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Bonmarché is the UK’s largest womenswear value retailer. Headquartered in Wakefield, the company has the ambition of being the most preferred and recommended multi-channel retailer for women over 50. With 330 stores – and opening new stores and outlets across the UK – it’s sometimes difficult to maintain a brand image.

For Bonmarché, these efforts start with visual merchandising.

 

All of these operations and initiatives need to be more streamlined, which is why the company recently started to use Visual Retailing software. Prior to using the company’s proprietary tool MockShop, the process was long-winded and inefficient. 

Carl Yeates, Program Manager explains, “We spent a lot of time working through, producing catalogues and VM briefs using photographs and Excel-based modelling. With MockShop, we have a more flexible, more agile approach.”

One of the main challenges for Bonmarché is responding to the speed at which high street fashion moves these days. Customers demand to see an updated collection lining shelves and racks every time they visit a store. 

That’s where MockShop’s 3D visualisation tool comes in handy. By being able to view their entire product range and sort it by attributes such as color, price and style, the process of updating Bonmarché’s product collection becomes a breeze. And updates can be communicated to stores with ease with the help of Visual Retailing's technology. 

“The single biggest benefit of using MockShop is the visual merchandising briefs. Creating them more easily but not just for individual stores, but for the cluster grades. So we can easily maintain them, more easily update them, and then send them out to the stores,” Michelle Bagnall, Subject Matter Expert. 

 
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She continues, “The level of accuracy has improved because they are not copying information from one system to another, it’s all linked to the system.”

The company will also use MockShop to increase store compliance capabilities. 

As Cathleen Wild, Visual Merchandise Manager describes, “Where we came from prior to using MockShop to where we are now, has really improved greatly. Our stores are getting more up-to-date information and they’re able to act on it in a way that works for their stores; whereas before it was very much the best fit on what we could achieve with physical samples.”


“Retail is so fast and evolving in the UK at the moment, but we have an advantage by re-working planograms through MockShop and getting it out
to stores very, very quickly.”

Geraldine Higgins, Product Director


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“Visual Retailing helps us through the visual kind of day to day modelling of what we’re going to give to our consumer,” adds Geraldine Higgins, Product Director. “Retail is so fast and evolving in the UK at the moment, but we have an advantage by re-working planograms through MockShop and getting it out to stores very, very quickly.”

She continues, “MockShop offers a great visual representation – it’s the balance, it’s the whole look and feel, it gives the team a clarity. And to have that vision then translated down to the stores, from a compliance point of view, then we’ve got a tool that means that we're compliant across the chain, whereas before it wasn’t really monitored.”

After an extensive vetting process, Bonmarché settled on Visual Retailing software in August of 2016. While the initial proof of concept period has passed, by most accounts, usages is still in its early days. However, impressions to date have been excellent according to all parties involved. 

Geraldine explains that from the get-go, “it was a great asset to have, but as you used MockShop more, it became evident how important the tool was and we began to rely on it heavily.” 

“The stores themselves have found it’s a really useful tool because it means everything doesn’t necessarily fall on the store manager,” Cathleen adds. “Because MockShop provides more detailed briefs, anyone in the store can refer to it and make changes, whereas before stores needed to guess as to where product would sit.

“MockShop is a really, really important tool for us. It offers us a ‘cradle to grave’ ability – from the very concept to the end of the product deliverance to the consumer in the stores. MockShop gives us that cohesion in terms of how we represent that to the consumer,” Geraldine concludes. 

 
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