A concession retailers missed opportunity with mobile.A quick story. Buying a suit. I’m a fancy man. But I’m a man, so the shopping experience is largely a balance between not looking stupid and trying to look acceptable wearing uncomfortable clothing. I'm a solid 5 out of 10 when it comes to fashion. I know what I like. I’m not ambivalent in what I wear, but I’m also not adventurous or overly knowledgeable on the finer points. Certainly, I could use a little help.

It’s Sunday. My wife and I drive in and park our car into David Jones. We take the elevator up to the men’s floor. I head towards what looks like a safe area and get my bearings. I’m trying to avoid getting any sales persons eye because frankly I don’t want to go through a trial-and-error of them understanding my fashion wants. What they’d find out is that I’m up to wear generally anything as long as it’s:

  1. Comfortable
  2. Doesn’t make me look stupid.
  3. A distant third is looking good. At 37 years old, the ship has sailed on trying to look like James Bond.

Also ego plays a role. I don’t want to look helpless.

I don’t know what my measurements. I don’t know the difference between a European fit and a Slim Regular fit. If I’m going to start pulling random shit off the rack, I should know what’s going to fit. I don't want to be here all day.

So, I ask the sales woman nearby to measure me. She is baffled by this request. “that’s not how it works” she says. The look on her face is mild annoyance. I’m entering ‘looking stupid’ territory. I look to my wife, she’s unsure of my request too. I explain I’m trying to remember my sizes and if she has a tape measure, could I get her to measure me up? She explains she only works for the one brand and they don’t require measurements. But bless her she puts a measuring tape limply around my neck. She’s confused. I’m confused. My wife is confused. “You’re a 40 neck but it doesn’t matter” the saleswoman says. I’m drowning, and she’s shoving a hose in my mouth.

I flee, and head to the an area adorned with tuxes and suits. This hasn’t been a good start. I head towards the suits and start lightly touching a few things. I think I know how a tuxedo works, the tails and such. I’ve seen James Bond. But I don’t know for sure and I’m rattled by the saleswoman.

There’s a young guy dressed impeccably that appears and asks if he can help gesturing towards the tuxedo I’m molesting.

I explain I have a wedding and it requires a tuxedo. There’s also a few events lately where I’ve needed to be more formal. “I’m a fancy man”, I explain. He nods. He pulls out a tape-measure to get my measurements. I orgasm immediately.

The sales guy name is Henry. Henry is all business. There’s no judgement, just cold efficiency. I’m the lost sheep, Henry is my shepard.

Some other moments

  • Now knowing my measurements I head back to the area where the baffled lady was monitoring. I choose a shirt right under her nose. It’s petty of me. The scene from Pretty Woman plays in my head for some reason.
  • In my hand is a shirt I’ve picked up for business shirt reasons. High-powered business situations, hanging out with world leaders, accepting awards etc. Henry sees what’s in my hand, and says ‘try this too’. Henry is right. It’s a better fit. It’s more comfortable. Henry is crushing it.
  • In retail-terms, I’m getting up-sold across the park. Pocket-squares get chucked into the mix. I'm loving it.

At the counter, I’m asked if I have a membership card. I don’t. I’m asked if I’d like my measurements stored and then emailed to me for future use and I readily agree. We leave and I'm pretty happy - unfortunately the email with my measurements never arrives. A shame.

The above story - my luke-warm buying journey - is just a single data point. But I’m not alone.


There’s a number of opportunities that have gone begging in-store - but the big one happens after I leave the store - that is it to say - nothing happens.

Keeping me on the hook

Concession retailers face a golden opportunity: to bridge the gap between understanding who I am and discerning what products I desire. In essence, it's all about personalisation. Consider the potential of a mobile app, one that offers a curated and personalised experience, effortlessly guiding users towards recommendations and enhanced discovery pathways. Instead of merely suggesting, imagine if the app learns, evolving with every scroll, every click. With the right approach to using AI, this isn't just a tool; it becomes a branded companion that understands preferences and refines suggestions over time. Think of it as your personal David Jones-style assistant—always in your pocket, reliable, trusted, and ever-improving with use.

Ditch the clunky AR guessing games around weight or size. If I've been to a fitting room, the app should already know my measurements. And it shouldn't just be about general advice; it should be sharp, tailored guidance. After all, the resources are there: rich content, immersive experiences, comprehensive data, and a robust ecosystem. All that's needed now is the vision to bring it to life and an interface that captivates the most important person - the customer.

Concession Retailer David Jones could be more

A concession retailers missed opportunity with mobile.

Brent Wallace

March 6, 2024

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