By Kelsey Lyons
Looking across the open space you can see the luxurious light fixtures as they highlight the exclusive brands. Saks Fifth Avenue is focusing on more than just sales. They want to make it an experience. Bringing New York City life to you, Saks opened it’s second location in Canada at Sherway Gardens on Feb. 25. The second location being downtown Toronto in the Eaton Centre.
But what sets this store apart from other U.S. companies who have come and gone to Canada? Saks localizes their brand, they’re giving Canadians a New York City experience, with a little touch of home. This particular location has thought of everything to please their customers, from design to customer service.
The store is like no other, with it’s unique Canadian architecture. In the men’s department there’s a layered pedestal filled with shoes. The thinking behind this is that shoes are the main attraction (Men will deny it, but they love shoes). The pedestal is located in the centre of the section, the idea is to have your eyes start in the middle and work your way out and see it in it’s entirety.
When it seems like Saks couldn’t be more precise with their choices, they do attempt to localize their brands. Their contemporary section is larger than the locations in the U.S., simply because they are tailoring to Canadians preferences. Their prices can range anywhere from a $30 tank top to a $43,000 blanket.
Another angle that Saks takes on is customer service. The employees are trained to treat everyone the same, whether they’re dropping $1,000 on Jimmy Choo’s or $50 on lipstick. Canadian customers appreciate the customer service that U.S. retailers provide, such as brand ambassadors. All employees are encouraged to promote their own brand. However, they are also expected to tailor their services to customers’ needs. For example, if they can’t offer what the client is looking for they will direct them to another employee to better assist them. Employees can also be trained in other brands and sections if they think they will do better in the workplace.
Could knowing their customer be the difference between Saks’ success compared to others in Canada?