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Posts from the ‘STAR SERVICE ★’ Category

Generally Speaking

TECHNOLOGY TRAPS

It’s a commonly held belief that technology has greatly enhanced our daily shopping experiences. Case studies often site Gucci or Burberry as examples of fashion brands that have been able to successfully incorporate social media and in-store technology platforms, in conjunction with our prolific use of smart phones to offer consumers a more enjoyable and seamless experience. Generally speaking, (as in this case) the majority of fashion retailers appear to be struggling in their attempts to incorporate tablets and other devices into their sales ceremony. It’s fairly safe to say that my interaction at the Bondi Beach GENERAL PANTS store this week was a definite example of when technology goes wrong.

For 2OPINIONATED followers who don’t live in Australia – General Pants Co is a multi-branded youth retailer with 47 stores Australia wide.

Allow me to set the scene for you. I was with a girlfriend who lives overseas and we were en- route to one of her favourite Bondi shopping destinations TUCHUZY. Walking past the General Pants window below my friend, THE TRAVELING STYLISTA noticed that they were having a promotion on Cheap Monday, having already bought the brand before she was  keen to pick up a replacement pair of jeans.

2014-08-07 11.00.22

 

So at first blush…. it seems like a positive interaction…consumers (in this case a fairly qualified lead) respond to the current promotional activity and as a result head in-store to explore . The Traveling Stylista went off in search of some denim and I started to play with the kiosk station pictured below.

Grid 2

There were two staff members on the floor at the time and we were the only customers in the store. One staff member was unpacking stock at the back of the store and was largely uninterested in assisting us. The other was deep in conversation with a friend in the doorway of the shop. As she chatted endlessly with her chum I thought I would check out how this savvy retailer was incorporating technology platforms in their stores.

In my browsing I was able to view the Cheap Monday promotion, visit the full General Pants website, see staff from other stores and also upload and post up an image of myself in the store. All in all, interactions one would imagine were designed to make me feel like a fully qualified member of the General Pants Community.

I would have spent at least 5 minutes by myself playing on the tablet and then at the conclusion of her socialising I was finally officially greeted by a staff member. Here’s where the experience gets interesting or disappointing as the case may be.

Traditionally retailers have used swing tags and in-stores displays to be the ‘silent salesperson’ to assist customers in making their purchases and these days tablets are increasingly taking the place of these tools. Used effectively technology can:

  • support the sales staff
  • educate the consumer
  • enhance the customer experience
  • increase customer engagement
  • or simply entertain

…they should never be, (as in this case) viewed as a substitute for actual customer service !

On seeing me using the device this staff member saw it as an opportunity to ignore me rather than use this interaction as a tool the further engage me. What a wasted opportunity! Rather than direct our conversation away from the usual boring remarks on the weather or asking if I ‘had the day off today’ there was an opportunity to create something more meaningful and potentially much more fun. Tablets are a fantastic way to assist staff in effectively telling the brand story and a clear way of differentiating their offering from that of their competitors.

These days retail is all about entertainment…the stores are our new stages. This particular entertainer could have easily chosen to use this ‘prop’ to more effectively engage me by simply asking one of the following questions;

  1. ‘Have you used the kiosks in our stores before’?
  2. ‘Can I show you my favourite photo/top/feature on the General Pants site’?
  3. ‘Have you bought online from us before’?
  4. ‘Make sure you follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with our latest promotions and deliveries’
  5. ‘ Why don’t we take a photo together and post it up to the site’

Any of these questions would have made me want to linger longer in the store and the longer a customer lingers in your store the more likely they are to make a purchase. In the current competitive environment consumer expectations are high and if you want a customer to spend money in a physical store these days your sales staff need to be more than merely cashiers.

During this time my friend had gone into the change room. The jeans were not available in any of the 3 colour ways in her size (she’s a pretty standard size). Given that this was the key promotion for General Pants this week this is clearly a sign of poor planning. Rather than walk my friend over to the station and show her how to order the jeans on the tablet the staff member suggested my friend visit another store (with no actual offer of calling the store to check if they were available before sending us there).

