Jul 30, 2011

The Problem With Bricks and Mortar Retail.

Do you sometimes feel that it's just too hard to do bricks and mortar retail (unless it's for groceries and even then....)?  

A magazine added to the week's shopping does ease the pain of the weekly grocery shop just a little...
There has been a lot of press recently about the 'shock' profit losses at Australia's two biggest high end department stores and the comments posted by readers whenever either of these chains is written about really shows the depth of feeling many people have about the standard of service and range of products on offer at these premium retailers.  The general consenus has been that shopping at department stores is an experience best reserved for visits to the overseas shopping meccas our strong dollar has practically forced us all to visit on our now more frequent and extravagant foreign travels. 

The latest strategy the retailers have hatched in an attempt to turn around their losses is to revamp their range of designer fashion and to wean us off heavy discounting dependency.  The idea being that Australian consumers will be so excited about new brands coming to our shores we won't be able to wait for the discounts, we'll high tail it in store and pay full price.  Mysteriously, both stores are launching their new season Spring/Summer collections with desert themed soirees and the paying public's response has been .... blistering.

I'm guilty of waltzing through department stores for a bit of sight seeing as I nurse a cup of coffee and self directed product research (outside of the beauty hall, I have never actually been able to find anyone to ask a question of).

Recent trips to the shops with a definite purpose have been somewhat frustating.

I needed to get some new jeans hemmed and the only place I could get it done in the local gleaming shopping and cinema megaplex was at the dry cleaners.  Except that anyone needing mending their had to use the centre toilets to pin their own hemming.  The saftey pins were free though!

Then I  made the rookie error of picking the only 2 items on a deceptively labelled sales rack that weren't included in the discounting at the kitchen wares store.  Pricing seems so much clearer on websites.

All is not lost though, Kiehl's Australia has come through once again.  They had a recent facebook follower promotion where you could drop in at your local outlet and on showing proof of your facebook follower status, be offered some generous samples for no coin at all.

In other Kiehl's news, apparently the Rosa Arctica cream I found at Neiman's may be coming to Australia next year!  It seems that head office has received more than a few requests for this to happen.

Taking photos with an iPad of an iPhone is actually much harder than it sounds.  Especially when you want the iPhone screen to be 'live'.
Which is where Mr SSG comes into things.  I had this tricky set up where I was going to take a photo on Mr SSG's iPad of my iPhone showing my Kiehl's facebook follower status against a background of Kiehl's products I already use (to refine the selection process for the free samples).  Then, all Mr SSG had to do was to show his iPad to the sales assistant and Bingo! 

Mr SSG coming through with the goods.

Mr SSG did good in difficult circumstances.  Operation Kiehl's Sample Haul happened to be the day he forgot to bring both his phones to work.


  1. See, i work in the beautiful world of handmade, where our bricks & mortar store in Canberra CBD has an amazing following, retail for us is UP 33% on last year & gaining, as like a farmer's market, people love to support a designer's collective (we have about 140 designers in Shop Handmade at anyone time) & while we watch our pennies, it's nice to know every cent you spend goes to a small business/ family/ mum sewing at home etc, our customers LOVE that. So as all the shops close around us in the Canberra Centre, we're picking up their slack. With public service, they're not so into shopping on crafty sites on line, here, you can buy 6 items, from 6 different designers around Australia in one transaction, just like that, supporting all those people. Love Posie

  2. Posie: that is amazing and great to hear. I think the current shopping climate is heralding a return to smaller businesses and what they can offer both in store and online.

    SSG xxx

  3. I'm v disappointed with recent retail experiences. So expensive, and so easy to compare online. I get especially irritated by seeing cooking appliances (Kitchenaid, Le Creuset, to name a few) at about half price in Europe and the States.
    I can't wait until John Lewis starts shipping here in August!

  4. Heavenly Ingrdients: get out of town, John Lewis too?

    SSG xxx

  5. It;s very hard to justify spending your money at your standard bricks and mortar outlets when said money can buy you so much more online. I keep reading about how everyone has become cautious with their spending and that your standard bricks and mortar retailers are doing it tough, but I keep thinking that maybe the whole "people have become cautious" is a downright lie, they're not being cautious they're blowing their money online. Or maybe I just hang around the fashion forums and the "what did you buy recently" threads too much?! :p

    Hope you're enjoying your weekend SSG!!!


  6. I can't remember the last time I bought anything other than knickers at a "high end department store" (by the way, that title gives me the giggles - nothing high end about Myers frankly). I like to support smaller, independent stores that stock individual, well made pieces that not every Tom, Dick and Sarah will be wearing. I like buying online because of the discounts and if I am buying retail, I expect to see the same, or at the very least have an excellent retail experience. Large retailers still don't get it: people don't shop at their stores because they don't offer the basics: good customer service, well priced clothes/items. It's simple really.

  7. Kitty: I was trying to be diplomatic with the use of 'high end'. Other short listed terms included 'premium', 'exclusive', 'luxury lifestyle' and 'aspirational' (cringe).

    SSG xxx


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