Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Its in the Crotch.

December 30, 2011

I was walking around greeting and helping customers, when a woman comes up to me with a tone of anger.

“Excuse me, do you work here?”
“Yes, I do, did you need help?”
“These pants over here, I can’t find the sizes. There are no labels.”
I look at the wall of pants, and their hung to hide the labels, which merchandising thinks is ugly. So the sizes are on the back of each pant on the waistband. This is what I show her.
“Why did you do that?” Yes, I did it. I also created economic slow down on my vacation. “How are we supposed to find the size? Where is it again?”
Um, I just showed you, it’s in the back of the pants, I think to myself.
“I still can’t find the size.” She lifts up the leg and looks into the crotch of the pant.
“I”m sorry, the size isn’t on the crotch. I just showed you it’s on the back of the pant, here.”
“Oh. Well I want that blue one in a size zero! Fine me one!”
Lo-and-behold, on the very top of the pile is a zero. Not only this, but it was turned around backwards by another customer with the zero blazing like a rising sun. “It’s here, on the top,” I point at the size, “It says size zero.”
“Oh. Okay.” Then she walks away.

I’m so thankful I have to deal with people whose only purpose in interacting with me is to complain about something they don’t even want and aren’t even interested in trying on or buying. Thank you so much. Really, is this why you exist as a customer? Because if this is the reason, and she wasn’t a young woman who hasn’t learned manners and grace, she was an older woman with some sort of wisdom built into her bones. Why do you not learn as human beings to treat other people with some level of respect? This isn’t something you can blame on anyone else, not society, not your parents, but only on yourself–to take responsibility for who you are, and how you act.

Customer Type: Micromanagement, The Riddler

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The Shorts on Sale

April 26, 2011

As usual, I’m minding my own business, and a woman comes up to me asking about our sale shorts. (You see, a sign says all shorts on sale 25%-off. All shorts on sale 25%-off. Do you follow? Good.)

“Excuse me,” she already has a stern, unhappy tone, “Which of your shorts are on sale?” She looks around at different styles. We have several.
“All shorts on sale.”
“All of them? Even those?” She points at a huge wall at the front of the store packed with shorts.
Hmm, obviously not the shorts at the entrance, what kind of marketing strategy would that be? Who in their right mind would have a shorts sale and put shorts on sale at the entrance? Silly people. “Yes, all shorts in the store are on sale.”
“So they’re all on sale for 25%-off?”
“Yes.”
“All of them?”
“Yes.”
“So how much are they on sale for?”
“25%-off.”
“Is it just 25%-off or an additional 25%-off?”
I don’t know what she even just asked, it’s like asking if the sun rises when the moon sets or the moon rises when the sun sets. I can think of a dozen ridiculous comparisons. So I just say, “An additional 25%-off.”
“Off of what?”
I’m starting to look around, because I swear, sometimes I think this is a game, and someone is recording my life for future comedy shows. “Off the price on the tag.” I give her a look like she’s totally confusing me.
“Oh,” she states, then leaves the store.

Customer Types: The Questioner, The Rambler

Credit Card Slap

November 7, 2010

Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about credit cards. Personally, as a young adult, I was ‘convinced’ to sign-up for one to get a ‘free bag’, hey, “Everyone else was signing up.” Why not? Then, I lost my job, I was struggling to survive, my debt got out of hand, I didn’t know what to do–nor did they actually give you many options–eventually, they wanted it all paid. This was a bill which was a couple hundred, and compounded with their various fees into thousands of dollars. By the time I found a job, I still wasn’t making enough to meet their demands, so they started to call me and my family, demanding to know where I was at all times, and calling me everywhere–and I mean, everywhere I was. They would call the store asking for me daily, and when I wasn’t there, they’d ask for a manager demanding all of my personal information, which my manager told them was illegal and asked them not to call anymore. Asking them not to call my workplace did little good. Eventually, they started to garnish my wages so if I thought I was barely surviving before, well I was in for a new surprise! Eventually, they stopped garnishing me, my paychecks went back to normal, etc., etc. Either way, I have no personal fondness for credit cards, and believe it was created by a crude capitalist society whose only interest is keeping the rich rich and the poor poor. If they were evolving society, they would create a system which empowers people to grow instead of recreating paupers and their new version of enslavement.

All this aside, people also know I’m a good salesperson. One day, I helped build a $900 sale. The next day, alone, I made a $400 sale. In this time, I also got two people to apply for credit cards–it is a job requirement for me, and honestly, I’m always rated ‘down’ because I don’t pursue credit cards enough. Either way, I make $1300 in sales (in just two sales) and I barely get a congratulations, thank you or any sort of recognition. I get two credit cards, and they give me a $5 gift card for coffee. Yes, I got two credit cards and I got a $5 gift card. I make $1300 in sales, and I don’t even get a thank you. Should I go over it again?

