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14 Feb 2023

Dr. Martens – Credibility, Consistency, and Improving Performance with StoreForce

StoreForce Stand: 6B20
Dr. Martens – Credibility, Consistency, and Improving Performance with StoreForce
Dr. Martens Logo
Dr. Martens – Credibility, Consistency, and Improving Performance with StoreForce

The first Dr. Martens boot rolled off the production line on the 1st April 1960 and because of that the boot is called the 1460. Today Dr. Martens continues to invest in people and performance as part of its international growth strategy. Here we talk with the heritage brand’s EMEA Retail Operations Manager, Barry Loughran, and its Retail Lead for DTC (Direct to Consumer) Acceleration Initiatives, Josh Coleman, to explore how StoreForce is supporting the global expansion of the business. Synonymous with global subcultures that span multiple decades, Dr. Martens and its iconic aesthetic has outlived countless fashion cycles, and since the turn of the century has gained a huge following globally. As a result, the footwear company now operates in over 140 stores across the world and remains focused on its core values and commitment to operational and organisational excellence. “We stand for rebellious self-expression as a business, which means something different to every single person who wears our footwear or works within the company” explains Josh. “In terms of service, we strive to deliver best in class across all of our stores, and we want our team to feel empowered and equipped to succeed. We want them to know that they can be a real part of change and growth.” 

Fact-driven efficiency

Like many other retailers, Dr. Martens aims to become a digital-first business. Opening bricks and mortar stores in new locations has proven to boost online sales for the brand within the surrounding geographical areas. With more stores and more teams, the need for an effective workforce management tool quickly became paramount, and in 2017 they successfully rolled out StoreForce across the EMEA region. “When we first implemented StoreForce, it was all about driving consistency” says Josh. “We had fewer stores back then, along with different levels of capability within the store, and everything was quite manual. We were getting our POS and footfall data from different systems, manually working out conversion for different stores, and then sending out a head office report that detailed how everyone was performing. It was really long-winded and the managers were all doing something a little differently.” “The implementation of StoreForce made scheduling and planning a lot more consistent and commercial. At the same time as StoreForce, we implemented our new customer service journey, because you can’t deliver a world-class customer experience if you haven’t got enough people on the shop floor.”  


Game-changing rollout

As with any software tool, it is only as powerful as the team that uses it. StoreForce’s comprehensive rollout played a huge part in building user engagement. “Before joining the business four years ago, I’d seen what had and hadn’t really worked with system rollouts for other retailers, so when moving to Dr. Martens, the biggest focus was how StoreForce was being embedded” says Barry. “The implementation was in place by this point, so we needed to make sure that it was a fundamental part of each Store Manager’s life. “We created StoreForce champions which was probably the game changer, as having those super users in the different countries - essentially acting as boots on the ground - made a massive difference! It also removed lots of questions for myself and the team.” Together with StoreForce, Dr. Martens created a taskforce that toured the European markets and delivered in-person training sessions to store managers. “Working together and delivering to the teams as one was really important. I think that’s something that has stuck in the minds of managers that are still with the business” adds Josh. Game-changing rollout.

Global Impact 

Global Impact as well as creating cost savings, improving productivity, providing custom reports, and ensuring that the right people are in the right place at the right time, StoreForce has helped Dr. Martens to drive conversion. It’s also now a vital touchpoint across multiple areas of the business and is embedded within weekly meetings, team conferences, training sessions, and store visits. “It’s constantly used, and store managers feel that it is vital to their operations. It’s used as the dashboard on the shop floor so teams can see how they’re performing, it’s also used as a coaching tool, and to see what we need to improve on in the moment. It’s also accessible for every single salesperson to see how they’re doing, how the store is doing, and what they need to work on” says Josh. “From our leaders’ perspective, StoreForce is used to review the business in terms of how did last week go, what can we do differently next week, and how can we make those improvements. Fundamental to that is scheduling - it’s making our lives a lot easier, and it’s a lot faster with the auto-generate feature, which is really key. We also use it for our weekly commercial calls where we look into the details, see if there are any opportunities, review best practice across the regions, and then share that back to managers or other users who need that extra support. StoreForce is used cross functionally across our main departments.” 

Retail Expertise 

Following on from the success of StoreForce across Dr. Martens, the brand would recommend other businesses to invest in the system. “I would absolutely recommend it to other retailers,” says Barry. “Make sure it’s all about the rollout, and that it’s properly embedded. Train your teams in smaller groups so you get 100% adoption and there’s room to ask questions and make sure you’re 100% invested. Initially, you will get user questions from stores, but if you keep pushing the message and positively reinforcing, it will land properly. “Our coaching style is very inclusive. Being forced with performance tables, etc is not the way to embed, it’s about including everybody, having your champs in place, having your training in place, and really investing in it.”

Using a solution built by retailers for retailers is also advantageous for the company. “When previously working with vendors that don’t have that retail understanding, trying to translate that information makes the whole process a lot longer. Whereas with StoreForce, I can talk about an issue, and they’ve seen it before in another store or business, so having that live understanding speeds up the process” explains Josh. “The StoreForce team is always on, takes feedback really well, and looks at solutions” adds Barry. “We have Quarterly Business Reviews, and then there are weekly meetings, so I think communication is great. There are always ideas bouncing around as well which is really good, so it’s a strong synergy between all of us. Together, we’re also forever future proofing everything, and I think it’s really important that we continue to do that.”
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