Happy Valentine’s Day Retail!

Valentinesdaytree It is the day of love – and let’s be honest – it is the month of love, in a year filled with love (if ever there was a time to go overboard, this is it, right?). To honor our love of retail, we’re dishing on all the things we love most about retail. I checked in with some of my favorite peeps in the retail world to find out what they’re digging these days.

Ron Knoth, blogger and Instructor at LIM College shared his affection for the following:

  • Retailers that take a risk like Barneys, Bergdorf and Bloomingdale’s, and whose windows encourage us to think and to actually feel something.
  • I love eavesdropping on customers' and salespeople’s conversations. It’s hysterical. It’s like free theater. Retail is a form of entertainment.
  • I love stores that surprise me like Anthropologie, who know me so well that they always have something I want, when I don’t even know what I want.
  • The diversity of retailers from around the world who are breaking through the mainstream: Mango (Spain) Topshop & Mulberry (U.K.) Ballantyne (Ireland) Pearl River Mart (China) H&M and IKEA (Sweden) and Boden (Italy).
  •  I love the cute boys and girls who work in retail and feel obligated to call me “Sir” because I’m older than their parents. “Sir” – it’s like something from the Middle Ages, M ‘lord.

We also checked in with retail experience consultant, Maya Stephani, to find out where her retail love was going these days:

  • The "bar" service approach at Tiffany's – during the holidays and despite the thousands of people, they always managed to serve customers promptly and efficiently.
  • The trained, knowledgeable salespeople who are the result of the bad economy, and of retailers realizing that they have to become more than “nice” to attract and keep customers.
  • I love the self-checkout at Boots in London and IKEA everywhere because they save time, and are fun and empowering to use (or is it that I always dreamed of operating that barcode reading gun all by myself?? )
  • I love the Bless store in Berlin (Mulackstrasse) – the weirdest, quirkiest little store with the cutest person taking care of it.
  • The lower floor of Ralph Lauren on Bond Street in London, because they have created perfect, dreamy living spaces for several segments (bachelors, young ladies, couples, etc.) that have a definite style, but somehow are like a blank canvas allowing anyone to project themselves into them. 

And from Sarah Goddard, Web editor for DDI and Impressions magazines:

  • In terms of retail design, it seems like design firms are attempting to do away with clutter. In many of the project galleries on www.ddionline.com, designers seem to emphasize clean, sleek lines in their designs, allowing the space and products to shine.
  • I love how Gap completely reinvented itself. I don't know what happened to the store design and the clothes for several years there. But, recently, it feels like Gap really has become more modern and hip.
  • I love how retailers (maybe not all of them, but definitely some) have responded to the recent economic downturn. More sales, online deals, free shipping, coupons … hooray!

And now we want to hear from you!

Go ahead and leave us a comment below or on Facebook with your Happy Valentine’s Day to retail list. We’re waiting. And not very patiently, I might add…

–Heather Strang


  1. Belated happy valentine's day (week), Diva. Great post. I'm feeling lots of retail love for all the small, independent shops that are defining themselves through superb customer service, interesting product mixes (that include some local wares), renewed attention to store displays and the ways that many are embracing social media to engage their customers in conversation. I've seen a huge change in attitude over the last year. Judging by the reports from the early 2011 markets, many others are loving retail lately, too!

  2. Hello,
    I am currently enrolled in a Retail Management class in Western Michigan University with instructer @Dr4ward (twitter username). I felt like this was such a good article, and I cant believe how much the prices of goods have gone up just because of the celebration of Valentine's day. Imagine how sales would have gone up.

  3. Hi,
    I'm an Interior Design student currently studying at Academy of Design, Sri Lanka. And I have to designa retail store for Kiehl's. I came across your site through 'Retail Love' and I find it fascinating and I came to realize some aspects that affect the design of the brand space. Thank you. However I would really appreciate if you could let me know the main points I should consider when designing for Kiehl's. Thank you again.