Customer service – it’s the little touches


Shopping at the Polo Outlet the other day, I noticed one of the little design decisions that help distinguish a high-end, high value store from the local haberdashery (or the local Bay): each changeroom had a little wall-mounted bin to hold those irritating dozens of dressmaker’s pins that come with every man’s shirt.

While I’m on the topic of men’s clothing: take a look at this analysis of regional targeting in early catalogs from the T. Eaton Company, driven into bankruptcy during the 1990s because it was unable to, ironically, identify and focus in on its most profitable customers as its competitors specialized.

A sample:

    “Winnipeg consistently showed garments on larger, full-figured women. The same styles often looked different because of the models used. For example, an apron shown in Toronto on a slim, fashionable model, was shown on an overweight, matronly-looking woman in Winnipeg. At the same time, Toronto tended to be more diplomatic, using the phrases “larger sizes” or “extra size,” whereas Winnipeg referred to “stout women.” In 1919, Winnipeg carried ten dresses recommended for stout figures, compared to only three in Toronto.” (from the
    Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Before E-Commerce exhibition)

Well … as David St. Hubbins once sang:

    “Big bottom
    Big bottom
    Talk about mudflaps
    My gal’s got ’em
    Big bottom, drive me out of my mind
    How can I leave this behind?”(sound file here)

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