Posts Tagged ‘traffic’

What? Are YOU Doing Okay?

June 4, 2010

There is a man sitting on a mannequin box, which is meant for mannequins and isn’t supposed to support his kind of weight for a long time. (Once, I had the utter joy watching someone sit on the exact center of one box, before we could stop him, and that guy took out an entire display. He offered to pay for it, but we don’t work that way. Too bad. I would have said $300! Haha.) Today, this man looks like an idiot and totally acts like one–don’t you love those people? So he’s sitting there, with his legs spread as wide open as possible so people have to literally walk around his feet, with his arms crossed as he glares at people, looking them up and down with his bloodshot eyes. You already know he’s an image of godly beauty, right? Sure, yeah right. And when you’re kicked by a horse, it doesn’t hurt. Actually, he looked like a mugger you’d find in a dirty alley right before they attack you. Obviously, people were trying to avoid him.

He was not supposed to be sitting there, but I was still new at the time, I didn’t have the gusto I have now. I just asked if he was doing okay. In return, he just glared at me, saying nothing. I’m actually supposed to say, “You can’t sit here. Please, you need to get up and move. Thanks a bunch!” These days I’d probably just say, “Hey, that box can’t handle your weight, can you get up before it breaks and you have to pay for it? Thank you.”

Either way, he’s sitting there for a long time, and I mean a long time, so I am left to assume either he’s homeless and wants to sleep in the box later or his wife is somewhere taking her sweet time shopping, she might not even be in the store anymore–and with a husband like that, I’d want time away from him, too. As much as possible. So again, I ask if he’s still doing okay, since I’ve walked by him about ten times already–as these mannequins are placed in high-traffic areas; his feet and his staring at customers is getting quite annoying. He’s creating a person traffic-jam, as if he cares.

Twenty-minutes later, he’s still sitting there, and obviously no one else has said anything to him. It’s a busy day, so everyone seems to be at the registers. A final time, I ask if he’s still okay, trying to give the hint that he needs to move on–go squat in a cardboard box in the alley or something, you’re wasting retail space, and making it look rather unattractive.

He turns and yells at me, “Why? You doing okay? Huh? You doing okay? What, you still doing okay?” He says some expletives including f-words, ‘f-you’ and gets aggressive with me. This is one of the first times I felt my insides explode, where I wanted to tell him off–not out of fear, but if I needed to, he’d have an entire mannequin swinging at his forehead. I was still not used to the obnoxiously low intelligence of the customers we deal with daily, and their utter lack of social skills. Later, I find out from supervisors in such situations I am empowered to act, and if I am not able to speak up, a manager would have asked him to leave the premises and not return. Their money isn’t good here anymore.

Of course, I go to find a manager since I’m flabbergasted, and of course, by the time I return with one, he’s already gone. This is one reason I take things into my own hands. Too many customers tend to forget everyone is a human being, even if we work in retail store and customer service–the customer and the salesperson is still human, not master and slave. We also forget these are rules we created.  “Once the customer crosses a line, they aren’t customers anymore”–this too is only a perception and belief because of social norms. The roles can always reverse.

Customer Type: The Dumb, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Lowered Expectations, Piggies

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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.