Feature

Shoe retailers respond to ‘Fit-Lifters’ phenomenon

trying-on-high-heels_slideshowLast month we addressed the issue of `Fit-lifting’ and the impact it’s having on shoe retailers.

It started with showrooming, then webrooming, and now it’s been coined ‘fit-lifting’. According to the Power Retail article, it is `the act of using a physical apparel or footwear store to discover your ideal size, before purchasing a like garment online.’

This has already become a disturbing trend in Australia and footwear retailers have certainly been at the brunt of the phenomenon. Some have even considered charging for change rooms or fitting services in-store, but this has caused consumer backlash and adverse media.

So we asked shoe retailers to share their personal stories of how they’re dealing with it in-store, because in Susan Cartwright’s words of Inner Souls boutique – “the more exposure to this problem and input from other retailers and problem solving will be very beneficial in keeping small businesses like myself still viable in this difficult economic time!”

Hi Sacha,

Yes I’m a small shoe shop( boutique) on the Central Coast of NSW. I have experienced just what you discussed on Shoe Online issue 62.

I’m more aware of my customers now and I will not give them the name or style of the shoe if asked. I have even been told that a customer was overheard leaving my shop and commenting to her friends, that now she knows her size in the particular shoe she apparently tried on, she will purchase them online.

I have had customers asking if they could take photos of my shoes, with them on her feet!!!!…. One got really angry when I told her no..( Nicely of course…), she left my shop in a huff!

It’s hard work making a sale but when you realise that they only are trying them on so the shoes can be bought online, its really disheartening!

I have compared prices of my shoes to those on line with big companies and there is little or no margin in prices….I do provide some online shoes and I provide a free delivery Australia-wide…

I really don’t know why there is such an attraction to purchase shoes online… I personally wouldn’t do it… that’s why I opened a shop for those who don’t like online shopping and prefer personalised service.

Regards,

Susan Cartwright

Inner Souls – Shop 1/1a Campbell Crescent, Terrigal, NSW, 2260

 

____________________________________________________

Hi Sacha,

Hope you are well.

I was a shoe retailer who owned a business for over 30 years and was experiencing the same trend that is happening at the moment with customers taking all your valued time to have their shoes fitted correctly, especially childrens footwear, only to be told at the end of the fitting and 30 minutes later that they will think about it.

Knowing full well that they were there to get the right fit and product only to order the same product online in order to save some dollars, even though my prices were very competitive.

I was really considering charging a fee upfront for my time in fitting the shoes if they didn’t purchase the product, but would waiver that fee of course if they purchased the product.

We have the knowledge and expertise to correctly fit all footwear that is why we are so respected in the marketplace, but the internet sales have taken loyalty to another dimension and I strongly feel that like an electrician, plumber who charge a service call before they work on the problem, we as retailers in these tough economic times must also charge a fee for our expertise if they the customers are only there to take advantage of your knowledge and expertise.

If they are going to use you and buy elsewhere, they need to pay for your service, time & experience.

What are your thoughts?

Kind Regards,

Ben Maiorana

How have you dealt with `fit-lifters’ in-store?

Share your stories with us, we’d love to hear from you.

Email me direct: sacha.strebe@informa.com

Or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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