The screenshot below is from the General Pants website and it really indicates the missed opportunity here;

  1. Firstly, had we been alerted to the fact that we could order the jeans in the store itself the jeans would have been shipped that day…for free even! It would have been a quick easy transaction that would have saved us time and we would have appreciated the tip.
  2. Secondly, General Pants ships internationally. My friend had already indicated to the sales staff that she lives overseas. She lives in Asia where sizing is small and she is always looking for new retailers who will ship there. In communicating this fact the staff could have created a profitable ongoing relationship between General Pants and my friend.
  3. Thirdly, my friend is an avid social media user. Living in Asia, she has over 21, 000 followers on Facebook alone. She regularly buys items as a result of social media posts and always shares her selections with her followers.

GP screen Shot

 

 

I may be calling out General Pants on this issue but the reality is that this problem is widespread in Australian. They way sales staff approach customers in store has not evolved in the way the sales process itself has. Consumers can now access your brand on several different platforms but sales staff are still measured on the performance of their individual stores and there is therefore no incentive for them to assist you in building a stronger relationship with the organisation as whole.

I have a  background in retail training – so it’s no surprise that 9 times out of 10 my solution to any problem like this would be additional staff training. But the fact of the matter is that the sales process has evolved dramatically over the past few years. We used to train sales staff to “close’ the sale but these days you never want to “close” the sale. So rather than “closing the sale’ retailers need to train their staff to be capable of building an ongoing relationship with consumers on as many platforms as possible and in this instance the General Pants sales staff lacked the skills in which to do this. Consumers are obviously capable of looking up the General Pants site and finding their Instagram account themselves but its much more powerful and compelling to be walked through this process by an enthusiastic staff member and why not use the technology tools in-store to actually guarantee the sale? The right training would allow the General Pants staff to view these devices not just as visual merchandising but rather as a tool to assist them in reaching their sales targets.

Community Gp

The in-store tablets and their website ask you for your #INSTA OPINION. So here goes…for the crew at the Bondi Beach store my 2OPINIONATED opinion on this #generalpants interaction is that it gets the THUMBS DOWN !

Thumbs down 2

 

A 2OPINIONATED RATING OF – Powerless ★ ★

 HANNAH BROOKS

Bridal wars…We’ve lost that loving feeling

Have you ever lost your will to shop..

Has someone ever taken this precious gift from you?

Just like these women from the film Bride Wars, David Jones and Myer are involved in a pointless battle online.

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5 lessons everyday retailers can learn from luxury fashion brands

Does the “rational” fashion consumer really exist?

Before fashion became my focus I was actually  a student of economics (go figure !) and the study of economics teaches us the following about our shopping habits….

  • The consumer is a rational person, who tries to use his or her money income to derive the greatest amount of satisfaction, or utility, from it. Consumers want to get “the most for their money” or, to maximize their total utility. Rational behavior also “requires” that a consumer not spend too much money irrationally by buying tons of items and stock piling them for the future, or starve themselves by buying no food at all. Consumers (we assume) all engage in rational behavior.

I suppose I wanted ask… does this theory ever apply to the fashion industry? – Hannah Brooks

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Death in the High Street

Bye, Bye, Boutiques

Much of our 2OPINIONATED, 1980’s misspent youth was spent perusing the boutiques, restaurants and sometimes bars of Oxford St Paddington. Cast your mind back (if you can) to the absolute heyday of Paddington… it was a time when we considered it essential to allocate hours each week to researching our Saturday night outfits in the Oxford St shops. Olya and I were very fortunate during this time… not only were the best boutiques located just a stones throw away… but very conveniently, the nightclub of the moment (Paddo’s) was located around the corner from my Underwood St home.  We would tell me parents that we were heading to Oxford St for pizza…when in reality we were popping around the corner to Paddo’s for a ‘party pash” – ah to be young!

