We present to you a new format of articles - “Undercover Editor”. Within the framework of this format, the authors of the Shoes Report, not just in words but in practice, will test the various occupations and professions of the shoe industry, and share with their readers their views on them from the inside. To begin with, our editor-in-chief Olga Sevastyanova worked all day as a sales assistant in the Moscow shoe store Le Bunny Bleu and told the whole truth about her experience.
5 February, 8: 00 mornings. I woke up from a dream like the night before the exam. I remembered that I don’t have to go to the gym today, because in an hour I will go on a special assignment: I will work as a sales assistant in the Le Bunny Bleu store all day. I met this American brand by chance, and if I were 17 years old, I would have bought up a half-store right away. Le Bunny Bleu shoes have a very fresh design, delicate colors and frank infantility, which made this brand popular in Asia. In Russia, Le Bunny Bleu shoes should probably be worn by the most advanced girls under the age of 25 years - but only if they even find a store: so far there are only two in Moscow, one franchise in the Queen outside Moscow, and the other in Bryansk. There is, however, a fairly successful online store. I met the owners of the Russian representative office Victoria and Alena last fall, and they immediately impressed me not from the shoe business. This turned out to be true: before the girls were distributors of a jewelry brand of jewelry with an unusual design, and when they saw Le Bunny Bleu stores in New York, they got the idea to bring this brand of shoes to Russia. The lack of close contact with the shoe industry not only does not bother them, but, in my opinion, makes their business more modern. At least, such sincere openness, willingness to show everything, tell and even invite a journalist to work a day in a store I have met only once before. I just could not help but take advantage of such a tempting offer, and today I will try to get the most out of the profession of sales assistant.
10: 03. I go to the nameless shopping gallery next to the business center on Krasnoproletarskaya Street, on Novoslobodskaya. Around - market-type clothing stores, jewelry shops and lowered blinds. The glowing ears of a hare - the Le Bunny Bleu logo - look strange against this background. The shop is already open. In the back of the room, between the racks and the windows, Alyona, Victoria and franchising manager Natalya are sitting at the computers. I greet and proudly show the funny shoes brought from home: these are cream-colored brogues and juicy strawberry chewing gum. I really like them, but because of the slightly clownish look, they usually have nowhere to wear. This time, the case turned out to be what is needed, because Le Bunny Bleu has all the shoes in this spirit. In these brogues I will look like the seller of my store. By the way, the only one: before, Seryozha, a student at a theater school, worked as a consultant, but now he is gone. It turned out that the seller may be an actor, but the actor seller - never.
10:20. Alena leads me through a small hall, talking about the materials, prices and how to translate the American size system into Russian - you just need to add the 3 number in front of the number written on the label. Now the store has an action for brand subscribers on Instagram, Facebook and Vkontakte: all sneakers on 2200. “We realized that simple prices work best,” explains Alena. - Previously, we announced a campaign like “For all uggs - 50% discount”, but this did not cause much revival. But when we reported that all the ugg boots were 2500 rubles, the customers began to buy them up and down - for themselves, friends and family. With sneakers, we decided to do the same. ” I write down the price of sneakers in a notebook and mark that it can only be offered to those who purposefully ask about the action.
10:30. Alena recommends taking advantage of the morning calm and remember on which shelves the article numbers of shoes are stored. “Is there any storage logic?” I ask, recalling the giant Otto warehouse, which was logically built to impossibility. “There is no logic,” Alena answers, “but after a day or two everything is remembered.” I only have a day, and in a good way - only a couple of hours to a full flow of customers - so I decide to write everything in a notebook. This tool has never failed me. The store has four wall cabinets, one island table and a couple of places for laying out next to the cash register. I take the boot from the top shelf of the very first cabinet and try to find its article on the shelf. This is not easy, although among two or three hundred boxes you can navigate by their color or shape. To view all the stickers on the boxes in search of one single, it takes about two minutes. I will manage soon.
