Here are 10 ways you can make your bridal shop a success
There is a lot that goes into running a bridal shop.
- Polly Parkin was the founder of The Bride, an award-winning bridalwear store. We asked her for her top 10 tips for success.
- Polly sold her shop to Natalie and Lynsey Davarez to return to her former role as Next’s buyer.
- Learn more about Polly’s business through our digital editions.
You can set a price range
Do not try to be everything to everyone. The Bride was a focus on my target customer. I knew this so I carefully chose the four designers that I wanted to carry within the budget.
High-end dresses should be presented alongside high-end dresses. It’s all about choosing where you want to present yourself and telling a clear story.
Control Your Spending
My spending budget was very limited. If you miss out on a bestseller or key trend, you can easily replenish your stock with samples. If the sample you have isn’t in stock, move it quickly and convert it into cash. This will allow you to switch for a better item without increasing your stock or incurring additional costs.
Maintain Stock Levels
To maintain a showroom sample dress count of between 45-75 dresses, I manage it. When the new dresses started arriving in September, the showroom stock was down to its lowest point. You can keep a good balance if you sell at least two to four samples per month. This is a key factor in running a profitable business.
Employ Enough People
In a high-end sales environment, service is crucial. This meant that there was always enough staff available on any given day. Each customer at The Bride was assigned a sales consultant who would complete the appointment on time, up to the moment when they said goodbye.
A junior would also tidy up, fetch and carry clothes, serve refreshments, and help the sales consultants. The manager would be present on the shop floor to answer queries, assist the sales team and be there for any questions.
Many customers commented on how calm and beautiful the shop was, even though it was packed on Sunday.
Manage Your Diary
Bookings must be quality in order to convert sales. Only bookings that have been thoroughly vetted and appraised of our offer/price range were key to managing the quality of appointments.
Attention to detail is key. Your shop should be kept spotless at all times. Brides arriving at 5pm need to be treated in the same clean and neat environment as those arriving earlier.
You can always keep your head up and hire more Saturday helpers. It’s not normal to walk into Selfridges with a broken light bulb or a hanger in the wrong place. Reassure your brides that everything is under control.
Customers come first
My goal was to make the buying experience memorable for my brides when I started the business. The customer is always my first priority when I start a business. It was easy to choose the name for the bride, so it was “The Bride”!
Listen to your customers
Take time to get to know your customer at the first appointment. This will allow you to identify her needs and goals. Ask your customer about her background so you can start building the relationship.
Keep your customers’ names in mind
Note the names of your guests – their mother, grandmother, sisters and bridesmaids. Keep them in your notes and learn them. It’s as easy as that. This is crucial when providing a personal and professional service. Customers want to feel connected.
Record Sales Data
To record marketing and sales data, I set up spreadsheets at The Bride from the beginning. This helped me make business decisions. It’s impossible to record too many data. Just get all the data into Excel. This will make sure you can make informed business decisions.