The global pandemic has changed the way that consumers shop. As a result, many of your customers may still be wary about coming to your store and may continue to browse online. While many salespeople may already operate as stylists in-store, offering a virtual styling program can help you boost your customers' confidence about buying something new even without the chance to touch it or try it on since they will know exactly when and how to wear it – thanks to you!
Remember that whether they are shopping online or in-store, your customers need to not only like what they see but also have a reason to put the item on. This guide will teach you how to leverage personal styling to win customers’ confidence and increase brand loyalty for the long haul.
What is Personal Styling?
Before we get into how personal styling can enhance the customer shopping experience, let’s define what the term means.
Personal styling is a service that helps your customers find clothing items that fit their tastes, body type, budget, and other preferences. While this may sound like something that's only reserved for celebrities or wealthy individuals, many clothing brands offer it for all their customers!
There are a few goals associated with this type of clienteling: answering customer questions, working with them to develop a personal style, and saving them time.
Answering Customer Questions
Perhaps the biggest goal of a personal styling program is to serve as a resource that helps your customers get answers to their questions. After all, you can't ask an FAQs page if it thinks a certain clothing item will look good on you, or what color shirt goes best with the pants you picked out.
Personal stylists can answer these types of questions and more. Not sure what to wear to a wedding? Is the changing post-pandemic dress code confusing, and you're unsure of what's appropriate? Stylists are here to help.
These questions can go a step further by helping your customers find silhouettes that are most flattering for their figure or participate in trends they’re interested in but not sure how to pull off.
You can set your styling team up for success by creating an environment where your customers feel safe to ask questions and can do so whenever it suits them, including over text message or direct email.
Personal styling is a service that helps your customers find clothing items that fit their tastes, body type, budget, and other preferences.
Help Shoppers Develop Their Style
There may be times when someone is browsing your online store and is just not sure what to buy. These concerns can lead to a sense of discomfort and insecurity, which could ultimately turn them away from making a purchase altogether.
A personal stylist is a resource to help solve that problem. Stylists can help customers fine-tune their tastes and create a wardrobe that matches those preferences.
As they go through the process, your customers and stylists will work together to determine what looks gets the customer most excited. Your team might even be able to steer customers in a direction they may not have thought of themselves, and it turns out to be exactly what they had hoped for!
Working with a stylist also gives your shoppers a chance to try out new looks they may not have considered for themselves in the past – having a styling team that can broaden a customer’s fashion horizon is a truly differentiable asset in this competitive market.
Save Them Time and Effort
Another goal of personal styling is to help your customers save time and effort. Shopping can sometimes be overwhelming when you don't know where to start, and a stylist can help individuals who are short on time focus on finding exactly what's missing from their wardrobe.
For example, your team can put together different clothing options once they understand the client's needs. This will prevent customers from having to browse and find items on their own. Especially if customers are shopping online, the stylist can provide different sizing options and feedback immediately, so customers don't order the wrong size and get frustrated with returns that could have been avoided.
In other words, personal styling makes shopping easy - it helps customers with everything from picking out accessories to giving recommendations so that they can make the most out of every visit (digital or in-person).
What's a Styling Program without Recommendations?
One of the most important tools in a stylist's arsenal is a recommendation system - a way to share product ideas with customers that's seamless and personalized. Check out a sample lookbook by Endear to see the type of experience you and your styling team can provide customers.
The Benefits of a Styling Program for Your Customers and Your Business
Developing a personal styling program helps both your customers and your business.
From the customer's perspective, they're getting personalized recommendations that will fit their lifestyle and fashion sense. Most shoppers in today's environment do not have a lot of time to spend browsing or experimenting with new clothing, especially if they are shopping online, so this additional resource can make browsing both fun and also efficient.
Working with a personal stylist eliminates feelings of frustration by removing the guesswork associated with finding the right fit. Customers should leave each stylist conversation or consultation with an outfit and accessories that not only flatter them but also meet the requirements of their lifestyle.
Developing a personal styling program will also provide various benefits to your business. One of the most important drivers of customer loyalty is what the shopping experience is like with your brand. If you're able to pair the same stylist with a customer whether she's shopping online or in-store, the customer will have a much higher level of satisfaction than if she were fending for herself. Personalized recommendations make all the difference since customers know they won’t have to waste much time hunting down the right item – there’s already a pro who knows what to put in front of them and does so on a regular basis.
And most importantly, these programs can boost your bottom line and extend your customer’s lifetime value. It’s obvious that if customers are finding the right outfits that are flattering and within their budget, their spend will increase. But the real long-term value is that once a stylist starts working with a customer, the efficiency and rate of success for the customer continues to rise over time. The more a customer trusts your styling team, the less willing she will be to start from scratch with a stylist at another brand – or worse, have to shop alone.
Who Already Offers Styling Services?
Personal styling is not a new concept, and many brands offer these services already.
For example, H&M offers a personalized service that helps you every step of the way during your shopping trip. Their stylists are professionals who help you match your style with various items in the store while also encouraging you to try on the latest trends.
Anthropologie also allows you to schedule a consultation with a personal shopper. Their goals are to help you create a personalized look and find exactly what you're looking for in their stores without having to try things out on your own. You can even talk to them over the phone if you're shopping online!
Another popular brand that offers a personal shopping experience is Kate Spade. If you stop by their location in New York City, you will get the royal treatment - an expert to help you pick out the perfect outfit and accessories, plus champagne and macaroons!
Many other companies utilize personal stylists to help their customers achieve success within their brand offering. However, there are also styling companies that are not linked to just one brand. Firms like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club (owned by Nordstrom), which work more like subscription services, offer a host of items that span across product categories and brands. When you hire one of their stylists, they will help you shop and build your wardrobe from a wide variety of options.
See Who Else Is Partaking
Store associates' roles are expanding faster than ever, and many are taking on the tasks of a personal stylist. Find out which brands and retailers have started to make the switch and how they did it.
Launching your Styling Program
To launch a styling program, you first need two things: an effective styling team and the right CRM tool to support your styling team’s needs.
The styling team will be interacting with your customers regularly, so they must understand your target audience and what their goals are. Does your brand cater to young professionals? Are you looking to target athletes who are always on the go?
Regardless of who your clients are, your styling team must fundamentally understand what they like and what they're looking for. They won't be able to give accurate recommendations without this knowledge!
But on top of actual expertise, your styling program will also require technology in order to drive the entire process and make participation fun and easy for your customers. The tools you choose should make it easy for stylists to reach out and stay in touch with the customers they work with. It shouldn't matter if someone is buying online or in-store - your stylists should have access to relevant details like purchase history in order to properly guide them through a consultation or recommend their next item.
How to Use Endear to Run a Styling Program
If you are ready to develop a styling program for your brand, Endear is ready to help!
Endear's app makes it easy for your team of personal stylists to share your brand’s products with customers over email and text, and even takes care of tracking how these recommendations convert into sales. Endear gives your styling team all the tools they need to be successful, such as virtual client books, a recommendations platform, purchase history, outreach tools, and more.
With 1-1 email and SMS that includes clickable, linkable content that takes your shoppers right where they need to go on your website, customers and your personal shoppers can stick to the communication and shopping channels they prefer. Not only does Endear help increase personalization in your styling team’s outreach, but it also provides valuable insights that you can use to improve the customer shopping experience and styling program even further over time.
Endear lets you run a styling program that supports your customers wherever and however they choose to shop and makes the process enjoyable and accessible for everyone. It’s just what you need to drive loyalty and revenue for your brand in 2021!