Archive for April, 2014

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.