Service, Self Esteem and Profit

By Ali Cudby

Is Your Lingerie Store Selling the Wrong Thing?

Imagine a woman walking into your lingerie store – what is she shopping for?  If your answer is “lingerie” you are, on some level, wrong.  While a customer may end up purchasing a bra or shapewear, the truth is that she is shopping for something much more profound.

As lingerie professionals, we KNOW that a woman is seeking emotional support in the fitting room.  She brings her insecurities about her body and her desire to be understood along with her into the shopping experience.  After all, how a woman feels about her breasts is intimately connected to how she feels about herself as a woman.  Shopping for lingerie becomes an extension of those feelings.

Now picture yourself seeing that same woman walk into your store.  What do you see?  A lot of the time, if you’re the person helping a customer, you may see dollar signs, SKU – perhaps a monthly sales target or commission.  It’s human nature to seek the thing that rewards us.

It may seem like these are two competing perspectives about a customer.  Actually, there is a way to satisfy both sets of needs – the store’s need to sell and the buyer’s need to be understood.

The solution starts with seeing each shopping exchange as being part of a larger relationship.  When we see customers as one-off transactions, we tend to focus on maximizing the immediate sale.  Focusing on a relationship that lasts over a longer period of time changes the perspective.  That shift in mindset allows you to focus on a woman’s needs beyond what she’s ringing up at the register that day.

Ultimately, this relationship-based selling is a win-win.  Customers win because they feel better understood, which builds loyalty and repeat sales – and that enables stores to win, as well.

Relationship based selling may take more time, and can be difficult to remember when a sales target is looming.  Providing your sales team with incentives and tools to help them keep the stores goal’s in mind can help.   If you’re not already, try keeping a mailing list and offering customers a special discount on their birthdays.  If this is something you’ve already incorporated into your customer experience, find your store’s own innovation to constantly enhance the personalized shopping experience.

Does your store have a great tool to keep the customer’s needs in mind on the sales floor?  Please share!  Email me at and I’ll compile the responses for a future post.


Discussion about this post

  1. Patti Platt says:

    Our returning customers are treasured. They are our best advertisement. Yes we “track” our customers and send them Newsletters, discounts for their birthday and a VIP coupons. We always use their first name – and we provide ours to them. We also send out a 6 month reminder, similar to your dentist. We use humor – our customers love it. We send them a “Wanted For A Fitting” to remind them that it might be time to come in for a check up to see if their bra is still supportive..and we provide them a checklist…back riding up, are you pulling your bra straps tighter for a better lift..Women get busy and we put things off. This helps to remind them how long it’s been since they have been in to purchase their bra and to let them know we haven’t fogotten them. Even if they do not come right in, in the back of their mind they have it on their mental list of things they need to do for themselves.

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