Speaking from experience, on average fashion retail sales associates and staff have a limited idea of what it is they’re selling. The questions such as: “What was the inspiration for the new collection?” or “What do I need to know, to understand this brand?” flew over most associates heads. Granted, they are simply there to handle the transactional end of the business and providing information to them is not as important as having the cashflow. However, one could make the argument that Luxury brands such as Tom Ford, YSL and Prada would stand to gain from their retail staff knowing the answers to the above questions without looking at their phones or saying “It all depends on what she/he likes” or “It’s mostly up to the marketers”.
I have to ask, why is it that sometimes the most simple questions about the product, get followed up with: “You can check out our website”. Shouldn’t luxury designers want to grow and develop their relationships with their retail staff, bringing them up to speed on their creative vision? From experience, the best example of designer/retail collaboration is Valentino. When asked about the new Lunar New Year collection that debut as a part of the spring/summer collections, each question was addressed in a clear way that provides a better understanding of the brand in addition to the collection.
Luxury designers need to understand that their customer base needs to understand the product, before they buy it, to understand the value of what they are buying. If a person who has no prior knowledge of luxury fashion walks out of a designer retailer knowing just as much about the brand as they did when they walked in…then don’t be surprised when that same fashion novice finds another brand that will actually address their questions, and enhance their understanding of luxury.
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