So, as you know, I’m the Boston retail examiner. Ha, you probably totally didn’t know that. Whatver, no big deal, now you’re up to speed. So, yes, I am examining retail in Boston so I’ll be writing reviews of specific shops, doing a weekly top 5, sharing sales information, yada ya. It’s a pretty cool gig because now when I’m out shopping when I have no business shopping I can definitely write it off as work. And, of course, I’ll be able to really get to know some of the awesome retail spots in Boston and get a lot of people involved.
So the article premiering my big return was a review of this little Newbury shop Soodee that I had walked by a million times and never bothered to go in. I feel like that is the downside of being a small (as in not H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters) retail shop on Newbury, you kind of get overlooked. People also may assume you are insanely overpriced and unless you have some incredible window display or stoop merchandising everyone is going to assume your just like that mini boutique across the street with their flowy dress in the window.
My goal is to combat that mentality because now that I’m actually paying attention these shops they are all so unique. But, now that I’m paying attention my standards of the retail experience are rising. I’ll probably be writing separate pieces for Examiner and The Boston Bazaar because I don’t want the same content out there. I can definitely be a little more… colorful on The Boston Bazaar but either way getting 5 stars from me is not going to be a walk in the park.
I get a little tired of every single store I walk into saying they are the “Best of Boston.” Literally every single store I go into has a Best of Boston award. Surely, you cannot all be the best. So, now I am truly on the search for the best and when I find it… kudos, five stars for you.
My general criteria: customer service – call me a bratty little snob if you will, but sales associates, this is your job. Customers can be annoying, I know… I used to work for Steve Madden, but there is nothing that can kill the shopping mood faster than poor customer service. I should feel like a little princess…or your best friend… or someone you admire. Sounds odd, but seriously. If I’m shopping in your pleasant little Newbury Street store I am probably about to spend hundreds of dollars and no one wants to give their money to someone that acts like they can’t be bothered. That’s my biggest thing. I take a whole star off is customer service is not spot on…two if it just sucked.
Then merchandising, of course. I love LF but I cannot be bothered to walk in and shop in that MESS. I have listed them in a top 5 though because they have great clothes and most of the time really good quality. I don’t mind spending money when the quality is on point. But as for smaller stores – it should be clean, displays should be attention grabbing and well placed, racks should be properly stocked, etc. A store that’s not properly merchandised will send a customer walking as soon as they walk in.
The actual merchandise, pricing, etc. If you’re selling a plain white t-shirt with no designer for 190 bucks, I’m totally going to tell my readers. If they choose to buy it that’s on them, but I am going to be completely honest.
Soodee was my first review and I totally liked the shop. There were pieces I could see myself wearing and pieces that so many people with different styles would wear but I was so turned off by the customer servicing that I hopped my way on over to Crush Boutique and liked it a whole lot better. A nice bright friendly staff greeting me as I walked in, complimenting my shoes made me want to spend money a whole lot faster than walking into a place where I can’t figure out who works there and once I do they’re checking themselves out in the mirror anyway.
I’m so mean…but you know…hey.
Oh and PS…yes, I will be venturing further than Newbury. Cambridge, Allston, Northend, Southend… you name it I’ll be there. Seriously…tell me where you want me to go and I’ll be there.