A blog series on Shopper Marketing

By Cindy Pyburn

I need a pair of shoes for an upcoming wedding.  A colleague mentioned that I should check out The Bay’s Queen Street store – the renovated and redesigned shoe department has moved to street level.  I decided to check it out.  Billed as having the largest shoe selection in Canada, The Bay has really stepped up their game, pardon the pun.

The selection is impressive – Calvin Klein, Nine West, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Material Girl, Ron White, Sam Edelman, Diesel, Franco Sarto, Donald Pliner, Joan & David, Jacques Vert, Dolce Vita, Ugg Australia, Rachel Roy, Ivanka Trump, Beverley Feldman, Badgley Mishka, Sigerson Morrison, Via Spiga, Anne Klein, BCBG.  And the basics Clarke’s, Naturalizer, Bandolino, Hush Puppies and the value players such as Expression, Style & Co.  I know I’ve missed many.  But you see my point – great selection.

Does great selection alone up the game?  It helps.   The new, fresh and inviting environment also helps.  But what was really impressive was the service — technology-enabled service.  I wanted to try on three pairs of shoes.  The sales associate with a handheld device determined right away if they had my size,  How many times have you waited around with one shoe off, hobbling around the store waiting for the shoe to arrive to find out “I’m sorry, we don’t have that in your size.”  The handheld device immediately informed the associate that two out of three pairs were in my size.  Great, I would try those on.  With the push of a button, the two pairs were ordered to the sales floor.  No time at all.  My number one shopping frustration was solved –I have no time to waste.

Retail is a tough business.  I believe that future retail leaders will employ technology to gain competitive advantage.  See blog “Is the Customer Smarter?”  Anything that saves time, makes the sales associate look like a ‘pro’ and elevates the experience is a winner to me.  Retailers that ‘step up’ and embrace technology for competitive advantage will own the retail runway.