With the rise of online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers more than ever need to offer something different if they want to stay in business.
From exclusive products to a unique and memorable shopping experience, there are many ways to keep footfall high. One of the best ways to spread the word about your lingerie store is to focus on developing a community of devoted fans. You’ll boost customer loyalty this way too!
Creating a sense of community around your boutique means that, when local shoppers need a new bra, they’ll think of you first. More than that, they’ll recommend you to their friends – and very few marketing mediums can match up to the results of word-of-mouth!
There are various ways to build a community around your brick-and-mortar lingerie store, but today we’re going to focus on what I believe is the most crucial, and the most effective: events.
There are two types of lingerie shopper – those who like to browse styles regularly and buy ‘just because’, and those for whom going lingerie shopping doesn’t even cross their mind until they actually need a new bra. Hosting a fun event gives everyone a reason to visit your boutique more frequently, and especially if your typical customer is the visits-twice-per-year kind, this can dramatically boost your sales.
Themed events also allow your customers to meet like-minded people, perhaps even develop friendships, and it’s this social aspect that’s key to creating a feeling of community. Regular events will make your boutique more memorable too, and get lots of locals talking about it!
What makes a community-building event successful?
The key to a great event is to not make it too sales-oriented. Selling more lingerie is the end goal of course, but if attendees feel pressured into making a purchase, it will dampen the fun and they may not come back next time around.
Instead, prioritise relationship-building. Focus on making sure your invitees have a great time, weave in some subtle product promotion, and the sales will naturally follow. Even if you don’t sell much at the event itself, remember that your goal was to make people like and remember your brand, so that they pop in more regularly when they are in the mood to buy.
Event ideas for lingerie boutiques
Stuck for inspiration? Here are a few event options that may work for your lingerie business:
Lingerie sewing classes
Why not team up with a local seamstress to offer workshops teaching your customers how to tailor their bras, customise them for burlesque events, or even sew lingerie from scratch? This one has the added bonus of bringing in revenue from the class fees regardless of whether you sell any lingerie off the back of it!
Bra fitting demonstrations
There’s no better way to persuade your customers to have a bra fitting, than to actually show them the amazing transformation a well-fitting bra can make. So why not bring in a model to show a before and after, followed by private bra fittings, delicious cocktails, and a special discount on purchases made at the event?
Put on a fashion show
Make sure all the keen lingerie-shoppers in town see your latest product range with a seasonal fashion show! Whether it’s at your store or hosted in a larger space, on top of the fashion show itself this could incorporate anything from light nibbles to a full sit-down meal, plus extras like a burlesque performance or a charity raffle. Make it fun!
Invite guest brands into your shop
Collaborating with other brands is a great way to introduce your own to their fan base. By offering a little space in your shop to an up-and-coming lingerie brand (which could be on a profit-share basis), you’ll be keeping things fresh and exciting for your regular customers whilst benefiting from the promotional efforts of the guest brand. This idea also works well with complementary products such as bath bombs or jewelry.
High-street treasure hunt
Worried about no one showing up? Team up with other local businesses to get storekeepers all over town telling their customers about it! For example, you could put on a special weekend where customers collect a map of participating retailers, and receive a small treat, goody bag or discount voucher for completing tasks at each. Think easy-to-do challenges that help boost your profile, like ‘checking in’ on Facebook or sharing an Instagram snap of your store.
Sponsor other events
Another option to partner up with other local brands is to find out who is already planning an event of their own, and ask if you can get involved. You may be able to teach bra-bedazzling at an event run by the local pole dance lessons company for example, or offer bra fittings at a fashion fair.
Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to do, be sure to create an official Facebook event for it so that it’s easy for your followers to sign up for reminders plus invite their friends to come along. On the day, take lots of photos and post them to your social channels or your blog – show those that didn’t come all the fun they missed out on, and maybe they’ll be there next time!
Which types of events have you hosted for your offline lingerie store? Do you prefer to run them alone, or find that events work best when done in partnership with other local businesses?