Maria Musgrove-Wethey has the perfect pill. A one-day business revival course that will make you feel fighting fit and ready to take on, if not the world, then certainly all the local challenges
What’s keeping you awake at night? When I was working as a consultant in the corporate world, this was a key question to encourage your client to open up, to tell you what was happening in ‘their world’. If I were to ask this of a group of bridal retailers, the collective cry would be: “Competition, conversion rates, cash flow (not helped by suppliers’ constant demands to buy more), compensation claims, consumer rights (and wrongs!), cancelled weddings, and creating competitive advantage.”
And that’s just for starters.
That’s without indecisive brides, over-bearing mothers, know-it-all newly-wed bridesmaids, and the gay ‘Bestie’ who thinks he’s Randy Fenoli and won’t allow the bride to say “Yes to the dress” until he’s given his blessing!
All this, plus the VAT is due along with the quarterly rent; London Bridal Week’s orders have landed and we’re wondering how we’re going to pay for them and hey ho, whatddya know, it’s Harrogate again!
Add to this late deliveries, quality control issues, a groaning alterations rail and the constant communication from brides 24/7 whether it be via phone, email, text, Facebook Messenger or all other channels in our constantly ‘on’ digital world. Oh, and let’s not forget that unjustified one-star review – all because you advised against taking photos and wouldn’t allow her bridal tribe of ten (plus all of their sniffing and coughing infants in push chairs) in on your busiest Saturday of the year!
It’s a wonder that we ever get to sleep. There is a plethora of problems to keep us awake at night. It’s not surprising that we have all grabbed for the wine bottle, phoned a friend or ranted on our closed Facebook groups to other bridal retailers way into the night! We know that a problem shared is a problem halved, but is this always the best solution available to you?
It’s right to be aware of these threats in bridal. However, we may have been dealing with them with the wrong approach. Let’s look at two of the main fears keeping us awake at night – competition and conversion rates when we do get those brides through the door – and get to the bottom of both of them…
Thirty-six stores and at least one more opening soon – possibly near you. Cough-cough. We all know who I’m talking about, don’t we? With their irresistible offer of budget-priced gowns to buy off the peg and their full-time Social Media Director and their short supply chain with massive margins, yes – we should be worried.
Equally as worrying is the millennial opening up an independent bridal shop – possibly also near you. Over the past four years I’ve helped several, and they’re not deluded ex-brides whose parent has just got their redundancy pay and thought they could “do it so much better than where I bought my dress” and say “I’ve always dreamed of being in bridal”.
This new breed of bridal shop owner is the same age as her target bride. They will usually be from a retail background at a senior level, and they could give that Social Media Director a run for his (or her) money as they promote their business on every social media platform known to womankind, months before she opens.
Oh, and did I mention how conversant she is with ROIs, ATVs, return per square foot? Feeling inadequate? Imagine how I feel when I’m coaching them… I learn as much from them as they do from me!
Of equal concern could be your local competition closing down. Before you wave your victory flag to their surrender flag, you might need to think again. If you’re in a bit of an out-of-town location, you might find that having two or three shops is attracting more brides to your area, and if one closes, it may make you less of an attractive destination and this might seriously affect footfall.
A retailer’s recent post on Facebook reported that a group of triplets were on their way to the highly-marketed Dread2B and passed her independent bridal boutique. She copped for not just one, but all three brides, without them even setting foot in said competition. And the triplets are having a joint wedding, so the social media content potential is endless. That Wed2B opening on your doorstep might not be such a threat after all.
Cashflow, costs and conversion rates are an eternal triangle. If we are ill-prepared when we go buying and get carried away (I’ve been there, got the t-shirt, the overdraft and the sleepless nights), then our costs of sales escalates, cash flow is catastrophic and we rely on great sales and conversion rates to carry us through – until the next crazy circus cycle of buying starts all over again.
No wonder we want to scream if another of our sales consultants says, “She’ll be back” in reply to: “Why didn’t she buy, because she loved the dress, had a short lead time, her mother cried and the bridal tribe drank us dry of Prosecco?”
Consider this as the solution
Maybe we need to take some time out to work ‘on the business’ rather than ‘in the business’. Maybe we need to invest in either one-to-one consultancy to work on what’s keeping us awake at night, or we should attend a training course where we can meet with like-minded bridal shop owners with shared issues.
But where to find the right consultant or course? Even after GDPR, I still receive emails promising the earth on everything from SEO to sexual satisfaction! But the senders don’t understand the first thing about the beautiful game of bridal.
However, Christine Skilton-Sinclair and I know masses about bridal, and we’ve joined forces to run a Bridal Sales and Social Media Marketing course, guaranteed to help you address what’s keeping you awake at night. And, even if you don’t sleep like a baby, you’ll come away with strategies to help you address those bridal nightmares.
When? 12 November 2018
Where? Woodside Conference Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
What? One-day training on Social Media Marketing and Sales Skills
How much? £150
Want to Book? Visit christineaurea.com/bridalboutiquetraining to find out more.
Meet the trainers
Maria Musgrove-Wethey, boutique owner, trainer, coach and mentor, has over 20 years of bridal experience and is an industry expert. BB (Before Bridal), she spent 20 years working for an international training company and now shares her vast knowledge by offering sales training and consultancy to bridal shop owners whether starting up, selling up or somewhere in between!
Christine Skilton-Sinclair has studied Social Media Marketing for the past five years and run her bridal boutique for 14 years. She is now launching her training programme to the bridal industry to help deliver increased footfall back to independent bricks-and-mortar boutiques – just like yours.