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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Nov 4, 2011

Retail Rantings and Ramblings

Now I’m completely convinced. The large brand name stores that we know and love are desperately trying to put themselves out of business; in a manner of speaking.

I noticed 3 weeks ago when I had to go to the Verizon store to get my phone replaced. The customer service was TERRIBLE and the in-store prices were extortionary. The phone that I originally bought for $100 cost nearly $240 in the store. Before I made my trip to the small brick-and-mortar edifice in Charles village, I did some quick checking online so that the sticker shouck wouldn’t kill me. The price was half what I was later quoted in the store. AND the price on Amazon was 1/3 the verbal price quote.

I spent over 30 minutes in the store with the salesman but walked out phoneless. The only real help that he offered is that he suggested that if I can find a cheaper price online, I should go ahead and make that purchase. I walked out in disgust ant then it dawned on me: large companies like Verizon have been outsourcing their US-Based customer care staff for years, and taking money out of the traditional storefronts; hence the closed or—just as often seen—understaffed stores in the mall.

Factors that lead me to this conclusion include:

  • Declining staff training/customer service
  • Increased availability of goods on retail websites, and discounts for using online services
  • Increase in tele-sales and customer service forces in companies like ATT and Target
  • My razor sharp intuition

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