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What new retailers are doing differently

What new retailers are doing differently

I've never thought much about getting married... until I met the owner of Elite Pour La Vie in Atlanta. She shared her vision with me on why she was building Atlanta's most exclusive wedding and evening gown dress boutique. 

I didn't quite understand what could be so exciting about a wedding dress shop, other than the fact that she is a person with exquisite taste and style, who simply knows what is "in" and what is not. 

But now I do. She is bringing to a city of more than 6 million people, designers that brides-to-be and women wanting to make a statement or just look elegant at an black tie event or prom. 

It's what you don't have or perhaps have not yet experienced that makes you want to form a bond with a retail brand that is out of your core brand associations. Most consumers are now looking for something new. Something exciting. Something that takes them to a place that reminds them that they are who they want to be - in that moment.

But that's not new.

Or is it? When was the last time you went into a retail store and you felt like you were Cinderella? The moment you look at the showroom, lit to perfection, with a stage made for you. The perfect "selfie" extravaganza or had a stylist help you with your dress, then ask you "how does it make you feel"?

Retail has become too commercial, and especially in the brides to be market, everyone looks the same. How can you find a look that isn't the same as everyone else? 

Women of all ages are tired of looking the same, and retailers like Elite Pour La Vie know that. But mostly, they know that women want to look beautiful and feel beautiful and that goes beyond putting on a dress. It is more about the experience, than the dress itself. Everyone wants to be special and at Elite Pour La Vie, everyone is. They are so special in fact, that they have a condo sized dressing room and sitting area, just for every single bride-to-be and woman wishing for that special designer gown. There is two, not one person who will look after your every whim. They will have the room at the perfect temperature, the lighting just right. The mirrors give you a full view from every angle, so you don't miss a thing. When you try on your dress, you will stand on a stage, your very own stage, and if in that moment you don't feel like the star, then I don't know when you ever will.

There are 3 key things that Elite Pour La Vie is doing:

  1. They have spent a lot of time finding the world's best designers, to provide exclusive dresses from bridal to evening wear, just for their customers. They are pieces that you won't get anywhere else. There will be no-one else at the ball with your dress on, or a friend with the same wedding dress from the designer. They are EXCLUSIVE.
  2. They have provided all their customers with space to privately experience their large range of designer wear, without interference from others or people watching you dress. Each dressing quarter is literally the size of a condo, and it comes with its very own stage.
  3. They understand experience like no other. I am talking about treating you like you are important. Too often dress shops forget how important the customer is and they are busy with all the other customers in the store. When you are making a big purchase, you want for the stylist to be there for you when you have a question to ask, or need help. You also want for the experience to be memorable and that's really the secret sauce that Elite Pour La Vie is providing for its customers.

For me, I find that going to a store to buy an evening gown is arduous. There is nothing fun about it unless I am heading to Giorgio Armani, who also understand what it takes to make a customer feel special.

Note: Marketing Eye has retail marketing specialists in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Atlanta offices.

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comments ( 9 )
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    Skin cancer causes
    07 Feb 2018

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    Wedding Guest Dresses
    07 Feb 2018

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    21 Mar 2016

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    13 Dec 2015

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  • Viviann Do
    Viviann Do
    01 Dec 2015

    Design is no longer inclusive. There were times when people were content with owning an item that was similar with everyone else, but it goes against our very basic commercial instincts. Nowadays, people are paying more to get something unique and theirs only. For example, people are more likely to purchase a professionally designed resume from a designer, rather than settle with any layout from Microsoft Word.
    The strategies Elle Pour La Vie is implementing met those basic instincts by offering such a unique experience for consumers, selling them a one-in-a-million gown, while also making their 'ordeal' a smooth journey of 'endless' positivities. Consumers of Elle Pour La Vie doesn't want to be treated like just anyone else, and they aren't.

  • Annemarie Wolf
    Annemarie Wolf
    29 Nov 2015

    The market for retailers has to struggle with a lot of new developments. Online retailers offers the customers cheaper prices and also a huge range of different models, sizes and colours.
    Retailers have to focus on the only benefit they have: the direct contact with their customers. Long-term customer relationships (customer loyalty) has to be build. This can only develop if the retailer recognizes the needs and requirements of their target group, after that matching marketing activities have to be developed.
    Elite Pour La Vie knows that getting the perfect dress for a wedding and organizing the wedding itself puts a lot of pressure on the future bride and is always related with psychological stress. Giving a woman a feeling the whole world revolves around her is the only difference they can give the future bride in competition with other retailers. And of course, one of the most importants lessons in marketing is always: the best marketing you get for free, by positive recommendations of the satisfied customer itself.

  • Velma
    19 Nov 2015

    Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a totally different subject but
    it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  • Olivia Jia
    Olivia Jia
    12 Nov 2015

    I love the way this piece was written- taking an ordinary experience and turning into an interesting blog post interspersed with insights and lessons.
    I agree with the sentiment that fashion is starting to look the same. This is possibly a by-product of globalisation, and which is perhaps not a bad thing, as it allows for acceptance, fluidity and free exchange of ideas. However, the issues of "sameness" is a consequence, as well as the possibility of diminished competition and innovation. As the world slowly assimilates, the need to compete may die down, with the death of smaller hubs of design and ideas, due to the lack of competition.
    The detail mentioned in the piece about lighting and temperature also spoke to me- a person's experience in a retail store is an asset that is passed over by too many retailers. An experience stays with you, you remember the store and the way you were treated. A more well-rounded approach to retail could benefit many merchants.