HomeFEATURESVirtual fitting service opens doors for lingerie store

Virtual fitting service opens doors for lingerie store

Ingenuity and innovativeness during Covid-19 lockdowns were the “saving grace” for lingerie retailer Rose & Thorne.

During the first lockdown of the pandemic, like most business-owners, Sue Dunmore, managing director of lingerie store Rose & Thorne, struggled to work out how to keep her shop running when the entire country was ordered to stay at home.

For a store that was heavily reliant on in-store experiences, Dunmore and the team at Rose & Thorne had no choice but to rethink how they operated to survive during this time while retaining the “humanity” element of the retail experience.

“It put us in a position where we were locked down and we had time to think. Often when you’re working, you’re working, your time is too precious to even think,” she says.

Covid gave us the opportunity to look at the business and think ‘Ok, what can we really do for our customers that is actually going to help them and not just produce bras’. It really gave us time to think how we can communicate with our customers far and wide without physically being able to [be there].”

This resulted in the creation of the Rose & Thorne virtual fitting model, allowing customers to talk and receive advice from an expert via a video call to aid their purchases.

“I thought there had to be a way that we can still communicate with our customer that was more than just a tape measure.”

Initially, the model was first trialled out on a few customers Dunmore became close with, experimenting on how the model would best work and “how we can manage our way through it”.

Read more: Klarna levels up online shopping with Virtual Shopping.

“This developed the process of our online fitting service,” she explains.

However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Dunmore and the team at Rose & Thorne who went through “trials and errors” and a “constant iteration to get it right”. This resulted in a successful model consisting of experts asking the customer 20 questions to help them find the perfect bra.

The success of the model not only solved the proximity issue caused by the pandemic, but Dunmore says it also provided solutions for consumers that had been lingering for years.

Rose & Thorne.

“For people who are quite apprehensive about coming in for a bra fitting, it takes a lot of that angst out as you are behind a screen,” she says.

“I find that it has broken down quite a lot of barriers and put a lot of people at ease.”

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dunmore was able to put a plan into action that she had been thinking about since the birth of the company 11 years ago.

“To be honest, Covid gave us the kick in the pants that we needed to jump into action and actually make it happen, it was a saving grace for us.”

Because of this, Dunmore has been able to look outside the country’s borders and realised the potential it has overseas.

Since the introduction of the model, Dunmore reveals it is providing Rose & Thorne a conversion rate of almost 100 percent.

“We’ve had a huge success.”

The success of the model alongside the constant demand for lingerie has allowed Rose & Thorne to evolve from the wholesale concept to becoming completely run by e-commerce channels, with online sales helping expand the company’s export sales.

Dunmore says the company is expecting to increase its revenue to $15 million over the next three to five years and is in the process of expanding to Australia with plans to expand further afield in the future.

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