I have been known to be challenged to actually take a real day off. But what if working during your day off is fun? What if it involves shopping? Is it really work? I'll let you decide!
On Saturday, I decided to take a day to enjoy myself. We won't talk about how late I slept or how many cups of coffee I drank when I got up. A planned trip to the grocery store turned into a reconnaissance mission - visit some stores that I admired to learn a bit more about how they do things (and to see how I was treated as an average customer).
As a side note, I have to say I love the way some of Zoe's customers are dressed when they shop in my store. I wish I could look like that when I am shopping. But I don't. Not ever. Saturday's grocery store ensemble was a t-shirt, jeans, and sandals. So that is how I went into these locally owned boutiques in another part of the DMV area. And I was treated wonderfully. As I would hope I would be!
There were several things I wanted to observe (in addition to my treatment as a customer). I wanted to learn about their return policies. I wanted to look at brands that I might be missing. I wanted to observe store layouts. I wanted to observe dressing rooms. I wanted to observe sales. And I wanted to observe traffic. (And I wanted to shop!)
I had a really enjoyable afternoon (and I did eventually make it to the grocery store). Some key take aways from the trip:
1) Return Policy - I changed Zoe's return policy today. After almost 2-1/2 years, it was time. I brought it more in line with similar boutiques.
2) Brands - I found two new brands that I want to pursue further for Zoe's customers. Both of which I bought for myself and will wear for a while to see what I think. (No worries - these boutiques are quite far enough away from the store so as to not be cannibalizing on the brands).
3) Store Layouts - I got some ideas on things I might change to make things more efficient.
4) Dressing Rooms - While I am still very partial to a door on the dressing room - I got two completely different perspectives on the use of mirrors, which I need to consider at Zoe.
5) Sales - The stores I visited were all having unique versions of Labor Day weekend sales. Definitely some good ideas for the future.
6) Traffic - You always want to get a feel for independent store traffic, even if it is on a holiday weekend. I observed traffic while I was there and got the feedback I needed.
Um...plus I came away with a few purchases. (Lines not available at Zoe, of course)!
See, working CAN be fun! Not a bad Labor Day weekend at all.