Post Categories: Retail Execution

Building It Right from the Start—SAS Preps for New National Retailer Program

Everyone knows that in-store experience matters—perhaps now more than ever. But what might not be as obvious to the untrained eye is just how big of an impact store layouts and on-shelf merchandising make in creating that experience. Retailers, however, are well aware of that importance—and increasingly turning to retail execution experts to ensure their stores and shelves are in tip-top shape.

Daymon’s retail execution division, SAS Retail Services (SAS), has been experiencing this increased focus first-hand. Just recently, as part of a collaborative effort with Daymon’s Enterprise Growth and Brand Development teams, it was awarded a contract with a large national retailer for what will become one of the larger in-store execution programs, covering 446 stores across the U.S. In addition, the retailer has tapped SAS to complete 10 full store resets in just one night each. The sheer size and aggressive timing of these projects are a challenge to pull together, but SAS continues to prove they have it down to a science.

“The whole transition process is our secret sauce,” says Michael Hankins, Senior Vice President of Operations for SAS. “We involve all departments throughout the business from the beginning. It’s not just a program director leading the launch. We have stakeholders from Operations, HR, Finance and IT all working together to make sure it’s a success.”

As hiring now ramps up, Thea Arnone, Senior Manager of Recruiting for SAS, also points to the importance of teamwork. “On the recruiting side, it’s really a partnership between our corporate HR team and our field teams. We identify and provide assistance to start the recruitment process, then our field teams do the interviewing and hiring,” she explains. If the field teams encounter challenges, as sometimes happens in tight job markets, the HR team may send in additional support to hold job fairs and work on other recruiting efforts, adds Erin Zeller, Director of HR for SAS.

The training of all these new associates will become a cross-functional exercise as well, say Zeller and Matt Rank, Vice President of IT for SAS. “Because this retailer is nationwide, we’re looking at using a combination of in-person and online/video training,” explains Rank. This will combine the efforts of HR, IT and the Training Center of Excellence, who have been hard at work creating “Starting Right” onboarding guides to formalize and document consistent job processes across the organization.

Rank says his IT team is also coordinating with Operations to understand and prepare for the retailer program’s technology related requirements, including hardware and software needs and reporting expectations. “We’re making sure that everyone who needs a computer or tablet has one, that the system works the way it should and that we can provide support when needed,” he says.

“Things like this are all part of the planning process,” explains Hankins. “When starting a new program, we try to minimize the unexpected as much as we can, but we acknowledge that something will always come up. In fact, we even tell our customers that ‘we don’t know what we don’t know.’ But one of our strengths at SAS is our ability to adapt and understand how to handle the unexpected at store level so the work gets done right the first time. I think our transparency and commitment to continually improving the process is a big part of ultimately what makes retailers like this national chain choose us over the competition.”

To learn more about partnering with SAS Retail Services, contact Michael Bellman, President of SAS, at