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    Hope For Retail: Saks Fifth Avenue

    Hey, it's Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. Thanks for joining my Hope For Retail project. Today I'm talking about Saks Fifth Avenue, which is an amazing brand. I was going to try to put a picture of their store in Manhattan behind me with the amazing dichroic glass escalators they put in, but I couldn't make it work and look effective.

    So we're going to stay in the Retail Doc office here. I saw this jacket in Palm Desert, California, last year. Amazing jacket, except the thing was they had an orange shirt underneath it and A) orange is not a great color for me, and B) orange is not a great color for me. And so, I just remember this young man, and I said, "That jacket is awesome, but the only way that will ever work is if it gets the exact right shirt."

    And I tried button up shirts and I tried open collar. I tried all these different ways. I must have been in that store for 40 minutes, and he just kept pulling out different things until we finally found this Grayson, which is kind of a purple that set it off and made it look amazing. And I've worn this, well, obviously I haven't worn it lately.

    But I've worn this on planes. I've worn this to speaking events, and everyone asks, "My God, where did you get that?" And I go "Saks" and I tell them it was in Palm Desert. And you know, the thing is, it's a very small Saks there. It's not like the one in Manhattan. It's very small. And I'd never heard of this brand, which is Liberty, I think it is.

    Is that it? Oh, no, Engineered for Motion. It has a pocket in here. You could put your phone in, which is interesting. And the reason why I bought that is because I discovered it. I went into Saks. I wasn't looking for a floral jacket. In fact, if you were to tell me how many floral jackets will you have in a lifetime, I'll say, "I'll have one."

    And this is the one, and it is amazing jacket. It's lightweight, it fits in well. It's a great traveling companion. And again. Just like many other stories I'm sharing with you. Retail is not dead. I found this because I walked into a store, I saw it, and I had a person engage with me as a human being, discovered me, could see my interest in it and knew that I wouldn't, you can't just say, "Oh, well, you can wear it with anything."

    You can not wear this jacket with just anything. This is a jacket that needs to be thought of before you go out and ultimately, how does it look together? And I couldn't see the purple would be, because purple's not even in the jacket, but it actually is what makes it pop. It doesn't take away. It actually brings it together.

    So I can wear it with nice pants, I can wear it with jeans. And again, every purchase has a story. When you are selling items that can be found online and you say, "Well, we'll just put it online," this jacket would not sell online. In fact, I bet If I was to go back, this probably ended up being on sale many months later because you've got to try it on, and more importantly, you've got to see it together in a way that you can see it in your wardrobe, and that's what great retail does.

    That's what Saks does. As you know, I also told a story about Jimmy at the Saks Fifth Avenue last January, which was an amazing experience. And while I didn't have the greatest customer service in some parts of that store, Jimmy had been there for 30 years and knew exactly how to talk to somebody.

    And when I was actually walking around, sometime last end of summer, I was in actually in Saks in Manhattan and an employee said, "It's an amazing jacket. Where'd you get it?" Actually, I got it from you. And you're like, "You're kidding. We never saw that jacket." And again, it was temporary. But something I happened to see at the time going into a brick and mortar store, so I get it.

    Saks employees, there you are, wondering, "Are people going to come back?" We are going to come back. You've done a great job of clienteling. Those of you who get how to sell, understand that it's about not just making the customer happy, but making them excited about being able to wear that jacket and tell that story again.

    And so when we come into your stores, when they reopen, wherever it is in the world, we are anxious and hopeful to find something new. Your merchandise is there, but you've got to meet us with more hope than worry and regret so that we can treat ourselves to what you have to offer.

    I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. You can do this, the same yourself. Just find a brand that you like. Remember the story around it, and then share it with a hashtag Hope for Retail. I'm out here to dispel the gloom and doom. It's not going to be easiest getting through this, but if we can't find the hope, the economy doesn't work. It's that simple.

    So I don't care who you are. You have a vested interest to make sure that those one-in-four employees who are responsible for retail for their jobs get some hope instead of just pouring more water on it and saying it's over, no one's buying anything. This jacket would not sell nearly online as it did when I met an engaged employee associate and they helped me see what I could feel like when I wore that jacket.

    And you know what? I feel 10-feet tall when I wear this jacket, whether I had the phone in my lapel or not, I'm Bob Phibbs the Retail Doc. Tune in tomorrow when I share another story about a purchase I've had, and I look forward to your comments as you watch this, thanks again.

    You can hear and read all of my customer stories in my Hope For Retail project below:

    * Retail Is Not Dead – Sharing True Stories of Hope For Retail Stores


    • Customer Story Macy's
    Customer Story Neiman Marcus
    • Customer Story Hugo Boss
    • Customer Story JC Penney
    • Customer Story Ted Baker
    • Customer Story Nordstrom
    • Customer Story Allen Edmonds
    • Customer Story Williams-Sonoma
    • Customer Story Armani
    • Customer Story Harry Rosen
    • Customer Story Pottery Barn
    • Customer Story Martin Lawrence Galleries
    • Customer Story Wilkes Bashford
    • Customer Story Ralph Lauren
    • Customer Story Robert Graham
    • Customer Story Levi's
    • Customer Story Pedego
    • Customer Story Garden Centers
    • Customer Story Lutron


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