Serving today’s consumer is an art, a passion and almost a science according to Alberto Dolci, owner, AD Dolci, Sondrio, Italy. “Consumers’ behaviors have changed,” comments Dolci. “They are no longer looking for brands, but products. For this our service is as transparent and as straightforward as possible and our approach to visual merchandising works almost as an exact science.” Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are the current bestsellers and why?
Considering the consumer’s changed behavior, being more focused on the product rather than on high-sounding brands, I matched my offer to this trend. For this I sell brands such as Aspesi, 1St Pat-Rn for blazers, Departement 5, Micheal Coal (mostly trousers), knitwear by Drumohr, Harris Wharf London coats in addition to knitwear and shirts by Private Label, plus other brands.

Alberto sells brands such as Aspesi, 1St Pat-Rn, Departement 5, Micheal Coal and Drumohr
Alberto sells brands such as Aspesi, 1St Pat-Rn, Departement 5, Micheal Coal and Drumohr

Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
They mostly appreciate our personnel’s specialized approach, our store’s small size and our straightforward and transparent approach to consumer and selling activity. Plus – as I said before – rather than brands, they appreciate our product’s careful selection, which is highly focused on an adequate price-quality ratio.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
Through well-known channels such as shows including Pitti Uomo, White Milano and similar events together with frequent visits to showrooms I trust.
Our communication with customers happens through both old and new means, such as word-of-mouth as well as web and social networks.

How do you choose products you offer your most affectionate customers?
I only choose and buy what personifies my own lifestyle philosophy and taste. For this both my new and usual customers are those who especially appreciate my personal selection. In any case I always opt for sport-chic trends.

What are the most important trends, in general?
Silhouettes are always slim for outer jackets, blazers, trousers, shirts and knitwear. Many jackets – plus especially shirts and trousers - continue to be characterized by prints and microdesigns.

Alberto attended a special university course about visual merchandising
Alberto attended a special university course about visual merchandising
Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
I did not add any new specific brand – apart from some newborn small brands which make a difference in what I offer.

How does your store differ from other stores?
Apart from the extreme selection we devote to scouting newborn brands and products and the attention we provide in offering them, our approach to visual merchandising is almost scientific. In fact we learnt about it by attending special university courses that taught us how to hype the potential attractiveness of products. Thanks to them we learnt a complex and sophisticated strategy which considers every detail and takes into special consideration the cultural value behind each single product.

What do you like about your customers?
I like their expertise and how conscious they are about their own needs. I also like how they appreciate the atmosphere they breathe in our store, the information we provide them, our assistance and how much they trust what we advise them.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
Sensory mechanisms such as curiosity, fragrances, music and a relaxed atmosphere are means through which one has to be able to transmit his own product culture and increase the time customers remain inside the store. In in the end he is the protagonist we have to focus on and seriously take care of.

AD di Alberto Dolci
Piazza Cavour 16
23100 Sondrio