Wow! I just received my first post-holiday catalog from Pottery Barn and I have to admit, I was impressed. This is the second season I received their catalog where I felt like Pottery Barn had found its footing. they employ a great story, unique colors, interesting fabrics and heavy use of textures which when combined, creates stuff I would actually buy.
That’s the good news. I decided to check out a Pottery Barn store yesterday as I was intrigued by how the catalog would translate into the store. Would I see the catalog come alive, or would it simply be vignettes of newness among the traditional Pottery Barn experience?
The experience? Disappointing. I can’t put it any more simply than that. The store was void of merchandise in general and mired in a post-holiday/early spring purgatory – leftover holiday goods the store was still trying to move mixed with a smattering of new that they were trying to assemble into statements that just didn’t cut it.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Don’t send out invitations until you’re ready to throw the party.
Granted, people shop online and the Pottery Barn catalog was relevant to those people. But this stuff demanded you see, touch, feel and try it prior to buying. And that’s what the store experience is about.
Pottery Barn is driving potential customers to their stores only to give them an experience that doesn’t measure up. In the hurry-up world of retailing, I know they’re trying to get the message out there. But it only disappoints their customer base.
Here are a couple things to take note of in avoiding the trap in your store:
- It’s all about timing. Carefully time catalogs, emails and other communications with your clients so that you’re not overpromising.
- Make it easy for customers and clients. Create displays in your stores to highlight the merchandise you’re featuring in your client communications.
I’m intrigued enough about all the newness at Pottery Barn to check it out again. But I’ll wait a few weeks. I just hope that I won’t wait too long and find the merchandise sold through and I wind up with the same disappointing store experience.