At my Bath and Body Works in Virginia throughout most of the year we receive shipments every Monday, Thursday, and Friday. During the holiday season we receive shipment Monday through Friday and a lot of Saturdays as well. You would think that with getting shipping this often we would not run out of inventory. But that is not the case. We run out of products all the time. We don’t have a lot of control over what we get shipped but every week we order supplies we need and we do a process called Never Out Of Stock where the company has given us a list of our most essential products and if we have less than 5 of them then we must report it. Our shipments are delivered to us by FedEx trucks and they have a window opportunity where they have to be at our store in between 8am-10am. With regards to customer service and having products in stock it is always a gamble. Every day I worked a customer would come in and either want an item that we no longer sold or that we were just simply out of. We would do our best to provide them with another alternative but nobody likes to be told no. It would not be feasible to keep enough back stock of every item in the store, we would never be able to store that much extra product. So where there is that gap there is always a chance that the customer is not going to walk away 100% happy. We always try our best though.
When the corporate office of Bath and Body Works is thinking about opening a new store deciding where to place this new store is one of the biggest decisions they will make. The purpose of placing a store in a specific location is to make the products available in the right quantity at the right location, from the customers point of view. This is very important because once you sign a lease on a space you are locked into that contract even if you aren’t making money. A couple other things that they have to think about are: what volume store do we want this to be, how close is the next Bath and Body Works, do we believe that there is a want for this in the community? A company doesn’t want to be competing with itself so if there is another Bath and Body Works store ten miles away, opening up a store that close wouldn’t be a smart idea. The store I was at in Virginia, the closest stores to us were an hour north or an hour south. When I was in South Carolina the closest one was over an hour away. When you do that with a store like Bath and Body Works you allow them to fail or succeed on their own. Where you place a store is one of the most important decisions that people make when they are starting out.
Promotion is defined as communicating information between the seller and potential buyer or others in the channel to influence attitudes or behaviors. There are three promotion objectives: inform, persuade and remind. There are three different ways to promote: personal selling, mass selling and sales promotions. Personal selling is more expensive per capita compared to mass selling. But an advantage that personal selling has over mass selling is that the sales pitch can be customized for each customer. The salesperson can use what they learn from the previous customer and use it to better assist the next. Sales promotion activities are everything else that isn’t personal selling or mass selling. Some examples of sales promotion activities are contests, coupons and frequent buyer programs. At Bath and Body Works we use all three ways of promotion. We use personal selling by have associates working the floor in order to help all the cutovers that walk in our doors. We use mass selling by mailing out identical coupons to everyone customer and we use sales promotions to attract customers into our store. I think that for Bath and Body Works the sales promotions work the best because they are sales that we don’t have all the time therefore customers want to come in and take advantage of the two day sale.
They say about 10% of the workers in the United States work in some sort of sales position. There are three different types of sales positions: order getting, order taking, and supporting. Order getters help to establish new relationships and create new business and these positions are well paid. Order takers sell to regular or established customers and these are the bulk of the transactions. Supporters aim to help the order getters and order takers but are not personally trying to take orders. At Bath and Body Works we do not differentiate between order getters and order takers. If you’re in the store working you are there to get the customers to purchase. We do have supporters though that are just there to restock the floor and to do shipment. They are knowledgable enough to answer customer questions but for the most part they will redirect the customer to an associate that is working on the floor. All these positions are necessary because you must have experienced sales people on the floor that are going to make the sales. The less experienced associates work the register (they could kind of be considered order takers) and the associates who just want to work stock are they to help in any way possible. My favorite was to be out on the sales floor helping the customers. Stocking was my least favorite.
There are a number of different ways to advertise a product or service. Television, direct mailings, the newspaper, radio, magazines, the yellow pages, the internet and outdoors and cinema. Television is most widely used and is also the most expensive. But it all depends on how much money you have to put into the advertisement. Bath and Body Works mostly advertises through direct mailings and coupons that you get in the store. This past holiday season in select markets they began advertising on television. In these markets they gave away free items and extra coupons to customers who came in and said that they had seen the advertisement. They never said how well this actually worked but we can guess that it did not increase sales by that much because they haven’t launched commercials throughout the United States yet. Or maybe they did amazing and just need to have more money set aside before they can launch the commercials. I do not think that advertising on television is the best way for a store like Bath and Body Works because we don’t have that much to demonstrate and that is the main reason to advertise on t.v. I think that the direct mailing and having coupons on the store is the correct way. Or if they are trying to attract completely new customers or customers that haven’t been in shopping in a while advertising more on the internet could help too. Just some thoughts.
