Wardrobe Consulting Logo

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Is What I Know to Be True

I recently had a discussion with my marketing person over something she finds aggravating, as well curious to better understand. She was out of town and took some time to shop for herself, as she was in Atlanta working at the GA Music Awards. She hit the two big malls - Phipps and Lenox in Buckhead, and ended up at Atlantic Station. If you haven't ever had the opportunity to shop Atlanta and enjoy shopping, I would recommend a road trip. As for Jeannie, I was thrilled she took the time to have that experience herself, although I think deep down she enjoys shopping and would never admit it to me!

The first store she went into was a chain, but lends itself to more of a boutique feel. She commented that the store had only sizes 0-4 on the racks, but most of the women shopping in the store were closer to size 8 and 10. If you were interested in a garment then you needed to ask the salesperson and she would look in back. There are few boutiques in the Triangle that do that same thing. What are they thinking? Jeannie thinks it's some kind of obligation thing, as if having to go in the back will obligate the shopper in some way and make them feel like they should buy. Her response, and probably most women's, is to not bother and move on to another store.

When I started my business over twenty years ago, my clients were predominately size 8-10. The average size American was a size 14 at the time, and has gone up steadily since then.

I have several questions and statements to address what I call "The Snobbery Effect":

1. What is the actual goal of only putting a few sizes out? Limited space or pretending the shop is something it isn't. For crying out loud - really?!? Personally, if they are trying to make me feel bad about my size, then mission accomplished. Actually I take that back, it's the store with the problem, not me. I wonder if there is a fashion conspiracy that I'm just not aware of.

2. If a store doesn't have the space to put out a full size run, then put out every other size, but make sure you show your largest size. The salesperson in the store should make sure the priority is to not only greet the customer, but immediately explain that additional sizes are in back. I have met many women over the years who hate shopping, and having to find a salesperson to ask about a size is one of many complaints about what a hassle shopping can be. What about working to make it easy to purchase?

3. Lastly, shopping should be a positive experience and not something that makes you question if your size is available in a store. Look - you know your weight and size, and if that is an issue for you and you are shopping in a boutique store that only puts out small sizes, then save yourself heartache and don't support it. Remember the chain 5-7-9? Don't go there if you're an 11, because they actually make a point of stating what they carry, unlike what Jeannie experienced.

With limited time and a lot of shopping options, Jeannie was pretty turned off by the boutique and off she went. She wandered into Dillard's, where rack space and sales help was plentiful. Ahhh.... a positive shopping experience. The racks actually had a complete size run. Imagine that! Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is a department store and yes, there is more room. But the complaint was not that there was too much product! Jeannie did have success between the selection and the incredible deals. 

On the flip side, have you ever been in a store where you can't even move a hanger on the rack? This is equally frustrating. I have had the experience a time or two where several items have fallen to the floor and I have picked them up and actually either deposited it onto another rack or at a service desk. That makes it tough, too. I get that there is sometimes so much merchandise at the beginning of the sale and not enough rack space, but then space it out. Over-full racks don't help shoppers shop. In my previous career as a store manager for a mom and pop chain up North, I spent hours working on merchandising. My goal was always to make the rack as visually appealing as possible, along with shopable! Boy, I loved that constant challenge.

SO...a final call to all boutiques who put out a very limited size run - please explain your logic. I see it only in a few stores in Raleigh, but I do want to understand the philosophy of sparse empty racks with few sizes and how that makes us feel.

From my rack to yours-

No comments :

Post a Comment

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn