Crash Course on Creativity - Assignment 2 - Cristina Mihai Observation LabShort introductionThese are the stores that I have chosen to observe. Unfortunately I have to stay in bed for at least onemore month for medical reasons so everything conveyed is from my memory but I hope to have vividenough memories about some of the stores.Zara Abercrombie&FitchMeli Melo Depot 96Pixie Shoes IkeaZara – Vitan Mall, Bucharest, RomaniaZara is a well known, world spread clothes chain.Before you enter the store:Zara has always attracted by the outfits in the shop windows, very fancy and whenever they havesales they have huge posters.The doors in mall shops are always open and from inside you can hear modern music and smell aperfume. It makes me feel good, coming back every time and finding the same atmosphere Ideveloped a certain familiarity.Environment:The store has multiple rooms, each for each collection: women, kids, TRF, men, usually walls arepainted in light colors and furniture is dark. The floors are made from some imitation of marble, insome rooms has light white/ beige colors, others dark color. Floors are always clean. It creates acertain fanciness, that goes very well with the clothes. Ceiling is high, it creates the impression of morespace.Very good lighting, is good cause you can see the colors well and not wonder how this or that will lookin daylight.Environment is not loud, the fanciness of the atmosphere imposes, even in busy hours a certaincalmness. Music is playing in the background, one cannot pick up the songs, but just the general calmatmosphere.Is the store crowed with merchandise or is it sparse?The merchandise is very well presented, every wall has closets and also lots of middle islands with
clothes.Cash register are located close to the exit. Security is very visible, they stand at the entrance, it is thefirst personnel you see when entering the store.It usually want to spend a lot of time and see all the collections. I enjoy the environment very much,the smell and the fact that the personnel is not always asking you or showing you something. Theenvironment influences the perceived value of the merchandise, the clothes are not as fancy as theenvironment they are exposed into.Personnel:Usually the personnel does not initiate contact unless you are in the try out cabin. When they do theyare very nice and friendly. They are around 20 years of age, have an uniform customized from somebasic well known clothes, they match the store image.Products:As soon as you enter there is a central display, usually with the latest collection of clothes, that is thefirs thing to notice. The „For sale” products are located in a certain part of the store, they always havea section of the store reserved for that.Products are arranged by collections, functionality and targeted in different rooms of the store: women,men, kids.All items are pretty much easy to find and prices are very well seen. Of course near the cash registersare always some impulse items.Customers:Most customers seem to be women, in the company of other woman friends, but there are also singlewomen and couples. The average age I think is somewhere around 20-40 years of age. Most of thecustomers seem to follow same path, from right to left, but seem to be taking their time browsing thestore, touching the products, trying them on. In the sales season most customers don’t leave the storein an empty hand.Other Observations:Some of the observations are dependent on the time of the week and time of the day and even time ofthe year when observation is done. For example during weekdays, in summer, the store is almostempty, but during sales, especially in the winter holydays season, store is packed. The kindness of thestaff, the noise, the tidiness of the store is directly related with the number of clients.
Meli Melo – Cora Shopping Gallery, Bucharest, RomaniaMeli Melo is a French originated brand that sells accessories.Before you enter the store:The MeliMelo are small stores that sell accessories.The doors are always open and you can see pretty much all of the merchandise exposed withoutentering. It is very catchy and welcoming because, as a girl, is hard to pass by and not see somethingto like.Environment:One can hardly tell the colors of the store or the floor, because the walls are full of merchandise fromthe bottom to as high as a normal person could reach. There are all kinds of accessories, earrings,necklaces, sunglasses, hats, scarves, bags, all shapes and colors. All the colors create a jollyenvironment.The environment is not very loud, music is in the background, modern music. Store is well lit so youcan see all merchandise, prices are visible, one can say that they are using some type of deodorant,but some of the merchandise has that typical smell of cheap plastic made in China kind of products,although they do have some quality items, priced accordingly. Cash register is located in the middle,security is not visible.You don’t want to spend that much time in this store because of the smell of plastic and because allthe products crowded on the walls are exhausting.Personnel:It takes about a second before a sales person initiates contact, and insistently offers to help you findwhat you need, even if you are just browsing. They all have the same script to tell to customers andthey sound sometimes like robots. Some of them don’t remember when they first approached you andmay come back again, which is very annoying.They don’t seem to have uniforms but have name tags and seem to accessorize from the store, are allyoung girls – around 20 and can offer assistance on how to match their products.
