Let’s turn a difficult time into an opportunity and let struggling clothing retailers know what we, the customers, want them to understand in order to keep us around. It is time to rethink your stores.
Every day begins with a new headline as one of our favorite retailers declares bankruptcy and is forced with shutting down locations. The list gets longer and longer and began before the pandemic. I can just imagine the conversations taking place in their boardrooms but hope they might listen to those of us who consider spending money either in store, online, or with them at all.
HERE IS ONE EXAMPLE
In San Antonio, Stein Mart has traditionally done well and been a favorite stop of many of my friends. However, I was not surprised to see them enter the trouble area recently. Their stores, merchandising, and merchandise began to change in recent years, and more and more of us stopped shopping.
You are looking at pictures I recently took at a nearby location because I was so surprised at what I was looking at. The black sweatshirt at the end of the rack in the first photo is just that…a black sweatshirt with pieces of fabric tacked to it.
Throughout the store, you see no clear direction of the type of women they are targeting. That was not always the case. I heard they wanted to target younger women, but when I look at the clothing, I do not think younger women would want to be see in it.
They got rid of the department that the majority of us over 50 ladies liked…The Boutique. Which was more of a casual chic style. They also made the accessory area smaller and that is where I spent most of my time when I stopped by. The store is cluttered and not easy to navigate. It is a great example of a confused leadership that has no idea what to do.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE RETAILERS TO CONSIDER
Here are the key points I would like the retailers to know, and I encourage you to put your ideas in the comments below…because I think we all want to see our favorite brick and mortar locations stick around.
- If your local and state government allows dressing rooms to be open, then do what it takes to open them. I am not spending time or money at places where there are no dressing rooms available. (I hope Marshall’s and Kohls are listening in San Antonio)
- Make sure your store is inviting…clean, organized, with fashion displays (unlike the ones in this post) which help me to visualize ways to wear what you are selling. It also helps to add touches of the décor that is seasonal and makes your store warm and cozy and inviting. (Chicos, Talbots and Soft Surroundings do this well)
- Don’t try to be all things to all women…decide your targets and go for them. If a department store, then have areas of the store which serve the different target audiences. (Dillard’s does this well)
- Learn lessons from small businesses…be more personable and train your employees to give great customer service no matter the price points of your business. Treat all customers as if they are potentials to return to your department when you are there. Contact them when there is merchandise you know they might look for….offer a service, not just a body.
- Turn your store into a place where women can gather and learn from seminars, fashion shows, and speakers. Make it a place your customer longs to go by on a regular basis.
- Think more about the needs women have in this new world and not just about what the fashion industry says. I recently read an article from Cosmopolitan about the Fall Fashion Trends. I do not know many everyday women (of most ages) who would wear anywhere the trends in that article. It is time to listen to focus groups and not to the pages of fashion magazines.
If you do not want women to just order online constantly, then fight for the customers. If you continue to operate status quo, then sadly more of your audience will stay away. As we discover vaccines and more customers are willing to shop again, you need to do something that communicates you are still in the game and you want us there…to serve us.
These are all things that traditionally kept women going to stores, and I believe it is time to return to the basics. It will take managers and leaders who have excitement for the future and see there are opportunities…especially with the over 50 group.
I truly hope this post will be shared with retail professionals and desire that it make a difference, so please voice your opinion as well. What do you wish to say to those in the industry about shopping in-store? If you are not ever going to return, then tell them why and if things need to change for your return, then tell them what.
I do enjoy shopping online, and, of course, have links for you today….but there is just something about in-store shopping the way it was that is so enjoyable. I would love to see it return with engaging atmosphere and exceptional customer service. If there are going to be fewer locations, then make them truly special! Maybe things will never return to what they were…but I want to believe they can and that I made an effort to help.
Thoughts anyone? Thank you for being here…let’s see if we can make a difference.
A FEW OF THE CLOTHING RETAILERS I LOVE TO SUPPORT: (Shopping through these links supports this blog…thank you!)
JUST A NOTE:
There are several ways that I generate income through this blog in order to cover business expenses and give myself much needed income. Purchases through the slideshow links is one way, ads on the page is one way and a new way is through ordering or re-ordering Juice Plus+ whole food capsules. Please read my story and information HERE.
ADD SOME APPLE CIDER!
Another way is through ordering or re-ordering the GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar gummies through me with my GOLI LINK HERE. Again, if you are not familiar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, you should speak with your personal physician. My husband and I are sold on the benefits and I am proud to represent this product. I am going to leave this at the bottom of my posts so that when you, friends or family would like to order you can use my link. Thanks for the support. This is a great product; as well as, the ones below!
MY COMPLEXION LOVES CHAMONIX…MY ESTHETICIAN SAYS MY SKIN IS SUPER TIGHT!
By Pamela Lutrell