Brilliant service, product that does the job, but why is nothing much done about the M&S flagship as a whole?
“Tired?” Fair question, and as the culmination of a visit to Marks & Spencer Marble Arch, the colleague taking money and wrapping goods behind the counter on the first floor had hit the nail on the head.
But step back a moment and take a look at the process that led up to this moment and how much better it could be.
Arriving at the store, the first thing the visitor notices on passing through the doors at the southeastern corner of the building is the floor.
“The floor is cheap-looking and it’s scuffed. The duty of care which good retailers owe to their shops has clearly not been observed”
This is not the normal way of things in a big store. Usually you’d be admiring a display or looking for the store directory to find out where you need to go, but in this instance it’s what’s underneath your feet.
The reason is simple. The floor is cheap-looking and it’s scuffed. The duty of care which good retailers owe to their shops has clearly not been observed.
Now venture further in and you do see merchandise, quite a lot of it, but the overall impression is of a cavernous interior with various high-level private-label signposts dotted around in the distance, which do not really fulfil the function of getting you across to look at what’s beneath them.
Fortunately, my partner knew the ropes and we headed up to the first floor where lingerie and nightwear are located.
En route to the department there were some interesting vistas, including the beauty space, which is a semi-enclosed clinical, white affair. It’s pretty good and would work well were the rest of the store similarly attired. But it is not and in consequence it rather jarrs with its surroundings.
Arriving, finally, at the desired part of the store, the object of desire was rapidly located and we headed for the cash desk. The question posed at the top of this piece was well-timed. It had been a long day and the advice proffered to my partner was to sit me down in a nearby pub as soon as possible.
“So much of what is needed is purely cosmetic and relatively cheaply realised”
Not a bad idea. It raised a smile and led to an incremental garment sale being made as a result of our talking to her. This was in fact a top salesperson: friendly, efficient and able to make you buy something you’d not thought about. We left a little happier than might otherwise have been the case.
The fact of the matter, however, is that Marks & Spencer Marble Arch is a flagship. It’s huge and it suffers from its size. This one feels unloved. Yet so much of what is needed is purely cosmetic and relatively cheaply realised. A floor that doesn’t look tired would be a very positive start.
The staff are there. The product is pretty good in parts. All that’s needed is for someone to realise that a flagship needs at the very least to feel special. The whole is not as good as (some) of the constituent parts, but it could be.