Friday, December 30, 2011

Customer Service. retail practice for 2012

Customer service will be the hot button in retail for 2012. 

As our dollar shifts and consumers have trepidation on buying non-essentials, retail tries more and more to appease the customer. This means more often than not - banging out constant sales and low prices to reach a price focused customer.  Not saying price focused is a bad word, hell - This Christmas I reached deep into my psyche for DIY gifts and ways I can get more holiday bang for my buck.

 Stores that pump out sales that 2/fers 3/fers and whatever else in "buy x get y more" are often selling consumers mediocre items. And usually- these items are final sale, either selling off sale or old merchandise or trying to bank out a quarter. Whatever the reason a store will define its success post-sale on the level of customer service. The after affect, the "awesome buy' glow.. This is the moment that the customer will decide if that shop will only be fast-food type merchandise, inexpensive however poor of quality; Or the high end quality shops that sales that seem to have great value. Once this cognitive decision happens, a retailer must follow up with customer service. 

Globally, spending habits have changed and we seem to be gripping our pocketbooks just a wee bit tighter to weather the storm. That does not mean however, that cheap sales mean that the product or store should adopt the cheap attitude. Just because we buy it at an inexpensive price, do not allow the customer service to be lousy, this only repeats that the store is souless atmosphere, doomed to sell at discounted prices forever. Clients need to be coaxed a bit, but gosh darn-it someone will be more likely to buy a high margin, or full priced garment if the store looks and feels high end, making the a sale that more valuable. 

How do we do this, you may ask? Sale times are insane, I know this- I mean... I have had to re-merch an Old Navy after boxing day sale. ( YIKES.

  • Perhaps the database most stores collect can be doubled as mailing addresses, printed cards with a "hope you found some great scores this sale season, can't wait till you see our Spring line" or " Thank you for shopping with us this Holiday Season" 
  • Create customer accounts for the regulars, the clients you will love something- let them know! Don't stalk their facebook of hog their cellphone- a simple email will suffice. 
  • Go that extra step. Does not fit? Rip or damaged? Retailer; you should help the client until satisfied. Spend the time looking for another size at another store and ship it. Eat the expense, that client will acknowledge how you made them feel, trust your experience and recommend you.
  • I know, it may seem crazy- But a "hello, or welcome" acknowledging a shopper without throwing sale knowledge at them at first step. Also, a " thank you" or "goodbye" is a simple, no brainer way solidify that "shopping glow" moment. 

while it may seem simple reading this- you will be shocked at how many stores do not adopt this customer focused policy any more. The air' has shifted  to the client being the one who must do the dirty work, where the policies have become so tight and ridgid consumers are tickled pink when a 15 year old goes an extra mile by calling another store for a replacement- rather than just handing you a phone number. 

starting to sound familiar? 

Make Customer Service the very first policy you have in place as a retailer in 2012, your sales will thank you! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Great Sale windows from the vault

As we, around the world cram for last minute gifts ( me included ) and begin to settle in for holiday fun, friends and family-- Please take head; Dec 26 marks Boxing day, and the craziness that is JANUARY SALE'S. Here is a look at some fabulous SALE display ideas of years past.
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Check this out from Fenwick's UK store. Big, loud & proud letters. Simple message with some minor details like mannequins dressed and a quick touch of cling. Well executed. This image is also really cute- love the letters again, even if it may be in a smaller window, I would say that this almost creates a higher impact. 

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 This display has some serious "wow" to it, perfect composition & the tie into candy canes and christmasy things is great
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On the flip side of large letters taking over windows- this display captures a simple, clean and modest vibe yet presenting SALE in a pretty way. had painted letters backed onto brown paper are suspended along a twine clothes line.. exuding a bit of thriftiness within this store. 

GOODMORNING! thats all i can think of when looking at this method os "SALE"ing windows. Lots of signage- no bust forms, manns or props. Just SALE. I think this message is pretty clear. Does it make me want to go in? not sure. But kudos on tell me me what kind of sale!

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This roots display is awesome- professional and inspiring. Lots of visual impact with no big bold red letters, no crazy busy window displays... The tidy appearance and soft, neutral colour palate is welcoming and it has 3 main areas the eye looks at. Center- the literature or info of the store, and creating both balance and focus the circles ( hoola hoops or decals..) draw your eye to the sale aprons of the store staff and back down to the boxes of sale merchandise. 

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This is from Stella McCartney via The window shopper.. its not necessarily a winter or boxing week theme- but fun none the less. Using over sized LEGO, the word "sale" is built with some gorgeous garments that surround it. This idea could be easily translated using toys or holiday colours for a January vibe. .. Or hell- maybe its a great way to remind clients that your store has the best is cruise & vacation wear sales.