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The tourist trap!

Do luxury brands reflect local culture or are they merely tourist fodder?

Our previous post Beware of the Temptation of Emerging Markets prompted some interesting questions from our readers regarding issues of brand identity and brand consistency and at 2OPINIONATED we felt that they warranted further exploration.

One of the key considerations in the luxury brand decision-making process is actually buying into the particular brands country of origin. French brands are considered timeless and chic, Italian brands are sexy and superbly crafted and American brands are fresh and uncomplicated. This factor had us pondering two things..

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Fast-fashion shout out

This one goes out to our good friend Faith Wignall who is a huge fan of Sofia Coppola

It seems appropriate because we are talking about all things fast-fashion this week and here  at 2OPINIONATED we are huge fans of the Marni label.

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Here today…gone tomorrow?

The 2OPINIONATED crew are over fast-fashion

The fast-fashion concept seemed so very exciting at first.

We could instantly access collections “inspired by” the latest catwalk trends…no more waiting 6 months for the trickle down effect from high-fashion to the high street. Better still…you could buy a complete outfit from Zara for the same price as a blazer from premium brand.

Fast-fashion literally transformed retail practices and totally changed our shopping habits as consumers.

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Beware of the Temptation of Emerging Markets

Shopping Tales from the Colonies


The Gucci brands financial struggles of the 80’s and 90’s have been well documented. Gucci family infighting and the bastardization of the brand through excessive licensing agreements had, over time, cheapened the image of the brand in the eyes of consumers. Domenico De Sole is famously attributed for turning around the fortunes of the Gucci brand and it would be kind of ironic if Gucci had to bring Domenico De Sole back from Tom Ford – to “Do the Gucci” another time.

Where does the Gucci brand sit on your brand radar? Read more

Selling Short the Chanel Experience

Karl Lagerfeld’s love of the photo booths continues…

‘In May  2011 at the  amfAR Gala Karl Lagerfeld presented a series of black and white «Photo-booth» portraits of celebrities which was followed by a Chanel’s Fall 2011-2012 Advertising Campaign – “Cocomaton” . The campaign was shot by Karl Lagerfeld, featured Freja Beha Erichsen, and famously styled by Carine Roitfeld. I am curious to know if the Andy Warhol Photo booth pictures published posthumously in 1989 by the Robert Miller Gallery of New York and Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain were an inspiration point for these images’.- Olya Bell

Read more to see the Chanel PhotoBooth PRINT Campaign Images Read more

LCP – Music Makes me Happy but not Bose!

I have had a Bose sound system for over 4 years now and during a move the power cord was damaged. For over a year I have tried to order a new cord! I have contacted Bose, I even placed orders with two stores and payed deposits to ensure they order it! A year on and I still have had no success with either of the stores or Bose. Apologetically one of the suppliers have informed me that Bose was unlikely to fulfilled the order since there is a new power cord adaption. Star Service from Bose? – I don’t think so!

Not to be without music, whilst researching a replacement home sound system, I bought a Moshi BassBurger as a temporary solution. I have to say it has been fabulous! It is inexpensive and ideal for traveling with as it fits into the palm of my hand and has a great sound. It is quite amazing considering its size! I do however have to fight my husband for it! I think I might now buy myself the double!

Friends who have heard it have all gone away and bought one. A good friend was unable to but the Moshi BassBurger because it was out of stock bought the X-minII she also loves!

So why is it a LCP? It has surprisingly amazing sound for its size, its compact, travels well and recharges from my computer and it doesn’t drain power off my iphone when I use it! Now I can have music where ever I am!

Just incase you want one in Australia it retails for $29.98 buy online at Dicksmith.com.au or for overseas stockists information contact Lomis International. It is actually an Australian product due to be launched in the US shortly.

An alternate similar product is the X mini II capsule speaker  www.x-mini.com

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