I must say, I appreciate the text alert service that a few of my favorite apparel stores have started a few seasons back. It’s neat. At least the stores maintain a mailing list of their customers and try to stay in touch with them. It’s beside the point that they make no effort to listen to them though!
Take for example, Giordano…
The other day I got an alert from Giordano that they have opened up a new store in Xinhua Mall…so I made a point of visiting them when I visited the place. It took a while to locate them though. (The smell of paint is pretty strong). And, no they still do not carry my size. What’s the point of alerting me about a new store opening when I can’t buy anything from them anymore? (This is after I bought out their entire stock of tank tops in my size during one sale two seasons ago, and a couple of jewel color short sleeve tees- hence, inclusion of my contact on their customer list).
Next is another one…They go through frequent staff changes; so they keep misplacing their customer mailing lists; their preferences and their sizes. Sometimes, I get a promotion alert but mostly I don’t.
Funnily enough I am a loyal customer and a frequent buyer of their stock –I even have their privilege customer card and also buy items on full price if the whim takes me… I get pretty frustrated that they no longer carry my size across all styles on their available stock, nor my favorite wardrobe ‘essential’ short sleeve and long sleeve scoop neck basic tees (retail in UK for 4 and 6 pounds each respectively- sell in Pakistan for PKR 800 and PKR 1200 respectively). Basic tees are one item that need frequent replenishment in your wardrobe and should be available year around, especially in basic colors like black, white, navy, red, green etc., moreover, I might also like a pair of jeans or a tee shirt but it might not be available in my size.
Furthermore, there is at least one other customer (in my neighborhood) like me who doesn’t wait around for sales if she likes something. She sometimes buys an item that I have my eye on from right under me when I am not looking. On top of it, all three branches of next stores carry slightly different stock. You might not find the same item at all three locations in the same size. I don’t know what they do with their SKU/barcode data anyway? Is it just for show or do they actually analyze customer buying trends and stock replenishments?
Mango is another new promising store in town. They carry basics too. They also carry my size (so far). I like their assortment and the fact that they carry basic tees in basic colors like black, navy, white, red. I also like the fact that they’re available on line for Pakistan- (you can browse their stock on line with PKR prices).
Their price points are comparative to Giordano and are higher than Next though. When push comes to shove, if Next doesn’t stock up on their basics, I might be forced to become Mango’s loyal customer as well, even though, I like Next’s tee shirt prices the best.
For me, it’s not a question of branding, it’s a question of requirement – I have to regularly stock up my tee shirt drawer so I will go to the retailer that stocks up my size (as fit is the most important consideration), than color, quality and styling. Price is the last consideration on my shopping list. (If the price is higher, I might not buy as many tee shirts as I want, but I would still buy a few each season to keep my drawer fresh and current!) I also think tee shirts shouldn’t cost as much as a pair of jeans. They should be promoted as a pack of two, three or four and should always be available across all sizes year around in basic colors. They’re wardrobe staples.
Is anyone listening?