The New Normal for Bridal Shops
The last several weeks can be described as challenging to say the least. In store appointments have come to a halt, and stores are spending their days communicating with their existing brides about wedding cancellations and postponements. Many stores have adopted new ways to service new customers, including Virtual appointments and at-home try ons. The coronavirus has, and will continue to, change the way businesses interact with their clients. In order for your bridal shop to thrive in the coming era, you must adapt to the new normal.
So what do we mean by new normal? I believe that a majority of commerce will take place digitally, and that ‘window-shopping’ will become rare. People’s aversion to crowded spaces will lead them to plan their shopping experiences in more detail. For Bridal shops, I think this will particularly affect the ‘weekend-appointment.’ Many brides will opt for a private, week-day appointment instead of the crowded Saturday appointment. The era of personal, private, service will be back in a big way. We will soon see the rise of the small independents, as a majority of small, emotionless, purchases will now take place online. Smaller shops, and those that can offer a private, personalized experience, will thrive.
Robert California, a character from the TV show ‘The Office’ said it best:
‘Let me tell you how I buy something these days. I know what I want, I go on the internet, I get the best price. Or I don’t know what I want and I go to a small store that can help me. The era of personal service is back. You are back.’
This being the case, how can you prepare for a world where appointments are made solely based on your online presence? How can you stand out amongst your competitors to encourage brides that you have the experience they are looking for? You might not be a digital expert who knows what differentiates an excellent online experience from a poor one, but Generation Z is. Your new generation of customers grew up judging businesses based on their online portrayal. Today, we will examine two strategies that can help you engage the new generation and encourage them to book appointments at your shop.
Brick and Click
Throughout our experience of working with over 300+ bridal shops, we have learned something very important about Generation Z. If you provide them the content they want, in a mobile-friendly fashion, the likelihood of them making an appointment increase significantly. When examining the ‘conversion’ rate of website visitors, we have identified that brides typically view 10 pages on average before making an appointment.
So what’s the moral of the story?
More Pageviews = More Appointments.
How do we get more pageviews?
For a bridal shop, the absolute best way to get pageviews is to add the dresses to your website. Our team has found considerable success using a wishlist feature to encourage the brides to browse the dresses. By adding something as simple as a wishlist, you turn a simple gallery into a planning tool. Brides will use your website instead of just browsing it. People buy from people that they like and trust. Being the provider of information is an excellent way to earn the trust of your customer.
Point number one: Add the dresses from your designers to your website. Here are a few examples of our current clients:
Adding the product imagery and keeping it up to date is a very manual, time-consuming process. At SYVO, we can help you with this burden and automatically keep you up to date at all time. Request a demo today for more information.
Where do you start? Here’s a guide:
- Reach out to each one of your designers, and request the imagery and line-sheet for each one of your collections
- Download the images (they will be sent by WeTransfer, DropBox, Google Drive) and resize them for web-use. If each image is over 1MB, it will significantly slow down your website
- Read the documentation on your hosting provider about adding ‘products’ to your website, and learn how to add each product with its respective imagery as a single page on the website
- Add a prominent call to actions on each dress (Book an appointment. Call for Availability)
As a note, SYVO can help you do this as we already have access to all of your designers’ style information. Contact us today for more information.
Here are a few questions we often receive at this point:
Should I add the entire collection, or only the samples I have in-store?
As your technology partner, I strongly recommend adding each style from the collections. You will receive tremendous value in terms of SEO if you add all of the styles and not just the samples you have in store. We add prominent disclaimers to each style saying ‘Not all styles are carried in the boutique, so please contact if seeking a specific style’ to each product.
Now we will discuss an item that has been somewhat controversial in the bridal industry. eCommerce.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I would tell any bridal shop that was curious that eCommerce is not viable in the bridal industry. Brides want the experience, and even if you have eCommerce on your website you will not get sales. How about return policy? Are you going to take returns on gowns purchased on your website?
The last three weeks has significantly changed my position regarding eCommerce and Bridal. Many of you know the ‘Off-the-rack’ bride quite well. There are many brides each year that are not in need of a special order gown, and they need something today. These brides were typically sent to the back room of your store to browse the available, older-discontinued samples. But now, there is a new way.
In the last three weeks, our sites have sold more than $100,000 worth of older, discontinued, samples online. Many brides will ditch the venue, the DJ, and the caterer, but even the brides that are getting married on Zoom have one thing in common… They all wear a wedding gown.
Point number two: Sell your older discontinued samples on your website.
I can think of 0 drawbacks to doing this. I encourage you to check with your designers regarding their policies on selling their gowns online, but if you are in the clear I highly recommend selling your older discontinued samples on your website. It will bring you cash flow that, right now more than ever, you need.
The future for bridal shops is a bright one, and by adjusting your strategy to fit the new normal you will set yourself up for success. Now is the perfect time to audit your own online experience, and we are here to help! Contact us today for more information on how we can help your bridal shop.