Dillard's crafts new intimate concept.
The intimate apparel department at Dillard's has recently undergone a major reinvention. The company worked with IDEO to create new concept floor that boasts a warm and inviting atmosphere appealing to shoppers of all ages. An updated roster of better and contemporary brands rounds out Dillard's new initiative.
"It is about the shopping...creating a retail excitement, and we have given 44 of our stores-either remodeled or new doors-what we think is one of the best intimate apparel departments out there," said Mike Freville, divisional merchandise manager for Intimate Apparel. Chrome fixtures have been replaced with wooden ones, dressing rooms are now double the size and the walls have been painted in soft taupe and beige hues. Dillard's has also added waiting areas behind the cash registers for patrons to utilize while their loved ones try on their selections.
Merchandise has also been reorganized in Dillard's new concept floor to draw attention to new and exciting product. "We've taken the basic, ho-hum bras and now house them in drawers so that more fashion forward merchandise is visible," said Freville.
"We get a lot of customers that want great product and we don't want them to have to go to a big city to find it," said Freville. "We want them to stay in their own towns and spend their money there."
Over the last two to three years Dillard's has added better brands such as Hanro, Le Mystere, Chantelle and Princesse Tam Tam to its selection. "Our average customer is anywhere from 18 to one hundred years old and she has a desire for better product and a desire to be treated special when she comes into the store," said Freville.
The store is also making a push to reach more contemporary customers and has added young and hip brands to attract them. "We want that younger customer to come to the store. By adding the Ed Hardy's and the Cosabella's, we feel that we will bring her in."
Freville marks great product as Dillard's number one priority, with great service coming up quickly behind. The store employs a team of Body Fashion Specialists headed up by Noreen Maier, a 15 year industry vet. "She coaches our associates in the intimate apparel department...really puts them through a rigorous training process for 6 months in order to become certified," he said. Training for each associate also includes lessons on sales, merchandising and product knowledge. "We like to think our certified fitters are the most knowledgeable in the intimate apparel industry," he added.
Dillard's is also focusing on strengthening relationships with its customers and has added new technology that will allow associates to send thank you notes and reminder cards. "We want our customers to come back," said Freville. "We want them to feel special...like they are part of the Dillard's family."