I sent him away

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.

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The “Expert” – Part 2

bigstock-the-words-hello-i-am-an-expert-36518137

This second post on working with experts looks at the customer that perhaps grossly over-estimates their knowledge, is mistaken or is just plain wrong.

Marshall Field supposedly said “The customer is always right.” This is a great way to proceed with your customers unless they are wrong.

In these situation, you can turn to Aleister Crowley and his less famous quote for guidance “The customer is usually wrong but statistics indicate that it doesn’t pay to tell him so.”  So, what do you do when the customer is wrong?  The key when working with pseudo-experts is to be patient, gentle and respectful.

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Is it the end or just a correction?

The former Six Flags Mall in Arlington TX by Timcdfw from WikiCommons

A headline in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer proclaimed  “The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America.”  Quite a dire news story.  While the news is of some concern given the shear number of store closures and the job loses they represent, it does not reflect the end or apocalypse of retail.  Part of the contraction that we are seeing is the continuing trend of shoppers buying on-line: but another significant issue is the glut of retail space.

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Kudos to Freddy’s

I lived most of my life in the Midwest. So when I finally caught up with some friends by moving to the PNW, they excitedly shared their love for Fred Meyer, a regional chain owned by Kroger.  There are amazing places similar to  SuperTarget or Walmart Supercenters.  But truth be told, I really never became a regular customer.

But on our recent road trip, we stopped at a Fred Meyer for some supplies and I was reminded of one thing that I, even someone who has never had children, appreciate in the larger Fred Meyer stores, Freddy’s Playland.

Freddy’s Playland is a drop-off day care offering an hour of free care for children 2 to 5 while their parent(s) do their shopping.  What a great service and something that keeps Fred Meyer customers loyal.  Kudos.

R.I.P. Royal

 

By Pat Ament from WikiCommons

Royal Robbins passed away Tuesday in Modesto CA.

Robbins was a one of the climbers from the Golden Age of Yosemite climbers.  In 1968, he and his wife Liz Burkner opened Royal Robbins Mountain Shop in Modesto and later created the  clothing company that also bore his name.

I had the chance to meet Royal at a trade show in the 1980s.  It was his humble nature during our meeting that reminds me that in retailing it is not about you but it is about the customer.  Rest in peace Royal.

What is the word for “Unhello” ?

Pavel Krok

A 20-something man wearing an Oregon Ducks t-shirt, a young mother pushing a running stroller wearing yoga pants, a 50-something guy shorts and a button down shirt and a teenager in a letter jacket walk into a store.  Kind of sounds like a joke.  Unfortunately, it is not.

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I miss Steve

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.

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Kit and Ace – a closure with class

Version 2

Unlike the “For Lease” sign from the landlord or a hastily scribbled note taped to the door, when Kit and Ace closed their pop-up shop in Portland they left a strong message.  On the shop window was a professionally printed poster with the message that they had accomplished their mission.  During their short lease, they connected with the community, tested things out, collected feedback and hoped to stay in touch, for now, through their website.  Nicely done.