A categorical mess

15Nov11

I haven’t owned a leather jacket in years, but I recently decided that I’d like to get one again. After identifying a store that had some nice options, I stopped in over the weekend. There was no store directory, so I asked a sales rep where the leather jackets were located. His answer: they’re scattered throughout the store.

The sales rep directed me to the first batch of jackets, located near the checkout area. I didn’t like the options on that rack, so I looked around for others nearby. There was nothing within viewing distance. I ended up asking another salesperson to retrieve one, and she was gone for so long that I can’t even imagine where she actually had to go to retrieve it. Making matters worse, the jacket she came back with even more disappointing than the first ones that I saw.

I left the store frustrated and empty handed. What was the retailer thinking when they decided to split up all the items in the category and scatter them all throughout the store? I doubt that leather jackets are an impulse buy, so this approach merely serves to piss off serious buyers and reduce the chance they’ll find a product that they like. And with no shortage of competing stores that organize their items by category, moving towards a disorganized and haphazard store layout seems like a mistake — especially with the peak holiday shopping season only a few weeks away.



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