Brick & Mortar vs Digital ~ Panache Finds the Fit
By ELLEN LEWIS
Some time ago, I received a call from an owner of a very reputable lingerie specialty store decrying the impact of the internet on her business. As a bra fitting specialist, she was upset at on-line sales from both brands and web-sites that were eating into her bottom line. At the time, she was hoping that I might have sway with some of the industry and help communicate the boutique buyer’s malaise at this growing intrusion into their revenue stream. First of all, I don’t have that sort of clout and secondly, the dilemma she was facing was not going to dissipate. E-commerce is here to stay.
I believe that obstacles are merely challenges and riding the tides of change is critical for long term growth. I don’t disagree with the general concern, not necessarily because of on-line alternatives, but actually, because the art of fitting a bra has not been completely duplicated by an algorithm. I recognize that there are some, who disagree, but I have tried most of them and for me, they do not work. This is particularly true as the bra size increases.
Yes, one can conveniently re-order (on-line) a bra on that one already owns and for a fashion before fit style, general size knowledge probably suffices. But here’s the skinny. A machine will never substitute for human rapport and personal experience. The exceptional fitters are savvy at the art of listening. Professional Bra Fitters are trained to analyze the individual eccentricities of varying breast shapes and to accommodate the support and comfort that is unique to each woman. It is why stores carry more than one style. But the talent of fitting a bra resides in the firsthand knowledge that a bra fitter accumulates in the fitting room. She can see the breast tissue as it relates to the torso. She can speak directly to the customer about her priorities for comfort, exposure, lift, and desire. She can offer on the spot alternatives. And since a woman should be properly refit every 6 months because our bodies evolve; a real fitting room trumps virtual fitting every-time.
Brands and buyers who want to be current must stay current in the digital world as they continue to up the ante on personal service. This is why we are witnessing brick and mortar venues duplicating efforts on-line while even behemoths of e-commerce are dabbling in touchstone stores. Panache Lingerie’s new marketing campaign for fall 2017, #FindYourFit strikes this balance. It is a full press in store effort to champion bra fitters coupled with a strategic social media outreach for the customer as well.
Here is how it works: a woman who has an amazing experience in the fitting room and purchases a bra nominates the store and her fitter. She shares a picture of the fitter, and/or herself as well as the store, on social media commenting with the hashtag #FoundMyFit. The store does the same. All of this is backed up with in-store marketing collateral. Panache is providing a platform to drive customers to the store as well as the internet. Honoring the fitter, and personalizing the WOW moment that a woman feels when finding a great fitting bra is a gift of self esteem. Capturing the experience on social media changes the game.
“If You Do Build a Great Experience, Customers Tell Each Other About That. Word of Mouth is Very Powerful” ~Jeff Bezos