I mean, of all things, this was the hugest insult anyone could give me–with my beliefs, my pride, and who I am and how I have been treated by credit cards; with my background in selling and sales management, I was slapped in the face. I went to a manager, throwing it on the ground, telling them to, “Give it to the other guy, he got two credit cards in one hour!” We’re in an economic rut, my coworkers aren’t getting enough hours to feed themselves, and I get congratulations for credit cards? Helping a new breed of people to go into debt? Thanks. Let me know when Retail is about making sales again, I’ll be sleeping.

I See It’s On Sale

June 4, 2010

I’m standing near a table folding, and a woman comes up to me asking, “Everything here, it’s on sale, right?”

Usually such a question is rhetorical, but here she points at a sign on a bench, then waves at a table near it. (Just so you can understand, there is a larger table where the main product is placed, and then there are lower benches near or around the table–like satellites, or moons around a planet.) One bench has a sale sign, and it’s half-hidden by the higher, larger table–so all you can see is the top of the sign, which says, “Sale”. You can see 3/4ths of the word.

I try to tell her the bench is on sale, but the table is not, otherwise a sign would be on the bench and the table. I show her what I mean by placing the sign on the table (which also says, “Sale, Select items”), saying, “This would mean the table is on sale.” Then I put it back down on the bench and say, “This means the bench is on sale. And it says select items anyway.” She keeps arguing with me, saying, “But I can see the sale sign from here! I can see the sale sign from here, that means everything is on sale.”

First, while her jaw is going ‘blah-blah-blah’, I’m thinking, “Okay, the sign is a little big, but it isn’t even on the same table. Well, actually, it’s been there for a while now, and she’s the first person to get confused in over a week, making problems, and getting weird about it. You know, some people live their lives causing this kind of trouble for themselves. They just create stupidity.”

Then, I’m thinking, “If a wall nearby says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the area is on sale. You can’t point and say, ‘Well I can see the sale sign, that means everything is on sale.’ Who says that, other than this woman? Even when a window says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the store is on sale.” We’re just arguing semantics, and a customer’s ability to demand stupidity. I tell her everything on top of the table is going to ring up full-price, because it is full-price, but the sale items on the bench, they’ll ring up on sale. It’s not like I can change that fact.

Yet, she goes on about being able to see the sale sign; that it’s misleading marketing; that I was trying to trick her into buying something that’s not even on sale; that now she doesn’t want to buy anything at all. I’m sorry, you caught me in my dirty tricks; I wanted you to take something to the register and think its on sale, as if you would not whine and cry when you get there saying, “I can see the sign!” I am left to assume such threats and insults work to scare someone into changing their mind, saying everything is on sale? I just shrug and say, “Okay, but if you change your mind all this stuff on the back bench is REALLY cheap.”

I remember telling my boss about the dumb, fat woman, saying she’s a size-12 and she wanted a new pair of denim on sale, because she could see the top of a sign nearby. My manager replies, “She’s not that fat!”
“Well, because she’s so dumb,” I tell her, “That makes her fat-ter.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb

The Art of War in Retail: Distraction (Marketing and Selling)

May 28, 2010

Chapter 4
Distraction is the art of stalling, even redirecting Opposition as they enter the battlefield, often slowing them down, confusing them, and making them less wary of your advances.

Sale Signs- A great way to distract the Opposition, especially before and just as they enter the battlefield. These are visual aids prepared on the battlefield to move the flow of traffic in a certain direction, they can catch the eye, catch the interest and turn the Opposition’s attention in that direction. In this way, you can also fortify your troops in those locations before the Opposition arrives–because you are expecting their arrival. With knowledge of Terrain and Streams, you will also know where best to place Sale Signs. Many times this can turn a dead-zone into a place which says, “Hey, attack here!”

Sale Shouts- You can also ensure you win a battle by announcing a sale at the right time, depending on the skill-level of the Opposition such a tactic is very useful. Many cannot resist the lure of a sale. One of the best Code-words, or statements is, “This is very popular, we only have a few left, you better get it now, or it will be sold out later!” “I see you looking at these shorts, you should check out these, too, because they’re very popular and they just went on sale!” You give urgency and attention to the products you want, thus moving the flow of traffic. You may even bring one item to show them, like bait, attracting them elsewhere.

Displays and Mannequins- Visual displays are supposed to present the Opposition with a battle-plan which you are prepared for. Perfect outfits encourage the Opposition to attack where you want them to and what you want them to. In this way, you always want to make sure the best Soldiers are presented–troops you have a lot of and have trust they will sell–and when they are defeated and taken away, another Soldier must be ready and worthy of the replacement.

