New Look – Selling Clothes

By Bob Morrell on March 26, 2018

So another 1000 jobs in retail go and 60 stores shut.

I was in New Look a few years ago, and I remember squeezing through the rails, and trying to find some space to stand as people pushed by whilst I waited for my wife, trying on various items. It’s always a bit awkward for the people waiting. You ‘sashay’ around whilst real customers look at the crammed rails of tops and the hanging jewelry or simply queue for the till.

The greetings – if there were any, were one of the following; ‘You alright there?’ ‘Hiya’ ‘You okay?’ – the interactions at the till were either monosyllabic or focused entirely on price and a vague thank-you. I’m not saying any of this to criticize – just making a point that for a busy shop the engagement was poor in quality. Even with that low level at least 50% of people were buying – selecting to buy. So think about that – 50% definitely weren’t and those that were? One or two items with low profit margins. So in a market where demand drops and your conversion drops to say, 40% - of course you’re going to struggle to compete.

With better interactions, some questions about what type, size, colour, event, occasion or evening out, they would have been able to make connections, recommendations – ‘if you’re getting that, how about trying…’ and also being enthusiastic about how someone looks, or offering simple style advice, or matching clothes to the pictures on the walls, creating outfits etc, all of these would have contributed to better conversions over time.

Analysts know that customer service is vital – we all know this. So why is there seemingly so little investment in the one thing that could actually make a retail brand WAY more money?

Top 3 tips for clothes sales:

  1. Assume people are buying for an occasion, it they’re not they may well create one!
  2. Profit is within add-on sales – what goes with what?
  3. Online delivery should be matched by return efficiency!

For retail service models that are guaranteed to work, you know where to come!