Friday, June 24, 2011

Be a better shopper (part two) : : Implementation

I'm currently on the management team at a local Ann Taylor store, and I absolutely love it! I get to help women shop all day -- could anything be better than that? Unfortunately, there are days when clients leave confused, disappointed or even angry. There are so many ways that you can prevent yourself from feeling that way the next time you hit the mall... After all, shopping is supposed to be fun!

Introducing... my three-part guide to being a better shopper. We started with RESEARCH, now we're moving on to IMPLEMENTATION -- and we'll end with FOLLOWING UP. I'm thrilled that the first segment was so well-received and even chosen for IFB's Links à la Mode! Read the post here, join IFB here, see how to submit your posts here, and read the other posts chosen here. All caught up now? Good! Let's begin part two...

STEP ONE: Leave the kids at home. In fact, don't bring anyone with you who doesn't want to shop as much or as little as you do. This includes friends and your significant other, too. Bring someone who has the same goals in mind for the day, or go alone. Your experience will be more fun and satisfying! You'll get more done and won't be distracted -- plus, whoever is with you won't have to sit around waiting while you try things on. Trust me, the cost of the babysitter will be worth the time and energy saved -- not to mention the gas money to go back to the mall because you bought the wrong size in a hurry.

STEP TWO: No question is a stupid question. Once in the store, find a sales associate and ask questions! Describe the items you liked on-line or, better yet, give her exact style numbers. If you're looking for a tall, petite or plus-size section, ask about that. Ask about different fits and style names. Ask how the sizes run and what she thinks you'd wear. Ask about current promotions, sales and specials. Ask about different fabrics -- are you allergic to any? Associates are trained to answer these questions. They are there to help. They want you to leave the store happy so that you'll come back, and they'll do anything in their power to get you what you want!

STEP THREE: Try it all. Grab the items you already had in mind first -- then do a once-over of the entire store and see if there's anything else you're interested in. Think about meetings, events and parties you have planned for the next month... Do you have everything you need, or will you have to come back later? Keeping the future in mind will save you an extra trip. Then try on everything that you like. I wear a small at Ann Taylor and a large at Forever 21 -- you never know!

STEP FOUR: Seek advice. This is especially important if you're shopping alone -- or with a too-nice friend. Again, store employees are trained to help. This includes being honest about how you look! They don't want you to get home, put the dress on a second time and realize you look like crap, then never shop at that store again! Different bodies, skin tones and hair colors all look better in certain styles and not-as-good in others. They'll tell you if something doesn't look right and find something else that does!

Asking for an associate's opinion will help you in more ways than one -- you'll go home with something you truly look good in and you'll develop good rapport with a store employee that can help you with future purchases. (I have certain clients that I keep in touch with on a regular basis because we have such good experiences with each other, and they're the first I call when we're having a secret sale or special event!)

STEP FIVE: Check out. You've filled your dressing room with items, tried them all on, and chosen what you want... you're ready to go! Don't put away what you decided against -- that's the associate's job! -- but do kindly hand the items to her or hang them on the "go-back" rack. (Again, you want to establish a good relationship with her!) Thank her for her help and head to the cash wrap. She may or may not be the person ringing you up, but be sure to tell whoever is that you had a good experience with who helped you. Whether or not the associate is on commission, everyone likes to hear positive feedback! (If you had a poor experience and would like to report it, calmly ask to speak with a manager or ask for the company-wide customer service number.) This is also the time for you to pull out those coupons you saved! Ask if anything can be used on what you're purchasing, and if not, don't push it. The more cooperative you are, the more she'll be inclined to compromise with you (now and in the future)!


  1. Number one, I can't stand kids in the mall when I'm trying to shop. And most of the time I do do my shopping on my own, because no one has the shopping stamina that I have.

    Live Life in Style

  2. I love these tips - this is amazing advice...I kind of wish you were a personal shopper available for freelance hires because I think you would make my shopping experience the most productive (and fun) ever.

    xoxo ~ Courtney

  3. This is such great advice! Hahah I feel like the little cartoon in the blue dress (just because I'm so short and my pants are always too long). One of my biggest problems is being fooled by how something looks on the hanger. You should be hired by someone as a professional because these tips are dead on. <3 <3 <3 H

  4. I like the suggestion of shopping with people only if they are in a like minded shopping space. I never make good decision if I am feeling pressured (either to shop more or shop less). And asking for advice--- always a good plan!

  5. You're adorable and those illustrations are so perfect! Did you draw them or find it somewhere?

    I totally agree with the "Try it all" step. Girl, you should see how many items I bring with me into the dressing room sometimes! Occasionally I feel bad for the associate on duty and wonder if they think I'm crazy, but I don't let it get to me. If I don't try what I found on it'll bug me all week and I'll have to go back!

    Loving this series! Can't wait for Part 3!

  6. Thanks for the comments. I'm so happy this series is proving helpful! It's exactly what I wanted. :) Jen, none of these photos are by me except for the first. If you click on them, it'll take you to the source! I'm horrible at drawing.

  7. I WISH I could always leave the dude at home. He's not as an avid a shopper as mama. Haha.

  8. I would love to have you as an associate at my store. When I shop I tend to keep myself, and just get it done. But, it sounds like I should try to interact a little more to make my experience better.

  9. I love this Stephanie, you captured the thoughts of retail workers nation-wide.

  10. Smart and lovely post STEPH! this has encouraged me to go shopping more!! But I know about these tricks so I am glad you letting all of the blogger world know. It is important to know what you are purchasing, clothes are an investment! Love this!


  11. Love the tips. I only recently started giving sales associates my budget or if they could recommend less expensive options. It's amazing how helpful it is to be upfront about it rather than thinking something I liked was too expensive and leaving without buying anything.

    Congrats on IFB, too:)
    xoxo, f
    The House in the Clouds

  12. I love the leave the kids at home bit!!! I mean I don't have kids but that refers to my bf, lol. I only realized last year that I do waaaay better shopping alone and I'm super happy you are a proponent for asking question to the associates, I''m a big asker!

  13. Great advice. Great job you have too. Xxxx

  14. so good! I love step 3 - it might be ridiculous, but I feel so much better after I've tried on (basically) the entire store ;)

    Corinne xo

  15. Genius. Number 4 is so true. Seeking advice from an honest individual is so key. Sometimes we think we know best, but a second opinion never hurts! ;)

    Lynsey Michelle

  16. Great advices!!!



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