Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

The Art of War in Retail: The Opposition

May 28, 2010

Chapter 5
The Generals- The primary opposition is other Generals who lead their armies–cold cash, credit cards, and debit cards–into battle against your armies of clothes. It is critical that you use all your tactics and your terrain to your advantage. Your troops must be well folded, sized, and prepared for battle. Some Generals are easier to defeat, but some will cut up and defeat entire battalions of Soldiers–it is up to you to distract and move these Generals into new battlefields against Soldiers who can take more damage. Your primary goal is to take as few losses as possible before you capture their army of money–thus the greatest sales Generals engage in direct contact.

The Champions- These are key Generals, ones you can automatically notice as they walk into the battlefield. Some of these Champions have huge armies, with a fat wallet lined with designer accessories–they will buy up handfuls of clothes. Some of these Champions used the dirtiest tactics to defeat as many of your soldiers as they can, with as little damage to their armies as possible–these people search for super sales. Champions are often seen on the same battlefield many times, and many sales Generals can point them out in battle. The very worst Champions are the ones who come the most, and bring devastation in their wake, time and time again. These bad Champions confuse multiple sales Generals, destroy entire battlefields, and wreak havoc on the self-esteem and psyche of all who challenge them.

Siege or Parlay? Yet, even in this, there are some Generals and Champions that only come for parlay, they wish no siege, no prolonged wars. Some Generals will come with organized battle in mind–often called a shopping list–willing to trade equally in their army with your army. They are like Valkyries of Valhalla, taking your Soldiers to a better place, with the honorable death of battle on their breath.

The Opposition must be known and understood. Often, the best advice is to put yourself in their shoes, even if they rarely ever place themselves in your shoes. If you understand the Opposition, you can understand your place in the battlefield even better.

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When is a Sweater Not a Sweater?

December 5, 2009

So a Korean customer is standing there, trying to ask me about sales. We have discounts and sales on sweaters throughout the store.
“So all the sweaters are on sale, right?”
“Yes.” We go through cardigans, turtle-necks, and all types of sweaters. And I assure him, all sweaters are on sale.
He points at a leather jacket behind him, “So that’s on sale, too, right?”
I stand there for a moment. I don’t know what to think. I just say, “Between you and me, we both know a leather jacket is not a sweater.”
We stand there and look at each other for a while. I don’t really know what else to say.

—–
This reminds me of a story from a coworker a week before. Another group of Korean customers were in the store, and we had a similar sale on sweaters. We tell them the sweaters are on sale, and one of the men asks, “So these are on sale?” And he points at a wall of shoes.
“No, all sweaters are on sale.”
The man turns to a wall of scarves, “Oh, so those are on sale.”
“No, sweaters, those are scarves.”
I eventually find out the man speaks perfect English, so I have no idea why he is acting like he doesn’t understand anything we’re saying. Oddly, he also has issues with leather jackets. He approaches me with a leather jacket, because we have that amazing additional 40%-off sale items. (I really don’t like huge sales, it brings in the best and brightest.) He asks if this is on sale, and I look, and the item is marked down, so I tell him it is 40% off of $150. Then he says, “How much is that?” By now, I’m really just tired of how much his brain is on vacation, or how much he wants to look like he doesn’t know anything. I ask him if he really can’t do the math…
Internally, I think: It would be, for slower people, 40% of $100 is $40. 40% of $50 would then be $20 (because $50 is half of $100). Are you still following?
I tell him, “It’s $60 off.”
And he suddenly collects his wits, and says, “Yes, you’re right.” Gosh, really? I am? At least I don’t mistake shoes and scarves for sweaters.

Customer Type: The Deaf, The Dumb, Learn the Language