Lifestyle retailer unites frontline associates during rapid storefront expansion

With engaging communications, Soft Surroundings empowers store teams to create a consistent customer experience across its growing operations.

Soft Surroundings

Lift in product sales

22%

Ideas and feedback shared

4000+

Employees on Nudge

1000+

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.

CHALLENGE

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.

“Nudge has helped us make the world feel a little bit smaller by connecting store staff from one coast to the other with meaningful branded content.”

— Marc Galloway, Vice President of Store Operations

SOLUTION

Inspiring associates with an engaging communication channel

The Soft Surroundings operations team was seeking an employee engagement solution that would streamline communication with its stores and create a fun, empowering environment for each employee. Nudge was the answer to Soft Surroundings challenges with its employee application providing all the communication tools they needed to share timely and relevant information in a digestible format.

With a BYOD program already in place, Soft Surroundings was able to move at an impressive pace to implement Nudge, delivering effective content to staff through their smartphones. To keep their content fresh and varied, Soft Surroundings leveraged a variety of features, including video, interactive quizzes, executive updates, and branded images, delivered through the Nudge employee app.

RESULTS

Exchanging sales tips, spotlighting recognition, and strengthening partnerships

Soft Surroundings uses Nudge to impact retail goals, by running timely campaigns around the next season catalog, product promotions, and sales best practices. In just a few months, their 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 cheers 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.