Hope For Retail: Robert Graham
Hey, it's Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. Thanks for joining me on my Hope For Retail project. Today I'm talking about a brand that's only been around about 19 years, and yet they have 21 stores and about 47 million in sales. And, it's Robert Graham. This is one of the Robert Graham shirts. If you know me, you know that I like to travel around in some shirts that don't look like everybody else.
Some people call it American eclectic. It's the idea of not wearing a shirt that's been seen by everybody else. And I particularly liked this one. And yet when I went into the Las Vegas fashion show mall in Las Vegas in January of this year, and the assistant manager and I have got to know each other for awhile and I saw this shirt and there's a bunch of them, they'd just come in and I thought, I saw the sleeve, you know, the sleeve is kind of interesting.
And I was like, "Oh, that's kind of interesting." And he says, "Well try it on. It looks much better on." I was like, "Yeah, I don't know. It's kind of dark and I don't usually wear dark stuff like that." And he's like, "Just try it on." And I said, "Well, you know what? It's a pattern. And it's one of their custom designs, limited edition. So the price is up there a little bit."
He goes, "Just try the damn shirt on." He might not have said it that way. In any event, I tried it on in the fitting room. I came out, I was like, "I have to have the shirt. It's amazing." And the reason why I'm calling out Robert Graham is because that guy does what I recommend to everybody is get the customer to try it on.
If you're a shoe store, the goal is to get them to take off their shoes. That's all that matters. Not, Oh, I have to check my iPad and see what you have. No, the goal is to get a naked foot in front of you so that you can sell them a pair of socks, because let's face it with Covid, no one's going to use your nasty try-on socks.
Or if you're an apparel retailer, get them in the fitting room. Oh, but you know the fitting rooms are going to go away, wait, no, they're not. Here's the thing. 70% of the purchase is decided by if you get someone in a fitting room, they're 70% more likely to buy, the goal is get them into the damn fitting room.
So I get it. There's gonna be cleaning procedures and all that kind of things, but the assistant manager at Robert Graham knew exactly the merchandise will look better on, and while everybody's talking about, Oh, the world's going to go to curbside, everyone's gonna do curbside. I sure as hell hope not, because this shirt will not speak to somebody on a graphic, on a website, near what a salesperson, what a merchandiser can do to make me crave it and say, "Hey, that's my brand."
And so just remember that, yeah, we might have to use makeup guards and figure out how that's going to work, but no apparel sale is complete until someone tries it on and looks in the mirror and says, that's me.
And that's still gonna be the function of great retailers. So you know, retailers have given up on fitting rooms for years. I know a lot of brands are talking about like, we'll just get rid of them. Why would you get rid of them? The whole point is someone's going to try it on and have someone else validate their view because this is a shirt. When you walk out, every time I've worn it, someone's like, that is an amazing shirt. I can guarantee you it didn't look like on the hanger. So for those of you who are retailers, apparel retailers, just understand the goal is to get it on them.
Same thing if you're a bike store. Get them to get on the darn bike. I'm going to talk about another bike company here in a few days, but for right now, just understand the power of trying it on is what most retailers gave up on. Yeah. We'll have to use some new ways to think about it, but no purchase is final until someone tries it on, so why not have the experience?
Because when I got this, what then was I going to do. Well, what else do you have? And he ends up selling two shirts, not just one, which is exactly the point of a brick and mortar. That discovery, that way that you can build basket is far greater than somebody putting up a We're having a friends and family sale this day. Only 20% off.
Give me a break. Those tactics has got to go away. And retailers, you better understand in a brick and mortar retailer, that's not going to be about getting more people in the store, especially if there's going to be limits on store capacity. Right now, that may not seem like a big deal, but what if that happens as we move into November?
You're going to have to get more out of the people that come in. You're gonna have to do a better job of making somebody else's day, of creating a branded shopping experience. That's what I specialize in. That's why I work with a lot of great brands is to say, what you've got is broken, but there's hope. Here's how we do it.
And my last message is for anyone working in brick and mortar, this is going to be a horrible day. We're going to hear the 20 million people are out of work and that a lot more retailers are going to be going out of business. Well, they're going to be going chapter 11 which is reorganizing to stay in business.
But you're hopeful aren't you, to go back to work and have fun? I am. I'm looking forward to seeing those people who are going to go out and are going to say, Hey, that's my brand. So remember that Robert Graham, that you guys might be waiting in furlough, you know, when do we get to come back?
Might be opening stores around sooner than later. I don't know. But you've got to meet that hope because when we go out there, we're the early adopters who are raising our hand and saying, I believe in the future. What have you got for me? You know, you can do the same project yourself. Just find a brand that you like.
Tell that story and then use Hope for Retail to sell it, to share that story on social media, on LinkedIn, wherever it's going to go. Just like I am. You can find these stories all on retail doc.com, you can check out the blog. You can find me on YouTube. Twitter, my Facebook, the Retail Doctor, but let's get more stories of hope instead of hearing how it all sucks.
No one's buying anything. No one will ever buy anything again. Everybody's on the line. If they go anywhere, it's all gonna be delivered to a trunk where we never talk to anybody and there's no Santa Claus and it sucks to be us. I'm done with that narrative. Aren't you? Aren't you done with that? Aren't you ready to say Where are we going in hope?
Rather than looking forward in fear, you know, there's a dirt path to hope and there is a highway to anxiety and fear, and it seems like people have tied into that anxiety and fear and just remember, you are the one that's going to have to come up with that hope. So whoever you work for, whoever retailer you work for, just remember that.
And let's go out and join the world with hope. I'm Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doc. I'll see you tomorrow with another story about hope for retail. Thanks so much.
You can hear and read all of my customer stories in my Hope For Retail project below:
• 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 Saks
• Customer Story Martin Lawrence Galleries
• Customer Story Wilkes Bashford
• Customer Story Ralph Lauren
• Customer Story Levi's
• Customer Story Pedego
• Customer Story Garden Centers
• Customer Story Lutron