How to Scale Your Bridal Shop in 2021
2021 is shaping up to be the year we all needed as business owners. Stores are reporting record-breaking numbers, and appointments have never been higher. Now, more than ever, you need to learn to effectively scale your bridal shop and today we’re going to cover just that.
We will first reflect on the pandemic, discuss the state of the industry and drivers of growth, and dive into effective methods for bridal shops to scale in 2021.
Let’s get started.
Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
Many of you spent the last year in a state of adaptation. Let’s cover some of the undeniable truths we discovered throughout this period of uncertainty.
Lesson 1.) Brick and Mortar meets Brick and Click
We’ve without a doubt transitioned from ‘Brick and Mortar’ to ‘Brick and Click.’ Granted, we were headed in this direction but the pandemic served as an ultimate catalyst for this transition to take full effect.
From virtual appointments, to online sample sales, stores found how they can connect with their brides and little did they know it was at their fingertips the whole time.
In 2021, we must embrace the brick and click era as the only way we can scale up our customer acquisition is through modern, digital techniques. It’s simply the way consumers interact with businesses today.
Lesson 2.) Texting is the most effective method of communication with Brides
In the last year we have truly seen the power of text messaging our brides. If you are not already, I strongly recommend you implement the following:
Text Message Appointment Confirmations/Reminders: Looking to decrease your no-show rate in 2021? Send a text message to the bride the day before her appointment to confirm.
Post-Appointment Text Message with Personalization: Looking to increase your closing ratio after your first appointment with brides? Start sending personalized follow-ups after their appointment.
Post-Sale Text Message for Online Reviews: Looking to increase your overall appointments, the online perception of your store, and your SEO? Start sending a text after closing the sale asking for an online review.
Lesson 3.) Digital Ads Work
We saw a significant increase in the participation of online advertising throughout the pandemic as this was really the only form of advertising that produced results. Whether it’s to drive traffic to your store, draw attention to your trunk show, or bring eyes on your online sample sale, digital advertising generates a clear return on investment for bridal shops.
You don’t need to be in a pandemic to see the effects of digital marketing — In fact, if you saw results during the last year then you can expect an even better return moving forward.
We’ll talk about specifics when it comes to budgeting to scale later on — The point is, online advertising works.
State of the Industry
Many of you are already aware of the current market conditions (as I trust you are quite busy right now) so today I’ll bring your attention to the search trends for wedding dresses.
Historically, we see searches for ‘wedding dresses’ skyrocket in January, stay steady throughout February, and slowly start to dive after March. This likely lines up with how you feel in store during these months. Normally, the amount of searches for ‘wedding dresses’ in April is significantly lower than January.
This year that is not the case.
According to Google Trends (a free tool that you can use to analyze search frequency), we are actually seeing the same volume of searches here in May as we did in January of this year.
What does this mean?
It means the busy season is not quite behind us yet.
Check it out for yourself here
There are a few areas we need to focus on in 2021 in order to grow our business year over year, month over month. Each of these items are specifically in relation to driving qualified brides to your shop, and these are proven methods that over 350 bridal shops currently enact to this day.
Your online reputation is just as important, if not more, than your word of mouth reputation.
When brides are examining options today, there are only a few signals that they have to go off of.
- Your Name
- Your Reputation (star rating)
- Your Photos
- Your Search Rank
Most of you don’t have to really worry about your name negatively affecting the bride’s perception, so that leaves your reputation among three total signals that either causes a bride to engage with you, or engage with your competitors. You should do everything you can to have an impeccable rating, beautiful photos, and the highest ranking possible.
Yes, you need to be on TikTok. No, you do not need to become a social media influencer.
The reason you want to be on TikTok, as well as all of the other social media channels, is because you want to stay in touch with your brides. Conversely, you don’t want to be out of touch with your brides. Like it or not, TikTok is here to stay, so this is your opportunity to embrace it and figure out your style on this platform.
There are hundreds of guides, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel (follow popular bridal tiktoks and learn from them). The point is, you absolutely have to step up your social media game if you want to grow in 2021. Check out our blog for detailed guides on social media and your bridal shop.
Your website is an extension of your store that is working for you 24/7. Think of it like an employee of yours — Imagine if you had an employee that worked around the clock, day and night, with the sole purpose of getting qualified brides in your door.
Advertising can be tough because everyone wants you to spend your money with them, and everyone claims to have the right plan for you. Since our team works with over 350 bridal shops, we have a lot of data on which types of advertising performs best specifically in the terms of generating qualified appointments for your store. Before we dive into that, here’s a good way for you to think about how much to spend on marketing.
In any given month, it’s a good idea to budget anywhere from 3-5% of your desired revenue on marketing in general.
As far as where to put your money, here’s the magic formula:
- 80% on Google Ads
- 20% on Facebook/Instagram Ads
Based on the data across the entire network of stores we work with, Google is by far the best medium for digital marketing ads. The reason it’s so effective is because brides go to Google when they’re actively looking to book an appointment. This is not to discount the importance of Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, your Designer’s websites, and other third party wedding-dress sites, but the fact of the matter is when someone is ready to book an appointment they go to Google.
Facebook/Instagram ads should be used specifically for events. Google falls short when it comes to event marketing, because people don’t search for events very frequently. (People aren’t regularly searching ‘trunk shows’ and ‘sample sales’ on Google). Facebook/Instagram is perfect for events because you can set your ads to only target newly-engaged women, in a certain area, with certain interests, and use imagery/video to showcase your event.
The biggest takeaway here is if you have never done Google Ads for your store, then you have a new potential stream of qualified appointments just waiting for you to start.
This might conclude this article but the growth of your store has only just begun. Even though you’re busy in the store now, you cannot remain complacent. Take action today and solidify your position as the bridal shop in your area, and grow your business today.
SYVO works with over 350 bridal shops worldwide and focuses on generating qualified appointments. It takes a village! Speak with a team that speaks your language today, and start your free trial of SYVO today.