During the Busy Holiday Season, Retailers Turn to USM

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It's that time of year when masses of people hit the stores to embark on the journey of holiday shopping. For most customers, the biggest concern may be finding the best sale; however, the retailer has to consider much more than just merchandise to keep shoppers satisfied. The modern retail experience has become about more than just buying products. It's about the feeling the customer gets from being in your store. A brand involves a promise to customers to offer not only a quality product, but also provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. This can be especially challenging during the holiday season, trying to satisfy a large volume of shoppers on a daily basis.

“Closing their doors would have been detrimental,” said Shaun Levenson, Chief Strategy Officer for USM. “If they were to close for one day during the holiday season, it would result in more than $200,000 in lost revenue, not to mention the inconvenience t

It's that time of year when masses of people hit the stores to embark on the journey of holiday shopping. For most customers, the biggest concern may be finding the best sale; however, the retailer has to consider much more than just merchandise to keep shoppers satisfied.

The modern retail experience has become about more than just buying products. It's about the feeling the customer gets from being in your store. A brand involves a promise to customers to offer not only a quality product, but also provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. This can be especially challenging during the holiday season, trying to satisfy a large volume of shoppers on a daily basis.

Among the opportunities a retailer has to keep its brand top of mind during the holiday season is the store image itself. This includes all aspects of the facility - from floor to ceiling, roof to door. From the outdoor landscape to the indoor air quality. It's all important. It all creates an impression, and the first impression is often the last one.

In comes the Integrated Facility Management Solutions Provider (I-FM). An I-FM is responsible for the management and maintenance of every retail site nationwide. Not only does an I-FM offer brand consistency across all sites, but they provide retailers a single resource to manage the facilities brand - ensuring that strategic operations goals are met across all sites, critical business factors such as short and long term energy efficiency plans are in place, budgets are fixed and site conditions remain accommodating, comfortable and appropriately lit.

USM (formerly US Maintenance) is among the nation's most trusted integrated facilities maintenance and management providers. Serving 6 out of the top 10 retailers nationwide, USM has developed fully integrated and exterior and interior programs for its more than 200 clients across North America. And during the holiday season, USM maintenance professionals and site specialists are at their most needed.

Aside from hanging interior and exterior holiday displays and creating a comfortable and well light store environment, winter weather is another major factor that requires special attention. Snow and ice can be dangerous to both customers and employees. An example of one such unplanned snow crisis occurred during the past New Year's holiday at one of the nation's largest discount superstores in their Flagstaff, Arizona store. In less than 24 hours, they had to remove more than 30 inches of snow from the site in order to comply with local safety codes. They turned to USM, as the incumbent exterior facilities solution provider, to help sustain a safe environment for customers as well as protect the brand image. Additionally, snow on the roof this deep would have meant temporarily closing the store over the New Year's holiday, which would have cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and potentially significant roof damage.

"Closing their doors would have been detrimental," said Shaun Levenson, Chief Strategy Officer for USM. "If they were to close for one day during the holiday season, it would result in more than $200,000 in lost revenue, not to mention the inconvenience to customers and damage to their reputation."

USM assessed the 100,000 square foot rooftop that was buried in almost three feet of heavy
snow and ice. There were several obstacles to consider to ensure the snow was removed safely without putting customers, employees or USM staff in danger. Weight distribution while removing the snow had to be carefully planned and organized with engineers, or the risk of causing a collapse or damaging the structure was as likely as if the snow was left on the roof.

Experienced project management teams and quick response units mobilized the site within just a few hours. Within 12 hours, more than 75 USM contractors were actively removing snow from the roof. USM also worked with the retailer to identify areas where snow drifts could significantly impact the recorded weight capacity of the roof to ensure these areas were also taken care of.

As a result, the store was able to stay open for shoppers during the New Year's holiday while averting the risk and liability of a total roof collapse. Avoid holiday season meltdown. Take the risk out of the facility management and guarantee a safe, cost-effective and innovative I-FM strategy this year.

For more information please visit usmservices.com.
To see how else snow can impact the holiday shopping season, please visit: http://www.brainshark.com/usmservices/holidayshopping .

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Katy Krause
USM
610-941-4222
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