West Monroe teamed up with a local non-profit organization to develop and advise on a merchandising and retail operations strategy to drive sales, and increase fundraising.

The Challenge 

Despite creative and impactful educational programming, retail talent, focus, and experience was absent

Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute (MOI) planned to move to a newly renovated location in late 2018, which would include a storefront to sell MOI merchandise and student works. The previous MOI “store” offered an assortment of student published works and MOI branded items, but it did not take advantage of a full assortment of products that would appeal to their target consumer demographic.

Additionally, MOI did not have the process rigor and system capability to provide key insights that would offer historical trends and inform forecasted sales to maximize revenue.

The objective was to employ an intentional and holistic retail strategy to generate revenue and profitability through the retail store.

The Solution 

A holistic approach to drive fundraising through retail sales

West Monroe assessed the retail environment for MOI and developed an approach through the phases laid out in figure 1.

OE oceanographic case study pic

The Impact 

Projected improvements

Through market research, interviews, and financial analysis, West Monroe recommended that MOI selectively increase their assortment in books and novelty items (approximately ~30 SKUs) through a semiannual transition cycle to balance inventory risk and product relevance. West Monroe’s action plan provided visibility into previously blind inventory purchases and sales forecasts to meet fundraising goals. West Monroe also facilitated a review of the current assortment of MOI-branded items to identify opportunities to rebrand MOI merchandise with its unique and quirky humor. Guidelines around retail operations and system best methods will enable foundational elements, and improved data insights will direct future forecasts and increased sales.

“We’re in great hands (with West Monroe); I love seeing the momentum we’re gaining.”

- Matt Mithun, MOI Board Member

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