Personal Shopping: Luxury with a real economic value
A service normally associated with expensive Fifth Avenue stores and wealthy clients, shopping by appointment is available to all of us.
Shoppers are finally discovering this complimentary service offered by most department stores. Shopping by appointment gives the customer an edge because the personal shopper schedules a block of time and can give their undivided attention, which is very hard to find on the selling floor even in the best department stores.
Shopping has become more challenging and time consuming largely due to the ready-to-wear clothing boom over the past 20 years. Between the enormous selection of merchandise available to the masses and the demanding schedules people commit to these days, time to shop is truly a luxury. This is where personal shoppers are so valuable. They get to know their customer’s style preference, as well as, lifestyle and can pre-select outfits saving customers the frustrating task of wandering these big stores for hours to no avail. These days departments within a store are segregated by the look or type of lifestyle they convey. When someone comes in looking for a white blouse, there is no specific ‘blouse’ department to direct them to. Every area of the store has blouses by the designers represented in those departments. Once the personal shopper determines the type of blouse the customer is searching for, they can pull it for them in minutes.
Another benefit to using a personal shopper is that they have the advantage of seeing people in the clothes, so they know which styles work best on certain body types and what to recommend. Shoppers tend to bring an average of 10 items into the fitting room only to come out tired, frustrated and empty handed with barely enough time to pick the kids up from school.
In addition to saving time and energy, customers seem to make fewer buying mistakes when assisted by a personal shopper. We’ve all made bad buying decisions. We wait on an endless line then get home only to discover that the outfit just purchased really doesn’t look as good as it did in the fitting room. Personal shoppers can assist in every aspect of the wardrobe process including fit, color and proportion. They recommend how specific pieces can be used with other items the customer may already own, encouraging customers to bring in pieces from their personal wardrobe that they may want to build on.
With the cost of clothing continually rising, a personal shopper helps the customer get the maximum usage out of every piece they buy, wanting the customer to see the value in every purchase. In some higher-end department stores they will come to your home for no fee, take inventory of what you own and make recommendations to fill in the gaps so your wardrobe is complete.
And if gift shopping, personal shoppers can do your shopping as well. Just give them a list and they will do the rest. The gifts can be wrapped and ready to go without the customer even coming into the store. Now that’s a luxury.
Lorraine Russo is a professional fashion consultant and personal stylist with more than fifteen years’ experience working for major department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Rich’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. Lorraine has given fashion and wardrobe seminars ranging from “Organizing Your Wardrobe” to “Making Your Image Work For You”. She is the founder and owner of Lorraine Claire Collections, a line of unique “little black dresses”.