That's Wife

While men are typically forced to wait outside dressing rooms as women try on countless pieces of clothing, women face a similar experience when accompanying men into tech stores. Stores like Best Buy have taken steps to address the disparity.

"Project Jill" is part of Best Buy's makeover. The brand reviewed reports  like one from the Consumer Electronics Association, which found that women influence 88 percent of household consumer electronics purchases and account for nearly 50 percent of the spending  and conducted focus groups. Says Brian Lucas, a public relations manager for Best Buy, "We learned that women liked consumer electronics and technology, but weren't excited about shopping at Best Buy." So the chain made changes to increase "the wife approval factor."

"We turned the music down and took the displays out of the aisles for women with strollers," Lucas says. Best Buy also redesigned ads to make them more family-oriented. "Instead of a shot of just a digital camera, we took one of people using a digital camera," Lucas explains.

These changes may have contributed to Best Buy rating ninth in effective customer service in a nationwide poll by the National Retail Federation and American Express in 2005.

RadioShack has undergone similar changes. "We've made our displays more colorful and have placed headers above them to direct people to specific areas of the store," says Charles Hodges, director of consumer relations at RadioShack. "We also changed our floor spacing, hired more women, and became an authorized Apple product retailer at the end of 2005."

Now, if only department stores would install flat-screen TVs outside their dressing rooms.
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