Every lingerie store owner wants theirs to be the best boutique in town.
You may be competing against other independent shops like your own, or against large chains that undercut your pricing. Either way, there are plenty of methods to make your shop stand out.
Here are 8 ways to increase footfall, deliver a better shopping experience, and improve your customer loyalty, all without dropping your prices.
1. Define your target customer
Knowing what type of person you’re selling to is especially important if you have a smaller boutique with limited floor space, where every product you display really needs to count! Are they a beige t-shirt bra or a sparkly bustier kind of person? How much disposable income do they have?
If you try to appeal to everyone, you won’t be the ‘holy grail’ lingerie store for anyone. Specialise and you’ll find you develop a loyal customer base of shoppers who feel like you’re catering especially to them.
2. Have a loyalty program
Speaking of customer loyalty, there’s a simple way to encourage them to return to your lingerie store next time they need a bra – have a rewards program.
Give customers a little incentive to come back, such as points for every X amount spent that can be redeemed for money off future purchases.
3. Advertise locally
Want your boutique’s name to be the first one that comes to mind when locals think about bra shopping? First, make sure they all know you exist! Take out an ad in your town’s newsletter, for example, and ensure you have a Google Places listing.
From fashion shows to sewing classes, running events in your boutique is another great way to keep your brand front and centre in people’s minds.
4. Get creative with your displays
Some of your customers will set out into town specifically intending to pay your store a visit. Others though will simply be walking past and see something that catches their eye.
Tempt more of that second type of shopper in by making sure your window displays are striking! Change them up regularly to keep things fresh, and so regulars know when you have new lines in store.
5. Make dressing rooms extra private
Privacy is always important for fitting rooms, but doubly-so in a lingerie store where people will be taking their bras off. Ideally, locate them around a corner or otherwise out of sight from the main shop floor. Ensure the curtain or, better, lockable door completely seals the area off from view.
Surprisingly, only some lingerie stores manage to create a fitting area that feels private – make sure you’re one of them.
6. Focus on customer service
Especially if the other lingerie stores in your area are big, chain retailers, customer service may be where you can step up and offer something that they can’t.
Make an effort to remember your regulars’ names. Provide a first-class bra fitting service. Offer to order in additional sizes for customers that need one you don’t usually stock, if it’s feasible for you to do that.
7. Stock unique products
If you’re selling the same products as your competitors, what’s to stop them buying what they want elsewhere? Especially if someone else has it cheaper!
That’s not to say you should never stock a brand a competitor does – if they’re selling it, it’s probably popular with the locals – but ensure you also have pieces shoppers can only buy from you.
8. Offer added extras
In much the same vein, consider what else you can offer that your competitors can’t or simply don’t. Can you offer a personal shopper service? Extra deluxe gift wrap? Home fittings for customers who can’t make it out of their house? Or how about teaming up with a local seamstress or tailoring shop to offer bra alterations, from strap alterations to converting regular bras into mastectomy ones?
Those last two especially could land you loyal customers who struggle to shop or find what they need elsewhere.
In summary, getting ahead of the local lingerie competition is all about the shopping experience you create. Differentiate your boutique in your customers’ minds. From the products you stock to the perks and services you offer, to how you engage with the local community, every lingerie store has the opportunity set itself apart in at least one way, if not lots of them.