EDIT: RIDER, FIH, et. al. Check it out, free customer feedback from men who care about their clothing.
Well, I don't know what to think about this post. I think I know what he means, and agree to a point. But not totally. It would help to know which type of stores he is talking about. For commodity type items, or outlet type stores, I can see the point about central checkout, etc. However, you would be hard pressed to come into our shop and be able to find your way around without some sort of assistance if you have not been in before. Nor would I be interested in being the robot behind the counter offering assistance only when asked. I put too much effort, time and have too much pride in what I do to not take care of everyone that comes in the best way I can. Now, that does not mean we do not let customers look on their own, if they request to. We are pretty laid back here in that regard. We have plenty of customers who know the layout as well as we do and most times they simply want to hang out and talk about things with us. Fine. Also, we have NO salespeople (well, one - but he requested that and has a large personal book that he is busy with all day) who are paid straight commission, we do not pay 'spifs' (I actually have no problem with it, but our owner doesn't think he should have to 'bribe' employees to do their job) and, except for the couple of new hires at the new store, I am the least tenured employee at 9 years. Fully half of our staff, including salespeople, tailors and office personnel, have been with Franco since day 1 - 30some years now. We know just about everybody who comes in. And when we don't, they usually are referred to us by a collegue or friend. Finally, our store (main store) is no where near any kind of shopping district, so people are just 'browsing' rather infrequently. For an Independent retailer to survive, we must be better than our corporate competition. We must overcome their bigger advertising budget, their taxpayer paid-for beatiful stores, in locations that traffic patterns are directed to, their 'partnered' merchandise, where the manufacturers have given them discount money and buy back slow moving merchandise, their economies of scale, etc. We do this by offering better service and unique merchandise at competitive prices. And we are flexable enough to give customers what they want, within reason. If this means leaving a customer alone to look through the merchandise, we do it. But, if you come into my shop, tell me to leave you alone, proceed to pick up a Gravati shoe (for example) and tell me you want a 10D, I'm not going to get it until I see your foot on the scale, determine if thats the best last for you, and if not, you are going to see what is. If that does'nt suit you, go somewhere else - I would rather not do business with you. Also, don't think for a second that I am not going to try to sell you something else. I don't push, but I will show you lots of shoes. Last time I checked, the government has not sent me a food coupon to feed my family of 5 with due to my ability to 'leave people alone'. My responsibility is to do everything I can on a daily basis to take care of my family. That's the true bottom line. And trust me, I'm not standing behind a counter waiting for someone to click their fingers at me when they are ready to be served. My family deserves more effort than that.