How one app shifted an entire business

These days it’s not enough to have a great product, workforce and market. To be better, faster and more productive, you need to call in the big guns, or as they’re commonly knowns as – apps.

Footwear Trading, which represents top brands such as Diesel, Levi’s, Jeep, Skechers and Fila in South Africa put their best foot forward and got an app built for their business, which has completely shifted their operations.

Footwear Trading holds core to its values an impeccable retail front. For them, the key ingredients to success in this area is a high level of service and consistent store look and feel. With this philosophy in mind, and the complexities they were facing with achieving such a standard across multiple brands, Footwear Trading knew they needed to start doing things differently. Inconsistencies and errors were cropping up owing to the lack of access to real-time information from the stores and a low level of productivity from the area managers who manage the groups of stores.

With a completely paper-based operations system and no defined parameters to evaluate their staff performance, the company saw the need for a more efficient , streamlined and consistent process that would allow them to make quicker and better informed business decisions.

In early 2013, the company contacted Winjit Technologies in India, a specialist in enterprise mobility solutions on iPad, and began exploring the prospect of using mobile technology and purpose-built enterprise apps for their own business. Winjit Technologies was given the task of designing an iPad app, specifically for the area managers, that would  allow them to easily capture and share a key set of information in real time on their daily store visits.

With the app, the following can be done: 

  • Checklists can be created, categorised and managed remotely. These can all be done differently per brand.
  • Stores can be tracked, and different area manager evaluations compared. Information is gathered and reports are generated and analysed by management.
  • Manuals, catalogues and training materials can be uploaded to the app to be accessed on the go.
  • Area managers are reminded of critical areas that need attention in the store as well as of follow ups that need to be done by specific deadlines.
  • Photos can be taken and sent with the reports as proof.
  • Evaluations can be monitored, and weak areas can be improved in future visits.

Since the implementation of the iPad application in July 2014, Footwear Trading has seen improvements in multiple areas of their business. Now that activities are captured when they happen, management can access real-time reporting at any stage. Similarly, by moving their manual processes onto a mobile platform, the area managers are able to work more efficiently and reduce the number of hours that they are spending in each store. This increases their capacity to better manage a larger number of stores. With a standardised reporting structure, all issues are properly recorded and dealt with quicker than before and the stores are achieving a better consistency in look and feel across the board as a result. Not only have the stores improved visually, but there is also a better level of service and a 20% improvement in staff performance thanks to the app’s ability to track their progress and drive results.

Footwear Trading has also received global recognition from Levi’s for the implementation of iPads and how it’s transformed the brand presence locally. As Footwear Trading continue to reap the benefits of their investment, they will continually look at ways to upgrade and improve the way they use the iPad in the business to make sure that they harness the full potential that it offers.

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