Wednesday, 8 May 2013

When buying womens clothes ...

With three daughters, a wife and, a mother who has Altzheimer's, I am no stranger to buying womens' clothes. That has taught me buying without without user participation is high risk and frequently a false economy. When I used to buy uniform clothing I also recognised buying womens uniforms was something which really needed a lot of, let's call it, 'stakeholder engagement'. 

So it comes as a surprise that Virgin Trains appear to have got it slightly wrong with their new womens' uniforms. The first consignment of the uniforms have now been test driven and the ladies aren't happy - too low cut and 'see through'. Virgin claim it was 'not clear' how the clothes would be received until they were worn - that's hardly a surprise. So why on earth was there not a user panel involved in the selection and a trial not carried out?  If Virgin were trying to reduce cost, they are now faced with additional costs, namely, the £20 vouchers they have offered each of the women to buy underwear which will 'avoid embarrassment'. 

Would the additional £20 voucher have tipped the balance in terms of an alternative offer? Perhaps but how will we know - transparency appears to be a delicate issue though.

For those in the public sector now preparing to buy prisoner uniforms, let's hope they can get the right user panel together. 

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