Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Address Shoppers’ Naked Flaws with Support

For the latest Sunday Los Angeles Times, Rebecca Keegan wrote a profile of Betty Halbreich that’s both witty and candid. Facilitating this, I’d think, is that Ms. Halbreich has herself been both witty and candid during her long career as a personal shopper at high-end fashion retailer Bergdorf Goodman.
     Ms. Keegan reports that Ms. Halbreich initiated the interview by patting the journalist’s hip and saying, “I know why you have a problem with pants.” When Ms. Keegan admitted an aversion to horizontal stripes, the response was, “Oh, dear God, come up into the new world. First of all, this skirt moves. It covers whatever you’re trying to hide.” Ms. Halbreich’s parting advice was, “For the pants, go to J. Crew.”
     Among Ms. Halbreich’s job duties is to dispense purchasing advice to women who are standing psychologically and perhaps physically naked in a mirrored dressing room. Doing it well adds to profitability. Shoppers who try out or try on the products are much more likely to buy the items than those who don’t. 
     Even without personal shoppers, your store can address shopper’s flaws in supportive ways. Proper lighting in the dressing rooms, for example. Not so harsh that it exaggerates liabilities in the merchandise or the consumer. Not so dim or uneven that the shopper can’t easily inspect the merchandise. Ideally, allow the shopper to adjust the lighting.
     Here are other tips on dressing rooms
  • Put those try-out areas in convenient locations. 
  • Keep the environment uncluttered and fresh looking. 
  • Provide places for shoppers to safely put aside packages and belongings so they can turn their attention to the prospective purchases. Some retailers use an ottoman and mirror arrangement for easy visibility. 
  • Encourage group shopping. Maybe you can design fitting rooms to accommodate friends who come together. 
  • Merchandise the area and/or set up displays of items. When the customer is assessing the suitability of the item, what else might they be interested in purchasing? Since you’re not sure what will be brought to the room, these should be items that can fit a number of preferences. Because of the higher probability of theft in semiprivate dressing room areas, you might use inaccessible displays in place of saleable merchandise. 
  • Make it easy for the shopper to have staff do any re-shelving. Perhaps position a “Not for me” container by the dressing room exit. 
  • Have supportive staff like a Ms. Halbreich readily available. 
Click below for more: 
Dress Up Those Dressing Rooms

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