The Grand Re-opening | How to Fully Book Your UK Bridal Shop
Today we begin the first day of the rest of our lives. Fortunately, we have some amazing times ahead of us, and I know we all are patiently waiting for April to knock on our door. The year we have all been through certainly deserves from reflection….but that can wait.
For now, we’ve got to fully book out our bridal shop for opening.
So where should we start?
First of all, let me introduce you to SYVO. Our team works with hundreds of bridal shops all over the world, and the advice we’re bringing you today is not merely our opinion. The strategies outlined below are tested, tried and true, and were proven to be effective in areas that already went through a lock-down lift. So let’s get right into it shall we?
Understanding Today’s Bride
We’re not going to draw out this topic too far today. We’re simply going to discuss some generalities of your typical brides specifically in terms of how they go from thought/idea to purchase.
- They’re Mobile: 95% of individuals in the UK use a mobile phone.
- They’re Social: 77.9% of individuals in the UK are on social media.
- They’re In Love: 95% of couples in the UK are not planning to cancel their weddings
- They’ve Got Time: Gen Z spends roughly 10.6 hours per day on their devices (compared to the overall average of 6.9 hours)
Now, with the widespread use of the Internet, there are two main ways the younger generation buys something. They either know exactly what they want, so they go online and find the cheapest price, or they do not know what they want so they go to a small store that can help them. So even though we, in Bridal, fit into the latter category, we cannot miss one key aspect. How do we make sure that we are the store that they go to? Here’s the formula:
Visibility + Content + Call to Action = Appointments
Let’s dissect this.
Now in today’s world there are lots of ways to be visible. You can purchase the most prime real estate on the corner and buy the biggest billboard in town. That’s certainly being visible but to whom? The key to visibility is positioning yourself where your brides are going to be when they are actively looking for you. So where’s that?
Put yourself in their shoes. Let’s say in 2 weeks, you’re having an out-of-town family member visit you and they’ve said they need to go to a tailor in your city. Assuming you don’t have any options for them top of mind, where is the first place you go? Do you pull up Instagram or Tiktok and start looking for tailors in your city? Is your first thought to type in yelp.com and search for tailors? Or do you do what everyone does and simply Google it?
The point is, there are lots of places you can be visible, but you want to focus on being visible where action is being created. For Bridal shops, I can tell you without any shadow of doubt that Google is paramount in terms of driving appointments. The goal of this article is to help you get fully booked for opening day, so let’s just cut to the chase. Here’s what you need to do.
Google ‘bridal shops near me’ to get an idea of the competitive landscape.
- Are you showing up first on the map, and on the search results?
- Do your competitors have better reviews than you?
- Is someone running ads in your area?
- Does your Google Maps photo of your store look good?
- Are your hours, and contact information on Google maps up to date?
It is also very important to understand that Google is location-based. It shows search results based on the location of the person searching. You might show up #1 on the map while you’re standing inside of your store, but how about when you’re at home?
You also have to consider how critical the small pieces are here. When deciding which store to click on from Google, there’s only a few items that set you apart from every other store:
- Your Name
- Your Search Rank
- Your Reviews
- Your Photos
Apart from your name, you should be doing everything you can to make your store the obvious pick on these areas, or you’re simply going to be overlooked. Let’s quickly go over each.
Your Search Rank
There are three sections where you can show up on Google: Google Ads, Google Maps, Google Organic.
Showing up #1 on Google is extremely easy — You simply pay for it. The challenge is knowing when, and for what keywords, you want to show up #1. Do Google Ads work? Yes. Google is a multi-billion dollar company for a reason, and that reason is largely based on the demand for their ads. My tip here is to start small and expand out. Start with a £10 per day budget, and target a 10-20 mile radius from your store. As you start to get data back from your ads, you can make relevant adjustments.
Is your budget being used up by noon each day?
- Decrease your radius
- Add appropriate ‘negative keywords’
- Increase your budget
Now, how do we show up on Google and Google Maps without having to pay for it? The answer there depends on several factors, but here’s a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Is my website mobile friendly?
- Is my website fast?
- Do I have contact information prominent on every page?
- How long have I had my website?
- Is my website secure?
In today’s world, it’s not all about how many times you can put the word ‘bridal shop’ on your website. In fact, it’s more about user experience than anything else. Before you embark on hiring some “SEO” who is going to write all of this content for you, make sure your site is fast, secure, and mobile friendly.
I hope the amount of information we’ve dedicated in this section to Google speaks towards its importance, but we can’t forget social media. You should be consistently posting to your social media accounts’ stories and feeds regularly. In terms of advertising, Facebook/Instagram outdoes Google in one key aspect of your business…. Events. If you are trying to get a trunk-show filled out, you won’t want to look to Google to help you. You’ll want to run a targeted ad on Facebook/Instagram that focuses on newly-engaged women in your area. You can even focus on specific neighborhoods, and income level, using Facebook/Instagram so take advantage of its precise targeting.
This is another big one, and this is something that you have some control over. If you have less reviews than your competition, then you are losing business. You are literally put head-to-head against your competition in this regard, and remember… your potential customers do not have much to judge you versus your competition on. To them, they see a name, an address, a picture, and a review score. If you’re at a 3.9, and your competitor is at a 4.5, guess who is getting the first look every single time? Your competition.
So what can you do? Text your past brides and ask them to leave you a review. The reason you’ll want to text is because they’ll actually see it. You can email all you want but only a small % of people are actually going to even see it. If you text, and give them a direct link to write you a review, you will get a lot of reviews. Once you’re fully open, make it a practice to ask every customer who buys something from you for a review. You’d be surprised at how simply asking for a review gets your more reviews.
If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business profile, then chances are you didn’t choose the picture that is being shown to all of your potential customers. Remember, there are only a few items that customers can judge you on when looking at businesses on Google maps and photos is absolutely one of them. Google your own store, and see what your customers see. If it’s not a beautiful image of your store that someone would want to find their dream dress at, then change that. Visit business.google.com, claim your profile, and make sure you’re showcasing your store in the most beautiful way possible.
The content side of our formula here is quite an easy one for you. What’s some excellent content that a bridal shop can provide to its potential customers? The Dresses.
This accomplishes a few key goals:
1.) By giving your brides the ability to view the different dresses, you’re giving them what they want. Chances are, they do not shop for wedding dresses every day. This is a new experience for them. Want to keep their attention? Showcase all of your designers’ collections on your site, individually. Let them spend hours going through your website looking for the one. The time they invest with you significantly increases the likelihood that they will book an appointment with you.
2.) SEO. Yes, back to Google again. Having every dress available from your designers’ collections allows you to push a ton of content to Google with relevant keywords (including designer name, style number, silhouette, length, neckline, fabric, etc..). The more usable content that you can publish with this type of information, the better for your SEO.
Call to Action
The last piece of our process is quite a simple one. You need to consistently remind your potential brides of the action you want them to take should they be interested in taking the next step. What does this mean for Bridal shops?
It means making a book/request an appointment visible across your entire website. Adding the dresses individually to your site? Great — Now put a ‘book an appointment’ call to action right next to each and every one of them.
You should never assume that your customers are going to see something that interests them, and automatically take the most appropriate action. You should guide them through their experience, and remind them what to do the moment they’re ready. Believe it or not, making it clear that your customers should book an appointment will help you get just that… more appointments.
We are all very excited to see the UK opening up and our experience shows that it’s going to be a busy few months for many of you. Now is the time to do everything you can attract brides to your store, and give us a call if you need any help.
Contact SYVO for a free trial of our services today. Increase your appointment rate by 29% by being where your brides are.