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    Hope For Retail: Pottery Barn


    Hey, it's Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. Thanks for joining me here today on my Hope For Retail project. Today I'm choosing Pottery Barn. Now I know Pottery Barn is actually part of Williams-Sonoma, but Pottery Barn for most people, they are two different brands, right, from Williams-Sonoma. And today I wanted to share a story.

    I was walking through the mall. I'm not even sure where it was. Maybe Minneapolis, somewhere like that, occupational hazard. And I'm walking down the mall and I happened to see a candle lit up just like that. Can you see that, there you go, candle. And I noticed it because it looked like, wow, they've got a real candle in the window.

    It's kind of amazing. And then I happened to be able to look through the windows - really important in retail, by the way. I looked through the windows and I could see there was a display over there. So I walked in the store and I went over and there was what seemed like 50 of these candles all burning.

    Now I have liked candles since I was a kid. I like to light them. I think that when I'm off work, it's just a nice mood to set. You know? I like going to candlelit restaurants. I really like it. When I entertain, I usually have candles, but candles are a pain. You know, you have to light them and they only last for so long.

    And then you go through and you have to relight them. You have to replace them. And it's like, ah. And I had bought something, you know, years ago, electronic ones, and they didn't look like candles. They were like poor substitutes. But this one intrigued me. And so I picked it up and I found out, the guy told me, that it was actually on a regular timer and you set it and it comes on every day at the same time for, I think, six hours.

    And the batteries last for about three or four months. And I was like, "I am sold." Now this was about, I think, $79 then maybe. And I bought one. I liked it so much, I must have a dozen of them. And here's the thing that buying this online, yeah, that's exciting. And even if you saw it as a video, I'm sure you'd be like, wow, big deal.

    But what captured me was they were able to make a statement in their store and show how easy it was to be able to have that convenience of a candle on a regular basis. And I was hooked, and I have quite a lot invested in these little candles now. In fact, I've gone into several restaurants now where you can see them in different places and it gives it such a great look, but it also has the operational convenience of I don't have to get up there and turn the damn thing on. I don't have to worry about melted wax or anything else. 

    And so here is the point again, that I found that in a brick and mortar store, I wasn't looking for it. I wasn't sitting there like, "Oh, gee, I wish I could have candles."And I'd say, "Hey, please, can you help me with candles?" That wasn't it.

    I was intrigued. You caught my attention. Your display made me look at all the choices and then an individual, a human being actually, encouraged me to be able to pick it up and realize, "Oh, this is for me." And ultimately ended up helping me see how I could have a better life by choosing your products, and that's what brick and mortar does. That's what it works like when I go into your spa or salon and someone actually takes the time to explain what all those little white boxes are all about and I go, "Oh, that would be better for my skin." Great. But those boxes can't do the hard work.

    That person is what made the difference and what got their attention to begin with was well merchandised products. So Pottery Barn, if you are watching this, if your employees are watching this, we are looking forward to coming back to your stores and finding cool ways that we can bring a little bit of that nesting coolness that you have curated around the world into our homes and notice it isn't price driven.

    It is wonder driven. That's why we buy things it's when you connect to somebody's wonder like, "Wow, what would that look like in my store? Wow. What would that feel like to wake up and have those drapes? Wow. What would that feel like." And that's what you're selling. So no matter what brick and mortar store you are dealing with, and you may have an online component, that's not what I'm talking to.

    I'm talking to those brick and mortar stores that are looking to reopen slowly as we get through hopefully this Covid pandemic and we find new normal. I'm talking to you because when I go out, I'm going to be hopeful when I'm walking through that mall. When I'm walking through your downtown area, I'm looking to be intrigued by your merchandising, and I'm looking to be able to connect with somebody who's can actually say, you deserve this.

    Why not? Let's escape the news together. And that's what I'm talking about here today on my Hope for Retail project. So I hope Pottery Barn workers, associates, execs., you remember that you were an important part of our life. And while I might have a story about this, there are millions who have stories about how your brand has helped them achieve that sense of home, not a house.

    All right? So you can do this too you know. All you have to do is come up with a brand that you really like. Share your story, use the hashtag Hope for Retail, and let's change the dynamic of it's all gloom and doom and no one ever or anything else. You are the ones that we are pinning our hopes on. You are who we want to meet.

    Even if we have to wear a mask in the next few weeks, we still want to have that sense of wonder when we discover your brand. I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor. If you like what I have to say, please share this. Please comment because I want to hear your comments about how we can make retail stronger than ever.

    Thanks again and I will see you tomorrow with yet another brand. Bye.

    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 Saks
    • 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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