I remember the first Sale in our boutique, and how much it hurt to mark down the clothing that we had so painstakingly chosen. Every punch from the tagging gun felt like it was aimed at me and not just the label.
Since then, summer and winter Sales have come and gone, and I now have a positive view of Sales.
Not only does a Sale period give us a chance to see what has been left behind and learn why certain product has not been an immediate seller, we also gain many regular customers. Lured by the Sale sign, women who may have passed the store by and presumed it was not for them cautiously come in to find that we do in fact sell their size and have a range of prices to suit all pockets.
Suddenly, the store has new customers that feel comfortable in our boutique, and by filling out their details to go on our customer database they will receive an invitation to the new-season preview.
At Free Love we believe if you are going to do a Sale, do it properly – there is no point taking £5 off here and there and expecting people to get excited.
Customers may come in to gather up the pieces they had to leave behind when prioritising dresses and footwear over a work shirt. Or they may use the Sale period as a time to bulk buy – one customer recently left the boutique three hours and five very full bags later.
The world of retail is anything but ideal at the moment and so I have no choice but to adapt to it and try to turn it to my advantage. The rules may have changed but the game remains the same.
Hopefully, if we are careful we can play it the right way and the retail trade will return to what it once was.
- Katie Free is the owner of contemporary womenswear boutique Free Love in St Peter Port, Guernsey