Increasing the Odds

It may sound shocking, but the vast number of people shopping in a brick and mortar store are not getting the most out of their experience. One reason is that they are not using the shop’s resources effectively. One of the most valuable resources is the sales staff. Forging a relationship with a great sales associate, and knowing what to ask of them can lead to immediate and longterm shopping success. To help you on your next shopping trip, try out these tips on creating a shopping partnership from How to Win at Shopping:

-Using a department store personal shopper is a free service that never has a minimum purchase requirement! Most department stores have personal shoppers who are available to navigate the store with you, free of charge. They know the merchandise and can easily guide you through the departments. Be sure to call in advance for an appointment

-Always expect a salesperson to check a nearby store if the requested full-priced item is not available at the current location in your size and color. Before asking for a stock check, determine your correct size by trying on a similar item, perhaps in another color. If the piece is available, you may have the option of requesting a store transfer or having your item held for pickup at the other location. If it is not, find out if the item may be available online.

-Always tell your salesperson if you’re looking for a hard-to-find item. Some stores presell much of their inventory before it ever makes it to the selling floor. A salesperson will often know what is in the stockroom or about to hit the selling floor, so ask her for what you want. If the salesperson does not know, she can find out from the store buyer. A great salesperson will also know which other stores in the area might have the item, even if they’re competitors

-Always ask for the business card of a sales associate you have enjoyed working with. Why start from scratch the next time you visit the store? Take the relationship a step further by sharing your information and ask for a call the next time items come in that he thinks you might like. Working with someone you know, and who knows your taste, can save you money. He will keep you updated on sales and promotions. You can also save time by calling ahead to let the sales associate know when you are coming in. He can preselect items and have them waiting for you in the dressing room.

-Never feel intimidated by a salesperson who is impeccably dressed. Instead, engage her. She may be able to turn her expert eye upon you and be extremely helpful. Many professional salespeople have gotten into the field because of their love of fashion and natural ability to put things together in interesting and innovative ways. If they can put themselves together brilliantly, might they be able to do the same for you? Find out by approaching the associate with a style compliment. Then share a little about your style and shopping goals, and see what happens.

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from David Zyla.