After being initially contacted by Twofour Broadcast to provide some retail advice and expertise for their new show The Fixer, I then spoke to Alex Polizzi to discuss my ideas about what ‘a great bridal shopping experience’ should be about.
We started by considering the overall ‘look and feel’ requirements for the business, along with a range of important customer needs, such as ‘romancing the product’ with better VM and a range of practical improvements to the fitting rooms, including creating more space, upgrading comfort and useful additions such as better mirrors, mood lighting and seating for relatives of the bride to be.
On the strength of this, I was invited to come to the store in Kettering and discuss these with Alex in person – as part of the show.
I advised that the business had many muddled and conflicting practices instore, and most were ineffective. The result was a cluttered, dowdy and uninspiring shopping experience. Aspects of the interior design were tired and required updating. Products were not presented well to maximise their selling potential, with dresses cramped together hiding design details. Accessories looked untidy and unloved. Overall, product presentation looked unappealing – missing elegance and style, crucial elements for a successful bridal wear shop. These factors combined to reduce sales and were damaging customer perceptions about the products, service and expertise that was on offer instore.
Customers at Courtyard Bridal were shopping to make themselves and their party look amazing for the most memorable and magical day of their lives. The store was not convincing the brides, the groom or their family members that the experience or products would deliver the magic.
We needed to make the shopping experience more inspiring and introduce a sense of elegance and style instore. We also needed to make the shopping process as relaxing as possible, as whilst this can be a thrilling experience, for many people everything associated with weddings simply means a lot of stress! Therefore, it was important the shop didn’t just ‘look good’ but made people ‘feel good’ too – a more comfortable and relaxed environment, as people can spend upwards of three to four hours choosing and trying on these products.
On this occasion, we didn’t carry out the actual makeover, but using my advice on the retail strategy required to create the right shopping experience, Twofour Broadcast arranged for the changes to be made using external contractors. I am pleased to say that most of the changes I recommended were carried out and to a high standard.
The store has had a significant change in fortunes following the changes with sales positively now on the up. Anne Preece, the owner said: “Thank you for your input into our makeover, all of our customers love the improvements that have been made and we love it too.”
The Fixer will air on Tuesday evenings from 8 – 9pm from 31 January with Courtyard Bridal featuring in the first episode. The programme will also be available to view on the BBC iPlayer after transmission.