The world of online retail has certainly shaken up the whole commercial High Street sector in recent years. In most respects, the online experience has revolutionised the way we shop and how we in-turn as consumers are treated. Nowadays, virtually any man and his dog can set up a Google Checkout account and attach an e-commerce plug –in to the back of a WordPress site. The advent of social networks and FB has led to a redefined customer experience, once again putting power back into the hands of the consumers.
With all this new technology, chaos running rampant through the global financial markets and increased competition both on and off the High Street, retailers have been forced to dig deep and offer totally new consumer experience in order to hold on to their traditional customer base: Fortunately, this is great news for shoppers, as retailers are now offering a whole range of discounts and voucher codes if you know where to look…
One such site is Boots Treat Street: An online arm of Boots, offering a whole range of special offers and discounts on selected products and brands. The premise is simple enough – as long as you’ve got a Boots Advantage card you can sign-in to the site and click through to the retailer of your choice and earn valuable points as you spend.
To make it even more attractive, Boots are offering a wide range of offers such as a 15% New Look discount code, as well as deals on delivery and electrical items. Once you’ve brought your products and taken advantage of any special deals, you’ll also be able to clock up your Advantage points and spend them online with Boots, or at your nearest High Street store.
With so many sites offering unique discount codes and aggregating price services, the online High Street really does provide consumers with an advantage over those shopping in the traditional manner.
Keara O’Neil was on a shopping trip with some friends to find bridesmaid dresses for her wedding and a hens night outfit at an Australian retail store called GASP when she had a dispute with a sales assistant named “Chris”.
The following email thread, taken from the Herald Sun is a great example of how not to do customer service:
Email by Keara O’Neil to GASP:
I had the privilege of shopping at your brand new Chapel St store on Saturday 24th September with my three bridesmaids in tow. On the hunt for bridesmaids dresses and a hens dress for myself we walked into the store and were automatically pounced on by a male staff member, I understand that this is protocol for many retail outlets and ours is no different.
The staff member was initially funny and extremely helpful with sizes etc. I chose a bright pink dress to try on but was unable to do the zip up so asked for the size up, when I eventually got the correct size and came out of the change room I was unable to discuss the likes or dislikes of the dress with my bridesmaids as the sales assistant kept saying “you should just get it”, when I told him I would think about it, he pulled me aside and whispered “Is it the price your worried about”. By now I was extremely frustrated, and again told him I’d think about it, I walked back into the change room and closed the door behind me, only to have it pushed open with the sales assistant half standing in my change room, again whispering “I think you should just get it”, when I gave him attitude and said rudely, “I already told you I would think about it”, he then replied, “With your figure I really think you should buy it”.
I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but considering the attitude used to deliver such a statement I can only imagine that it was an immature dig in relation to my healthy size 12 frame. I got changed in a hurry and walked right out of the change rooms and out of the store, I could hear the sales assistant yelling out to me, but I just ignored him and continued to leave, assuming my bridesmaids would follow. After waiting down the road for my bridesmaids to come out of the store I was told by one of them that the sales assistant yelled out “Have fun finding something at Supre”, when one of them approached him in regards to his comments, he replied “I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in”. When my bridesmaids walked out of the store another two customers walked out with them, they too could not believe the immaturity of the sales assistant.
I have worked in retail for 12 years and have come across an array of customer complaints over the years, none of which come even close to what I encountered on Saturday at your store, I wish I was exaggerating but unfortunately for your company this person actually exists and is working in one of your stores. I am pretty laid back and was quite happy just leaving your store, it was my bridesmaids who felt the need to say something to him………I dread to think how many customers he has not only offended but how many customers have left your store due to the pressure placed on getting the sale, and then to be harassed when that sale hasn’t taken place.
Ring me, don’t ring, not fussed………I’m just one retailer notifying another of an extremely inappropriate sales assistant.
Response by GASP area manager Matthew Chidgey:
Dear Keara O’Neil,
Having now had the privilege of having both version of events, I am now in a position to respond to your complaint.
