Never, Ever Give Up and We Not Me: Erk and Retail team’s motto to overcome everything

by | Feb 3, 2022

How would you describe 2021?

For Pomelo, 2021 was a year filled with ambition and collaboration.

This is especially true for our retail team, the mainstay of 27 Pomelo stores across Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The limitation from the travel restrictions and store closure had become a huge challenge to store operations and expansion. 

With teamwork and resilience, Erk, our Commercial Director along with the retail team was able to successfully open a new Pomelo store and come back stronger than ever in the reopening of malls and restaurants.

In this blog, Erk will share with us how the team got through one of the most challenging periods and moved on with optimism, ready to make 2022 yet the best year of Pomelo.

What is your role in the Retail team?

There was a recent change in my role as I got the internal job move opportunity that allows me to wear many different hats, which is incredibly exciting and fun. However, one of the things I have focused on the most is visual merchandising.

Visual Merchandising is not only about how to make the stores look inviting or how to mix and match collections for customers to make the most sales at each location. More than displaying, changing mannequins, hanging the products, setting up the Window, we also work with others both within the Retail team and cross-functionally with other teams, as well as external suppliers. For example, we work with the Retail Merchandiser for the new arrival allocation planning and how we can improve sales in each situation. We also work with the Area Manager and the Store team for feedback from the sales side. There’s also a signage and screen design with the Visual team, a brainstorming to develop a better fixture and store environment with the Store Design Team, feedback sharing with the Product with the Buying team, and more.

Although visual merchandising work takes part in the latter end of the whole process, we, as the one who understands customer behavior, are able to support and provide some insights to other teams in the earlier process.

What do you love about your job?

I love to see the display and collection launch be successful with good feedback from customers. I love to see how the teams support each other with their expertise and experience to achieve the goal. Most importantly, I always love to see how we share knowledge and best practices to be the better version of ourselves together.

What are some challenges that the team has faced in the past year?

The pandemic was the major situation that all of us face.  Besides an unpredictable timeline to close or operate the stores, the Covid-19 outbreak also affected our store team as most retail work can’t be 100% done from home. Working on-site and visiting the stores were more difficult than ever. There was a limited amount of staff who were divided into Team A and Team B and had to take turns getting into the store. Under such conditions, we still had to think about how we were going to achieve the target while working efficiently. During the store closure back in July, we had to figure out what we were going to do with the rest of the retail team – how they could still gain something beneficial even when they couldn’t work at the stores. We then came up with several online training sessions, lots of reviews on our past learning, and planning for the future reopening. Despite being in such a tough time, we got to spend more time together and support each other.

How did the team overcome those obstacles?

“I would say how we got through this situation together all comes down to 2 Pomelo Core Values – ‘We, not Me’ and ‘Never Give Up’. The phrase ‘Retail is detail’ is indeed very true. The work within retail incorporates all kinds of subtleties that we have to pay attention to – and it is something that can’t be done by a person alone.”

We have to support each other. When we opened a new store in a new country during the pandemic, for example, the team from the headquarter couldn’t travel to our other offices in Indonesia and Malaysia to help with the store setup and in-person training. We have to do everything virtually and trust that everything would work out without any problem. At the same time, the pioneer team gave us the support to deliver those detailed tasks to the new market. Although the first setup might not be the smoothest that it could be, we never gave up on adjusting and changing up things in the stores to make it happen. In the end, we successfully opened the new store in the new market.

What have you learned at Pomelo?

At Pomelo, I’ve had many new experiences from the dynamic collection launch and the omnichannel marketing that harmonize online and offline together. I gain some new perspectives from data-driven strategies and how we can use those data to reflect our stores and VM technique. New initiatives from the team are a good knowledge source that allows me to learn and improve too. As a director, I also learn how to support and encourage the team members to be the best version of themselves.

Please share with us the team’s New Year’s resolution

We would love to make a Pomelo store a place that everyone thinks of as the destination to visit!

Visit a Pomelo store near you for the best in fashion and lifestyle!

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