Products:Due to how the merchandise is exposed you pretty much notice all the products, as they are exposedon all the walls and also middle islands. You don’t notice something in particular, but the abundance ofproducts, colors. Products are arranged by function. At eye level are the smaller products such asearrings, necklaces. All are very accessible, prices are easy to spot. There are many impulse itemsnear the cash register and the cashier every time asks if you also want a specific thing that they haveon sales or something else that they think might match properly with what you’re buying.Customers:Most customers are girls and women, most of them in couples and groups. Some of them, speciallyyoung girls are a bit noisy trying on different accessories and exchanging impressions. There is acertain path that customers tend to follow, specially due to the personnel from the entrance and alsobecause of the tight space. Customers seem to spend about 15-30 minutes in the store, browsing andalmost every time purchasing something.Pixie Shoes – Bucharest, RomaniaPixie Shoes is a Romanian brand that sells custom made woman’s shoes.Before you enter the store:The store is located in a rented apartment and you have to know about them, research online in orderto understand where it is. There is no sign neither at the entrance of the flat, nor at the entrance of theapartment. To make sure that someone is there you have to call first, to make sure that someone isthere and will open the door. The first time you go there is a little weird, but the second time youbecome familiarized.Environment:In the apartment, the living room is used as store, it has the merchandise/ shoes exposed, they alsohave many samples of materials that you can choose from. The ceiling is high and they have woodenfloors, but that is just because it is an old interbellum flat and that’s how they are all made. The wallsare painted in pastel colors, looks very girlish. Windows are big so it is very well lit and also there is a
small balcony that gives a very vintage style. There are no noises, just a radio can be heard in thebackground, you feel cozy and comfortable.They don’t have too many shoes exposed, but rather patterns of all sorts that you can have custommade, in whatever color/ material pattern, with whatever heel you wish. There is no security, the storeis rarely crowded, since you need to call first and make sure someone is there. You don’t have thefeeling that you are in store, but rather visiting a friend and discussing shoes.Personnel:The personnel is usually formed by one person, one of the girls who started the store. Does not havean uniform, but is very warm and knows how to give details about the products, how they aremanufactured, how different materials behave on the long run, what goes best for different venues.The girl there seems to adapt very well to each customer and create a relationship, is not pushy anddoes not mind if after an hour you are not convinced to order (she knows that you will most probablycome back and most certainly recommend them). Most of the interaction is one on one and you reallyget the impression that you are just visiting a friend.Products:The first things you notice are the shelves with shoes – shelves are not full, but rather spaced out –and the huge catalogues. They don’t have too many shoes exposed, but rather patterns of all sortsthat you can have custom made, in whatever color/ material pattern, with whatever heel you wish.They also have a lot of sample materials that you can choose from. There are no for sale items, theshoes are priced depending on the material and the model chosen. There is no cash register in theroom, it is in the office – a room next to the living room.Customers:Most customers are women, aged 20-30, usually coming in – at least the first time with a girlfriend.Everyone who enters the store has previously seen the website and they come to see the quality ofthe shoes, try some on and order so most of them are on a mission rather than browsing. Since theycan try all the models and also ask anything about materials or other aspects, usually spend at leasthalf an hour until making a decision, unless they have been there before and know exactly what theywant.Abercrombie&Fitch – Tower City Mall, Cleveland, Ohio, USAAbercrombie&Fitch is a world famous company that retails clothes, accessories and perfumesspecially for young people.Before you enter the store:You can spot the shop from a long distance, they have huge windows with images of half naked
models that they are known for. The logo is written in huge letters, in each window, the doors arealways opened. You can hear the loud music from outside. Everything is inviting you to come in.It looks like place specially designed for teenagers so it kind of makes you feel like a teen ager all overagain.Environment:The place looks like a teenager’s room – a tidy one, there is a mix of colors on the walls and the flooris covered in carpet. The ceiling is not very high, the dressing rooms are spread around the shop. Themusic is loud, but you can still talk to each other. The merchandise is spread out in rooms for girls/guys and as I emphasized before it looks like a teenager’s room, it makes you feel very comfortable,like you are in your own room and closet. The smell is very distinctive and quite strong, but not in anunpleasant way. The cash registers are located in 2 sections of the store, one at the entrance and oneat the back of the store. You cannot see security. The environment is in accordance with the clothes. Iwould like to spend a lot of time in this store, I like their clothes very much and find the environmentvery familiar.Personnel:It would be hard to say how many staff they have on a regular day, but there is always someonegreeting at the entrance and if they have a special sale or promotion they let you know, but they arenot pushy, rather like talking to a friend, even if they seem to be following the same script with eachperson. Most of the salespeople look like they are teenagers or around 20, all seem to be wearing thestore’s clothes although they don’t have an uniform, they very well match the image of the store.Products:The first products situated in an island right in front of the entrance are those from the new collection,they are also the most pricey. They have shelves with merchandise on all the walls, arranged byfunction, and also middle isles. The sales items are located at the back of the store. All products haveprice tags. Near the cash register are located just a few impulse items, like bracelets, necklaces, butmostly perfumes.Customers:Most customers seem to be young people, teens, mostly in small groups, or entire families gone outshopping. There is not a path that they seem to be following, bust most of them seem to be browsingand spending quite some time in the store – it is a big store, with lots of merchandise, you can tryeverything on, they have huge mirrors, everything is set up to make you feel like in your room and bevery comfortable. Most of customers seem to find at least something that they like and buy.
