When it comes to retail branding, the consistency of store layout and displays matter almost as much as quality and customer experience. According to Lucid Press, 45 percent of customers expect great design from recognizable brands, and businesses with consistently recognizable branding are 3.5 times more visible. And since consistency makes brands come across as more dependable and more trustworthy, revenues can increase by 33 percent.
In 2020, American clothing designer and retailer GUESS doubled down on its branding consistency efforts. Like most retail companies, GUESS saw a big reduction in foot traffic at its brick and mortar locations during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it leveraged cutting-edge 3D technology to make lasting changes, from the supply chain side of the business to its digital marketing, showrooms, and storefronts.
The company got a head start in 2017 when its retail development department decided to use Matterport, Inc.™ Pro2 cameras to capture new stores and create digital twins, immersive replicas that include 3D imagery in 4k resolution and spatial measurements. The free Matterport Capture app for iPhone and iPad pairs with Matterport Pro2 3D cameras, serving as a remote control with automation that makes capturing a space and uploading it to the Matterport Cloud a cinch.
“The Matterport Pro2 cameras couldn’t be easier to use,” says Amy Jones, Director of Visual Merchandising Operations at GUESS. “They’re so user-friendly. They’re portable enough that we can take them wherever we need to go. We can train even nontechnical people to use them in one session.”
Capturing Digital Twins Conveniently with Matterport Capture for iPad and iPhone
More recently, the company has also explored using Matterport Capture for iPad to capture beautiful digital twins using the camera on iPhone and iPad. “The cameras produce wonderful imagery and the app is extremely easy to use. It was self-explanatory in terms of the areas that you need to tap on to capture an entire store. I tried it myself, and it was simple to scan the space by following the instructions step by step,” says Shaun D’Souza, Director of Merchandising, GUESS.
“Getting our store managers involved in scanning our stores with iPad is just another great way we can use the Apple products we already have across all our retail locations,” says Jones.
A Portable, Mission-Critical Sales and Training Tool
As part of its mission to improve the customer experience, fortify training, and support sustainability, GUESS outfitted all its stores in North America with iPad. Field leadership members each have iPad and iPhone. Corporate staff also use iPhone to foster seamless communications across the organization.
“Apple products are simple to navigate and use, plus they offer more apps that correlate with our retail initiatives,” says Jacklyn De Antunano, Project Manager, Training and Development, GUESS.
One key app GUESS associates use on iPad is Bigtincan, a sales enablement platform and central hub for proprietary content and knowledge that helps the corporate office connect with customer-facing staff. It’s an all-purpose portal that employees can log in to and find detailed product information, sales reports, customer recommendations, contest leaderboards, and loss prevention advice, in addition to capabilities for helping customers order items on the spot, such as a different size or color, that are out of stock in a store. Matterport 3D digital twins that show the latest product display and merchandising directives are also available via Bigtincan on iPad.
“Before using Bigtincan, we sent massive amounts of paper to all our stores,” D’Souza says. “Our merchandising directives weren’t always organized in the best possible fashion, and some stores still had out-of-date guidance laying around and pinned up on bulletin boards. We’ve eliminated so much unnecessary paperwork, and employees can access all our internal resources on a single portable device and know that what they’re seeing is up to date.”
For ongoing training and the required daily briefings at the start of each in-store associate’s shift, iPad helps GUESS keep its focus on a superior customer experience. “Instead of having to leave the sales floor to print documentation or review training materials in the back office, our store managers and associates can remain on the sales floor with iPad to provide service the moment a customer enters the store,” says De Antunano.
The elimination of printing saves one to two hours of time for store managers each morning that they can now use for packaging e-commerce orders, cleaning the store, and other priorities.
“In addition to streamlining our process and improving productivity, we’re investing in our associates by advancing their skills with the latest technologies,” says De Antunano. The iPad puts GUESS at the forefront as it starts to incorporate more AI and other enhanced technology capabilities like digital twins into its training. “The combination of iPad, Bigtincan, and Matterport gives us the power to be more innovative and creative with our retail professional development programs,” De Antunano says.
Efficient, Consistent Visual Merchandising
The visual merchandising teams at GUESS continuously reimagine and redesign store layouts and product displays. And since GUESS has retail locations worldwide, brand consistency requires every location to follow the same guidelines. Merchandisers set up example displays in a mock store at corporate headquarters and capture them using Matterport technology to set its directives.
“Our brick and mortar locations need clear direction as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Jones says. “With Matterport, we’re creating virtual documents in 3D rather than printed instructions with 2D photography. As a result, we’ve seen a 200 percent increase in productivity in the same amount of time as a typical merchandising directive. Now our retail associates can see what it’s like to be in our stores as we at headquarters imagine them. It’s much better for us and for them.”
“With Matterport, everyone can virtually walk through our expertly designed spaces, whether they’re in the headquarters building or opening a new store on the other side of the world,” says D’Souza. “Our presentations ensure brand consistency across all channels, both brick and mortar and digital.”
In addition to 3D imagery, the digital twins include notes and clickable Mattertags embedded with text, audio, and video. These tools enable the merchandising team to collaborate with store managers remotely while providing documentation they can review at any time from any location. “When our colleagues need more information than they can see while virtually walking through a space, they can click on Mattertags and access more details about products and styles,” Jones says. “And we can use the measuring tool to make sure everything is lined up and spaced out just so. It helps us and our teams understand each space perfectly.”
