How warm is this jacket?

Or sleeping bag? Or boots/hat/gloves? It is always a tough question to field from a customer. All of these items are insulation that have relative values. Different customers have different standards of what is warm. Most sales people try to dodge the question. But some retailers allow the customers to decide for themselves.

At Alewalds in Stockholm Sweden, they installed a cold room to allow customers to check the product out for themselves.

I have seen these in the US in the past, the REI Denver store used to have one as did the Eddie Bauer in Bellevue, WA.

A nice touch

I placed a small order with Garage Grown Gear on Friday, April 2nd (Good Friday of Easter weekend). The order arrived at my home on the 6th. The order was complete and arrived surprisingly quick. Kudos to GGG.

What I really wanted to call out was the packing list in the box. There on the bottom of the packing list was a simple handwritten thank you note from Lloyd, a GGG employee, I assume.

It was nice to get a simple thank you, nothing showy or over the top. Nothing that made it sound like the employee had done me some huge favor by fulfilling my order or that I needed to reciprocate on. To me, it just seemed like simple heart-felt appreciation.

Sales associates: Remember common courtesy when working with your customers. “Thank you”, “Please” and “May I” should be a significant parts of your vocabulary. Say “Hello” and “Good bye” to your customers. Look for simple ways to add something a little extra to the service you provide. Remember what seems insignificant to you may have big impact on your customer.

Store managers; Set the expectation that you want employees to practice common courtesy not only when dealing with customers but also with fellow employees. Make sure that you recognize your employees when they do the little things for your customers.

Thank you Lloyd. I appreciate having you as someone that I spend my money with.

Way ahead of us

I applaud the efforts of the outdoor retailers that are making an effort to encourage recycling, reselling and up cycling used outdoor gear. In particular, the work of Patagonia is truly commendable. But the Europeans are way ahead of us.

In 2018, I had the chance to visit Bergans of Norway in Oslo and in the back of the store, on the sales floor, was this repair/alteration/upcycle center.

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A nice finish

Post originally appeared in The Observant Customer 8/8/2016

I stopped at the local Outlet Mall the other day to do some shopping and some observation.  It was a warm and sunny day and may of the stores had their doors open to deal with the heat.

Being a fan of the brand and a citizen of the PNW, I stopped by the Columbia Sportswear Outlet where they had a great sale going on.  I quickly found several items that I was shopping for so I headed to the registers where there were a number of waiting cashiers.

“I can help you right here,” came a greeting from the nearest cashier.

During the transaction, I noticed that a name tag affixed to his jacket.  I thought it odd with the stores so warm that a cashier would be wearing outerwear.  So, I asked him if he was warm.

“No, actually I am quite comfortable,” he replied as he handed me my change.  I thought that would be the end of our conversation but he continued apparently excited to talk about the jacket. “The jacket is made of Omni-Shield™ and it is really comfortable,” he said as he carefully folded and bagged my purchases.

Nice finish.

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A whole mess of strikes

Post originally appeared in The Observant Customer 3/14/2016

Version 2

My wife and I went to our local bike shop to do some browsing. (Yes, some customers do just want to look around.) Entering the shop, we walked right into the middle of a very excited conversation with one voice louder than all others. Looking around, I discovered the voice belonged to an overly friendly employee that had obviously trapped a helpless customer. With his purchases clasped tightly in his hand and his bike lights already blazing and flashing, the customer was trying to inch towards the door while the employee continued to regale him with wild tales of his own recent bicycling adventures. The employee was talking so loudly; it appeared he missed the day in kindergarten when they teach about the difference between your indoor and outdoor voice as his carried clearly throughout the relatively small store.

My wife and I glanced at each other as we hurried past hoping that he would not engage us. Safely in the store, my wife commented about his excessive volume and his overly familiar behaviors.  Neither of which are characteristics we appreciate in a salesperson.

As my wife and I commenced our browsing, another couple walked through the doorway. Seeing his chance for escape, the trapped customer scurried through the open doors and into the night. Unfortunately, the couple walked right into the line of fire of the Loud, Eager And Friendly clerk. Let’s just call him LEAF. As a student of retail, I figured this was a customer interaction worth watching.

Continue reading “A whole mess of strikes”