This post about the Anthropologie September 2018 survey contains affiliate links. Please read this blog’s disclosure post for more info.
Let’s say that you’re Anthropologie. It’s 2018. You’ve been a store for 25+ years. You’re doing better than you were last year; profits are increasing each quarter. Yet compared to 5 years ago, or even 10, you are struggling simultaneously to please either new customers or loyal longtime fans.
What’s a company to do? Send out a survey, of course! The Anthropologie September 2018 survey is a simple, straightforward look into the mind of customers with a 20% off bonus at the end. Did I receive the survey? You bet, at all of my registered email addresses, and I heartily took the opportunity to share my honest thoughts.
My answers in the screenshots, with my thoughts and discussion to follow.
To be sure, my answers were harsh. Or perhaps not! For the last several years now I’ve been defending Anthropologie. I was so sure the changes we wanted were right around the corner, a quarter or two away. The 2017 holiday season broke my optimism and I let that be known in my Anthropologie September 2018 survey responses.
I am getting married in less than a year (!!!) and I haven’t found a single occasion dress at Anthropologie. Two engagement parties down, one to go, zero Anthro dresses. This girl who dreamed of an Anthro wedding didn’t buy her wedding dress at BHLDN — though I really tried! I doubt any of my bridesmaid dresses or flower girl dresses will come from there, nor any of my accents.
I haven’t bought much of anything at Anthropologie in 2018. A couple of mugs I believe. I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to think of a single piece of clothing though, and nothing is coming to mind. I’m sure I did buy a piece here and there but that speaks to how far Anthropologie has fallen in my world — I used to keep track of every single piece and keep a database of coordinating accessories too.
Why has Anthro fallen so far? Well, as I said in my survey responses, the quality sucks and the designs don’t appeal to me. Anthropologie’s third party choices overlap too much with stores like Nordstrom and outlets like Amazon, both of which beat Anthro on price often. Their in-house items are a weird mix of Boden and J. Crew with some Eileen Fisher thrown in. Zero personality, odd prints, loose fits galore. (Or too-tight fits, especially across the bust!)
A couple of years ago teenage daughters or siblings of my friends seemed to be very into Anthropologie, but even most of them have moved on. The main reason? Quality. So many Anthro purchases of the last two years have ended up in the recycle bin because they’ve pilled so badly, lost stitching in the seams to a ridiculous degree, or shrunken or warped in the wash. The clothing doesn’t age well. Even in the age of fast fashion I don’t want clothing that I can only wear two or three times before it looks so hideous I have to get rid of it.
Most of my other complaints are things I’ve said so many times before: too much online-only stuff, too little cohesion, way too much selection, too much boxy, crazy prints that don’t coordinate with each other, style that thinks it’s cool updated 70s but is actually terribly lame, inconsistent sizing, lack of interesting details, lack of body-skimming fits for tops and fit and flare dresses, and I could go on.
Shopping at Anthropologie is tiring now. Many of the other stores who lost their way around the same time have righted the ship. I fear Anthropologie is more off-course than ever.
The final question was open. I answered the Anthropologie September 2018 survey twice; here are my two responses:
Firstly, specifically about the Anthropologie & Co concept:
When the Anthropologie & Co concept was first launched I was very excited for it! I was hopeful that I’d find more of the online only items stores were missing. I hoped that there would be the kind of unique finds and curiosities that used to be an Anthropologie hallmark. I hoped that customer service would be top notch and allow me to quickly locate and ship items that were, for whatever reason, not in-store.
Instead, I feel like the concept has been wasted. In NYC the Anthropologie & Co is barely different from a regular store, and doesn’t even carry shoes. In CT the Westport store is huge but lacks many of the online only items I need to try on before I could possibly buy them.
That goes double for home goods. I certainly don’t expect you to have every home good in-store, but it seems like you have the same home goods at every store with no variety between stores. How am I supposed to buy a $3,000 piece of furniture without seeing it first? Especially when the quality of many of your home items is so iffy?
Why even have this concept if you’re not using it to its full advantage? Likewise, in regular stores so much floor space has been lost to beauty (don’t care) and wellnes (care even less). I come to Anthropologie for clothing, jewelry, shoes and bags. The bonus of finding one-off items individual to each store was such a joy. These days it’s impossible to find a full outfit in your stores.
Secondly, more general:
“Sadly, Anthropologie has completely lost its way. And each year we hear the promise that “Our longtime fans will love what we have in-store!” Sorry Anthro, like a girl in a bad relationship, I gotta pull out of this and take care of myself here.
I know leadership recently changed. The quality has continued to go to shit. Let me give a recent example — I bought a necklace that was gold. Now of course I knew the chain was gold-plated for $48, however after less than two wearings all that gold plating had tarnished off, and I am now left with a necklace that has a silver-ish green chain and gold pendants, and I cannot remove the pendants to put them on a new chain. So that’s $48 wasted. I bought a ‘silk’ sleeveless blouse that became so pilled after 3 months I’m embarrassed to wear it in public.
Additionally, the clothing is truly hideous right now. It doesn’t remind me of Anthro of old at all, but really I don’t need Anthro of old so much as I need that same feeling Anthro used to give me — excitement about classics with a twist and a bit of fun whimsy. I haven’t felt really excited about anything from Anthropologie in a few years, even as other brands that also ebb and flow continue to win me back. Please look at your 2005 catalogues and 2008 catalogues and tell me if YOU get excited about this clothing — I’d buy many of those items all over again RIGHT NOW. But only in the same materials Anthro — none of this trading cotton jersey for spandex or rayon crud.
Finally, the fit. In the past, one of the most glorious things about Anthropologie was that no matter what your height, shape or size, Anthro would fit. I delighted in taking so many personal shopping clients to Anthropologie, knowing that whether a size 14 or a 4, there would be beautiful stuff that would make my clients feel great. And it was my favorite store too. I would spend lunch break there every day as a respite from my agency job. (And I’d buy something new quite often.) Now? I go months between store visits, and I visit the website maybe once a month to check in and see if anything new might be worthwhile.
I’m not impressed by your 3 token photos with a plus size model. Many other brands are incorporating women of all sizes in every product shot. I doubt most Anthropologie products would fit women with DD cups (which I have!) or curvy hips, thighs and butts. Nothing feels worse than going to a store, trying items on, and finding they don’t fit not because the size is wrong, but because the DESIGN DOES NOT ALLOW FOR FEMININE SHAPES.
Sorry Anthro, other stores are taking care of me much better, and I have to move on. “
The 20% off code for taking the survey is universal — it’s SSP18MXPXN for 20% off your full price Anthropologie purchase through September 23, 2018.
Now community, I turn it over to you. Did you take this survey? Is there anything you’d like to share with Anthropologie?