In a world where you can order almost anything with the click of a button, the only competitive edge a brick and mortar store has is the in-store experience. If I decide to purchase an item in a physical store, the in-store experience is just as important, if not more important to me, than the item I am purchasing. That added value gained from a satisfying experience makes all the difference for me.
If a sales associate is rude, pushey, or ignores me as a customer, I hate to say it but it affects how I feel about the brand. These days, customer service and providing a fabulous in-store experience is so important. It’s too easy to find the item online and most of the time with 2-day, free shipping (thanks Amazon Prime).
Never-the-less I still love a GOOD old-fashion in-store experience, but only a good one. There is truly nothing more disappointing then spending your hard earned money on an item and receiving poor customer service resulting in a less-than-favorable experience. Let this story be a lesson in the importance of customer service and in-store experience, especially in the luxury marketplace.
How the story begins:
I’m not going to rant about my negative experience with Louis Vuitton (if you know me personally I’ve probably already tortured you with this story) so I’ll be brief.
I purchased an item online to be delivered to my LV store.
I requested for them to monogram
When I came to pick up my item (at the time they told me to return) I waited for 40 minutes, after being helped, to see my sales associate resurface (just to simply pick up an item). In this time I was the only customer in the store. When she did re-appear, she did not have my item. Instead, she told me the guy who does the monograming came in late and the machine needed to heat up. I waited only for my item to return with the monogram incorrect.
When they tried to fix it, he punched through the leather ruining it.
Ok, so now what? There wasn’t another item in-store they could give me so another had to be ordered.
They PROMISE (don’t make promises you can’t keep!) me that there will be another one for me at the store tomorrow.
I show up the next day, the item hadn’t even been shipped to the store yet.
When I contacted customer service (nationally) I received a generic e-mail saying that they hope I received my item. I didn’t, I got a refund and spent my money elsewhere…
Which leads us to the next part of this story:
I left Louis Vuitton mad. I wanted to treat myself to this item and now, I couldn’t justify spending my money at a store with such terrible service. So I took my money down the street to a place where I knew I would have the exact experience I was looking for.
I was greeted properly and promptly, I wasn’t attacked by any aggressive sales people, but when I was ready, a sales associate approached me and was nothing but patient and helpful throughout my experience.
Now, I know very well that buying a diamond of equal quality is less expensive elsewhere, but the point is that I was willing to pay more for a simple item I could have a jeweler recreate for the experience of being at Tiffany’s.
From the moment I walked in, to the moment she perfectly tied the white satin bow around my blue box, my expectations were met and I was satisfied. I felt that I received that added value by purchasing this item in-store which is exactly what I was looking for from Louis Vuitton in the first place.
Unfortunately, Louis Vuitton has lost me (for now) as a customer. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my NeverfullI (a good product is a good product) but I will no longer shop in-store due to disappointing experiences and poor service. Because of this whole experience I am now even more brand loyal to Tiffany’s. This whole story just goes to show how important customer service/experience is today for a brands wellbeing.
Here’s an OP-ED (sent to me by my fabulous blogger friend @alexandra_chloe click here for her blog) about the current state of in-store experiences and why it’s just not enough anymore: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/opinion/op-ed-why-retail-is-getting-experience-wrong