My wife is a children’s clothing enthusiast. I don’t know if there is a proper name, but she has an addiction, as the 30-odd tubs of clothes in our basement will attest. To her credit, she’s very frugal and a careful shopper. Even though she buys mostly Gymboree clothing, because of her shopping skills, we pay about what we would clothe our kids at Target.
She’s very active on a board called GymboFriends. It’s a forum of women who all share this same addiction. They trade shopping tips, revel in the joy that is being addicted to kid’s clothes, and of course talk about the upcoming sales and sku’s that Gymboree is releasing.
Lately the sales have stopped. I’m getting this 3rd hand, but apparently the leadership at Gymboree has cancelled the last three sales only days before they were to start. The theory is that they are fed up with store managers leaking knowledge of the sales to the people at GymboFriends.
While my father was in town we ended up discussing this, and I think it’s an interesting question. Does advance knowledge of an upcoming sale hurt Gymboree’s business, or does letting the community of GymboFriends have advance notice build a better customer community?
Some observations we made:
- The last sale that got cancelled coincided wtih a Gap sale. Mom’s with play money saved up for the Gymbo sale probably didn’t let it go unspent – did Gap get the revenue instead?
- Gymbofriends members never buy anything at full price. They’ll wait for the sale. Always. It’s not a matter of opportunity, it’s a matter of pride & principle.
- The people who do pay full price aren’t bargain hunters. They’re either rich grandmothers who aren’t price sensitive, or people buying gifts who cannot wait for a sale.
- The leaks are the result of relationships between managers and their clients. Many businesses would be happy to develop these kinds of relationships. They breed loyalty & word of mouth marketing, and turn customers into an extended sales network.
- If there is some financial metric that is suffering, why aren’t store managers’ compensation tied to it?
What do you think?