11: 45. I ended up with the articles on the third wall cupboard, and in my head I got a mess. Recalling, for example, where those leopard-toe shoes stand over there, is decidedly impossible. I look helplessly into a notebook - I train in front of buyers, of whom there have not been any. Behind the shelves, the girls are discussing whether it is possible to make such a bright light in a Chinese shoe store. They come to the conclusion that it’s not worth it: why highlight flaws that still will not be visible in natural light?
11: 55. The first visitor came! I greet with the utmost confidence. This is a woman of thirty years in office clothes, obviously an employee of the business center. She goes to the extreme closet and is clearly interested in those ... Oh no, I have not had time to find out where these boots lie! Just not them, take others, to the left, please! “Do you have the thirty-eighth size?” - and looks at me. “Yes, of course, we’ll find it now,” I reply, not so confidently. Alena comes out from behind the rack. Trying not to level my credibility (hmm ...) the seller, quietly points a hand towards the boxes. Not too quickly I find what I need in the pile of boxes and bring it to the woman. She really likes, but actually she went on business and will come back later.
12: 30. Two well-groomed women in fur coats appeared in the store. Apparently, mom and daughter, type - "girlfriends". Touch the uggs, standing right in front of the entrance. I recall the recommendations on meeting buyers and say: “Hello! Are you looking for something specific? ” Mom answers: “Yes, we would need something warm under sweatpants so that it is not cold in the mountains, but also beautiful. We are going to the Olympics. " Now it’s clear who makes the decisions here. I show my mother semi-sport boots in black. “No, she has blue pants, she needs something blue,” says Mom. The daughter is silent, looking at the shelves. “Well, it’s not necessary to choose shoes in color under the blue trousers,” I note, and I immediately feel that in vain. In the eyes of my mother, the thought is read that I am hopeless in matters of style, and she sluggishly retorts: “No, but how could it be otherwise ...” Well, especially for you, we have blue uggs - tall, short and with a lapel. While the "girlfriends" are conferring about the height, I try to remember on which shelves the boxes with all these articles are laid out. However, no matter what I bring, everything does not fit. The ugg boots are still not glamorous enough for a decorative tracksuit. After testing three pairs, mom takes her daughter out of the store: “Maybe we’ll see some dutiks in Adidas ...” I say goodbye to the visitors, I say hello to the athletes. Victoria peeks out from behind the shelf: “Didn’t they buy anything?” Surprised. But in my opinion, nothing surprising: such an extremely specific customer request is almost impossible to satisfy.
14: 30. Over the past couple of hours, a man with a security guard dressing and a package of persimmons in his hand and three old women of different calibers from a nearby pharmacy brought into the store. It was possible not to perceive them as customers, but they moved too decisively into the depths of the hall and were definitely looking for something specific. One of them wanted slippers - “so I could get in and run all day”, but when I showed her the original felt-slippers in retro style, she answered with a laugh: “I don’t need this for nothing!” So, while young people scour the flea markets and sweep away everything that is inspired by the design of the past, pensioners are literally allergic to things in the Soviet style.
15:00. Only I remained in the store, the rest left for lunch about twenty minutes ago. It’s good that I already ate, otherwise it would be completely lonely. A woman rushes past the window, another employee of the business center. At the last moment, catching her eyes on something right in the window, she, like a car, reverses and flies at the shop door. Her attention, it turns out, was attracted by boots on a shelf by the glass. “The color is perfect under the coat!” She exclaims, twisting the half-park in her hands. A scrolling line is included in my head: “Eco-leather is generally genuine leather only specially treated like it is pressed, and the flexible sole is the left shelf somewhere in the center, probably the second shelf or the third hell, I don’t remember exactly what to look in the notebook”. At the same time, my voice is heard: “Do you want to try it on?”. I hear in response: “Oh, no, now I have no time. Yes, and wait for the discounts! ". Now I understand the shoe makers who complain about forever demanding discount buyers. Crane in the sky is more pleasant for them than a tit in a hand.
