Modern Training

What a successful shoe launch looks like—through the eyes of an associate

Posted on: September 7, 2023Updated on: April 17, 2024By: Alex Kinsella

We’ve been talking a lot about associate enablement lately—i.e. what your people need to get things done. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to align your enablement pillars (learning, communication and operational support) around core campaigns that help drive business outcomes in a united and targeted way. This is super useful for retailers constantly navigating key events, like product launches.

We go deep into this in our frontline enablement ebook, but it’s also meaningful to see it in action from the point of view of your most valuable assets: your people.

A male retail associate holds a shoe box while working during a new product launch.

Meet Richard

This is Richard. He’s been a store associate for four years and is a self-described sneakerhead. He loves being on the store floor, where he can talk to customers about the newest products and help them find the right fit.

This is more than just a job for Richard. He’s building a career around something he loves and sees a store manager role in his future.

The new shoe launch

One of Richard’s favorite parts of this job is learning about new shoe drops. Luckily for him, there’s a new shoe launch on the horizon. The upcoming launch includes new colors and materials designed for everyday wear and collectors like him.

To prepare, Richard watches a video on the enablement platform he uses at work announcing the new line. The video gives him a preview of the shoe line and highlights the inspiration behind the design and features of each new shoe. Within minutes, Richard is sharing his excitement and dropping questions about the new line in the discussion thread. 

45 days to launch

It’s an exciting time that kicks off with training and internal communications between management, leadership and his fellow associates at each of the brand’s locations and across the entire workforce.

Each day, Richard launches the enablement app to complete training to get him ready for the launch. The training builds up his confidence, and Richard feels like he’s learning a lot of key information that will help him answer customer questions.

30 days to launch

With just over a month to go, Richard and the other associates are sent a task list on how to set up the merchandising and displays for the new line. Each step of the way, he uploads photos of the displays to the enablement app to verify everything looks the way it should. When Richard uploads photos of the new central floor display, his manager flags that some products aren’t in the right place, so he makes the necessary fixes and uploads another photo to make sure it looks ready for launch.

15 days to launch

About two weeks before the launch, Richard receives a pulse check survey in the app asking him to evaluate how he’s feeling leading up to the big drop. This is an opportunity for him to bring up any remaining questions and get clarity about product features. Thanks to the training, feedback and steady communication, he’s feeling confident and ready. 

Get everything you need to know about frontline enablement to learn more.

Two days to launch

Excitement in Richard’s store and across the company’s other locations is growing as the launch date approaches. Associates are sharing what they’ve learned in training and throughout the pre-launch stage in discussion threads aimed at aligning on best practices.

Richard shares an idea he has to personalize the experience for associates like him. On launch day, Richard plans to reshare some social media posts from the brand’s official accounts on his own to encourage local customers to check out the new shoes. It’s a great way to get people excited so they come in and see it for themselves.

Launch day

The big day is here, and Richard feels empowered and ready to help customers discover everything they need to know about the new line. A customer is looking at one of the new shoes when he approaches her to ask if she has any questions. She’s an all-season runner and asks about the shoes’ water resistance. Richard knows from his training that the shoe she’s looking at doesn’t have the right features. He brings her a different option from the new line designed for running in any weather, including the rain, and the customer decides to take them home.

15 days after launch

Once the dust has settled from launch day, it’s time to evaluate what worked, what didn’t and what can be improved. Richard feels great about the launch, especially because he was able to deliver great customer experiences thanks to training and communication. 

On the corporate side, behavioral and store inspections help to identify any areas of the store or campaign execution that can be improved and Richard will be able to see these updates through the enablement app. His manager is also able to identify coaching opportunities and helps him fine-tune his approach to upselling so he’s ready to perform at his best.A holistic enablement campaign has given Richard the knowledge and confidence to deliver a memorable customer experience and execute a successful shoe launch.  

Alex Kinsella

Alex Kinsella is a freelance content marketer and writer based in Kitchener, Ontario. Alex has contributed to publications including BetaKit, The Community Edition, Grand Magazine and more.

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