Scenes from a mall

Once upon a time, the last thing I’d do on a rainy Sunday was abandon my cozy couch to spend the day at the mall. But that was before I became mother to a toddler who is unable to stay in the house for more than two hours at a time unless she’s sleeping.

And so I found myself last weekend pushing a stroller through the Westchester Mall in White Plains, NY. In a way, the mall was like my mailbox come to life. Every other store was part of a catalog/retail chain – Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany, Hanna Andersson, Coach, Talbots, FAO Schwarz….

Now, while my daughter loves to visit the mall, she does not love to let me shop, and she refuses to spend more than 180 seconds in any one store. So I figured I’d collect the latest catalogs from the stores and bring them home to shop from later. Imagine my dismay when I found that hardly any of the cataloger/retailers had catalogs readily available on site. Not Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, or Restoration Hardware. Not J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, or Banana Republic. Not J. Jill, though when asked by a customer, a salesperson said she could give her the 800-number so that she could request one. (And lest you think it was because we were between seasons, I had just received a J. Jill catalog in my mailbox a few days prior.)

I did manage to score catalogs from Williams-Sonoma and L’Occitane en Provence, a personal-care products boutique. All in all, though, it was a pretty poor showing from marketers that consider themselves multichannel.

After all, it’s not enough to possess multiple channels. You’ve got to work them. Perhaps these cataloger/retailers with stores at the Westchester Mall figure that the print books serve as traffic drivers to the stores, and that therefore it’s redundant for the stores to have the catalogs on hand. But a truly committed multichannel marketer would realize that for some shoppers – many shoppers – actually, the reverse is true, and the store acts as a traffic driver to the catalog, or the Website.

So if you have a store at the Westchester Mall, do me a favor and stock up on catalogs. I really need to pick up a few things for the house, and I’ll never get around to it while out “shopping” with my daughter.

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