Fresh name, fresh look

A behind-the-scenes look at the rebranding and updating process at Stein’s Garden & Home.

POS system helps Stein’s make more sophisticated inventory and merchandising decisions by store.

By Brooke N. Bates

If you’ve walked into a Stein’s Garden & Home store recently, you’ve probably noticed some changes — beyond the new name, which changed from Stein Garden and Gifts two years ago. When President and CEO Bob Young joined the chain of IGCs in 2014, he helped the company establish a corporate mission, vision and values, “providing a framework which we make all our decisions around,” he says. Since then, the company has been rebranding from the inside out.

Stein’s operates 16 stores throughout Wisconsin, which range in age from 12 to 70 years old. Now that the exterior landscaping has been updated outside of every location, Stein’s is working through an interior refresh to contemporize its merchandise and the way it’s displayed…

Rolling out integrated software

Stein’s team has a better understanding of these merchandising trends now, thanks to the latest change it’s been rolling out internally over the past year: an integrated retail software system that combines point-of-sale, e-commerce, customer relationship management, inventory warehouse management and business intelligence systems into one robust tool.

Implementing the system from Celerant Technology has been a huge undertaking that began in March 2016. Although the basics have now been implemented, Stein’s still has weekly meetings as they continue rolling out the system’s many capabilities and training associates on how to use it. Though the website is still a work-in-progress, Young is already noticing the differences this software has enabled in-store.

The POS system facilitates a faster checkout experience for customers, he says, while collecting real-time data that helps his team manage inventory and make informed merchandising decisions.
“If we see that one of our stores in the northern area, for example, has a heavier inventory on, say, vegetables, we can run a promotion just for that store on vegetables,” Hawkins says. “It helps with inventory management and helps our buyers, which ultimately helps the customer.”

“In the past, we couldn’t do promotions by store; everything would be done across the company,” Young adds. “Now we use the analytics to make our merchandising decisions. This provides unique selling propositions by store.”

These analytics have informed the new layout of Stein’s stores, so for example, women’s accessories are located in roughly the same spot in each store — creating a consistent look throughout the chain. However, individual stores still have autonomy in how they display products within each section, which gives the staff a chance to express their creativity and knowledge about local customers….

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