Exasperated, she turns to me, “We have just walked this entire mall and there is not one store I could walk right back into where I could excitedly say-
‘I want to try on this, this and this!’ Where do we go to shop?!”
My client and I were not greeted with a warm & fuzzy feeling entering these stores.
I looked at the chaos in front of me and wanted to run! Everywhere, discount signs, clearance signs and endless racks of clothes. Where is the appeal and magic in that!
Sure stores are getting ready to bring in the Spring 2015 collections, yet is this the first impression you want to portray your customer?
Sorry retail folks, you won’t get me walking through that maze. I may not even go into the store.
Thought I was to be enticed…
The designer in me took one look at the scene and thought ‘some design team didn’t do their job!’
As a designer, having that much of my collection on the clearance/markdown rack, I would immediately know what my job performance review tone would be…
I treat each customer/client as a ‘one-of-a-kind. We are all unique, so the selling experience should leave an impression..a positive one!
We have entered a new era- the ‘Connection Economy’. The ‘Industrial Age’ is behind us. All the rules of engagement have changed.
The ways of conducting design and retail practices throughout the industrial age economy no longer work for this new era where the customer is telling us what they want and need. They want value. Value means integrity, beauty, artistry, honesty, loyalty…not markdowns.
We, the design community, have seen what happens when a business practice contradicts with the way we function( some of you will remember early IT software functionality expectations).
Sure we want our retail sales personnel to have Product Knowledge and Garment Knowledge.
Here’s the thing…
We have got to give retailers something they can sell.
Something that gets them excited to show us.
Something to engage us.
Something to create a memorable experience.
Having a seasonal print ‘plopped’ into a basic pattern block will not do it.
It is surprising to see how many stores I went into where the garment silhouette didn’t make sense with the garment body…sleeve… or neckline.
At times I would catch this same client making faces. Staring at the garment on the hanger, she would say- “I know something is not right with the garment. I don’t know what….but it doesn’t do it for me.”
Clothing is meant to be fun. Shopping should be fun…expressive.
Where are the choices? Where is the workmanship? Where is the artistry?
Here is an article quote that has stayed with me…
“Why isn’t it Christmas year-round? Shoppers expect it. And in the competitive environment in which we now operate, we are being asked to create something special all year long. If we can do it once a year, we can sustain it for 12 months.”
Style should be fun, expressive, and something all year long.