Case Study: How Hudson Connects 80+ Retail Locations with Beekeeper

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stores across North America
new stores opened over
nationalities represented

Walk through any airport in the United States or Canada and you’ll likely see a store owned and operated by Hudson, a subsidiary of the global travel retail company Dufry. It all began in 1987 with the first Hudson News in LaGuardia Airport. Now, Hudson is one of the leading travel retailers with over 1,000 travel convenience, specialty retail, duty free, and food and beverage destinations in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks, and tourist destinations. The company also operates locations for partner brands, like Dunkin’.

Hudson has a large frontline workforce in more than 80 locations across North America. Connecting with a team this size and sharing important information, such as product introductions, is a top priority. For operations executives like Dan Fordyce, who oversee entire regions, connecting with teams meant that he was taking monthly trips to see his employees face-to-face. But it was hard to stay connected between visits and keep everyone aligned and engaged since frontline teams do not have company email addresses.

  • Disconnected Workforce communication strategy did not align with frontline needs
  • Information Overload a wide variety of products for associates to keep track of
  • Top-down Communication frontline employees have limited opportunity to communicate with management
  • Engaged Teams using a mobile platform that connects all workers
  • Product Info at Employees’ Fingertips better customer service with product knowledge sharing
  • Two-Way Communication employees can give feedback and share input across teams

Improving Employee Engagement for a Better Customer Experience

In 2018, Hudson launched a pilot program with Beekeeper at two airports — JFK and Seattle-Tacoma — and at its corporate office in New Jersey to enhance employee engagement.

Hudson’s goals included:

1. Reach and connect with Hudson’s entire workforce
2. Boost employee engagement
3. Allow employees to share information with one another
4. Improve product knowledge company-wide

After experiencing success at these pilot locations, Hudson rolled out Beekeeper across the United States and Canada, getting buy-in from managers at every store to encourage widespread adoption among the company’s frontline workers. Today, Beekeeper is the mobile collaboration tool across the entire organization. With Beekeeper, Hudson strengthened its existing communication strategy to engage its workforce and deliver a superior customer experience.

“From an in-store operations standpoint, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of success with employees sharing product knowledge and new product launches. Our employees are excited about what we’re doing as an organization.” Daniel Fordyce, Regional Vice President of Operations, Hudson

Aligning employees across North America under one corporate umbrella is a hefty task, but that’s exactly what Hudson has done.

With Beekeeper, they created a single point of contact for every employee at every level of the organization, strengthening two-way communication. Hudson went from top-down communication to bottom-up, bridging the communication gap between frontline employees and executives.

Beekeeper’s mobile collaboration platform has been instrumental in creating a channel for peer-to-peer communication. In addition to its location streams, Hudson developed an “Employee Voice Stream,” which is open to every employee in North America. Now frontline workers at Hudson can communicate on Beekeeper, sharing valuable information and celebrating successes together.

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Diversity and Inclusion
inclusive communication with inline translation
Adaptable and Resilient
maintaining operations during challenging times
Empowered Workforce
turning employees into product experts

70 different nationalities are represented in Hudson’s workforce. Beekeeper allows everyone to communicate in their preferred language with the inline translation feature, supporting the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Hudson carries a wide range of products, including food and beverages, books, newspapers, magazines, accessories, electronics, and more. The company uses Beekeeper to share product knowledge and product launch information, allowing employees to access up-to-date information when they need it. This enables their associates to provide a better customer experience and be the Traveler’s Best Friend: Hudson’s commitment to delivering superior service. 

When travel plummeted by 96% compared to the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was well-equipped to adapt quickly across the organization

Despite the disruption, retail companies actually accelerated their digital transformation. In fact, one estimate shows that retailers invested in three years’ worth of digital technology in only six months. Hudson was no exception. 

Hudson was prepared to adapt to the changing retail landscape and accelerate its own digital transformation. According to the company’s 2020 Year In Review, “Thanks in part to a strong information architecture, each of Hudson’s digital innovations were implemented organization-wide extremely quickly.”

During the pandemic Hudson was able to:

  • Accelerate the roll-out of self-checkout stations across the country
  • Launch its first Hudson Nonstop store using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology
  • Quickly implement “Tap to Pay” and “Scan, Bag & Go” options for customers
  • Install PPE vending machines to help keep travelers safe

Now, Beekeeper is an integral part of the day-to-day operations for Hudson.

Their employees use Beekeeper for:

  • Employee recognition
  • Schedule sharing
  • Collaboration
  • Real-time travel and weather alerts
  • Training teams on product knowledge and launches
  • Peer-to-peer communication
  • Staying up-to-date with important company initiatives and programs