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Aéropostale, Inc. is a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, principally targeting 11 to 18 year-old young women and men. The company provides customers with a focused selection of high-quality, active-oriented, fashion basic merchandise at convincing values. Aéropostale maintains control over its proprietary brands by designing, marketing and selling all of its own merchandise. Aéropostale products are currently purchased only in its stores, on-line thorough its website (www.aeropostale.com) or at organized sales events at college campuses. The first Aéropostale store was opened in 1987 and as of June 2006 has over 700 stores nationwide.
Recently within the past few months a new store has opened in the Eagle Ridge Mall located in Lake Wales, FL. I chose to apply for an internship at this location based on the conversation that I had with the manager, and the research that I had done on the internet. Seeing as though Marketing is a very big part of their organization, I was excited and willing to gain new experience in the area of my major. In other jobs that I had done there was very little concerning this concept if any at all. I was set up in an initial group orientation in which we were informed of the rules that were outlined in the employee handbook. Then almost immediately I began to learn the concepts that would make a huge impact on how marketing plays a role in this organization.
My internship position was just a sales representative. The internship with Aéropostale consists of several things in which I have to learn. I have to remember and be able to apply the acronyms B.A.A.S.I.C.S (Begin with a sales pitch, ask for sizes, add on, size and recover, immediate floor supervisor, cashiers that kick butt, say thank you) , TBLA (tops, bottoms, layers, accessories), and M.O.M.S (make suggestions, offer solutions, moms buy most clothes, sale). Along with these I also have to learn the marketing terms for how the store is set up, what certain display techniques were called and how to fold to specifications.
My first goal will be to learn the different acronyms that are so vital for success in this business. In order to do this I will be quizzed daily by others at work including the managers. This is so that I will memorize these concepts so that I can apply them to customers in order to market the store properly.
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My second goal is to browse all items in the store that way I can be more effective in helping the customers with their questions about certain items. Also, this will help me better to understand what type of items are located in the bigger walls so that the customer will be drawn to certain things in the store. A big role of marketing is how the items appeal to the customers, so this will help me understand how certain ways of folding and locations create desire.
My third goal is to increase revenue by using our current promotions to make the customer want to be able to feel like they are getting a deal if they use them. There are also competitions within the district between us and other stores as to who can sell the most volume, and also who can get more emails from customers.
I would say that some of the areas that I have to improve on are people skills. Being in the Marketing business I have to be able to interact with people on a personal level. This needs work because I have a very short tolerance for certain types of people, and that will never work in the business world. Some other things that need work are probably my negotiation skills.
There wee many things that I had to learn how to do in a short amount of time. I was trained to work on the cash register on the first day, and then given a line of actual customers only after seeing the procedure once. I am glad to be a fast learner or that may not have gone well. I also learned the many different names of the folds and wall sets ups that would help me to change the promotions quicker. This also helped me to understand the marketing strategies behind every move that the company made. Every decision that was made had to do with what the customer would perceive it to mean.
These high quality standards are what keeps Aéropostale looking clean and sets it apart from lesser quality retail stores. I also have to learn the duties of a manager, which were: returns, giving daily touch bases to each employee, counting drawers down, making deposits, scheduling, and all end of day activities. Along with these responsibilities of learning the marketing aspect of the sales, I also have to learn the everyday activities, such as: cashier, stock, inventory, and of course cleaning.
Outcomes and Analysis
It is somewhat difficult to summarize everything that I learned this summer through my internship. I really feel like my professionalism and commonsense developed this summer. There were many times where I was impressed and socked with the way I was able to handle certain situations. For example, whenever I was unsure about how my manager felt about felt about what I was doing, I never hesitated to ask her opinion and get feedback. In addition, when I thought that something could be run more efficiently than what my manager suggested, I maturely offered my idea to her to see what she thought. It really helped that I was comfortable working with Miranda (manager), and that we were honest with each other.
I found that this company is very well thought out by its founders. The training of the employees is very knowledgeable and the equipment used is quality. The training was very thorough and useful with a video training method with a short quiz afterward. There was also cashier training that helped to show what employees were better qualified to work at the register. Every day is planned out by the managers and the goals are preset based on the numbers from the previous year. The organization of this company just intrigues me because I have worked at a few other places that haven't been very together and usually are worried more about theft than anything else.
I experienced the most professional growth in the times when I had to introduce new promotions and implement the strategies in the acronyms. I also learned a lot from having to close with the managers and seeing what all of the closing activities contained. I learned that Marketing is a very broad area and that many things play a role in it. Sales, management, advertising, they all play huge roles in the marketing of Aéropostale. I also learned that in order to stay on task and gain revenue, there has to be certain goals set that help the organization remind itself as it goes along to meet certain requirements for success.
I was a little discouraged when I first started this internship because I had a different one lined up that I was suppose to complete first. Things fell through with that one due to unforeseen circumstances forcing me to look for a new internship and completing almost if not over 40 hours of work every week.
It was nice to see that there was a lot more to marketing than just the sales aspect. There were e-mail messages that were sent out, promotions, and set ups within the store that all had to do with marketing. I learned that overall the success of marketing is to at least be able to reach people with your brand name; Aéropostale does this so that if nothing else, their name will be remembered.
I completed all of my goals that I wanted to do in the introduction report. I learned that the classes I have taken already included a lot of valuable information, but nothing is like having the real experience and seeing all of those things put into action. I feel as thou a one on one marketing experience would have been better. This was a great learning experience, but the other internship would have been much better. I would have rather looked at a company and developed a marketing plan for them to help the realization of improving their facilities or something like that. However, every experience is a learning one.