“Have you seen?” Homework- Often, when troops are devastated or their numbers are dwindling, a General must redirect traffic, altering the stream when possible. In this way, a General can take note of which Soldier is being attacked, and other possible troops who can take similar damage–is one cardigan running out, find the next best cardigan, and send the Opposition to battle against it. “Have you seen?” works very well at redirecting traffic. You are the General, and you should know best what Soldiers you have available, and when you should send those Soldiers into battle.

The art of distraction also comes down to noticing what the Opposition is wearing–their style, the colors–and pointing out similar options as a way to expand their wardrobe. Many people enter the battlefield revealing everything about themselves before they even speak–use their information to your advantage.

The Art of War in Retail: Terrain

May 25, 2010

Chapter 2
As the Opposition–customers–enter the battlefield, the terrain greatly affects the destination, the movements, and the actions of the Opposition. Understanding terrain, you have direct control of these movements. You can force the Opposition in a certain direction, you can choose where they go and what they do.

Mountains- Firstly, these are large, built structures, generally known as walls–they cannot move, thus the Opposition must move with or around them. In a sense, it traps them, because they cannot go around it. The Opposition cannot avoid you when next to Mountains. Secondly, these large landmasses are hard to climb and maneuver through–product is placed high, easily visible, but often attractive items are placed on these walls. Because of the sheer size of these masses, they are also effective at being seen from a distance–which is good for advertising and marketing. All traffic slows down at mountains, as some of the flashier and more amazing Soldiers–clothing–are displayed here. Very popular pieces of clothing are always placed on Mountains for this very reason.

Hills- Firstly, these are smaller structures–tables and other smaller, movable structures–thus easier to pass by the Opposition. Because of the size, the Opposition will go around these, and even move to avoid you when possible. Generally, high-selling product will be placed on the first Hills as you enter the store to take the initial bombardment–but Mountains will garner the main attention after this. Similar themed items will be placed on Hills. Hills can be totally engulfed by Opposition forces, as all parts are accessible. Because of the smaller size, the amount of Soldiers–clothing–present is much smaller. Yet, the devastation can be titanic, since Hills have only folded clothing and no hanging clothing.

Fields and Forests- Areas of light coverage, not as well suited for soldiers in a retail battlefield, these are racks and small tables able to take losses and keep on coming back–because they are less popular, or forgotten items, even ones that have a really high-price point. In a sense it is like a forest, because the Soldiers are well-hidden, and almost invisible. The Opposition must ‘want’ these items, thus they aren’t the hottest sellers–they aren’t items you’ll buy ‘just because’..

Streams- The course and movement of traffic will flow depending on how you set up the Mountains and Hills. This movement is Streams. You can diagram it as–the Opposition enters, they approach the initial Hill, then they face the Mountain, do they go to the next Mountain or another Hill? You can watch the ebb-and-flow understanding what is a popular destination and what is just forgotten. Once you get an idea of the flow of these streams, you will know where to position yourself, as General, to take care of your troops. You may also move Soldiers around: if one Hill is never attacked, you may move it closer to a Stream so the Opposition will pass by it; i.e. a Hill between two Mountains cannot be avoided. By moving very popular clothing to more remote locations, you know the Opposition will still search for it–because they want it. In this way, you have altered a Stream.

Using these tactics, you can appropriately prepare Mountains and Hills for battle. By watching Streams, you can choose what is best where. How will you develop your tactic? It depends on what it important to you. As a General and a Champion, you also learn where you want to be–in the back, watching your troops in battle, where no Opposition goes, ready to reinforce your troops or replenish them when defeated, or do you stand in the front lines battling the Opposition, helping to turn tides and moving them appropriately. Gaining skill and strategy in this area takes time, patience, and understanding. Once you do understand, you can make your entire Battlefield profitable, every Hill and every Mountain becomes a destination, and Streams will touch every shore.

Different Priorities

May 12, 2010

Tonight was one of the more surprising moments in my retail career. While discussing a display I set-up to sell more product which didn’t sell at the old spot, but sold far better in my new location, my manager kept saying, “It’s bad.” I tell my manager my primary concern and interest in this store is selling and making money for the store, so my co-workers have more hours to work; to which a co-worker nearby thanked me; to which my manager just looked at me blankly and said nothing. Then, she moved the conversation on to a different topic, while removing my display and hiding the product once again.

If that is not a telling tale of differences of priority and an alarm warning for me that perhaps my views are no longer the same as the store I work at, I don’t know what is.