Archive for March, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.


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