Sunday, January 21, 2024

How Department Stores Can Fix their Watch Departments

It seems like department store watch departments are getting to be more and more disappointing.  As a watch collector, it's hard to go to stores like Kohl's or Belk and find any interesting watches lately.  The stores reduce the sizes of their watch departments and make me wonder:  

"Do you even know me at all?"

A Hawker Hurricane Watch from AVI-8

If you want repeat customers in a watch department, you need to have interesting and current watches. It's not enough just to have respectable looking watches that gleam under the lights. Provide an interesting browsing experience with watches that are truly unique and that really appeal to customers.  

Tap into popular culture.  People literally announce their "tribe" with their apparel, tattoos and accessories all the time.  Watches are one way to do that.  

  • Where are all those Marvel Comic book watches?  
  • Where's that Darth Vader watch? 
  • Where are all those aviation inspired watches?  
  • Where's that James Bond watch?  
  • Where are those NATO watch straps so I can customize my watch? 
  • Where's that interesting watch you advertised online?  
  • Where are the Apple, Samsung, and other brands of Smartwatch?

The old paradigm of "what should be buy dad?-Let's get him a watch!" needs to be retired.  How about offering watches that are interesting enough to bring Dad into the store?  Having someone on hand who is enthusiastic about watches would also help.  Establish a pipeline from your stores to the cool watches. 

If a customer is impressed by the Captain America watch, but really wants a Thor watch, be able to special order something and get it in for the customer faster and less expensively. Get a line on exclusive watches that can only be found in your store.

There are lots of high end watches that are just out of reach for typical middle class.  Obviously, we won't see a Rolex at Kohl's any time soon, but can you offer a European watch brand with a little cachet?

Finally, when I can be kept busy browsing something that interests me in a department store, my wife can shop for longer and have more fun. If you can't offer interesting watches, at least offer me a couch and wifi.

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