(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). BODY associate publisher Ted Vayos interviewed Tanya Re, who owns the TLC lingerie shop in Montana with partner Lisa Cetrone, about her retail experiences during the early days of the pandemic. The shop has been in Billings for over 27 years and at the current location for 12.
VAYOS: How long was your business closed during the Covid-19 crisis?
TANYA RE: We closed 3/17/20 and reopened 4/29/20.
VAYOS: Did you continue doing business with your customer base while closed? How?
TANYA RE: Yes. Our customers had needs and we had to find a way to help them in spite of not being able to personally fit them or see them. We started out with forwarding our phones so we could be consulting them over the phone to see what their issues were. Then it moved into pictures to help access each situation (having them send pics with no head shots). Then it went live to doing video chats. We soon were doing curb side service with NO contact. All transactions were run by debit or credit card and then we requested them to bring a blanket and try them on in their cars so that they knew it fit. If they were shut in’s, had immunity issues, pregnant or out of town, we created a plan B, C and D to do drop off service and delivery and/or to send them out if not in town. We did not do any exchanges at this time. In a few weeks, once open, we would handle any exchanges. But created a process for them to quarantine items before coming to the shop.
VAYOS: Did you make any special offers to your customers while your store was closed?
TANYA RE: We saw a huge drop in our sales. So yes we did! Within two days we created a campaign to help promote sales and have given away product with purchases and/or swag and discounts.
VAYOS: When did you reopen your store? When you reopened your store did your staff and customers wear masks? What social distancing guidelines did you observe?
TANYA RE: We reopened on April 29th with ourselves to test out the day. We brought two employees in for the rest of the week to help. We all wore masks and created a few policies for our customers and staff to utilize. Once inside TLC, the customer was asked to wear a mask and to wash their hands at the restroom just inside our front door. While they did that, our fitter would wash up again and mask up for their fitting. Our employees were asked to wash before and after each fitting and during the day in between. We requested no children to be present in the store and only allowed five to seven people in the store at a time. All others had to wait in their vehicles until texted that we were ready to fit them.
VAYOS: What special offers did you use to get customers back into the store when you reopened?
TANYA RE: We picked a brand (say Elomi) and featured it as our 20% off bra of the week. And then we would do another feature at the same time. To buy three bras and get a free Coobie tank or something fun like that. We would change the specials weekly and throw in a few fun crazy specials too in between. Gift certificates. Buy a $100 gift certificate today for $80!!!
VAYOS: Did your customers return to the store to do business? How has your brick and mortar retail business been since you reopened?
TANYA RE: Our customers and new customers have come back in droves!!!! The amount of support we have seen so far has surpassed any expectations. The comment we got constantly is that people really liked that they could call and talk to Lisa and I anytime. Sometimes in the evenings, as we always answered our phones during awake time. LOL We helped ourselves by being accessible and personable as well as posting uplifting things on our FB. We even posted videos of us talking about fun items we found at the market in LA and generating buzz to come see them. When Lisa and I would talk to anyone on the phone, we would listen to their needs and make recommendations. We generated excitement about our products and reopening. Just giving encouragement and virtual hugs daily! We have seen a dramatic increase in our daily foot traffic in the store and people are really patient and don’t mind waiting in their cars to keep everyone safe.
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