shoe shoppers

May 24, 2010

After my converse post I was curious to understand how people act when they are shopping for shoes.  Today I visited Nike, Asics, Size?, Topshop, Converse and Asda.  Six stores, but some very similar shopping trends.

Nike was amazing.  It was the biggest Nike I had ever been in, but the best customer service I have ever had in a shoe store.  Similar to Apple they had handheld gadgets.  I asked for a shoe, he scanned the barcode to make sure my size was in stock and he ordered it from the backroom.  It came down on a shoe elevator and within three minutes of my request I was trying on a pair of shoes.

Besides my personal experience I watched as others browsed.  Shopping for shoes is a hands on experience.  Customers loved to pick up the shoes, look at all angles, bend them, smell them to make sure they were of quality.  Just as London was eclectic, Nike shoppers were very different as well.  Athletic, casual, comfort driven people that still appreciated style.  I asked a store worker why he liked working there and his response was because he loved living in London.

Asics was impressive because it was so personal.  A much smaller store than Nike, asics wanted to get to know there customer.  I spoke with a lady that had just been measured for a shoe and asked her why she came in today.  She said she had been in before and loved how they helped her.  She had just ran on a treadmill where they looked at how she ran.  They measured her arches, looked at her knee alignment and suggested a shoe that was best for her foot structure as well as the way her body contacted the ground.  This was an obvious sign of loyalty because Asics was dedicated to their consumers experience with their product.  The measuring session cost 5 £ and you had to commit to purchasing a shoe from them.

Size? was a little hipster store.  Shoes were mainly casual and very colorful.  Along with Nike the customers were very curious and wanted to know what they were buying.  They picked them up and looked at them, felt them, bent them, walked around in them, wanting to know if it was right for them.  At this store I really noticed a gender difference in shopping.  Men did not mind looking for shoes on their own where as women were very rarely alone.  Women loved conversing with friends and getting their opinion before their purchase.

Topshop was a madhouse.  Shoes, Shoes, Shoes.  Since the shoe area was so large I was curious on their customer service as well.  I asked for a size and he went off into the shoe jungle to find it.  I didn’t feel like I could browse because I wasn’t sure he would be able to find me if I moved too far from where I had requested a size.  He returned ten minutes later and felt so terrible that he couldn’t find my size.

Another area with cheaper shoes had multiple sizes hanging and here is where I noticed again the customers interpretation with the product and the people they were shopping with.  I saw no women shopping alone.  They were all with at least one other person and again picking up the shoes looking at them in many angles and since it was so convienent many were trying them on.  Lot’s of converstions included: What do you think? Should I get them? As if they needed someone else to help convince them to make a purchase.

Converse.  The biggest thing I noticed here was loyalty and casual shopping.  No one seemed to be in a rush.  They seemed to be enjoying their experience at the store.  The thing I thought was cool was about half the people that I identified as shoppers were already wearing converse of their own.  This brand loyalty reminded me of all the people I have seen on the Tube and in the streets wearing Converse.  It seems to me that people buy one pair and keep coming back for more!


This was the smallest shoe area I went to today.  Cheaper shoes, but still trendy.  These Londoners are trendy even when they are unable to spend big dollars.  Once again there was a personal connection between the shoppers and the product.  They all wanted to feel them.  After the visual appeal, the feel of the product seems to be the next thing to take into consideration.  It was nice to see that my observations were similar reguardless the price.

To wrap up my experience with London shoe shoppers they are a confident bunch that want quality shoes to fit their lifestyles.  They are not impulse buyers, but rather careful.  I link to this to the price of shoes and the length of their life in the closet.  People know that this is a lengthy piece to their wardrobe and want to make sure it’s worth their money.  To make sure they take their time when buying, and they look to their friends for advice.



Off to Manchester in the morning! Goodbye London…I can’t wait to see you again.


One comment

  1. Suz!
    I love reading this. It sounds amazing! Can’t wait to hear more and see pictures when you get home.


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