There anywhere from seven to thirteen different stages in the family life cycle. The typical flow of the cycle follows this pattern: young single, young married without children, young married with children, middle aged married with children, middle aged without dependent children, older married and older unmarried. Right now I am in the young single category of the family life cycle. Although I am not like a lot of people my age. I have worked 2 part time jobs plus have gone to school full time for the last two years. One of my jobs was an office job that I would work at in the mornings and early afternoons before my retail job that would keep me at work until around 11 most evenings. I believe that having to work a schedule like this has made me better equipped to handle myself when I get a full time job and get married and have kids. I am already used to having to juggle my time and work on little sleep. Another part of this chapter is the Problem Solving Continuum. This is a scale of how much thought and research and shopping around goes in to solving a problem or buying a new product. On side of the spectrum you have routined response behavior; these are items like toothpaste and deodorant that a person doesn’t even think about. They buy the same thing every time. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have extensive problem solving; these are purchases that are not made often like a new car or a new computer. A lot of time is put in to finding out information about any and all forms of the product. In the middle there is limited problem solving; where there is more thought put in to the decision that buying toothpaste but nowhere near as much as buying a new car.
When I think of marketing I think of all the visual props and store layout changes that happen at Bath and Body Works. This is only a small component of what marketing really is. Marketing is defined as providing people with what they want for perceived mutual benefit. According to this definition the visual props and store layout changes are part of marketing but are only done because the market researchers that work for the corporate office believe that making these changes will help to provide a mutual benefit between the customers and the company. In many cases this is true because if you put a giant sign in front of your store that says “Buy 3, Get 3 Free” you are most likely going to get more customers to come into your store and if you do your job right, then more people will make a purchase. The United States economy as a whole is in the Marketing Company Era, which simply means we are focusing on long run customer satisfaction. This is definitely something that I have seen evident at Bath and Body Works. We make it our personal goal to make each and every customers day amazing. Especially when it comes to the shopping experience they get while in our store. It’s the little things that count for long term customer satisfaction.
Before a new product goes into Bath and Body Works worldwide it is tested in select markets throughout the United States to see how well it sells and how our customers like the product. Last year my store was chosen to participate in the early launch of the New Signature Collection. The company had reformulated the body lotion and had also changed the shape of the bottles. There was a total of about 30 stores throughout the United States that participated in this pre-launch. It was amazing to see how much information the company gave us since we were a test store. Along with this launch came increased prices as well, an additional $1.50 per each bottle of body lotion and shower gel. I thought that our customers were going to be mad about this increase. And don’t get me wrong, we definitely had those customers who threw fits because of it. But for the most part, no one mentioned the increase price. The tests stores had amazing results and the launch happened in the rest of the Bath and Body Works stores after about two months of the test. This is how Bath and Body Works runs their stores and they are always doing tests and trying out new products. If you were to go to a Bath and Body Works store in Ohio or Texas or California I can almost promise you that you will find at least one product that is not in your local Bath and Body Works store.
At Bath & Body Works our store is evaluated on several different aspects of the business. The ones that we focus on most are overall appearance of the store, availability of merchandise, availability of assistance, friendliness of cashier and speed and efficiency of the transactions. These surveys can be done a couple of different ways either one prints out on the bottom of your receipt or you can go to our website and complete it that way. When you call and do the one on the bottom of the receipt it takes you to an automated voice system where it asks you to rate your experience on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being excellent and 1 being terrible. At the end it gives you a chance to voice record anything that you would like to say. Everyday one of the managers logs on to our online system and reads and listens to the recordings. We, at our store, use these comments to adjust our actions and the actions of our associates. There are some things that we don’t have any control of, for example being out of a product that a customer wants. But if we are out of something we can spend more time offering that customer what we do have in the store that day. After evaluating the comments we typically would choose one of those five aspects we are rated on to focus on that day; typically it is the one that has the lowest score. We print out a copy of our daily numbers and hang it up so that all the associates can see what needs work and also what we’re doings well in. Customer satisfaction at our store is our number one priority.
For three years I worked at Bath & Body Works. I worked at two different locations and was management for a total of two years. Working in retail is not easy and being a manager in the retail world is even harder. Retailing is defined as the activities involved in the sale of products to final customers. Bath & Body Works is definitely a retail job. We train our associates to ask open-ended questions, be available to all the customers that walk in the doors, and sell as much as possible. What we asked of our associates and of ourselves was not always an easy task; working with customers and helping them find exactly what they want is not simple. But it is incredibly rewarding. When they find a scent that they fall in love with or the perfect housewarming gift or the best birthday present it makes our job fulfilling. Every Bath & Body Works store has a different store size ranging from A+ to C; A+ stores do the most volume and C-stores are typically in strip malls. The Bath & Body Works that I started out at and also was a manager at is an A+ store but the store that I worked out in South Carolina was a C and was in a strip mall. Being able to work at both of these stores helped me see the difference in how the stores were run and also in how effectively the associate must sell. At my C-store being an effective seller was not necessarily needed. As I mentioned it was in a strip mall, therefore when customers came in they almost always knew what they wanted and did not need the associate to try to convince them to buy something. On the other hand, at my A+ store being an effective seller was a necessity. We would fire people if they weren’t, it is that important. Being located in a mall customers come in just because they are already in the mall. Therefore we have to be on top of our game in order to get everyone to purchase. I enjoyed my three years in retail but I learned that it is not what I want to do for my forever job. I’m glad to be working at IntelliWare Systems and now fully out of the retail world.