Uniting frontline during rapid storefront expansion

How Soft Surroundings uses mobile to create consistent experiences for their frontline

About Soft Surroundings

Soft Surroundings is a women’s lifestyle retailer based in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1998 as a catalog retailer, Soft Surroundings opened their first physical store in 2005 and have since expanded to over 70 locations across the United States, continuing 4 consecutive years of double-digit store openings.

A goldmine of geographical customer data from the thriving catalog business has accelerated the pace of storefront expansion. For customers, in-store visits are a tactile experience where sales associates play a key role in bringing the brand to life.



Delivering on the Soft Surroundings Employee Promise

Communicating and nurturing are fundamental components of the Soft Surroundings brand, from the inside out. High value is placed on workplace employee communication and recognition, empowering staff with access to the information they need to do their best and “feel like a star.”

With a growing physical store count, Soft Surroundings needed to find a way to create a consistent and delightful experience for their associates and in turn, their customers. They were also looking for ways to strengthen alignment among corporate head office, retail locations, and the catalog call center.


Inspiring a frontline workforce with more engaging communication channels

The Soft Surroundings operations team attended the 2018 NRF conference with an appetite for employee engagement solutions and were immediately intrigued by Nudge Rewards. They recognized the value right away and moved quickly on their implementation.

From day one, Soft Surroundings has had a strong point of view on the frontline employee engagement content they wanted to run. With a BYOD program already in place, Soft Surroundings was able to move at an impressive pace, delivering effective content to staff through their smartphones.

To keep their campaigns fresh and varied, Soft Surroundings leveraged a variety of platforms, including video, interactive quizzes, executive updates, and branded images, delivered through the Nudge employee app.


Exchanging sales tips, spotlighting recognition, and strengthening partnerships

Soft Surroundings has used Nudge Rewards for retail KPIs, by running timely campaigns around the next season catalog, product promotions, and sales best practices. In just a few months, their sales associates have contributed over 4,000 ideas and feedback submissions, producing tangible results such as a 22% lift in silk pillowcase sales among retail locations using Nudge.

One particularly innovative campaign was designed to reinforce alignment between in-store and catalog sales center teams. The “In This Together” campaign invited store associates to recognize co-workers who demonstrated exemplary service during a support call. Associates submitted hundreds of kudos acknowledging the efforts of their counterparts in the catalog sales center, nurturing this valuable partnership between business functions.

Not only is Soft Surroundings experiencing strong engagement in a short period of time, but staff acceptance has also been widespread, with a 95% favorability rating of Nudge Rewards.

Select KPI’s

How Nudge helped Soft Surroundings

Ideas, feedback, and best practices shared from frontline
Nudge Rewards favorability rating from in-app poll
Lift in sales of silk pillowcases in stores using Nudge

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