I walked into a well-known national apparel store for men and women the other day and had a miserable experience. I walked into their sister store (another brand) the next day and had the same experience.
What’s going on with these stores? Is it symptomatic of the caliber of employee, a lack of training, a lack of management, all of the above?
But here’s the key “don’ts” I experience that you can apply to your business.
Don’t treat the area behind the cash wrap as a dump – Not only was there the pile of clothes that needed to be put away, but a collection of junk in general. This is the last impression customers have as they leave your store. The cashier had to go through piles of stuff to find the articles of clothing that were put aside for me. Bad taste in mouth? You bet.
Don’t act like you care when you don’t, because I can tell you don’t care – common courtesy dictates you ask how someone’s day is going. But in this store, it’s just another example of the ruling class of robo-salespeople. It comes across as disingenuous. How hard is it to act like you care? If all you can muster is mock-friendliness, you shouldn’t work in retail.
Don’t help me, then disappear – I had tried on a couple shirts that I wanted to buy but the sizes weren’t on the sales floor (problem number one). She did offer to go in the back to find them for me. As I walked out of the changing room, the associate was nowhere to be found. I wandered through the rest of the store shopping by myself. What happened to that spirit where they used to help you shop, piling up more and more items and therefore piling up more sales? Not there anymore.
Don’t make your sale area look like a bargain basement – Everyone loves a sale. But when it looks like a tornado’s ripped through that part of the store, it’s time to tidy up. The eaiser you make it to shop your sale area, the more you’re going to sell. At a minimum, group things by size. The best case scenario is to group by style and size so customers can go right to what they like, grab it, and buy it.
Don’t sell fragrance and then not promote it – By now, every apparel retailer is in the fragrance game. They make perfume, cologne, candles and diffusers. And the big hulking fixture that houses those things looks as bad as the sale area. It’s disorganized and looms near the cash wrap – close enough but out of reach. Not one is going to visit it where it’s placed. And in fact, no one did. If you’re going to be in the fragrance game, you should embrace it, not make it an afterthought.
Don’t force your credit card on me after I say no – They asked me if I wanted to save an additional 15% by using my store branded credit card (I don’t have one). I said no. They asked me if I had one. I said no. They asked me if I wanted to apply for one. I said no. They reminded me I could save 15% on purchases that day. I said no.