Worldwide Brand Consistency
Digital twins of showrooms and real stores are invaluable when training new corporate and retail employees. “Brand consistency is one of the things we emphasize most when training new employees,” Jones says. “So it’s really nice to be able to place them in an immersive environment where they can fully experience what our branded spaces should look like and feel like.”
Because GUESS has digital twin libraries of stores across regions and time zones always available on iPad through Bigtincan, the company has been able to drastically reduce travel costs during for training by approximately 20% and by 30% overall within North America– for ongoing operations between 2017 and 2020, and even while reducing gaps in branding consistency in different parts of the world. “Our European and American teams lacked visibility to what each other were doing for years,” D’Souza says. “They aren’t anymore because we’ve used Matterport to train not just new employees but the teams we already have to make sure they’re merchandising the same way everywhere.”
GUESS also includes directives and points of contact for product knowledge in Mattertags for its training department and field teams to make sure everyone who needs product information has easy access to it.
In addition, GUESS uses digital twins to assist with regulatory compliance such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is another case where the Matterport measuring tool comes in handy. “With the Matterport measuring tool, we can ensure our stores are accessible to all our customers, properly conforming to our plans and in line with ADA guidelines,” D’Souza says.
Doubling the Number of Showroom Appointments
Clothing designers and manufacturers have long relied on showrooms to market new lines and seasonal collections to wholesale buyers. That part of the business model was heavily disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic for every company in the industry. But with Matterport, GUESS can connect with its wholesale partners even better than it could before the pandemic using the same virtual showrooms that it uses in its PR and marketing campaigns.
“Matterport has been integral to our being able to share product collections, product knowledge, and the look and feel of the brand in general,” Jones says. “Should we see that a wholesale buyer likes a particular collection, we could show them everything in that particular line, and they could purchase whatever they want with a tap.”
Virtual showrooms help in other ways, too, since they facilitate marketing and ordering for B2B operations, including the potential for integration with corporate ERPs for real-time data on inventory, product specifications, and pricing.
GUESS also uses digital twins of its stores and showroom spaces in press releases, on its website, and in other digital marketing materials, providing immersive online experiences and increasing engagement.
“No one needs to travel anymore, nor do they need to visit in person, so we’re booking twice as many press appointments as we used to,” D’Souza says. “Reporters can virtually walk through the space and see our entire line in photorealistic detail. We do find that it helps if we can have one-on-one meetings over Zoom when guests visit the virtual showrooms. That way we can discuss our seasonal products in-depth, fully explain various pricing options, and so forth.”
Meanwhile, travel related to previewing collections for wholesalers and the media has been reduced by half.
A Commitment to Sustainable Fashion
GUESS is strongly committed to making its clothing lines, accessories, and operations environmentally sustainable. The company’s sustainability report underscores its goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Matterport helps Guess operations become more sustainable, with virtual visits to stores and showrooms reducing airplane and related travel impacts by staff, partners, and wholesale customers.
By going paperless with digital twin-based directives on iPad, GUESS is reducing paper and packaging waste within its operations, augmenting corporate recycling initiatives. “When we issued our merchandising directives on paper, we sent 80-page documents to more than 300 stores in the United States alone,” Jones says. “With Matterport digital twins, we’ve been able to completely eliminate the time and effort it took to produce those and save all that paper.”
Reducing paper waste has resulted in a 95 percent decrease in departmental paper, ink, and shipping costs. Writing 80-page documents is extremely labor-intensive, and so is printing and mailing hundreds of copies. D’Souza remembers having to come in on a Saturday because an extreme paper jam didn’t get fixed until the end of the day on the preceding Friday. “A coworker and I had to spend the entire weekend printing documents. The printer kept jamming, and our hands were slashed with paper cuts. We still didn’t get everything printed on time, and we ended up having to outsource the job.”
Digital Spaces Are the Future
By early 2022, GUESS had scanned about 20 percent of its stores worldwide, and it hopes to have all its North American stores scanned by the end of 2023. The GUESS team is confident that they’ll keep finding more uses not only for Matterport digital twins but digital content in general for its marketing efforts, B2B relationships, and sales teams.
D’Souza agrees. “3D digital spaces are the future of commerce,” he says. “Brick and mortar stores face a lot of uncertainty right now, but virtual spaces can evolve out of nothing. Anybody can sell goods worldwide in a virtual space. We’re really looking forward to a future where this empowers everybody, not just big companies like ours but smaller ones too.”
Join our webinar featuring GUESS director of visual merchandising, Shaun D’Souza to find out how GUESS uses virtual showrooms, Bigtincan, and iPad devices to double productivity and reduce training time, while driving environmental sustainability.
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Established in 1981, GUESS began as a jeans company and has since grown into a global lifestyle brand. GUESS designs, markets, distributes, and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, denim, handbags, watches, eyewear, footwear, and other related consumer products. Its products are distributed through branded stores, as well as department and specialty stores around the world.
Los Angeles, California
Use 3D technology to help ensure worldwide brand consistency
Matterport Pro2 3D camera, Matterport for Mobile
GUESS uses Matterport to capture retail spaces, displays, mock stores, and showrooms for its 3D merchandising and branding directives worldwide
- 2x showroom appointments
- 200 percent increase in productivity by replacing 2D merchandising directive with digital twins
- Worldwide brand consistency
- Greater efficiency with digital twins and other training content on iPad saves store managers 5-10 hours per week per store
- 95 percent decrease in paper and printing costs