A confessed shopaholic (my motto is “when the going gets tough, the tough get shopping!”), TGATP is an expert in what constitutes a great shopping spree! Thus, in an attempt to save shopper headache and hip store corporate managements to areas that they may want to improve, I am launching a new feature called the “TGATP Shopping Experience.” These posts will describe the actual ins and outs of shopping the major brands, both in the actual store and online, offering time saving and cost cutting tips for readers. In addition, these stories will assist brands by offering an assessment of their store and customer service policies from the shopper’s standpoint.
First up, H&M. H&M is one of TGATP’s favorites for Spring/Summer. You can always find cute and comfy little dresses for ridiculously low prices! But there are serious time issues that need to be addressed. First up, is the register situation. These are mega-stores, so there should be tons of cashiers to ensure that the shopper is not stuck in line for long periods of time! Every time I go to an H&M, I have to make sure I have tons of time to spare for waiting in lines, a practice I hate. The fitting room situation is also a hot. inconvenient mess with painfully long waits, especially at the Soho location. I literally waited a half hour to try on one dress! Why gigantic stores, many of which have two floors that can probably hold about 500 shoppers, would have so few dressing rooms is a complete mystery to me! This disregard for their customers time is ultimately costing H&M millions. I watched tons of frustrated folks simply walk out, without buying anything, due to the length of both the fitting room and register lines.
The lack of an online presence is also something that H&M needs to address. It’s 2011, what manufacturer doesn’t have an online presence by now? It is archaic that customers are forced to shop strictly in-store, especially with the time commitment that is necessary for line waits. In addition, the online and the in-store merchandising needs to be integrated and the staff needs to be required to do regular web checks. At the Soho store, I asked two different sales assistants about products. One claimed that the dress was not in when I found it just a few racks away. The other claimed that a dress, that was in the store, was not coming out for another two weeks! This laziness on the part of the sales staff is another source of loss revenue. Calling the store sees the customer transferred to several different assistants, who may or may not, find your item. In addition, unlike the Gap and other more forward thinking brands, the workers at H&M stores seemingly have no way to communicate with each other. When I asked an assistant to check another location for a dress that was sold out at her store, she said she had no way of doing so.
Jerome (at the 18th Street store) and Monica (at 42nd and 6th) were both excellent staffers, who were big helps, and deserve a mention here. Monica went above and beyond to try to find an adorable lil’ white eyelet dress that her store had sold out of. The next day, Jerome was exemplary in locating another dress. Jerome even took my phone number and called me when he found the dress!
Rating (5 dollar signs = Excellent, 4=Good, 3=Fair, 2=Bad, 1=Save Your Money)
Store layout $$$$$
Shop Assistants $$$ (2 were great, 2 were not)
Fitting Room Line Wait $
Checkout Line Wait $$
Customer Service $$$