Retailers are entering 2015 with a fashion industry & retail landscape that has never seen such a pace of change. It’s not just an increase in online shopping you must contend with, but you also have to adapt to shifts in how your customer interacts and connects with your brand through mobile phones, tablets and wifi enabled devices in your store. Retail news is buzzing everyday with stories of these changes.
All of these things are causing fashion retailers to reassess their business models and customer service processes. These days, the model wherein store associates only serve as salespeople just won’t cut it anymore. Retailers need to offer something more than just the ability to purchase merchandise.
A topic close to my own heart within this is the female shopping experience. We all know women are emotional creatures when it comes to fashion. They don’t just buy clothes, they buy feelings. They are buying how your clothes make them feel and how your shop makes them feel. This is something that every brick-and-mortar store should consider. Because in an age of more and more disconnectivity through the use of the internet, what your customer craves is something real.
When your customer (especially your female customer) has an amazing experience with your shop or brand, this facilitates an emotional connection that leads to loyalty, high retention & high referral rates. All good stuff for your bottom line. I believe one of the key challenges for fashion retailers and retail news is a buzz right now with ways retailers can provide this amazing experience for your customer through every touch point in your store.
One of the obvious ways you can achieve this is in giving your customer access to trained personal stylists who can interact and help them in a unique and meaningful way. Here are my thoughts and tips on empowering your staff to become in-store personal stylists.
1. Train your staff to have a better understanding of body shape styling.
Having a detailed understanding of various body shapes will give your personal stylists the confidence to do their job, and to more importantly, have a very unique understanding of not only your customer, but your shop floor and brands.
Trained personal stylists should be able to go through your new season collections, get marking styles and ideas for each different body type, and then deliver a unique and personal element to your customers’ shopping trips.
2. Your personal stylists should have the ability to both stick by the styling rules and the confidence how know how to break them.
A great personal stylist will have the confidence to stick by the body shape style rules, but they should also exercise creativity with trends, accessories, and different fabrics to have fun with the customer and be flexible in their approach.
This also means your stylist should have an understanding of your shop floor and products like no one else, seeing the shop as a whole and not just the products or items they may have a liking for. This is essential when thinking about ABV and bringing a commercial reality to your stylist’s role.
3. Create a culture and reality where your shop is a place of discovery for your customer and an exciting place for budding stylists to work.
Your trained personal stylists should have the ability, support, and tools to create elements of discovery for your customer.
You can, for example, allow your stylists to create weekly ‘looks’ on in-store mannequins to inspire your customer. Attach your stylist’s name to the mannequin with details on how the customer can meet them, and add clever signage with info about all elements used in the look.
Thanks so much to Vend for asking me to be a guest blogger on a topic so close to my heart and check out lots more retail news on Vend each week.
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