Wedding fashion

Shop due to open soon - Your views on website content and appointments

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Bridezilla

Hi, just me again. So the shop is coming along nicely, I have all of my suppliers lined up, wedding fairs booked, bridal shows in the diary and I am currently having my website built. All for launch in September.

You were all so lovely last time I posted about your dress shopping experience that I thought I would check in again with just a few further questions. 

Bridal Shop Websites: Do you sign up for newsletters that tell you when an event is on and offers? Do you read the blog posts? Have you ever attended a trunk show / designer day and how did you hear about it? Is there anything that you want to see on the website? 

Appointments: Okay so a lot of the shops in my area charge for appointments on Saturdays and evenings, stating that the fee will be deducted from any dress purchased. I don't know how I feel about this and I know that a charge may put some people off. If I was to charge (a big IF), how would you feel if payment details were taken but was only charged if a no show or failed to cancel within 48 hours?

 

Bridezilla

I wouldn't book an appointment anywhere that asked me to pay anything upfront. There are so many options out there that don't require money to change hands just to look at a dress.

Like, I would never expect to pay to go into a high-end boutique and look at evening dresses, and the prices are comparable, so why would I do it for a wedding dress?

If people cancel then I figure that's a time where the boutique can open itself up to drop ins. Which must happen all the time as not everyone realises you need to book an appointment to look at a wedding dress.

Can I also suggest putting price bands on your website? There is nothing more frustrating for a bride than attempting to find out the cost of dresses from specific designers to check that they're in budget. Barely anyone does this and it's so frustrating.

I understand that you might not want to put the cost up for each dress as bridal salons are very competitive, but if you could put something like, "dresses from £1000 -£3500" or "dresses range from £500 to £1600" so brides know whether it's worth their time booking an appointment. It's wasting both our time and yours if we book only to find out there's only one dress we can afford.

Also putting what size your samples are would be massively useful. I personally didn't plan to go anywhere where I couldn't try on at least five dresses in a size that vaguely related to my dress size. Again, something like 'we have sample dresses available from size 8 - 18' or whatever is hugely helpful.

Bridezilla

Definite no-no on paying for an appointment, although I might be ok with a cancellation charge if I don't show up.  This is a major issue for my bridal store, where they have had people make fake appointments in exchange for a discount at another local store.  Disgusting, but it does happen.  However, she still doesn't charge a deposit. 

Website wise- please have it proofed.  So many bridal stores either have very limited content, or spelling errors, which puts me off.  I tent to use social media more though over a website.  I didn't sign up for any newsletters.  Live chat would be nice to have, and no coyness about pricing.  I appreciate that it is not always feasible to put pricing online, but some wouldn't even tell me the cost when I called.  if I am travelling 2 hours for a specific dress then I am not going to want to go in blind.  I didn't go to any shows- I only spoke to someone at a wedding fayre.

 

Bridezilla

I didn't sign up to any mailing lists but I followed some local bridal shops on Facebook and Instagram.

I actually bought my dress at a Maggie Sottero plus size trunk show, which I found out about on Facebook.

I wouldn't book at a salon that charged for appointments, and I agree that a rough price guide and info on sizes of samples on your website would be really helpful.

 

My planning thread: http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/forum/your-planning-threads/town-centre-barn-wedding---august-2019/452338.html

Bridezilla

Thanks ladies, I already have samples and price range covered including average dress cost as these were things that annoyed me. I want to work with brides and their budget, there is nothing worse than falling in love with a dress that you just cant afford. 

I have also a great group of people from my past professional life that are doing my website testing and reading. I hate and leave asap, poorly worded websites that are full of mistakes. 

I have a social media  set up and will use this to push adverts for events out, but blogs and newsletters take time and effort to do properly and if I don't get readership or sign up then it is probably not worth doing. 

Reference charging, it's quite a sore point, and I think for the first year I probably wont. But as britbird said people make fake appointments, cancel with 30 minutes to go or just don't show up. Very few stores get walk in's as it takes time to organise getting people together to come with you, and the retailers that I have spoken to have explained that they have introduced it after turning brides away that have requested a Saturday or evening appointment only to have people not turn up and charging has stopped that. 

Bridezilla

I’m in London and have found nearly everywhere I’ve wanted to look at charges for Saturday appointments. It did put me off as I’ve no idea what I want yet so want to go to a few different shops and although the fee is redeemable against a purchase I think spending £100 otherwise is just a waste so I’m taking a day off to go on two separate Fridays. I’d have no issue with givibg my card details and being charged for a no show though. 

I don’t tend to read blogs or sign up to newsletters but I think a good presence on social media is important. I personally prefer Instagram to Facebook.

Some info about what to bring - shoes, underwear etc might be helpful too. 

Bridezilla

It has been a while since I went dress shopping but here are somethings that struck me.

I never had to pay for an appointment (I am in SE London) and most places I could just walk in.

All the shops I visited to look for dresses (including the one that I purchased from) have since closed down. I think it is to do with a wed2be being opened nearby.

I am tall, I would have liked to know before I went shopping that most dresses can be made longer. In the end I found one that was super long without any alteration which was amazing

Price ranges would be great

Mood boards might be fun - dresses for a beach wedding, for a castle wedding etc.

Bridezilla

I've never been to a bridal shop that charges for appointments, and this would really put me off. As a business you will get people not turning up or cancelling appointments at short notice but unfortunately this is just something thst happens in the service industry. 

I bought my wedding dress as a 'walk in'- saw it in their window on sale, went in and tried it on/bought it there and then. When I had my fitting appts there were several brides who came in asking to try on dresses but they were turned away due to being fully booked if they couldn't be accommodated there and then. 

I didn't sign up for any newsletters but did keep an eye on Facebook pages for discount days and sales etc. 

Bridezilla

I wouldn't want to pay for an appointment, sorry. 

I would have loved it if some of the bridal shops near me accepted walk ins between a certain time, e.g between 3pm and 6pm on certain week days etc. that way I could have gone in with my mate, looked at a few and then arranged for my mum and family to come up (they live in another city)

I wouldn't sign up to newsletters, it's a bit old fashioned to me. I'd rather an up to date website and posts on social media eg instagram or facebook.

 

 

New bride

I have to disagree on the paying for an appointment. I'm in North London/Hertfordshire and couldn't find any dress shops that looked like somewhere I'd want to go that didn't charge for appointments. One took my payments details and would only charge for a no show. So that wouldn't put me off.

What would put me off is an amateurish website, like someone said earlier make sure you proof read the website. Also make sure that on the website you have an FAQ section with questions like-

The paying for appointments

Price ranges of dresses

What you should wear/bring

How many people you can bring

I didn't go to any dress shops where I couldn't see this kind of information clearly on the website.

I probably would read a blog section of a website but wouldn't sign up for newsletters. Just put sales dates etc on the website.

New bride

I had to pay for my appointment on a Saturday when I bought my wedding dress and it was refunded against my dress. I also had one appointment where I left a 'deposit' of £20 then when I showed up (although i actually cancelled a couple of days before) they just refund it back to you. Bit annoying to pay for appointments but I kind of expected it 

website wise - I would make sure it works on mobile. a couple of websites I looked at didn't and the dresses came up all squashed or half off the screen so you couldn't view them properly

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