15: 10. I sold my first couple! What is strange, it turned out to be the same boots that a lover of discounts was interested in, only black. However, this employee of the business center, who ran out for a chocolate bar and wanted to buy one, doubted the colors. To convince the visitor that black boots with a black sheepleather coat will look better than brown ones, I even suggested she try on my sheepleather coat. What you just won’t do for the sake of selling! “Just like mine! - the woman was glad, diving in furs. “And really, black is better.” So Alena found us, who returned from dinner earlier than the others. She helped guide a customer’s card through a compact card reader connected to a smartphone. I saw such things in industry forums, but I didn’t think that one of the shoe makers was already using them. After the customer continued on her way to the chocolate bar, I shared with Alena my observation that the boots next to the display case attract a lot of attention today. “It often happens,” says Alena. - This is a wave-like process. “At first they are interested in one particular model, and then they suddenly get cold and start to ask about it in large numbers.”
16:00. Three hours before the end of the working day. To be honest, I'm bored: the people are few, although the girls say that somehow it happened today. I don’t allow myself to sit down, I stand behind the counter, shifting from foot to foot. A girl walks past the store with whom we go to the same gym together. She doesn't look towards Le Bunny Bleu. I wonder what she would have thought if she recognized her saleswoman as an ally at an expensive fitness club? Behind the shelves, Natalia talks about her friends managing a shoe store in Sochi. Those hoped for a big profit during the Olympics, but so far there are surprisingly few people. Student volunteers who came to the city are not going to buy anything, and wealthy people settled in Krasnaya Polyana.
16: 10. I see a woman with 17-year-old son. She went into the store about ten minutes ago and, like many, promised to return. And she returned! She, apparently, was very fond of half boots, underestimated by the morning "olympiadnitsy". “Myakonie, oh, what a mellow! She says, stomping in front of the mirror. “Well, how do you like it?” Asks his son. I do not get stuck. I know that when a person comes with someone, the seller’s advice is useless to him. “Mom, if you like, take it.” What a wise young man. “I take it!” The woman blurts out and, quickly taking off her shoes, hurries to pay for the purchase. While I'm driving around with a mini-cash register, I’m thinking about the fact that people who are really inclined to buy people have the minimum time between making a decision and paying. I recall Alena's story about a visitor to the Le Bunny Bleu store in the Golden Babylon shopping center. She several times a day went to look at ballet shoes for 990 rubles, could not decide on the color, spent about two hours of sellers time, and so she didn’t buy anything. It’s good that I didn’t have such today. I give the customer a check, thank you for the purchase and wish to wear with pleasure. “Sure! - the woman answers. - Meak, oh meow! Thank you very much! Life is good! ” After her departure, Victoria asks: “Well, Olya, now have you changed your mind about our target audience?” Indeed, it has changed, and radically. For the whole day in the store there was not a single girl younger than 20 years old, and women for 30 turned out to be real customers.
17: 10. A short-haired woman in spacious trousers, a burgundy sweatshirt with a hood and sports boots taxied into the store. Almost from the threshold, the shoe begins to be touched, picks up a shoe, ideally suited to her style, admires. I understand that her heart has already melted. It remains to convince to try on shoes, and the point is in the hat: as soon as a person sees the thing he likes, he already psychologically considers it his own and is unlikely to be able to leave without a purchase. To my proposal for fitting, the woman replies that, in fact, she goes on other matters, and there is no time to linger. Will come next time. I have often heard this, but this time it's hard to believe your ears: the woman is clearly not in a hurry to leave the store. She dreamily examines the layout, picking up one or the other half-park. “Oh, what a bunny! She suddenly says, pointing to a knitted toy sitting on a shelf. “My girlfriend does such a thing.” The hare is sitting here for a reason. It is a typical emotional component that improves the quality of merchandising at times, which I immediately became convinced of. “And you know,” a visitor addresses me, “why will I ride several times?” I have two thousand rubles with me. Let's try on those shoes! I have the 37 size, but bring one smaller. ” While I get my shoes out of the boxes, the woman tells me that she messed up her legs, because she wears shoes one size smaller all her life in an effort to visually reduce the foot. As a person with a foot of 41 size, I am out loud surprised: okay, I can’t find beautiful boots for myself, so I spoil my legs in 40, but when a person with the most popular shoe size dooms himself to voluntary torment! We both sigh in solidarity. A woman climbs into a boot.
