Case Study: AAFES


Outdoor Living Buying Team

Virtual Producer Station

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a team of dedicated people committed to increasing the value of the Exchange benefit while continuing to give back to the military community. They have proudly served America’s armed forces since 1895. Our focus has been on delivering quality goods and services at competitively low prices with superior service. At war and in peacetime, the Exchange provides Soldiers and Airmen with the services and merchandise they need to make their lives more comfortable. The Exchange also maintains services and support to family members and troops back home.

One hundred percent of Exchange earnings support the military community. Roughly two-thirds support Quality-of-Life programs critical to maintaining force readiness and resiliency, including Army Child Development Centers, Youth Services and fitness centers, Air Force Outdoor Recreation and more. In the past 10 years (2006-2016), the Exchange distributed more than $2.4 billion to these programs.

By the Numbers:

Facilities:   2,700

Countries:   36

Employees:   34,000

 The Challenge

The Exchange maintains a large workforce across the entire world that sells an extended inventory from electronics, to clothing, to outdoor living tools and supplies.  Sales associate product and program knowledge is critical to the organizations success.  To educate a geographically dispersed sales team proved logistically challenging and expensive with traditional tradeshow and demonstration style training.

The Buying Teams decided to virtualize the yearly sales training programs by utilizing Adobe Connect to allow the Vendor Representatives direct access the the sales associates to introduce new products, sales promotion programs and take live question and answer sessions.  Each session as recorded for any associates that could not attend in person.

Vendors presented three times, morning, mid-day and evening to coincide with the Europe, CONUS and AsiaPac time zones.  The vendor’s assigned buyers were also on the session to address any Exchange specific questions related to the vendor product and promotions.

Now in its third year of implementation, the results have been exceptional.  In addition to the top line travel cost savings, the direct access from vendor to sales associate has proved a much more direct retention of the information and the foundation of store-vendor relations.  The virtual strategy puts the right information in the hands of on-the-floor salespeople, with a minimum disruption in their normal work flow.

Planning for 2018 is under way.