Selfridges has opened a new Denim Studio and increased the size of its denim floor until it’s the size of Ireland, or something like that (the world’s largest dedicated denim dept, to accurately quote the press release). The reason this is interesting to us grown ups is the simply fabulous service that comes with it.
You know howe we feel about service. We want sales staff who know more about the product than we do (we love an expert) and who totally get that we are not 23 any more physically, although we’re not far off it in our heads. We’ve been shopping for long enough to know that crappy changing rooms will send us home sharpish and that searching for non-existant sizes on over crammed rails might make us turn to violence.
The new denim area at Selfridges gets it right on many counts. If you wander about the new floor for long enough, someone from the denim team will find you and take you under their wing. I got a bright, mature 20-something who made it look like finding me the right pair of boyfriend jeans was going to make her day. She demonstrated the new interactive digital style board in the changing room area (which is extremely well lit, comfy, with space to pad about and admire your bottom) and coaxed out of me what I might like. Once prepped, she shopped the floor for me, while I remained playing about with the new technology. And her selection of styles was exactly what I wanted, she’d clearly listened. When I found my favourite pair was too expensive, she re-shopped the floor by price point and brought in the same look (sort of) for cheaper.
While I tried pairs on, she made informed conversation- she really knew her subject and clearly loved what she was doing. To be honest, if a salesperson gets this service experience right for me, I’m putty in their hands. I can’t be the only one. What I don’t understand is why more retailers don’t understand this.
Imagine for a moment that in your nearest Next store (and I’m picking Next for no reason other than you all know it) there was a super-comfy area you could go to that had a couple of stylish women who totally understood your needs as a grown up. Who could listen and then shop the floor for you and find the most lovely things you could actually wear. And then show you how to style them around what you have or show you the shoes /accessories/ whatever to wear with them. Wouldn’t you love that? And if the product was right, wouldn’t you stay loyal?
I love shopping but lots of my friends don’t because they hate the hassle. Imagine if a retailer made the whole process like a trip out to see a very smart and chic friend with great taste who did all the hard work for you? I’m not talking personal-shopper-serious, just everyday shopping made easy. If fashion stores are to survive competition from on-line, then surely revamping service has to be key, and getting it right for each age group demographic is essential.
So hats off to Selfridges Denim Studio for making it work for buying jeans. I happily bought (a pair of Goldsign boyfriends) and would recommend it to anyone who hated shopping for jeans. If you are price sensitive then start at the Primark section ( I loved the self-service check out here) or consider the Denim by the Kilo idea from The East End Thrift Store, where you pay for your styles according to how much they weigh. When I visited last week there was a free customisation offer from the resident seamstress the Sew Over It Cafe from Clapham, who added a strip of leather to a couple of my pockets to make my jeans that little bit more personalised.
I could get seriously addicted to this level of care.