VOWS Magazine reveal the results of their COVID-19 survey, in which 500 boutiques answered questions on how they prepared to re-open and their experience as they opened…
VOWS Magazine sent a nine question COVID-19 survey to its readership of approximately 5,000 boutiques on 12th May, pointedly asking them to share the steps they were undertaking as they prepared to re-open, and to describe their experience as they opened.
When the survey closed on 18th May, nearly 500 boutiques had responded, the vast majority of which from North America with a handful from the UK and Australia.
Read some of the conclusions below:
- Many of the COVID-19 customer services will be continued long term;
- The majority of boutiques are appointment only;
- The full range of store operations are being put in place, including extended hours, split shifts, sample sales
- The majority of boutiques are changing how they interact with the bride in the dressing room
Conclusions from comments to questions asking what surprised and disappointed in reopening, and what comments about moving forward:
“COVID fatigue” is real: owners are surprised by the number of brides who want to shop normally like nothing is/was wrong. Generally speaking, these customers are excited to be in the store focusing on their weddings and refuse to bring up the virus. They also aren’t nearly as concerned about/interested in enhanced safety protocols as many assumed they’d be. “90 percent don’t care at all,” one respondent wrote.
The mask issue is divisive: while brides have generally been supportive and understanding of safety requirements, quite a few have pushed back on the idea of wearing a mask; some refuse altogether. And Stylists have also had a difficult time adjusting to facial coverings, because it’s harder to read the bride’s expression during the appointment and also because they fatigue more quickly on the salesfloor.
Traffic is down, buying is up! While boutiques have fewer overall appointments available due to capacity mandates, they’re filling up quickly and brides are saying “yes” to the dress more frequently.
Not surprisingly, Politics are frustrating people…Not only do some find particular city/county safety guidelines (or lack thereof) confusing, but there is a noticeable anger at the way small businesses have been treated and also at the handling of some states’ reopenings.
…as is unemployment: A number of owners reported difficulty luring their staffs back, as the reality is many are making more on unemployment given the COVD-inspired $600/week bonus currently scheduled to end in July.
Not all COVID-inspired changes are bad: In particular, stores are enthusiastic over the mandated smaller appointment groups, and grateful at receiving widespread community appreciation/support for local businesses.
Concerns and fears linger: Among other things, you’re worried about how quickly business might rebound; when restrictions on gathering size might ease; how buying and minimums will be handled moving forward; and what would happen should a dreaded “second wave” appear.
Find comments and charts of the responses here: https://www.vowsmagazine.com/vows-store-survey-results
VOWS Magazine is published bimonthly in print and digitally. For over 30 years it has focused on the day to day operations of owning and managing a bridal boutique, and reported on the fashion and business trends affecting the bridal and special occasion industry.