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Who doesn’t love a fabulous designer handbag sale?
As soon as you hear a great deal is coming to town, it erases your work-week frown. You start dreaming about finding your purse ‘holy grail’, the bag that makes every other look like an epic fail.
Then why did the sale I visited yesterday turn into a cautionary tail?
Simple: Their merchandising made me want to bail.
How could they miss such an important thing when the whole experience started out so promising?
Imagine walking down Orchard Road. Right at the Mandarin Oriental a young man hands you a flyer stating in bold: ‘80% off Designer Bags.’ The sleek paper and crisp design instantly inspires crossed off price tags. You can almost hear your own future humble brags a la ‘Oh, this old Chanel number? Got it on sale last summer…’ Even the choice of venue implied a fabulous experience. A ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental …. isn’t that where you’d stay if you were a prince?
Successfully sidetracked by the shiny sale flyer, my bargain hunting soul was officially on fire. Somewhere out there was the perfect satchel with my name. And if this was where I’d find it I was totally game.
The moment we stepped through the hotel’s front door, we were convinced we’d hit the high score. Two ladies in gorgeous red cheongsam dresses showed us the way. With that kind of greeting, who could keep their anticipation at bay?
Exiting the elevator on the 5th floor, we followed the luxury inspired signs to the pop-up store.
And that’s when my inner retail diva started feeling a bit sore.
Arriving at the ballroom’s open door, a young lady told us to enter the sale all shoppers have to surrender their email address. My first reaction was ‘Can I trust you? How do I know what you might do?’
Fair enough, I understand as a business you’re collecting data like a marketing pro. But don’t you first want me to get into the shopping flow? Not even having seen the merchandise yet, I naturally worried about ‘Email Spam Regret.’
Having made it all the way to promise land, I grudgingly gave my email and straightened my stand. I was ready to take this sale by storm, but the second I stepped inside I felt torn.
While the names and price-tags on display, Chanel, Celine, Prada all the way, were what I’d hoped for when I saw the flyer, the room looked depressing and tired. Maybe troves of handbag hopefuls had already picked over the best pieces, but I realized it was the merchandising that made me sad. Every bag, despite their $3000 price tag, suddenly looked like a cheap fad, tossed on banquet tables without love and care.
Doesn’t that strike you like a flea market, not a designer fair?
To the organizer’s disappointment I’m sure, we didn’t fall in love with any of purse goodies dujour. Within minutes we had completed our look-around and were officially homewards bound.
What can we learn from this unfortunate retail fail?
If you promise luxury you’ve got to hit every nail.
So how can you live up to the high-end bargain queen?
Here are some ideas I would love to have seen:
Instant Treat – Asking for my email at the front door? Wait for me to pick up a bag and then score. If I’m playing with the merchandise, and you say ‘your email address is worth another a 10% off the price’ I’d be much more likely to give in to my handbag vice.
Stuff & Fluff – Think bags in plastic wrapping inspire shopper’s dreams? You must be confusing us with medical teams. It may keep them sterile and clean, but your average designer diva is an experienced retail machine. She wants to touch and feel it for herself, so take the unwrapped bag off the shelf and fluff it like a magic Christmas elf. Even just filling the bags with paper, would have perked up the room like a Spanx butt shaper.
Center Stage – Promising handbags all the way? Then mainstreet clothing and mid-range men’s watches cheapen the day. When you enter a designer outlet, you know what you see is what you get. So if you expect Yves Saint Laurent and Givency, last season’s Desingual jacket won’t inspire glee. Simply keep your big brands center stage. Those are the one that pivot our inner retail gauge.
Tell me More – Some shoppers not finding the bag they’re looking for? Give us an opportunity to discover more. Having lived in Singapore for a while, I know designer sales are more common than white bathroom tile. If the organizers are putting on another pop-up shop soon, an invitation and a special discount would have made me swoon.
Ladies, we all have certain retail triggers that really accelerate those sales figures. And as entrepreneurs lets hit them with ease, making our customer’s exclaim ‘one more please!’.
Share with all the other business babes out there: How would you merchandise a designer handbag affair?
Image cover source: World of Good