A retail trend I don’t like

April 22, 2011

Retailers are always trying something new to boost sales, but this latest trick, having NO price tag, looks like a mistake to me.

For people who live to shop and have plenty of time to do so, being able to see the price may not matter, but for busy people, having to take time to find a clerk in order to learn the price of an item of interest  is not only annoying but may also prevent them from making a purchase.

Take me, for example:  I definitely do not live to shop and, when I need something,  generally shop en route to some other activity.  A few weeks ago, I spotted the perfect purse at Nordstrom–exactly what I’d been seeking for almost a year: leather, waterproof, big enough to hold an iPad and to serve as a tote for carrying shoes, etc.  Perfect for trips to New York City.  It was not a necessity but would definitely have been  nice to have.

No price tag.  No price tag on the outside; no price tag on the inside.  The clerk was helping other customers but told me that not having price tags on purses was their new policy.   I was on my way to a meeting and couldn’t wait.     Nordstrom lost a sale.

Today, while hiking through a mall on my way to purchase a necessity,   I spotted the perfect gift for my granddaughter at a kiosk.  No price tag.  For that matter, no clerk.  Therefore, that kiosk lost a sale.

I suppose that the theory behind this no price tag strategy is that when customers have to ask the price, it gives the sales person a chance either to make the sale and/or sell different or additional items.

It would be interesting to know (but tough to measure) whether the benefits of this strategy outweigh the costs of lost sales.  I’m sure it is NOT a good plan for customers like me.