How Lane Bryant Helps Its Diverse Shopper Base See Themselves In Its Stores And Styles

  • May 6, 2020 at 8:29 AM EDT
  • By Bryan Wassel
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Customers want to shop with retailers that reflect who they are. Lane Bryant has been taking this to the next level by rolling out mannequins with different skin tones to represent its ethnically diverse consumer base. The program, which kicked off at the company’s Columbus, Ohio flagship and rolled out to a new location New York City prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, is part of a broader series of updates designed to help shoppers make every visit with the retailer their own.

“When you take a look at the Lane Bryant customer base as a whole, you’ll find individuals who come from all walks of life — customers of all different shapes, ages, sizes and ethnicities,” said Lexy Onofrio, VP of Brand Marketing Strategy and Creative at Lane Bryant in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “For us, it was extremely important that the customer feels she is represented in her experience in-store. We took inspiration from the cosmetics industry, which has really ‘upped the ante’ when it comes to representation. Such beautiful tones are available to cosmetic consumers in massive diverse ranges, in foundations specifically; we aimed to capture that inclusivity when designing this new mannequin package.”

Lane Bryant’s inclusivity and personalization efforts didn’t stop there. The retailer also has introduced trained Lane Stylists to help shoppers create a wardrobe with options for every activity; updated its fitting rooms for the modern age; and enhanced store layouts to help shoppers find the right fashions.

Lane Stylists Go Above And Beyond To Build Entire Wardrobes

The days of grabbing a dozen items and taking them into the fitting room were fading even before social distancing, thanks to online try-before-you-buy programs like Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe. The Lane Stylist Personal Styling Program helps shoppers make their trips as quick and efficient as possible with free consultations both online and in-store.

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Flexibility is key to the sessions, which include the 30-minute “Quick Style Fix” for finding a single outfit; the 60-minute “Wardrobe Builder” that guides shoppers through the process of finding “power pieces” to fill out their closets; and the 90-minute “Style Breakthrough,” which helps shoppers create or enhance their whole personal style.

Lane Stylists are at the heart of the program. These associates undergo special training to help them better understand both customers’ needs and Lane Bryant’s products. Stylists show off and explain options from across Lane Bryant’s offerings to educate shoppers about combinations they may not have ever considered.

“We really try to support and empower the customer to find fits and style solutions throughout our assortment that apply to her fashion aspirations or needs specifically,” said Onofrio. “Does she have an issue with shirts that gap? We have a hidden button in many of our shirts that provide a solution for her. Is she a mom on the go that is looking to stay comfortable yet fashionable as she runs from errands to PTA meetings? We can style her in a mix of LIVI active pieces and apparel that creates the ultimate athleisure wardrobe.”

Updated Changing Rooms And Fixtures Will Be Waiting After COVID-19

While fitting rooms probably aren’t at the top of shoppers’ agendas at the moment, Lane Bryant began making improvements prior to the pandemic that will be ready for shoppers when they return to stores. The fitting room updates drew on customer feedback, and they now feature built-in fans to keep shoppers cool, as well as charging stations to let them take selfies or just charge their devices while trying on outfits.

Certain stores also will feature new fixtures that let shoppers browse by silhouette to make finding the right size easier. The fixtures, called “trend capsules,” will be an evolving part of the store and will be regularly updated based on seasonal styles and feedback from customers.

“For the team at Lane Bryant, it’s beyond important that our customer sees herself and her personal life journey in everything our brand does — from the marketing she sees, to her in-store experience with the brand, to the clothing available to her,” said Onofrio. “Our ultimate goal is to empower the customer to shop on our web site or in our store (whichever experience she prefers) to outfit her life in possibilities by creating her own lane, her own way.”

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