The mission for this shopping trip was to check off the last few people on my list. Walking through many of the stores in the mall, I was inspired by the crazy behavior of some of the sales people. I figured it would be entertaining for me to share. As a marketer and ex-retail sales person, I couldn’t help but put those 'high heel' shoes on again, but only this time, see it from the customer’s point of view.
As I walked through each store, I took notice of what items were featured, colors available and items that were merchandised together. This customer centric way of thinking is how marketers analyze a potential new product line addition or reach a new type of customer. A skill that I subconciously was practicing when I worked in retail management.
So today I actually did just that, but as a customer. While trying to be stealth about it, I walked through the men’s department with my husband who was looking for clothes for himself. By this time we had completely discarded the mission. But thought it would be entertaining to say the least to share my experience.
Curse of the salesperson plague
Once you pick up an item from a rack a sales person appears (poof!!) “Can I get you a fitting room?“ Well, maybe, but I would like to keep it with me to check if there is something to go with it or sure if you want me to try on one item, that most likely won’t fit because you gave me a second to look at it (or a second to pick it up). Once you are acknowledged, it’s as if all the other sales people have disappeared. After some time, I found a few more items and actually needed to unload so I can check out another area. I see my savior! Another, different sales person and they ask “is someone helping you” I say yes, and before I can ask them to add these items to my room… poof! he is gone. My advice to sales people is that if you want me to buy more don’t treat me like I'm owned by one salesperson, all of your inputs are important to me and you might teach me something new leading to a much larger sale, making your manager and your paycheck very happy.
Abandoned in the fitting room
Ever find yourself in the fitting room and about to try on things and realize... DANG! I picked the wrong size? Now I need help but do not want to get dressed. Then you just wait.. and wait… and wait. You stick your head out and you see the salesperson helping someone else, so you use the wrong size shirt as a flag to get their attention. My advice is "hey! don’t just leave me here; I don’t want to get undressed, dressed and undressed again. Pop in after few minutes in the beginning just to see if I’m ok."
Soldiers manning their post ... (the register post that is)
While standing on line waiting to check out, an elderly woman approached the register. The sales person could not use the open counter since the register was not working on the side she was on. So instead of taking the woman’s bag and carrying to the next register he asked her to walk around with her heavy bags to a working register only to realize someone else was using it. He took it one step further and asked her to walk back (with her heavy bags). This is only part one, it gets better.
Part 2, the woman asked for a certain style of sweater that she wanted for her husband. She spent a good few minutes trying to describe the material, color and pattern. Soon she started using hand gestures to creatively draw out the sweater on the counter with her finger. This was followed by a charades game of how the sweater fits. After her performance the sales person said, “no we don’t have that...”
If the sales person would have walked maybe 10 feet from his register (his post) he would have found a sweater that would atleast look similar... Instead, he performed the return and some unfortunate salesperson was hit with a return commission.
I must say, my trip wasn’t all bad. I must give credit to the women at White House Black Market, the three women were like the three musketeers helping me find items on my checklist. Very attentive. Bravo!
I can order that for you
When you are in a store and you find the item but no size, you ask the salesperson if they have a size in the stockroom. They say “no, but we can order that for you.” OK I get it, it’s the holidays. So you pick up the second best and the same thing happens, no size, only “but we can order that for you.” If the fourth quarter for retailers is the largest money making period, then why not be stocked in store. As an online and in-store shopper, I go to the stores for the shopping experience. If you take away the product then there is less of a desire for me to go.
This is interesting because as I was writing this, a post on my facebook feed had a news article about how traditional retail stores are cannibalizing their own business. This article happens to be about Nordstrom, but it isn’t just them, many brick-and-mortar retailers feel the pressure as well. Seems like they haven’t gotten the omni-channel marketing sorted out yet.
Overall the shopping mission was complete. I was also able to do some research that would help improve the online shopping experience for Stylebar. I would love to hear your great and not-so-great experiences while you were doing your shopping this holiday season!