Years ago, there was an ad campaign for Selfridges which my old agency done in 1986. The endline was “Selfridges. There’s no place like it.” It was a popular campaign which had me then start a love affair with the store, by hanging out in that place back-in-the-day when I thought I was so rich and absolutely fabulous.
Roll on nearly 20 years and I have to say that Selfridges have still got it… and that swag has only become bigger and definitely better. They literally demolish the competition on the ‘decent side’ of Oxford Street bar none. It totally trumps M&S, House of Frasier, the ‘are they still trading?’ Debenhams and the so called jewel in the crown John Lewis.
For me Selfridges has it all. It has the ‘it’ factor. You go in there and get totally lost with the enormous and ooo so sexiness of it all…
– the store layout
– the departments (especially the food hall & numerous eateries around the floors)
– the vibe
– the excitement (somehow I always come out with some form of free goody!)
– the customer care
– the displays
– the surprise & delight factor
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the other department stores haven’t got anything going for them (well, I am actually), however I don’t mind them. It’s just that I don’t like going into any of them.
– Debenhams has NOTHING to offer. In fact, last year they were so ‘out of action’ for such a long period of time due to their refurbishments, it gave me M.M.F. everytime I either went in or passed that place.
– House of Frasier : well, they kind of have good sales on Denby cutlery & dinner plates, mugs and stuff – that’s about it!
– JLP has turned too granny-fied for my liking. They are so stiff and pompous. Yep, I love the Waitrose section, but everything else? No. And I think the staff are getting pretty cocky, quite frankly. Their heads are too far up their own arses at times. You do find some gems in there though (that’s the staff and goods), but generally I’ve fallen out of love with that store, and only go there if I need to buy a birthday card or something random.
– M&S : Marc Bollard, please go back to FMCG. You were brilliant at Morrisons and they desperately need you back. M&S is just not working for anyone.
With Selfridges, as soon as you go into that store it just shouts out ‘ooh la la’ to you. The staff are great, funky and are on point all the time. And their customer care is second to none:-
– last December I had bought x4 presents from another store, went to Selfridges and asked them to gift wrap it. “No problemo” was the reply I got. Try asking that same question to JLP, and they’ll tell you where to get off. Their response is ‘can I see the receipt please’ as they want to make sure it’s a product which you’ve bought in their store, and their store only – pompous!
And what is it with toilets these days? I won’t name names, but two of the department store’s toilets smelt, and usually do smell really bad – and that was as soon as you get to the ever typical queue. Even though I was pretty desperate the other day, I just couldn’t stand the stench and had to duck out – twice in two different stores! I then took it upon myself to take the ‘dodge em’ train down Oxford Street to Selfridges where, even though there’s a long queue, there’s never a stench which blows your mind to kingdom come. What do they put in the air…? Rosewater…? Oh, it must be…ooh la la!
As for the surprise & delight factor? I love the resident DJs which they have on the ground floor – so cool. Reminds me of the Ace Hotel in NYC. They just blast their tunes, and everyone gets into a good groove while checking out the latest beauty products. The DJs will never be as epic as Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso nor Steve Angello, but they’re having a damn good try at it, and I for one don’t mind. And then, from nowhere, they have random things happen in the store, like the other day these dancers just appeared rocking the whole floor with such gusto – fab! They just took over the whole beauty area, and with everyone flashing their cameras and ‘getting down’ with them like a flash dance. Then, as if by magic, the dancers just disappeared, strutting their stuff up the escalators. Now that’s the kind of stuff which I like seeing, the unexpected. It brings the ‘fun’ into shopping.
Oh, one more thing about Selfridges – their window displays. They do it time and time again. Every single year they come up with just amazing window themes which you always have to stop and admire. I L.O.V.E. it!
This so reminds me of Laidback luke’s ‘Sweat’ video – not sure who took what from who, but either way I’m loving both of ’em.
Selfridges, you’ve still got it. You’re so one of my LoveMarks. Everyone else? I think you might want to go back to the drawing board, ’cause it just ain’t working.