The "Visuals Department"

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The "Visuals Department"

Aug 26, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron -- I was shopping at Macy's on Sunday and saw a mannequin wearing the perfect dress.

I wanted The Dress. No, I needed The Dress.

With the help of a saleswoman, we went in search of The Dress. As luck would have it, the mannequin was wearing the only one in the store in my size.

I thought the solution was simple. “Ok, I’ll take the one on the mannequin.”

No can do, the saleswoman said. First, she’d have to put in a request to the “Visuals Department” to come get the dress off the mannequin. This could take until the next day, since they would have to find another appropriate dress to put on the mannequin as a replacement. Then the saleswoman would hold the dress under my name, and I could come back the next day to try on the dress.

Talk about brand management gone wild!

I understand the spirit of Macy’s policy – they have selected a group of designers who know the Macy’s brand, and how to keep that brand developed and flowing throughout the store. They probably know the research on placing what items where to encourage maximum shopping (I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence that the mannequin with The Dress was on a different floor than the dress department – forcing me to go through more of the Macy’s than I had planned to). And they won’t allow mannequins to be stripped of an outfit, and left with no merchandise to display.

But how could it be good for the store to send a willing customer, in love with an item so much as to track down a saleswoman and spend 10 minutes looking for it. Clearly I was ready to pull out my credit card and take the prize home! Instead, they sent me away empty handed, and hoped I would still desire The Dress enough the next day to make another trip out to the mall.

That can’t be good for business.

What policies do you enforce in your business to maintain control of your brand? Do they accomplish your goals, or do they put undue burden on a potential customer?

When was the last time you thought about your brand, and its impact on your business?

Leave a comment and let us know!

If you’re looking for some resources to help build or develop your brand, check out Duct Tape Marketing and Shoestring Branding for some great suggestions. You can also bounce your ideas off of the NASE ShopTalk consultants.
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