From the very outset, one thing that you should be mindful of is; Our product offerings are very, very carefully selected, so to ensure that we do not appeal to a broad customer base. This is something which is always at the forefront of our minds when undertaking buying duties.
The reason for this is to ensure that we only carry products which appeal to a very fashion forward consumer. This by default means that the customer whom is acclimatised to buying from “clothing for the masses” type retailers, is almost frightened by our range, sometimes we have found that this type of customer, almost finds our dresses funny, and on occasion noted comments such as ‘it looks like a dead flamingo’. When we receive comments like this, we like to give ourselves and our buyers, a big pat on the back, because we know we are doing our job right, and modus operandi is being upheld.
Our range is worn by A list celebrities to the likes of Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry to name only a few. Now, as one might appreciate, the style counsel for these types of celebrities are not ones to pick “run of the mill” type clothing, and they do so on the basis to ensure that the styles are cutting edge, and only worn by a select few. Similarly these items are priced such that they remain inaccessible to the undesirable.
Insofar as our employee goes; Similar to our product offerings, our employees are selected with a similar approach. Chris whom served you is a qualified stylist whom has a sixth sense for fashion, and Chris’s only problem is that he is too good at what he does, and as I am sure you are aware, people whom are talented, generally do not tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store.
Whilst I concede that you work for chain retailer, unfortunately that does not make us like for like. It is probably fair to assume, a lot of what I have said in this email, either doesn’t make sense to you, or you totally disagree with it all, which is what I would expect (unless of course I have you totally wrong – which I doubt).
Let me guess, you would never, ever hire Chris in the course of your duty, would you? This is the very reason, why your comment “from one retailer to another” is so disproportionate, it’s almost as though we are in a totally different industries. Chris is a retail superstar, who possess unparalleled ability, and I am sorry you feel upset by him, but he knew you were not going to buy anything before you even left your house.
So if you would like to do us any favours, please do not waste our retail staff’s time, because as you have already seen, they will not tolerate it. I am sure there are plenty of shops that appease your taste, so I respectfully ask that you side step our store during future window shopping expeditions.
Thank you for your enquiry.
Since then GASP has apparently closed their Facebook page due to all the negative feedback, but as the saying goes, ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.
Is this for real or a hoax. Worth a watch either way.
100% silk, Hand pleated and containing hundreds of LEDs. Allows you to sparkle and glow in the color of your choice!
The K-dress, bearing a genetic similarity with the dress CuteCircuit created for Katy Perry for the MET Gala (above), was unveiled during a special catwalk event in Paris. The K-Dress is made entirely in the UK of 100% luscious hand-pleated silk chiffon and silk taffeta. And it features hundreds of LED lights embedded in the fabric that glow and sparkle in whatever colour or pattern you choose!
The K-dress has a small snap-in controller that recharges via USB, just plug it into your computer USB port and charge it up! The battery is fully charged in about 2 hours and you can sparkle for the whole night!
Available in ivory and pink or solid pink for £1,350.00 from www.cutecircuit.com
CuteCircuit products have been exhibited in museums and exhibitions the world over. The groundbreaking Galaxy Dress by CuteCircuit is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
This month saw New York host ‘Full Figured Fashion Week’. We are going to take a look at what was hot, and look at the plus size fashion phenomenon that is taking the Big Apple by storm
Something of a quite revolution has been under way in the New York fashion scene. You might not know it from the magazines or the mainstream catwalk shows, but a rebellion against a culture that sees clothes designed and modelled in just the tiniest sizes is well under way. Americans are famed for their ‘bigger is better’ attitude, and are also not generally known for their petite builds, so in some ways it is surprising that this sea change in attitude has taken so long to materialise.
While ‘catwalk fashion’ exists in a somewhat rarefied atmosphere, equated by some as being a form of art with no need to reference reality or practicality, retail is in fact the beating heart of the rag trade. Survival on the high street is about bringing the latest wearable styles to market, in the sizes that your customers are.
