I visited a men’s clothing store with my husband today. He was there to buy a suit for a job interview (he had lost weight and the old one was too big). My husband is a big AND tall guy – a real teddy bear type. He’s hard to buy clothes for.
I had never been in one of these stores, and it was an awakening for me. The staff was friendly and helpful and the selection was fine. However, they were missing some key opportunities to sell more clothing. Here is my list:
- Store employees – all men – should wear something other than polo shirts and jeans. They should be demonstrating that big and tall men can look sharp with a little effort. How about showcasing some of the merchandise?
- When a husband and wife come in and explain they need a job interview suit that sets him apart from the usual fashion-challenged tech worker, it’s an invitation to take charge of the situation. Don’t simply go along with the husband’s suggestion of a black suit. Or do so, but also suggest another color that is not quite as….funereal.
- Design your store so that customers don’t have to brush against the racks of clothing or each other as they move around. Big people feel awkward about that stuff already.
- Be ready with options for tailoring. Don’t just admit that your store doesn’t have it. Offer to hem pants for free with a purchase over a certain amount. These men don’t want to spend any more time fussing over their clothes than absolutely necessary, and they probably waited until the last minute to make a purchase decision because they hate trying on clothes in stores.
Contrast this with my positive experience in a Lane Bryant. Employees there did these things right:
- The employees gave women a little emotional space in the dressing room area – they know we would like others to pretend we don’t exist while trying on clothes.
- They avoided commenting on clothing that customers were browsing with comments like “that’s very slimming, it would look great on you.”
- Store designers spaced the racks far apart to allow customers personal space.
- Employees (all women) dressed nicely in the fashions on display in the store and were not all a size 2.