Maximizing Your Bride’s Customer Experience: Part 2
By Michelle Broomes, Lingerie Consultant & Freelance Journalist
There are several types of brides that will walk into your shop looking for the best bits to go under their dresses. Characteristics include:
- The last minute bride: according to bridal lingerie expert Hurd, this bride makes a “mad dash a week or just days before the final gown fitting.”
- The “checking to see what’s on the market” bride: she hasn’t decided on her dress but she wants to see what is out there on the lingerie market first. Don’t often expect this type of bride in the height of bridal season.
- The “please help me, I’ve bought my dress already” bride: her mind is set on the dress she has bought even though she has been having nightmares finding undies to support it
- The lingerie outing bride: she will bring an entourage with her to get their opinion on her lingerie and at times to make sure that they have the right lingerie for their dresses especially if they are in the bridal party.
But whoever she is that walks in, be prepared. Here’s a look at three areas in which to impress your bride.
Above: Jonquil Bridal Bra.
“The lingerie shop needs to create a very special atmosphere the minute the bride-to-be walks through the door,” says Geraldine Hurd of Betty & Belle.
Even if you have a small shop and/or lingerie collection visually merchandizing it to entice your bride is a great idea and can be first step in pleasing her. Displaying your pieces well on mannequins in an attractive spot in the shop is likely to get your bride excited. You can even go the extra mile and rent a bridal gown under which to display your items for maximum effect. For a cheaper option, if you are good at draping, a well-placed piece of fabric around a mannequin can work wonders too.
Particularly for pre-booked appointments, prepare sociable facilities for your bride (and entourage): a private seating area if possible and a well-lit fitting room with a full length mirror are ideal. If your shop is exclusively for brides maybe you can provide a luxurious dressing gown for her to relax in during her fit. Other special touches could include tea/coffee or a sparkly drink as suggested by Hurd.
Above: Carnival Lingerie’s Floral Low Back Corset.
“Wedding lingerie needs to first be properly fitted then suit the customer’s dress,” says Helen, director of Wedding Nites.
“Customer service is where you can make the real difference and set yourself out from the crowd,” says Tanya Hall of Moonrise Lingerie which offers a seductive range of bridal lingerie.
- Where possible always offer your bride a fitting consultation. Don’t leave an anxious bride to flutter around in the fitting rooms alone. It can be the quickest route to a bridal meltdown if her lingerie doesn’t look right. “Wedding lingerie needs to first be properly fitted then suit the customer’s dress,” says Helen, director of Wedding Nites, a UK bridal company. Based on the high percentage of women who fit themselves incorrectly, the bride is no exception. “Most brides are wearing the incorrect size and a good fitting bra or basque is a must for the dress,” Helen advises.
- Better still, have your bride pre-book an appointment. “Making a prior booking is always best as you can then greet your customers by name and allow the hour or more needed for the fitting,” advises Hurd. Concentrate the appointment on the bride. “Do not flit between customers or fitting rooms,” warns Hurd. The only exception is if you are fitting an entourage but most attention still needs to be on the bride.
- Make sure you see your bride on time for her fitting. This might sound obvious but if you are not running on time and your bride is feeling stressed, the situation could become tense quite quickly. Seeing your bride promptly will no doubt make her feel that she is indeed the woman of the moment.
- Have a well-dressed and experienced consultant handle your bride’s fitting. If your fitter doesn’t present well or appear confident your bride might not feel she’s getting the best service. An experienced consultant will also be able to handle comments and questions from any other party that has accompanied the bride such as her mother or bridesmaids. Consultants, your nails need to be neat and free of jagged edges and your jewellery kept to a minimum so you don’t snag your bride’s dress if she has brought it along.
- Never handle your bride’s dress and its accessories without her permission and do not offer her suggestions on her dress without her asking. If she has brought a friend or relative encourage them to help do up and undo her dress. And never suggest that she should have it altered so that she can buy something from your shop. You are there as a lingerie consultant and not a dress fitter. If you damage your bride’s dress during a fit you will likely be held responsible. If your bride alters her dress and then does not like it, you don’t want it to be deemed as your fault and give your business a bad rep.
