Consumer Related Observations Part I

Tesla Retail? Don't see that everyday

Tesla Retail? Don’t see that everyday. Tesla Autopilot on the front display – Autosteer, Auto Lane Change and Autopark

SELF-CHECKOUT LINES WORK OK AT TARGET…As most frequent or occasional visitors to Target know, there are several self check-out lines available to Target shoppers. These self-check lines are becoming more and more common for retailers to control employee expenses and give shoppers another option. I have seen self-checkout lines at Home Depot, which scan all items, bag and pay. At Target, you are able to weight and price produce by keying in the code on the particular item. I’ve done this a number of times and each time, the sales associate will help guide me without being too intrusive. I learn by doing so this exercise enables to scan my groceries independently. Of course, you’re not able to purchase alcohol through these lines but all other merchandise is OK. A win-win?

TESLA RETAIL…There were many stores to visit as we had some targeted shopping we had to do while at Old Orchard in Skokie, Illinois. However, I did stand for a minute or two and admire and took a visual image of my first Tesla retail store. The front window displayed:  TESLA – AUTOSTEER, AUTOLANECHANGE, AUTOPARK. Next time I may actually drop in as the store may have some intriguing items. One thing to note as I was leaving the mall, I noticed a Tesla that went by which said ‘SANS GAS’ which pretty much sums it up for some Tesla car owners.

Smart Thinking...

Smart Thinking at LL Bean

LL BEAN…I went to LL Bean at Old Orchard yesterday and enjoyed browsing around their store. I noticed some nice spring jackets that I took an interest to; perhaps I will come back and seriously look in the near future. Staff very friendly and anxious to point me in the right direction. One thing to note, when you use the automatic door opener entering or exiting the store, both sets of doors open automatically. A nice feature that I’ve not seen before. Typically, you have to select the automatic door opener twice to get through both sets of doors when entering a department store. A little thing mind you but a nice touch.

COSTCO AT 6 PM ON SATURDAY…As most Costco diehards know Costco closes at 6 pm on Saturdays. Perhaps this closing time might be more suited for Sunday but in my mind close very early on Saturday night. At 6 pm, they dim the lights, which trigger dozens of shoppers to the front. After dozens of shoppers flood to the front, it makes it very difficult to maneuver around that area if you have a plethora of shoppers with very large carts wanting to checkout. About 5 minutes later, they opened up a number of other lanes to help address the mass exodus of consumers. If your current line is six or seven deep, you may try to scramble for a new opening. However, with a logjam at the front, it’s difficult for some to maneuver to any opening, some checkers are super fast and others may need 5 Hour Energy. How about having employees open up more aisles 5 or 10 minutes before they close. By doing this, they will avoid long lines and get more people out the door at 6 pm or shortly thereafter. Much of the mad scramble and congestion could be avoided by approaching this reaction a few minutes before quitting time on Saturday.

Aerial view of LL Bean

Aerial view of LL Bean (Nice Merchandising)

TIMBERLAND WAS QUITE TOASTY ON A 10 DEGREE DAY…I ran into a Timberland store at the Old Orchard mall so I decided to take a spin. Had not been in one of these stores since the Timberland store at the outlet mall in Kenosha, WI. It was a very cold day with high temperatures around 10 degrees. One might argue that I wanted to stop in to get warm. Even though it was a nice respite, I wanted to review their hiking boot selection, in particular, any sale items that might strike my fantasy. As soon as I stepped in the store, I knew it was a slow day for two reasons. One, the two male sales representatives were fighting over me to show me the latest fashion and styles. And the second had to do with the warm of the entrance area. Every other restaurant or department store I visited, his or her entrance area was quite chilly, much colder than the rest of the store. However, Timberland did not have that issue. Perhaps it had been a handful of minutes since they last had a customer stop by.


Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.