For brick-and-mortar lingerie boutiques, offering bra fittings is almost as important as offering the bras themselves.
With the fit and look of a properly fitting bra still a mystery to many people, fittings are a crucial sales tool. It's a chance for you to showcase your product range in a personalised way, and of course ensure that your customer finds that style and size that's going to make them feel fabulous - and want to buy the bra.
One search online however and it's clear that many people are left disappointed or upset by bra fittings. So how do you ensure that your store's fitting service is not just helpful, but memorable for all the right reasons too?
It helps to consider the process from the customer's perspective. What do they want to get out of it? And what's going to make it a positive or a negative experience?
Here are 6 things your customers want you to know about professional bra fittings:
Bra fittings are intimidating!
Unless we just so happen to be burlesque dancers, we're almost certainly not used to getting undressed, even partially, in front of strangers. And whether we've never had a fitting or only had them elsewhere, we're not really sure what to expect.
Are we supposed to take our tops off? Our bras off? Please don't just send us into the fitting room and ask us to tell you when we're 'ready' - clear instructions are appreciated!
Be respectful of our privacy too. Some bra fitters like to stay and help the customer actually try the bras on, but this should be an option we're offered - not something we're just expected to roll with.
We visit your store for a reason
Let's face it, very few of us go for a bra fitting every six months like clockwork. More often than not, our visit has been triggered by something - an upcoming event for example, or a specific fit issue that's been bothering us. By taking a moment at the start of the fitting to find out what that is, you'll make the whole process more efficient and be more likely to help us find exactly what we need.
We like to learn
Bra sizing can be confusing, and bra fitters can seem like secretive guardians to all its mysteries. We get it, if you tell us all your tips and tricks, maybe we won't need any more professional fittings. But I would argue that a bra fitter's role is also about education.
It's true that after a proper fitting, we may feel equipped to go bra-hunting without help in the future. But if we learnt that stuff from you, we'll remember your boutique in a positive light. We'll still shop there, and tell all our friends about it too!
We have different shopping styles
Essentially, there are two types of customers - those who like to see everything that's available, and those who are happy to put their trust in the professionals to find what's best. I'm the former.
Ask your customer how they'd prefer to be serviced. Maybe they want items brought for them to try on based on what they've said they're after. Or maybe they'd rather browse the shop and bring an armful of their favourites to the fitting room, and then have the fitter help them evaluate each.
We don't like feeling pressured
To buy, or to overspend. We're here because we want a new bra, or bras, but there's always a chance that despite your best efforts, we just won't find one today that we like.
Or maybe it turns out we wear a size that you don't cater to, in which case say so. Without a doubt the most common complaint I see online is from people who were sold a bra in the wrong size because it was all the boutique had, and you can bet they are not going back there!
Oh, and we've probably also got a pretty clear budget in mind, so ask about it and then respect that. Getting us to fall in love with a bra that's just too pricey isn't helpful for anyone. It might even cast doubts in our mind about buying the cheaper-but-less-pretty one we otherwise would have been just fine with.
We know their bodies best
Finally, remember that rules are meant to sometimes be broken. Bra fitting can sometimes feel very formulaic, as in "you should be able to pull your band between X and Y inches from your body, and it should fit best on the loosest hook".
All of that is a great starting place, but remember to take into account our personal preferences too. A firm-fitting band does take some getting used to if you've been wearing one that's too loose up to that point, but if we say it's too uncomfortable, please believe us! And hey, maybe we're happy with a less-than-perfect fit if it's a bra we really love.
I have great respect for professional bra fitters - the job is much more complex and difficult than it may seem! It's not just about taking a few measurements. It also involves dealing with styles, likes and dislikes, and potentially people's self-esteem.
Hopefully these pointers will enable you or your staff to become even better at providing bra fittings, and make more of your customers walk out happy!
How do you currently go about offering bra fittings in your lingerie boutique?