If womens retail clothes shops are to survive, they must keep up. They must cater to what women need nowadays. If we are to continue to shop in a physical store, there are some requirements - demands - we have to make sure we come back often. If we come back often, the stores stay in business. Women who must wear womens suits all day, expect to get good and efficient service when they shop. Afterall, they must get back to business.
To keep us coming back, all womens clothes shops should consider the following:
- Clean the fitting rooms. For gracious sakes, too many of the fitting rooms are messy, trashy and not comfortable. There must be at least three clothes hooks scattered around the dressing room walls in order to allow us to stay organized as we try on our stuff. Fix all the door locks so that they are easily used by all types of people and sturdy enough to hold up after a lot of use. It is disheartening to try to enter a fitting room that has broken locks and door hinges. It reflects poorly on the store, not on the customers who likely did the damage. Many shoppers go in twosomes or threesomes yet there is not enough sitting room for extras. Add more seating.
- Let us look good. I'm still amazed that stores do not have flattering lighting in all the fitting rooms. I have been to well-respected stores, which have fitting rooms that appear to be after thoughts to the store design. The rooms are tucked away in dark and poorly lit areas and do not enhance our buying experience. Installing deluxe warm fluorescent bulbs may make such a big difference that sales go way up. We will simply look better. Complimentary lighting is an absolute must-have for all fitting rooms. It is worth hiring lighting consultants who understand the need to connect flattering lighting to bottom line sales.
- Advanced sales training. When a sales person approaches me and says, "If you need assistance, my name is Heather." Many of us shoppers have conditioned ourselves to dismiss that approach as a result of too many bad encounters with inept sales clerks in the past. There are so many other ways sales people can approach shoppers. I would respond positively to, "Are you looking for something in particular or can I show you what's new in the store?" Most importantly, the sales person must know her merchandise. The better stores â Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstroms â expect their sales personnel to know the merchandise but we shoppers still need more. We need them to listen to what we want and connect us to that perfect item that we aren't able to find ourselves. When sales people provide that service for me, I want to stand on a table and cheer for them.
- What goes with what. When women are attracted to an item on the racks, they have been taught to look in the nearby areas to find the other components that go with the item. The best sales people (see number 3 above) will not be limited by those nearby items but will know what other items in the entire store may be complementary as well. I had a recent experience at Nordstrom's with a sales person who simply would not give up. She walked around the entire store doing all the hard work for me to find womens business suits and shoes that fit me and my budget. What a concept! I never would have found the final suit I bought without her expertise.
- Facilitate interactions with shoppers. Many women take friends along to shop for that new business suit or party dress because they value the opinions of others. When women shop alone, they are left to make decisions by themselves. The store clerks can assist in a big way by asking the shopper if she'd like a review by other shoppers. If the shopper agrees, the sales clerk can round up a few other shoppers to offer their opinions on the item the woman is contemplating. Women love to give their opinions! Shopping can be a community sport.
These are only a few of the requirements that shop owners selling womens business suits should understand if they are to remain in business. If they do not make some changes soon, women will be marching through the malls carrying Down With Womens Clothes Shops signs. That would be a bad scene.