Finally I took the chance to visit Barbie’s Flag shop in Shanghai last week. It has 6 floors in total. To be honest, it is totally disappointed shopping experience to me. Although I have never seen so many Barbies in one single shop before, the whole store’s display, atmosphere and the shopping experience are definitely not up to my low expectation, nor what it should be for a “flagshop”!
Firstly, the lobby is big but totally empty. There is an information counter on the left but nobody really greets you or cares about you when you are looking for the information there. They called it the “Dream Lobby”….Yea, it is a it is named - the reception and security there are day dreaming!!
Secondly, when I tried to take a picture of one of the displays on the 2nd floor where is just above the escalator, one sale girl came to stop me rudely and said “No picture!”. However, when I walked inside further, everyone is taking pictures here and there.
Thirdly, there are many Barbies being displayed but I do not see any particular themes except the “national costume” corner. So, I would have to jumping here and there and look for the Barbie that may interested me.
Fourthly, there are various functional areas, such as Barbie Cafe, Fashion Runway, Spa, and Design Center. But I would say the ambiences are totally not right and with no proper lighting or music. Proper assistance is not available. I don’t particular feel like in a Barbie shop (not to mention a flagshop) but more like in a local department store.
- Spa: I don’t see what kind of services you could get from the Spa at all. Just cosmetic for adult? The staffs are chit chatting themselves all the time I was around.
- Cafe: The Cafe was empty. The only decoration is a frame on the wall with some Barbies in Pink. The flooring is in black theme. The color scheme does not match with the display.
- Fashion Runway: It has no music, no special spot lights but with 2-3 Barbies with messy hair being put on a few blocks. I guess nobody really know what that area is for. No particular notice on function time, if any.
- Design Center: The only acceptable area that I quite like is the Design Center. It has a few illustrations displayed and has a big table with cloth, cosmetic and Barbies for the kids to make their own OOAK. However, there is no attendant around to guide or assist the children there. Therefore, it has become a playground for children to messy the dolls.
- Big Bargain Sales: Probably the only good thing there is the big bargain available. The Lyre Byron Baribe in denim outfit is 75% off. And a Chinese Queen is 50% off.
Fifthly, although the staffs there are all youngsters, I do not see any passion of them towards Barbie or even dolls. Typical mainland Chinese care free manner - Chit chatting by themseleves and have no service mind, emotionless and stand there like a piece of wood. When I asked for information, none of them show any passion on giving out information or showing their job/Barbie knowledge. They should really be fired, or at least sent to re-training for product knowledge and be motivated.
Mattel, missing the Golden Opportunity – World Expo
World Expo starts from 1st May and would last for 6 months. Millions of visitors from all over the world would flock into Shanghai for this extravaganza. What a waste of such once-in-a-life-time golden opportunity in impressing the world and getting handsome amount of revenue which probably never come twice again!! You real customers are adults, not only children. There are many much better design, higher quality dolls in the market, Mattel should rebrand itself, build its brand loyalty find the right market positioning.
Mattel, if you are reading this article, look for me as your consultant! If I were the responsible person of this Barbie Flag shop, I am sure I could make it much fun for collectors and doll lovers, and much more Barbie!!
Picture credit: Cliff Chan
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