Bridal stores that purchase my manual often have some additional questions or they would like me to elaborate on certain subjects. I have selected some of the questions that keep coming back; I think they can be helpful to every bridal store owner.
How do I handle a no picture policy wisely?
I have never allowed pictures in the store. My experience is that when you already tell a bride at the beginning of the appointment that you have a no picture policy and explain why, that most brides are OK about it. I usually say: “We have agreements with the designers that we don’t allow pictures to be taken of their dresses. We also feel that it creates a more peaceful environment since taking pictures can often take over from focusing on finding the right dress. I have good news because I have an I-pad right there on the wall, so when you really like a dress I can take a picture and you can compare it with another dress that you like”. I have never had problems, but I have to say that it became easier as soon as we started using the I-pad. It’s a super easy tool, which allows brides to see themselves in their favorite dresses. I just use my cute face when I explain the policy and it works every time! Don’t be over apologetic, just be clear and stand behind your store policies.
Do I give names and prices of dresses over the phone?
Often stores don’t want to provide customers with names and prices of dresses. This is because there is a lot of competition and brides try to get the best possible deal. Ten years or even five years ago I would have given you a different answer, but nowadays with the internet and the increase of bridal stores and competition between stores, I think it’s inevitable to give brides the information that they are asking for. If you don’t provide them with the information they will find it online in forums or worse a different store will provide them with the answer.
I think the entire bridal industry should be a bit more transparent with prices. Wouldn’t you find it weird if a department store wouldn’t give you the price or the brand of a jacket you like? So why do we keep doing this in bridal? If you don’t give a name of price of a dress and another store does, then you will probably lose a potential customer right there!
What is the most important quality when hiring bridal consultants?
Recently I have been thinking about this a lot. In two of the Dutch stores that I work with we have had some problems with finding the right consultants. We have also had to let go some people that had been with us for a long time, but the old ways of selling simply no longer work for the brides of today. So what is the most important quality?
Number one on my list is empathy. A bridal consultant has to be able to really know what is going on in the mind of a bride. Why is she hesitant? What is she really saying to me? A bridal consultant has to understand the fear, the doubt and the uncertainties that come with buying a wedding dress. Having empathy also makes you likable, therefore I think it is the most important quality for bridal consultants.
Number two for me is confidence. A bride will never buy a dress unless she’s absolutely certain that you know what you are doing. Sometimes you can be lucky if you just happen to have the dress that she is looking for, but when it comes to really selling a dress then you need confidence. It can be really daunting for new consultants to come across as confident, that’s why it is essential to hire people that already appear to be confident in their job interview with you. If they can appear confident there, than they are more likely to be confident with a bride.
Number three is knowledgeable. I always say to new consultants “The first few months that you are working with us you have to life, breath and dream about wedding dresses. You have to know everything there is to know about fabrics, silhouettes, brands, alteration options and so on. When bridal consultants are knowledgeable they will appear a lot more confident. So important!
Are bridal shows worth visiting?
Renting a stand on a bridal show or fair costs a lot of money, so you want to make sure that it’s worth it. With the stores I work for we have gone back from visiting three shows to visiting one per year. We have invested the rest of the money back into Facebook, Facebook advertising, good websites and Google AdWords. We find that we get more results from this. Also in-store events seem to be effective for us. Creating a small event for your store with a good atmosphere really works!
I think these fairs or shows for brides are often overpriced. It can be helpful to get your name out there, but make sure you use at least an equal amount on your online presence, because nowadays this is where you can find most brides!
Should I still advertise in bridal magazines?
NOPE! Sorry for the magazines out there but as long as the prices stay as high as they have been, I think that there is no way that it can be worth your money. Probably in ten years from now nobody will advertise in magazines anymore, and if we still do then it is probably because eventually they realized that they should put down their prices. They are now competing with more effective mediums like Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising allows you to advertise specifically to brides that live in your area. It is great value for the most specific targeting that we have ever been able to do in the history of marketing! Also Instagram is worth looking into since this is the fastest growing social media channel out there! Please don’t stop advertising in magazines before you have found a person that can help you set up a proper social media marketing plan. Otherwise you might end up empty handed!
I hope that you enjoyed my questions and answers. Please remember it is only an opinion and I am happy to further discuss or receive feedback if you like. If you have questions that you would like me to answer on my blog, please add them to the comments and I will answer them in the next post.