While purchasing a new piece of cookware at William-Sonoma, I was invited to join their rewards program, The Key. The cashier turned to another employee and asked how to enroll the person on the register so that the customer does not have to go through the hassle of using the small and glitchy keypad. ANT
I stopped by WIlliams-Sonoma on Sunday to make a purchase. After the transaction, the cashier bagged my item then stopped around from behind the counter to hand me my bag. ANT.
Walking through the mall today, I stopped into a store. Not that I was looking for anything in particular, it was just that I had not visited this store recently. As I crossed the threshold, I was spotted by the friendly and vigilant salesperson who quickly shouted out a “Welcome in” greeting. Not in the mood to talk with any clerks, I boded and smiled then turned in the other direction trying to signal that I appreciated the greeting but I wanted to be left alone.
Much to my surprise, the salesperson had hustled around to get in front of me and once again extend their greeting. The conversation went something like this.
“Thanks, I heard you the first time.”
“Can I help you find anything today?”
“No, I just came in to kick around.” I hoped that would signal to leave me be. At this point I was getting a bit annoyed. He was friendly and attentive which I could appreciate but he was attentive to a fault.
“That’s fantastic. Feel free to look around.”
“Thanks, I will.” Great, I thought I would finally be able to wander in peace.
“Just so you know, almost everything in the store is on sale.” (I had gathered that by all the signs, toppers and the easel at the entry way providing me with that same information.)
“Thanks, I will just want to look around.”
“That’s fine…Actually all of our winter wear is up to 60% off.”
I did not respond and just continued walking away.
“Okay then,” he responded, “I will just let you look around.”
Ah, the magic words. All I came in for was to walk around and check things out AND finally, it appeared I would be allowed to wander in peace. But NO.
“I will check back with you.” After which I shot him a glare that I hoped would tell him that I would prefer to be left alone. Not able to leave well enough alone, he added, “My name is _______ if you need anything you can track me down.”
Now I understand that they were just trying to make me feel welcome and more than likely they were possibly trained or coached to be persistent in offering service. But clearly this salesperson did not recognize that I needed and wanted to be left alone. It appears that they felt obligated to say all the things as if getting through a script will aid in sales.
Annoying customers will never aid in conversion and increasing transaction size.
Having spoiled the mode for my visit, I made a shortened loop of the store and headed out the door. Amazingly, I was not offered a farewell.
It had been some time since I had visited a Disney Store so when I passed by one the other day I had to stop in.
I wandered through the store checking out how the Star Wars brand has been woven into the Disney merchandising, listening in on customer interactions and observing the joy that the customers exhibited in visiting a little slice of the happiest place on Earth. Finally, I ended my explorations at the back of the store drawn towards a small crowd gathered there. There were a dozen people around plush mountain watching the video wall on the back of the store.
He was timid, reserved and soft-spoken. We have all run across this type of customer before. It’s challenging to get them to warm up to you, they can be slow to offer information and they can even be hard to hear.
I greeted him and asked him what brought him into the store today. A rather defensive “I just came in to look” was his response. So I told him to look around and that I would check back in a few minutes if he ran across any questions and then I set off to help others who had just entered the store.
As I circled back to him after a few minutes, it was clear to me that he that he truly was looking for something specific as he studied the hang tags and pulled garments off racks to look at. It seems that he had needed some time to decompress and check things out on his own terms when he first entered our store. I re-approached him.
I will admit that I do not buy as much music as I used to. Part of it may be my age. Part of it may be the availability of music from other sources (Amazon Prime on Echo). Part of it may be that I listen almost exclusively to NPR when I am driving near home.
But one of the main reasons is that I have lost touch with Steve. Steve was not an old friend or a work colleague. He was not a music reporter for some hip website, publication or YouTube channel. No, Steve was just an employee of a record shop I used to frequent in Seattle, Silver Platters, at their old South Center location. I didn’t really know Steve. In fact the time that I ever spoke with him was when he happened to be the cashier that rang up my purchases at the front counter.
Even though we exchanged few words, he did communicate with me and significantly influenced my musical tastes and my purchases. You see Silver Platters used to have a display located at the front of the store that featured music that the staff members were listening to. Over time, I came to realize that of all the staff members, Steve had musical tastes that paralleled mine the closest. If Steve recommended a cd (this was the early 00s), I would buy it. I was never disappointed. I miss Steve and his musical recommendations.
Yamhill Street was a river as downtown Portland was hit with a deluge yesterday morning.
Looking for a place to duck out of the rain, I entered the Nordstrom store. There, as always appear during rainstorms was the umbrella bag dispenser.
It is the little things.
At every specialty shop that we made purchases in while traveling in Europe, we noticed one common practice. I call it “the walk around.”
When the cashier or salesperson completes the transaction and after they have carefully wrapped or bag your new purchase, the they take the item and walk around from behind the counter. Once facing you, they thank you for your business and then carefully pass the package to you. This is a great way to show the value they place on you and your purchase.
I posted about this last month when I saw the same practice at Nordstrom. Walk it around
I think this is a practice that specialty shops and premium stores should copy.
I spotted this on a recent visit to Macy’s. The vending machine was located next to the men’s wear department. The machine contained a variety of small electronics and accessories.
It seems like an interesting way to increase assortment and profitability without requiring the store to have knowledgable staff to sell the items. I imagine a third-party service maintains the machines.
Making a return is not something that most people look forward to at a retail store. Making a return means that you failed at your earlier attempt to successfully buy something. Maybe it didn’t meet your needs, it was the wrong size or color, it did not fit or you just didn’t like it. Making the return is usually inconvenient and certainly takes time and effort. So, why do stores make it worse than it has to be?