LONG BEACH, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 04/05/10 -- Shopping used to be a lot more fun.
At least, that's what Darlene Quinn thinks. A former senior executive with the Bullocks Wilshire department store chain and author of the novel Webs of Power from Emerald Book Company (www.darlenequinn.net), Darlene is a super shopper who knows the retail industry from the inside out and sees the trends before shoppers do.
"In the post-recession, pre-recovery shopping landscape, retailers are cutting costs everywhere they can," she said. "In the stores that survived the mass closings of 2009, managers have cut down on excess inventory in order to lower operating costs, and they have raised the bar on their every day pricing. In the aftermath of all the high-low pricing, consumers no longer know the value of merchandise. If you can buy something for 70 percent off, what is the real worth?"
However, some large retail stores like Sears and JC Penney, as well as big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, introduced a new service last year that actually beats both the pricing and selection dilemmas. Ship-to-store is a feature on many store retail web sites that allows shoppers to make purchases online at lower prices than are available at the store locations, and have them shipped free to the local store of their choice. When the product arrives at their neighborhood store, they are notified and they pick it up.
For the value shopper -- those who are willing to pay a little more for better quality and service there are the Upscale Department Stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's and Saks. While they are also in the mail order business (on-line and in catalogues), they do not offer the ship to store option, they do offer free shipping for orders over a specific dollar amount, and merchandise can be returned in their store locations, however, Quinn said their focus is different, and not based strictly on price, but rather on quality and service.
About Darlene Quinn
Darlene Quinn is an author and journalist from Long Beach, California. Her novel, Webs of Power, is about the back-room dealings and double-dealings behind the scenes of a national retail chain, based on Quinn's real-life experiences during her career in the retail industry.