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Musto: The ultimate pop-up shop

Musto are the world’s leading sailing attire brand, with 12 stores across the UK and hundreds of concessions across the globe, and it is also the official supplier of clothing for the athletes and crew members of The Volvo Ocean Race. The around the word race is one of the toughest events in sport, visiting 10 cities in 10 countries and covering a total of 38,739 nautical miles.

“Managing pop up stores in eleven ports around the globe, some of which where we don’t currently have retail operations in, has been a complex challenge. We are setting up a high street store in each village where the retail experience should mirror that of our high street stores but these stores are only operational for a couple of weeks so the solution needs to be cost efficient. Cybertill is instrumental in allowing us to achieve that.”

Frank Potts, IT Director, Musto

Retail software for the ultimate pop-up shop

Sponsoring the Volvo Ocean Race is not only a test ground for Musto apparel it also offers the opportunity to introduce the Musto brand to new consumers around the world. The temporary Musto Official Volvo Ocean Race store in each village is a good opportunity to reach new consumers in markets where Musto doesn’t currently retail.

Operating a temporary store in new markets does have many logistical hurdles; designing a store that represents the premium nature of the brand but needs to be easily erected and dismantled many times by a small team, ensure it can be securely packed for shipping, minimise size for shipping whilst maximising size and impact in village, stock forecasting, staffing, taking and banking cash in each port town, managing sales, stock and payments in-store. In addition to these challenges there is the technology challenges of having a fully operable EPoS system with integrated chip and PIN working securely in each port whilst allowing for regional variations, such as six digit PINs in China. To help manage the whole process Musto are deploying a cloud-based EPoS system from Cybertill.

“Managing pop-up stores in eleven ports around the globe, some of which where we don’t currently have retail operations in, has been a complex challenge. This involves getting fully operable point of sale systems that can accept multiple currencies with integrated chip and PIN devices in every location. There are also local variations of PINs, which all need to be PCI compliant. Essentially we are setting up a high street store in each village where the retail experience should mirror that of our high street stores but these stores are only operational for a couple of weeks so the solution needs to be cost efficient. Cybertill is instrumental in allowing us to achieve that.” Comments Frank Potts, IT Director of Musto.

The initial challenges begin with inventory. So how do Musto know which product lines and quantities to ship? Many of the ports have hosted stop overs before so there is some historical data mixed with in-house experience. “We have used a system when we partnered with the Volvo Ocean Race previously, but there were some unforeseen issues and the historical data we can use and analyse is limited, so that’s where our own knowledge and experience is critical. In the future this task will be made so much easier by Cybertill, as we will be able to review each port’s full sales figures,” comments Frank Potts, IT Director at Musto.

Proven retail management software

Months in advance of the race Musto designed their stores for the stopover villages. They have two formats, a 15 metre by 15 metre and a 15 metre by 12 metre store, two stores are required because the teams race so quickly between stopover ports that there are two event villages that leapfrog each other to ensure that the stopover village is ready when the teams arrive in port. The start port of Alicante saw total foot traffic of 313,463 over the ten days the village was open. With Musto as the sole retailer of the official race collection on venue the store saw similar daily footfall numbers. Musto designed the store to maximise throughput, and the points of sale are critical in helping process transactions quickly and efficiently. The takings at the busiest ports will be significant and far outstrip what a high street store would take in a similar period, so it is critical the whole retail experience is seamless.

“Event retail is very different to in-store retail,” explains Frank. “You get one chance with a customer. Any technical issues result in big queues and people put down items and walk away. This could not be more vital, as they won’t come back tomorrow, they have come to see the event and stay for the day and then they leave. So it is imperative the solution we chose was proven and resilient.”

Real-time access to sales and stock, anywhere across the globe

Musto has a dedicated team of four people that travel to every port to set up and manage the stores throughout the nine months of the race. At the busy ports there are additional staff to help supplement the core team. Before they travelled the four were trained in putting the store together, securing and setting up the communications infrastructure, setting up and using the tills, merchandising the stores, dismantling and stowing the stores.

Musto is experienced in managing the retail element in the Volvo Ocean Race and as such is aware of the pitfalls. “It is very important to us that the chosen technology partner can support our pop-up stores, no matter which port they are in or time zone,” comments Frank. “Cybertill is able to offer this level of support. But in addition to that they supply a cloud based PoS system, so the staff on-site don’t have to manage the PoS software, which has happened in the past. But also this means head office, in Essex, can log on to Cybertill and monitor sales as they happen across the globe.” Having real-time and accurate information will also help Musto monitor stock levels and give them greater insight to sales and performance of each port.

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