Five Ways To Improve Plus Size Lingerie Sales For Your Retail Business

Plus Size Lingerie Sales Advice

“Today I’m giving out some tips to help retailers connect with plus size customers – just in time for holiday lingerie marketing season!”

an image of Holly Jackson of Cottage Copyby Holly Jackson

Holly Jackson is a online copywriter and lingerie columnist. She can be found blogging at her website or on working on her goal of filling up an entire closet with lingerie on Twitter @fullfigurechest.

Whenever people ask me about marketing to plus size women, my usual answer is that it’s complicated. On the whole, plus size shoppers are a sensitive bunch. Everyone has a story about a store that treated them like less than a person due to their size or told them that there weren’t any fashionable items made for them, which often makes women reluctant to try new stores or brands. Plus size women are much more likely to buy from a store that seems plus size friendly, which can be hard to convey through store displays or over the internet. Today I’m giving out some tips to help retailers connect with plus size customers – just in time for holiday lingerie marketing season!

1. Use plus size images for plus size inventory.

Angela Friedman Corset 5

Above: Corset by Angela Friedman.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the biggest issues I see when I work with online retailers. Images are important to customers for two reasons: it helps them picture themselves in the lingerie and also makes a statement about your business. Even if the corset you’re advertising comes in both plus sizes and regular sizes, putting up the non-plus size picture for both listings means that your customer is assuming that you don’t cater to them or that you don’t want their business.

This extends to things like in-store displays. Featuring a new seasonal line? Mix up your pictures so they show size diversity. Make sure you’re using a set of diverse images that is front and center – if a plus size customer walks by, they need to see that you carry a range of sizes to be encouraged to come in.

2. Make friends with plus size bloggers.

Georgina Horne founder of the Fuller Figure Fuller Bust Blog

Above: Georgina Horne founder of the Fuller Figure Fuller Bust Blog.

Bloggers are driving more website traffic than ever and lingerie bloggers are thriving. If you’re promoting your plus size offerings online, try contacting bloggers to see if they’ll review a piece. Many bloggers take fantastic pictures that will help you promote your business while showing your lingerie on someone who is not a model. It’s an easy way to advertise your customer service and your inventory, all while gaining new fans and followers from the blogger in question.

Tia Lyn Lingerie Convertible Cami Tia Lyn Lingerie Convertible Cami 1

Above: Tia Lyn Lingerie’s 3-in-1 Convertible Slip from her new Essential Collection.

A note on working with bloggers in any size range – make sure that you’re available to answer size questions in conjunction with sample offers. Bloggers want to find items that will fit and look great to show your business in the best possible light, so make sure you’re available to help them find the right fit for them.

Jennifer of Magnifique Lingerie is a fan of this strategy. “We have promoted lingerie that included plus sizes before and that was by having a blogger review our lingerie. It was a great way to have people of all sizes read about lingerie that was not just about the model wearing it.” she says.

3. Be supportive, but don’t make assumptions.

Creme Bralee Bettina in Blue

Above: Crème Bralée’s Bettina in Blue. Learn more about Crème Bralée HERE.

Michelle of Karnation Lingerie has one rule – “Never make an assumption about a customer when they walk in the door.” she says. Instead of steering customers to one section of the store, fitters should ask what type of item someone is looking for and then ask for the size they normally wear. “No one wants to feel judged, which is how women feel when you drag them off to the plus size only section right away.” says Michelle. Make sure you’re focusing on fulfilling the customer’s desires rather than categorizing them by size.

Many plus size women are terrified of being treated like a problematic size range rather than like a person, so make sure that your store or online content is welcoming and body positive. Show pictures of diverse size ranges in trendy and fashionable items and make it clear that you run a business that caters to everyone.

4. Help plus size customers expand their horizons.

Erica at A Sophisticated Pair is an expert at helping plus size customers feel comfortable in her store. “Our plus size customers are some of our best customers!” says Erica. “They come to us frustrated not only by how mainstream stores do not carry a range of sizes but also by how they are often treated as second class shoppers because of their size. As a former plus size woman myself, I can recall the feelings of shame and disappointment which accompanied many of my shopping trips.  At our store, we focus on promoting body positivity and on not making women feel bad about themselves or how they look. 

Seven til Midnight 9778X_RED_F Seven til Midnight 9778X_RED_B

Above: Holiday Plus Size offerings from Seven til Midnight. See their entire holiday collection HERE.

We also encourage our customers to try new styles.  So many of our plus size customers are accustomed to choosing from black, beige, or white bras that they do not even realize there is a world of color, print, and texture available to them. To market this, we keep all of our manufacturers’ catalogs on a coffee table in the sitting area.  During the testing phase of our customers’ appointments, I hand them the catalogs to peruse, and many are shocked by how gorgeous the matching sets and lingerie pieces can be.  We then explain our fashion pre-order system where they can reserve items of their choosing for no money down and no obligation to buy if the item fails to meet their expectations. Some of our customers plan out purchases for the year based solely on the fashion styles releasing each season.”

Claudette SS14 bardot hot coral Claudette SS14 fishnet blondie pin up knickers

Above and from left: Claudette’s Bardot in Hot Coral and Blondie. See more of Claudette’s SS14 collection here.

Many plus size customers feel that there is nothing out there for them beyond ugly plain lingerie, so make sure you’re actively introducing them to new products that are fun and flattering. You’ll gain a long time customer as well as all of their friends!

5. Stop using awkward euphemisms for plus size.

Curvy Couture Silver Lagoon Embroidery Unlined Underwire & Hipster-707

Above: Curvy Couture’s Silver Lagoon Embroidery Unlined Underwire Bra and Hipster from their SS14 collection.

This is a major pet peeve of mine as a copywriter and a lingerie customer – there’s no reason to repeatedly refer to larger women as a “voluptuous goddess” multiple times in your product descriptions just to avoid using the term plus size. Beyond the whole thing messing up your SEO, it reads as fake and awkward. After all, if you really loved plus size women you wouldn’t have a problem talking about them, right?

This article was an Yahoo ages ago and is a fascinating read about how the plus size market is changing. Plus size customers are buying more, demanding equally trendy options and embracing their size in droves. More importantly, they’re embracing the idea of being plus size or full figured. Give plus size women the respect they deserve and use the same terms that they do.

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