I’m calling out some retailers. You’ve probably experienced this too, but it’s not good enough.

Last weekend I went shopping for tennis shoes for my son, as well as some clothes.

We travelled 40km South on Saturday to a big Mall, and then 50km north the following day to an even bigger Mall.

The lack of service was astounding.

I walked in and out of 11 stores before I gave up.

  • You walk in,
  • Wonder whether it will be a waste of time,
  • You scurry in to the middle of the store,
  • Maybe grab and touch something,
  • Then decide it’s not for you and walk out.

It happens so quickly.

Pfft. Sale gone.

Just because a customer doesn’t see something from afar doesn’t mean you don’t have something for them to buy.

For the non-Australian readers, excuse the brand names, but you’ll get the idea.

Tarocash (men’s clothing) helped. In fact, the staff member was serving me and another customer at the same time. (We all have patience for that).

The Athletes Foot helped with great enthusiasm and knowledge.

  • These guys didn’t help at all.
  • Zara
  • Topman
  • Glue
  • Shoe
  • Country Road
  • Footlocker
  • Adidas
  • Rebel Sports
  • UNIQLO didn’t help, but then they are more set up as self service (I suppose).

Back to Rebel Sports.

It was the first store we visited but we couldn’t get service and my son didn’t like the colours (but loved the shoe style).

Before heading to the car empty handed, we decided it would be good to go back to Rebel because we knew we wouldn’t get served and we wouldn’t have to feel guilty about buying the shoes on the internet.

But the store was empty and I fear we’d get served.

Oh well, let’s just try on the shoes regardless.

We grabbed different shoe sizes, had them strewn all over the floor, and watched as a procession of staff members walked past us without as much as an acknowledgement.

They were waiting for us to ask for help because they were clearly in their stooped back, shoulders down, hand itching to jump on Facebook, unmistakable bored sort of look. But nothing.

So we tried on the shoes, took photo’s, packed up, and went home to order online (not from them).

All they had to do was say hi.

Oh, and go further? Try this.

Staff member could have said… Find the one you like, you can pay for it here. We’ll have it sent to your local store and you can forget the hassle and uncertainty of buying the right one online.

I would have been sold. But no. Sale lost.

It also happened in Topman. We were standing there with clothes hanging from our arms, only for a staff member to walk past in her swoop of the store and offer a sanctimonious superior training manual pretend smile. So we dumped the clothes in a shitty pile and walked off.

We were there. We were ready to buy. We just had a question.

At the other stores we were simply invisible.

This is not a rant, it merely rammed home to me how many sales are lost at the front door.

Forget about sales skills.
Forget about upset and cross sell.
Forget about features and benefits.
You won’t even get there without hello.