Store and Workforce Management With Streamlined Tech Approach
Onboarding and Resulting Success
The technology has been onboarded for several years, but the company did encounter hiccups in the early stages due to store closures prompted by the pandemic. Despite the added challenge, Brown says the team’s adoption rate during those difficult times was “very quick” due to the user-friendly nature of the system.
A best practice, recommends Brown, is really striving for accountability during tech implementations.
“Once you have implemented technology to solve for business needs, you need to hold the team accountable to use the technology and to ensure the accuracy of the information it is built upon,” says Brown. “Make sure the team understands how the technology benefits them.”
Since the initial onboarding, Vera Bradley has had increased cross-functional visibility into workload impact across its stores, giving the enterprise the foresight to update the timing and scope of repeat store tasks to automate processes and increase efficiencies.
“From a scheduling perspective, in addition to significant time savings, there is a huge benefit for our field leaders to be able to remotely access any store’s schedule and efficiently address any concerns,” says Brown. “It also allows us to ensure stores are scheduling to our payroll forecast.”
The added capabilities have allowed Vera Bradley’s district managers and store operations teams to see how close a store’s schedule is to the system output, and how much editing is being done by managers. Additionally, the company can easily follow up with managers if they encounter issues or do not rely on the system to do its work.
While much of the success from these initiatives has resulted in a general sentiment regarding increased ease across the workforce and more time on the sales floor, says Brown, Vera Bradley managers report that time spent on schedules decreased from 3-4 hours to 30-60 minutes when workforce management was implemented.
A Look Into Vera Bradley’s Digital Timeline
Last year, the company announced it was elevating its planning, assortment and allocation processes, investing in technology that would impact its full-price stores, factory stores, e-commerce and wholesale business by optimizing omnichannel decisions via machine-learning and predictive analytics for improving revenue and profitability. Read more.
In 2021, Vera Bradley expanded its in-person and virtual customer service and experience capabilities, enabling consumers to book time slots on the Vera Bradley website to shop in-store or virtually from home. Additionally, the capability allowed them to schedule curbside pickup and join on-site queues for walk-in service. Read more.
RIS named Vera Bradley’s Adam Fox CIO of the Year in 2021 for his role in the company’s digital transformation amid the pandemic, adding tech capabilities while simultaneously navigating unprecedented challenges. Read more.