DSW announces new initiatives for 2018

DSW is making in-store changes to enhance the omnichannel experience.

DSW has announced the beginning of a new brand mission focused on a more engaging customer experience. Pieces of the initiative include a larger test of its exclusive product lines, a new loyalty program and revamped store layouts. 

DSW is looking to key strategic initiatives that change up the traditional shopping experience, while also ensuring that store associates have enhanced product knowledge to help with sales. 

"At DSW, we see an opportunity to acquire market share as the retail industry consolidates," said DSW CEO Roger Rawlins. "We have reinvigorated and positioned DSW to benefit, beginning with a new brand mission: 'We inspire self-expression.'"

Growing its offerings and exclusive product lines, the shoe retailer will start with an aggressive push of its kids shoes, which is proving successful after an initial test in select warehouses. 

DSW hopes to reach consumers on a more personal level that is both emotional and inspirational. For example, over the summer, the retailer had a mobile March On tour that included a concert series, events and in-store pop-up parties. 

Part of building this initiative is combining the in-store and online experience, beginning with the use of its physical locations for shipping and receiving digital orders and returns. 

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"We're unlocking the power of the warehouse with a synchronized and efficient infrastructure that virtually connects with the customer at every point, making DSW the place to find any shoe," Rawlins said. "It's why we like to call our locations 'warehouses,' because more than half of our digital orders are fulfilled in-store, as opposed to in a traditional fulfillment center."

The in-store experience is enhanced by the new store layout that DSW is bringing to all its warehouses and is currently being tested in Ohio. This includes the ability to stock 70% additional units through vertical product showcasing. The physical store layout now better mimics the look of online stores, creating an omnichannel experience. 

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Improving the in-store experience will rely heavily on the knowledge and ease of sales associates. Using proprietary store technology, associates will be better able to connect with consumers through a streamlined tablet in hand. 

Finally, DSW announced a new loyalty program launching in 2018 that includes perks such as shoe rental, shoe repair and a philanthropic connection.