Two East High students will be traveling to Indianapolis on Sunday to compete with students from schools in Missouri and Minnesota in the 2014 Finish Line Challenge.
Jocelyn Galicia and Anna Farmer, both juniors and members of the school’s DECA business club, are one of three groups of finalists in the competition.
Sponosored by DECA and athletic shoe and apparel retailer Finish Line Inc., competitors were asked to research and analyze the company’s “omni-channel” strategy and customer service through mobile devices, the Web, social media, print media and in-store experiences. The East High duo will compete against high school students from Clinton, Mo., and Lakeville, Minn.
The students put together their findings in a 10-minute YouTube video.
Galicia and Farmer estimated they spent about 70 hours putting together their research and analysis, which included interviewing people, conducting surveys and producing the video.
They said they surveyed 100 East students about Finish Line’s website and social media activitiy, interviewed 42 customers coming out of Finish Line stores on the city’s east and west sides and interviewed managers and employees of local Finish Line stores as well as staff members at its competitors, Footlocker and Champs.
Among their recommendations to Finish Line:• More tweets using humor.
• More tweets offering customers deals.
• More marketing that targets women.
• Creation of apps for mobile devices.
• Tweaking customer service at retail stores.
Their interviews of store customers revealed one had left the store because she had not been greeted, and another said the salesperson looked annoyed when the customer asked to see a particular shoe.
When they get to Indianapolis, Galicia and Farmer will get to make their presentation to Finish Line executives, who will select a winner.
“They obviously said something” that got Finish Line leaders’ attention, said Shanna Zimmerman, East business teacher and DECA adviser.
Galicia said she entered the competition with the intention of winning it all. She originally enlisted Farmer, her friend and classmate, for “moral support.”
Galicia said she also talked Farmer into joing DECA, saying, “It’s not going to be hard. You won’t have to put much time into it.”
Farmer said she plans to study marketing in college, while Galicia plans to pursue a business degree.
Zimmerman said the girls don’t get any academic credit for participating in DECA or the competition, although they can use their work as a substitute for one assignment in her business class.
Zimmerman said she submitted three student entries for this year’s competition. She also said that East has produced finalists in the competition for three of its five years in existence. In the third year of the competition, East students won the competition, Zimmerman said.
She said she will be traveling with Galicia and Farmer. Finish Line pays for their travel, lodging and food.
As finalists, Galicia and Farmer each get to pick out a pair of shoes at Finish Line’s marquee store in Indianapolis.
“I’ve had the principal and the vice principals give me their shoe sizes,” Galicia said, laughing.