- Do they have an orthopedic insert?
“No, and there shouldn’t be in mass production shoes,” I retort vigorously, at the bottom of my soul a little doubtful of my innocence. Still, a little support of the foot would not hurt. - Orthopedic insoles should be prescribed by a doctor, otherwise they will only harm.
- Yes, I have one because my back hurts. Only I do not wear them.
- And with these boots you will just wear! And the back will hurt.
The reception of persuasion works, the woman actively agrees. He probably already sees himself in beautiful shoes and with a healthy back. Nevertheless, he wants to measure another size, smaller. No problem. But the 37 size shoes are too loose, and in the 36,5 size version the inner loops are rubbing their feet. What to do?
- I don’t even know which ones to take! - the woman sighs. Her whole appearance calls me to act as not only a salesperson, but also a consultant.
“Let us reason logically,” I am well performing the role of a person whom you can trust. - In 36, the belt loops, and you can’t insert the insole. Moreover, you say that your fingers abut. Maybe stop torturing your legs? And in 37 you can put an orthopedic insole, your fingers feel free, there will be no problems with the toe, and the loops do not rub. Everything speaks for 37 size!
- Yes indeed. And they don’t look like skis on me?
- I think not!
- Well then, I'll take the 37.
We go to the checkout. A woman sees a bouquet of roses on the table, jokes: enthusiastic buyers gave? We are laughing. “Thank you very much, I'm so glad I came to you! Yesterday I crashed the car, there was no money, but here at least some joy. I have to bring a girlfriend, and the fact that I have it, poor thing, is so badly put on shoes. " Filling out the form for a discount card, I find out that our customer is 55 years old. She is a little shy of her age, but I hasten to please her with a compliment: "You know, for your age you are very stylish." She is pleased to hear, the smile becomes even wider. Having wished the customer all the best and hoping to see her again, I reflect on how strange the process of a good sale looks like: people give you their money and thank you for that.
18: 55. Since the last purchase, nothing remarkable has happened. Only a timid woman came in, attracted by bright ugg boots, and wanted to try on ballet shoes. She didn’t buy anything, but personally I already had enough events for the day. I remembered his bright moments and my observations. Firstly, I often heard how bad it is when sellers mainly offer only their favorite product. But I did not expect that with extraordinary ease I myself would offer visitors leather shoes I liked in response to a request for “something demi-season”. Secondly, I recalled my magazine interviews with the best sellers: some of them talked about the importance of being honest in the sales process. “When I see that the shoes are not suitable for the customer, I will not tell her that she really suits.” Having worked as a seller, I realized that I could not agree with this "secret of success." The tastes of people are so different that I personally, as a seller, have no right to evaluate them and give advice on style, especially if they don’t ask me about it, or the customer is happy with her choice. Thirdly, when working as a seller, it’s hard to be honest in principle. Yes, you can warn the buyer that these shoes will be constantly untied, because they have round laces, or that the room in the insole is really a drawback, not an engineer’s find. But why? Isn't it better to pass on your observations to buyers so that they communicate with suppliers? Honesty in a situation where you can’t change anything by any means, but only responsible for the shortcomings of all the higher departments, is not only difficult, but also harmful. And it turns out that sellers are silent about the negative aspects of their own powerlessness to buyers, and they are disappointed and lose confidence in the entire brand. But, by the way, this is not always the case. During the day I worked as a seller, I realized that many buyers, especially women, are not so interested in the functional advantages of shoes. For them, an outstanding design, unlike anything else, is more important, and brands that can distinguish themselves from thousands of others have a strong competitive advantage. This is exactly what I say to Alena, Victoria and Natalia, leaving the store, and sincerely wish the Le Bunny Bleu brand further successful development. Tomorrow I return to the editor, and this thought warms me: visiting is good, but at home it is better.
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