Gloria Jeans closures: The real reason retail is failing

Another day, another massive retail chain announces store closures. This time it’s RFG, the company behind Gloria Jeans, Donut King and Michel’s Patisserie.

After the unfortunate experience I had last week, I must admit, it’s hardly surprising that so many retailers are struggling.

The story actually begins a couple of months ago, when I purchased a belt as a gift from the Zara store at Robina. Unfortunately it was too small. I told my friend (the gift recipient) that I would exchange it for a larger one, but as I couldn’t find the receipt, Zara wouldn’t play ball.


So I came home from the store disappointed, and the belt has sat in the same spot where it was unceremoniously dumped on my desk for 7 weeks.

On Wednesday last week, I was tidying and happened across the receipt under some filing – huzzah! I dashed immediately to Zara, belt in hand, hoping that they would still exchange the item, even though I was now 2.5 weeks outside of their 30-day exchange and refund window.

Sadly, they wouldn’t budge. Again, I came home from the store disappointed. The belt came home with me, along with a decidedly sour taste in my mouth.

Because, here’s the thing: when I visited the store on a slow Wednesday morning, it was dead. I’m talking, more staff than customers; maybe two people other than me milling about; very little money coming through the door.

Had the staff allowed the exchange, I would have pottered around for 20 minutes and perhaps shopped for an extra item or two. However, being shut down on an exchange doesn’t exactly inspire your customers to continue their patronage.

Enforcing rigid return and exchange policies to deter shoplifting may have been de rigueur 20 years ago, when retail was Big Business and customers had no other alternatives. But to all of the struggling retailers who are scratching your heads, wondering why their retail sales are plummeting, heed this word of warning:

In this day and age of convenient online shopping – which often comes with return and exchange policies of up to 60 days, no questions asked – traditional retail needs to step up its game.

They need to make customers feel valued, not punish them with outdated policies.

They need to provide outstanding service and give people a reason to come back, not confirm their suspicions that online shopping is easier and less financially risky.

And they need to do it now – before they become the next shop on the chopping block.

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So I’m not the only one…What ever you do DON’T go into Retail stores and ask for help or a refund, and when you’ve got your Coffee but still haven’t got the food you ordered don’t ask where it is or if it’s coming, that’s when things go from good to bad to down right ugly and pare shaped in a nanosecond.

If you want to make an issue the size of a dot into something bigger than planet earth just ask an Aussie retailer around this place for a refund some assistance or where your food orders got to. The attitude towards customers seems to be one of arrogance, a sort of obnoxious attitude, almost leaves one with the feeling that they think its a privilege that they’re there for you in the first place and you should somehow be grateful. You often get the feeling that it’s a problem to them you even walked in the door.

Service – I appreciate Retail isn’t easy and that not all Customers are easy to deal with, but, its something many Bricks and Motar stores just can’t manage – Service. I guess its hard to manage something when you don’t even know what it is, right?

To appreciate be civil and smile doesn’t take much but most Retail around here in the Robina, Varsity Lakes area ( the whole GC retail and service sector scene needs a wake up call but that’s another story ) find it something particularly hard to do, and, I do know you don’t have to go far to be made to feel miserable unwanted and left with the mind set “I wont be coming back here” – Remember the golden rule, don’t ask for a refund, or some help, if you want to go home feeling happy and satisfied…

One of many examples – Filled my Car with Gas at a local petrol station last week ( not service station they no longer exist ), walked to the counter and was the only customer in the shop. Went and stood in front of the lady and waited for her to look at me, speak to me even, perhaps even take my money, but no no she was far to busy starring at something and fiddling with it with her left hand, and, seemed oblivious I was even there. I leaned to my right to see what she was starring at, yep you guessed it, her iPhone. She was txting and that took priority over me the paying customer. I made a polite comment, I wasn’t rude, but she didn’t like it. You see I’d distracted her away from txtng to take my money, I was now the nuisance, and, that’s even after I’d done all the work for her. She made it quite obvious she was annoyed at me for disturbing her…

To those Retailers who punch above their weight – and there are some – who give great service it is very much appreciated and I/we thank you and we will return. Sadly though you are out numbered and over shadowed by an increasing majority that don’t…