- You might need a slightly relaxed return/exchange policy for your bride. This is a management decision and should only really be in exceptional circumstances. Some brides might need to change the style of their dress or alter their existing dress for some reason. It follows then, that the existing underwear might not match the dress adjustments and a new foundation look is required. Your bride might need to exchange an item she bought from the shop weeks ago and this might fall outside the exchange date set by your shop. Your understanding at this time could be essential to your bride getting a new correctly fitting item. The manager might need to make notes either on the purchase receipts or on the automated retail system authorizing the exchange provided the item is returned in a saleable condition or all things being equal for a smooth exchange.
- Pick up on hooks. If your bride mentions she is going to her honeymoon by the beach, ask if she has picked out beach wear and what she is wearing on the wedding night. Once you have picked out her wedding underwear to her satisfaction, then you can offer her other products for her honeymoon such as swimwear and nightwear.
Above: Moonrise Lingerie’s Something Blue Wedding Garter.
“…it’s really important to get an idea of the style of bridal gown the bride’s chosen for her wedding.” – Tanya Hall, Moonrise Lingerie.
“Are they looking for sexy, romantic, practical? Is figure shaping important or is support needed for breasts? Then, it’s really important to get an idea of the style of bridal gown the bride’s chosen for her wedding. Do we need strapless wedding lingerie, low back or seamless underwear solutions to suit the dress?” – Tanya Hall, Moonrise Lingerie
- Present a good product choice: “The lingerie shop needs to have plenty of options not only in sizes but styles. A bride usually wants to see at least three lingerie sets in her chosen style,” says Hurd. Ensure you have matching accessories if the bride needs them. But if your choices are modest in number, make sure they are high on style and quality. “It’s a little bit more special than shopping for an everyday bra or underwear set for a big date,” says Hall.
- Make your bridal collection a visual treat for your bride. Make sure the pieces are clean and handle them delicately in front of your bride so that she feels they are well worth it. You want her to feel that she’s getting value for money. Your bride will no doubt want to feel like a million dollars on her wedding day and this extends to her foundation garments. Hang them neatly in the fitting room in their matching pairs if possible. They will look more attractive to the bride and possibly increase the chances of her buying the matching set.
- Introduce your bride to multi-way or versatile pieces. Lingerie items that can be worn in different ways or at different times on the wedding day can increase the chance of your bride leaving with an undergarment she finds adaptable. And be sure to show her how to perform repositioning adjustments to the garment before she leaves the shop, especially if she has not owned that type of garment before. A strapless basque is likely to be a hit with your girl.
Above: Dreamgirl’s Love Is Lace Bustier & Panty Set
“[Basques] makes a bride feel special and can be kept on into the night time.”
“Most brides want a basque. It’s a great piece of lingerie to wear under your robe when getting your hair and makeup done,” says Helen from Wedding Nites. “It makes a bride feel special and can be kept on into the night time. They are also tasteful and, along with the stockings, complete the look”. A versatile lingerie piece could possibly mean that the bride is less likely to return the item as it quite useful.
Above: Gracya Lingerie Madonna Wedding Bra
To conclude, make your bride happy. Do all that you possibly can to send her down the shop aisle with a smile on her lips.
I hoped this has helped and best wishes to our brides and the consultants who will be fitting them. I hope it’s a happy marriage between us all.
Read Part 1
About the Author
Name: Michelle Broomes aka Shelly
Bra size: bigger than you’d imagine!
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Favourite lingerie brands: Panache, Bravissimo, Curvy Kate, Freya. These, in my opinion, are built to carry weight.
Bio: In my early years I was always known to be an “academic” because I was good at the books and always got really good grades in school. I’d never been really good at anything practical until I became a lingerie fitter. Now I talk about lingerie nearly all the time and -ask my hubby- I am a fierce critique of bras and the like. Throw in matching knickers, jewellery and heels and I’m in lingerie heaven.
Lingerie philosophy: Well fitting lingerie is always sexy even if it’s from the bargain bin!
Get More Retail Advice & Lingerie News!
Enter your email to get weekly retail advice and lingerie news updates!