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retail shoe display

To Serve or Not to Serve? Sell Me The Shoes

shoe sale

In the last two weeks, retailers TK-Maxx and Kaufland have confirmed their intent to set up shop in Australia. Retail faces another shake-up with their entry and the likelihood of other foreign discount and off-price retailers following suit.


In the US, we've seen department stores struggle in the face of this competition and now we see the market starting to divide. Macy's has commenced testing self-service for shoes - the off-price retail approach - to reduce overhead. JC Penney has been trying the same. Suffering losses to retailers such as Sephora, Macy's are also testing this in the cosmetics department. In contrast, Nordstrom (remember Ivanka Trump clothing in the news recently?) continues to push the message of superior personal service as its point of difference. 

Myer is reported to be preparing a bleak set of numbers for release as they execute a turnaround. The department vertical in Australia is under pressure and this looks set to increase. Will this see the market truly polarise to elite service vs self-service, with no middle ground, as occupied by traditional department stores?


Working on the shop floor, we can all act right now, as we wait for corporate strategies to continue to take shape.

  • Whether your store offers a premium customer service experience or not, a smile is free. Customers are people too!
  • Shoppers buy what they see - and if they can't find it, they're not buying. Does your retail display make sense? Are colours and sizes accessible to try? Is your merchandising flexible enough to change quickly, to continually engage customers on repeat visits? Weigh up perfection with function. The retail objective is to sell merchandise. Presentation is a tool - a means to an end - and not the final goal.

Superior service or self-service - it doesn't matter. As retailers, we are there to help sell the shoes.

Author profile

Steve Nelson believes in incredible retail spaces that sustain communities. Steve is a Retail Display specialist, who has worked with iconic retailers across the globe. As leader of Euroswift Retail Creations in Australia, his focus is delivering solutions and techniques that help retailers develop dexterity at the shop floor, to predict the needs of their local community and react rapidly. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn


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