One of the that was causing a big stir at Plus Size Fashion Week was Kleinfield Bridal. This company was actually an innovator in making sample dresses available in up to size 32. Competitors topped out at size 10 – missing out on the lucrative market segment.
The so-called plus size market, in the States especially, is one with enormous capacity for growth. Despite having 28% of the purchasing power in the market, women of size 14 and above (the plus sized) were responsible for only 17% of spending on clothes. This disconnect is clearly down to a major failure in promoting clothing lines to these women. Designers who are able to get larger models looking great in their clothes, and have this seen by their customers could be sitting on a gold mine.
New York is of course a shopping paradise. Few, if any, cities can rival the range and quality of fashions available in New York. For the latest plus size fashions, saving up and taking a trip to New York to stock up can prove to be a better option than paying to much at home. With flights to New York representing the kind of value that they do right now the city that never sleeps is sure to continue welcoming the discerning shoppers of the world.
By Elena Price
London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and it is a great place to spend a fashionable, shopping filled weekend! Here is a guide to the chic shops of London.
London is a big part of the international fashion scene, and the English capital has a trend-setting style all of its own.
This city is home to major designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella Mccartney, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Galliano and many others, and its world-renowned art and fashion schools make it an international centre of fashion in the realms of Paris, Milan and New York.
If you are craving a weekend getaway why not spend it in London where you can shop until you drop? It’s a great city to add some chic new pieces to your wardrobe.
Overseas visitors in search of fashion delights can benefit from the increase of International airlines that operate more and more flights to London airports – Heathrow, Gatwick and London City. Etihad now run lots of routes from the Middle East including non stop flights to London from Abu Dhabi and services from Amman, Cairo and Riyadh.
Here are some ideas to help you plan your fabulous retail therapy retreat to London:
On your shopping weekend in London, don’t forget to consider the hotel as well. You will want to stay somewhere trendy and fabulous, close to lots of shops. Perhaps look for something in the fashionable West End near to Oxford Street.
London is an incredibly fashionable city, and all of the fabulous clothing, jewellery and shoes on display here will make your head spin! Have a great time shopping your heart out in London, and finding that perfect new addition to your wardrobe.
There is little that both excites and divides opinion as surely as shoes. They say that the two things that it is always a good idea to spend extra money on are your bed and your shoes, because if you are not in one then you are in the other.
As far as fashion goes, the trend seems to be for the more outrageous. Whether it is a reaction to the wave of stark formalism that seems to be sweeping the catwalks and the highstreets or women being encouraged to take things that little bit further by the likes of Lady Gaga.
Some of the more outrageous designs being seen are for wedges. These often actually look more extreme ofn the shelf than they do pared with an outfit. Wedges are an increasingly popular choice for shoes with a little hight to them, offering greater stability and comfort than traditional heels.
These American Leather wedge shoe boots would look great with jeans or a long dress. The daring could pair them with some ‘Daisy Duke’s’ and still get away with it. The expossed toes are a nice detail, but all things aside that really is a pretty high heel.
These Thelma high wedge buckle shoes have been taken their styling tips from the once ubiquitous Converse Hi-Top sneakers. Definitely a must if you want to add a touch of class, and altitude to a hipster-tastic nerd-core look. Looking dirty from new will not appeal to the lovers of the ‘box fresh’ however.
These Gallant multi fabric sandals are a good example of why you should never let a little thing like taste ruin a look. What really does it with these is the combination of animal print with two clashing colours. Sure, it is wrong, but is it so wrong its right?
pictures by Littlewoods Europe Womens Shoes
Upscale London department store Selfridges do, in fact, sell fridges. They are also partnering with Oxfam to offer the chance to purchase items donated by A-list hyper celebrities such as Colin Firth, Scarlet Johansen, Helen Mirren and Dani Minogue.
The event is running from April 1st to the 10th. It has been planned that new items will be added on each day of the sale. It is hoped that the event will be able to raise plenty of much needed cash to fund the charity’s work around the globe. If you would like to help, but have no interest in celebrity cast-offs, they have a page for donations on their website.