About Famous Footwear

Caleres, derived from the Latin word calēre – meaning to glow with passion or intensity, is the home of today’s most coveted footwear brands around the world and represents a diverse portfolio spanning all lifestyles and experiences.  Famous Footwear, part of Caleres Inc., has locations all across the U.S., Canada, and online at famousfootwear.com, to help families stand a little taller by delivering the styles they want from the brands they love.

Famous Footwear is part of Caleres Inc., which has a diverse portfolio of global footwear brands. Famous Footwear has become a top footwear destination and sells name-brand athletic and casual shoes for the whole family. Famous Footwear has hundreds of stores across the United States, and can also be found at famousfootwear.com, their eCommerce site.

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The Challenge

Famous Footwear was dissatisfied with their existing digital signage provider. Famous Footwear was met consistently with slow field service, problematic software, and a lack of response. Their existing systems did not provide alerts when issues arose, and often support would take 5-6 weeks to even respond to fix issues, before accounting for additional lag time for field service to actually fix the issue. Famous Footwear sought out help from a company that could be proactive in addressing issues, as well as provide innovative solutions for their customer experience that would be easier to manage at scale.

Early Stage Solutions

Famous Footwear had worked with other digital signage providers in the past, but they were not getting the results they needed. Issues ranged from digital signage synchronization issues to interruption in tech support that left their digital displays unresponsive. For a company looking to step into the future of retail experiences, this was only keeping them behind the competition. Famous Footwear needed a solution and they needed it fast, but they also needed to know if their next digital signage team could handle the task. Enter ComQi.

ComQi was given the opportunity to show their digital signage expertise at Famous Footwear’s flagship store on 34th Street in midtown New York City. This portion of 34th street is one of the most trafficked areas in the country, so ComQi success or failure would be on full display. 

Famous Footwear’s had a huge ask, and ComQi had an even bigger solution. ComQi supplied and installed 15 55-inch LCDs and stacked rows of 12 20-inch displays, for a total of 37,  to produce an attention-grabbing 51-screen video wall in the store’s main window facing the sidewalk. 

The retail digital signage wall uses ComQi’s EnGage software to synchronize complementary content that runs on the smaller screens’ selections. Even more impressive is the reliability of ComQi’s cloud-based CMS solution. The display ran uninterrupted for 24/7 with over 99% uptime. Even better - ComQi’s CMS provided immediate feedback for any issues that arose - ensuring quick correction and service to prevent disruption. The digital signage was a big hit right away with customers and the Famous Footwear management team.

 

Doing an outside-facing, shopper-focused video wall is challenging both on the technical and marketing sides of the plan. You’ve got to get the content right that gets people looking and motivated to come inside. But it also has to have energy in the way it is presented, and most of all, work flawlessly. We’ve been thrilled with the way the flagship store came together, and then all the work we’ve since done with Famous Footwear.” -Don Lunetta Senior Vice President of Sales,  ComQi

 

The success of the New York store’s digital signage led Famous Footwear to reach out to ComQi for their next major digital signage project for their other retail stores.

Second Phase Solutions

Famous Footwear internal surveys done with core customers revealed that while the chain has a loyal fan base, customers were interested in seeing more about footwear fashion trends, and how they are related to the products currently on shelves. This research stimulated a need for a new in-store program. Famous Footwear was looking to marry conventional merchandising with high-definition digital displays and curated, custom-developed creative content that would make its company more relevant to its core customers.

 

Famous Footwear realized that they needed engaging and dynamic signage and displays in their stores that keep up with the latest trends. This meant modernizing their stores, moving away from display cases and printed media that take too long to execute, is costly to implement and has a brief life cycle. Famous Footwear needed to drive awareness to the variety of hot shoes from their top brands, while also attracting shoppers into their stores, including a store on one of the most competitive stretches of retail real estate in New York and America.

ComQi earned Famous Footwear’s trust to handle big projects, but what about a series of smaller ones?  Famous Footwear wanted to expand on its use of digital signage and the learnings they gathered from their customer surveys. In partnership with ComQi, Famous Footwear started testing new in-store merchandising digital signage called the “Trend Fixture” at 30 stores. The aims were simple—make a statement to shoppers that the store is on top of fashion trends, and connect them to trending products they could buy, right then and there. 

The Trend-Fixture displays use full-motion video to reach its predominantly female shopper base about new fashion trends in footwear, the digital signage videos alert shoppers to trending merchandise available in their stores. Famous Footwear tested a custom-built fixture that nested the screen in a larger stand with small shelves with product flanking the screen, backed by screen-printed and rear-illuminated fabric. The screens were positioned on the sales floor and at the store entrance but set back to allow for a good customer viewpoint.

The fixtures were developed in a collaboration between ComQi, and SEG Systems, a retail display specialist based in Charlotte, NC. The fixture displays run video content scheduled, delivered, played out, and logged using ComQi’s retail-centric cloud-based CMS platform, EnGage. 

Using EnGage, Famous Footwear could easily make timely updates to all their locations’ digital signage at once. The large digital displays cycle through highly visual, attractive spots about emerging fashion trends, and shoppers can see footwear products tied to those trends immediately adjacent to the screen. Famous Footwear had seen the reliability of EnGage previously in their Madison Avenue store and came away impressed that the system could also synchronize with various screens all around the country, Moreover, Famous Footwear could also update individual locations using local trends to influence their customers’ purchases.

The Results

To avoid direct competition, retailers rarely provide details on successful in-store merchandising tactics. However, the retail digital signage that ComQi installed helped increase shopper’s perception of the brand. As well as an increase in foot traffic and sales. The fact that Famous Footwear quickly launched fixtures in another 45 stores as after the initial 30-store trial was proof that ComQi’s digital signage was driving the results that Famous Footwear was seeking.

 

It was a big hit right away with customers and with the Famous Footwear management team. Famous Footwear was really looking for the right way to connect fashion trends to what’s in their stores, and these fixtures very powerfully did that for them.” — Don Lunetta Senior Vice President of ComQi

Additional Deployments/Full Takeover 

After more than 100 of the Trend Fixtures were fully deployed, ComQi began an additional deployment around 100 straight 50" window and street-facing displays. Once completed, ComQi threw their hat into the RFP to bid for the complete takeover of the remaining Famous Footwear locations that had multiple digital signage displays and arrays. 

Famous Footwear was looking for a one-stop solution for their digital signage. They needed a partner that would not only install but maintain the installations for each location. The RFP included the complete takeover of Famous Footwear’s entire digital signage estate which included more than 200 stores, which ComQi would install and maintain. 

ComQi won this RFP based on their past success with Famous Footwear and their ability to fully deploy the retail digital signage displays which included, installation, servicing, and maintenance. Today, ComQi maintains and services Famous Footwear’s retail digital signage in all their stores, with more installations soon to come.

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