Depot 96 – Afi Palace Mall, Bucharest, RomaniaIs a Romanian brand that sells clothes for women as an alternative to the very pricey internationalbrands.Before you enter the store:The store draws you in with their very pretty and colorful outfits exposed in the big windows. Doors areopened, the name of the brand is stated in big letters at the entrance.Environment:The store is painted in white, tall ceiling and the floors are made from a light beige type of marblestones, with the big windows and very good lighting it creates a very light and spacious atmosphere,although store is not that big. Also the merchandise is very well spaced out and background music isvery loud, makes you feel comfortable.The environment and the value of the merchandise are on the same track: clear cut, classy, not veryfancy, suited for every day, it makes want to stay in the store and see all clothes. Security is not visibleand cash register is located between the entrance and the try out cabins.Personnel:As soon as you enter some member of the personnel approaches to welcome and even if they have ascript to follow, they are nice and seem genuine, don’t seem to treat customers differently. The staff isal women around 20-30 years of age, they seem to know plenty of things about the sore’s clothes howand if some of them can be modified in their private tailor lab to perfectly fit customer sizes. They haveProducts:The first products that you notice are from the center island: the blouses from the new collection, therest of the clothes are exposed all around the store, organized by function, all of them seem equalaccessible. The items that are on sale are located at the back of the store. All products have pricetags. Near the cash register are placed impulse items, that are iconic for them: small silk scarves andcolored belts, very good price/ quality ratio, very difficult to pass by and not see one that is a musthave.Customers:Most of the customers are women, late 20s, 30s and 40s mostly single, or with a friend or as couple.Most of them seem to be on a mission – I think mostly because of the outfits exposed in the windowswhich are very catchy and very trendy. I guess about half of them leave the shop only after purchasingsomething.
An average customers spends about 15 minutes in the store, can try on any product, which isencouraged by the very kind personnel.Ikea – Baneasa Shopping City, Bucharest, RomaniaIkea is a world famous furniture and decorations store.Before you enter the store:The store is usually huge well positioned in the mall area. If you don’t know anything about them, thehuge banners with some of their merchandise and the price are very catchy. They have sliding doors,big entrance, you feel welcomed, it is the kind of store you know you are entering and you fill findsomething to buy more than you have in mind to.Environment:On the outside the store is painted in the brand colors, yellow and blue. On the inside it is quiteeclectic, due to the type of merchandise they offer. They change the settings once in a while so youdon’t get bored if you come too often. They have all types of floors, furniture settings – due to theprofile of the business it inspires you to try different things in your home, even if you don’t need to.The environment is loud because of the continuous flow of customers. It does become tiring if youspend too much time. I cannot make out if they play music or not in the background. The merchandiseis usually crowded, they try to use each and every bit of space they have, but is very well designed soyou don’t have the impression that merchandise is clogged up. Security is visible at the entrance andat the exit of the store, cash registers are located at the exit.I would like to stay a whole day in the store, I’m very fond of this store and I find all the times solutionsto what I need.Personnel:Personnel does not initiate contact, they are pretty much everywhere ready to help, provide directionsor information as needed. The employees seem to age from 20s to 30s, depending of the area of thestore and expertise needed. All of them seem to be using the products of the store, they have uniformsand match the image of the store.Products:There are many products that you notice at first glance, it depends on what they are promoting on saleby the entrance of the store.Products are usually arranged by function and then by price, for each function the most convenient ofthem is displayed upfront, all products are priced. The for sale items are located in a special areaclose to the exit. Near the cash registers there are a few islands with impulse items.
Customers:Most customers are with someone, mostly families and couples, but the single people must not beneglected, even if they are least loud.There is a direction set up for customers so that they don’t get lost and maps of the store every hereand there. Customers are encouraged to touch and try on the products. Most of them appear to be ona mission, but end up also browsing, just to take a look around. Almost all customers buy something, Ithink that rarely does someone leave empty handed from Ikea.