Should Boutiques Charge for Bra Fittings?

by Kirsty McAspurn

Should customers pay for bra fittings? This is a debate that myself and some of my fellow lingerie boutique owners often have. To charge or not to charge? That is the question.

A lot of lingerie shops, whether they’re independent boutiques or department stores, offer free fittings. However, more are starting to charge for the service, a charge which is taken off of the bill with any items purchased.

But before I start with the pros and cons, let me clarify what I’m talking about when it comes to a fitting.

If you look online for a bra calculator or how to measure your bra size, you will get lots of different ways in which you can check it. Which is great to give you an indication of your size. And many places do use the conventional tape measure system in order to tell you which bra size to wear.

However these methods can’t measure volume, and can’t see what shape your breasts are. Consequently more shops, boutiques especially, are opting for a more holistic approach when it comes to the right bra for you. These fitters are trained. They understand human anatomy, how a bra should fit, where it should fit and how to find the most suitable bra for you. They work by eye, not by tape measure. They understand that not all breasts suit all bra styles, and will be able to advise the correct style for you.

 

lingerie-boutique-400x600

 

Fitters are trained in how a bra is constructed and will therefore understand the struggle that many find in getting that perfect fit. In order to get this level of knowledge fitters have often had to pay to attend a course (or the store has paid for one employee’s time spent training another), and they practice prior to seeing customers. They are qualified and will have the certification to prove it.

So, with that level of knowledge and qualifications, why shouldn’t a boutique charge you for a fitting? The boutique wouldn’t expect a business consultant to give them marketing ideas for free! As a customer you are asking a fitter to spend their time with you to provide you with advice, and yet there’s no guarantee of a purchase. To charge means that they are being paid for their time, even if you choose not to opt for any of the bras offered.

But likewise, the charge is usually refunded against any purchases so as a customer you still, in effect, receive a free fitting if you choose one of the gorgeous bras available. Plus, I believe I am right in saying that any boutique worth it’s weight would not charge customers for a fitting if they didn’t sell anything that fit that customer perfectly.

 

dreamstime_s_12329629

 

If the argument for a fee is so reasonable, why do boutiques offer free fittings if there is a chance of customer having a proper fitting, then leaving, having spent nothing other than time?

Well, there’s hope. Hope that customers are going to love your bras so much that they will purchase. And hope that, even if they don’t buy that day, they will return – maybe with lots of friends whom they’ve told all about the wonderful service they received!

For me, I am not busy enough at the moment to have the possibility of turning a customer away, when all it is going to cost me is time. I have had a customer who complained that no bras fitted her, but all of mine did, and after trying on all the bras in the shop in her size she left without purchasing anything, but with a wish list as long as her arm. A couple of hours later she phoned and booked in for a private opening for her friends, and has since been back alone as well.

All of this I could have lost by telling her there was a charge in the first place! Maybe if I become run off of my feet I can think about charging customers, refundable against purchases, but in the meantime I’ll continue to hope.

 

As a customer, would you object to being charged for a fitting?

 

Kirsty, owner of Curvature Boutique.

Follow the Esty Lingerie blog with Bloglovin


The product recommendations directly above are affiliate links

More on this topic

Leave a Comment

0 comment

Kirsty June 15, 2005 - 2:33 pm

Thanks Steve, and don’t worry, I’m not about to start charging – just yet 😉

Reply
Kirsty June 15, 2005 - 2:38 pm

Thanks Irene. Choosing a boutique that sells bra’s that you like, and that you would consider buying that are expected to come in your size, should help eliminate the possibility of being fitted and not finding something you like.
Likewise, as Estelle rightly says, if you just want to know your size, and aren’t wanting to purchase, then why not pay for a service?
Ideally, customers find something that fits beautifully, and is exactly what they want, but unfortunately it isn’t always possible.

Reply
Kirsty June 15, 2005 - 2:39 pm

Thanks Rosanne. Are you ever tempted to charge the customers who you know are not going to buy?

Reply
Megan - allurefits.com August 15, 2012 - 4:10 am

Free bra fitting services can be a strategy for boutiques to attract customers. Like you have mentioned above, there is hope. Hope the customers will find the right fitted bra and purchase it, or if they don\92t, hope they will return with some friends told about the good service. Free bra fitting service can be a reason for customers to return to a boutique.

Reply
Stephen Ryan May 15, 2029 - 5:31 am

A thought provoking and well balanced article from Kirsty. As a customer it goes without saying that I would usually opt for “something for nothing” but this article ably puts reasons why it should not necessarily be the case.

Reply
Irene Brankin May 15, 2029 - 7:31 pm

I can definitely understand your point here and as long as I wanted one of your bras after you expertly, properly measured me then it would be in order. It may be though that I might not like anything so then I think it would stick a little with me if you charged me. I know there are good women around so more power to your elbows. xx

Reply
Estelle May 15, 2030 - 12:03 am

I get what Kirsty was saying about good boutiques not charging you if they didn’t have anything in your size, but I think some would see it as charging for their time and charge regardless. I guess whether that’s okay as a customer depends on what you wanted to get out of the fitting – if I just wanted some pretty new bras and through the fitting didn’t find anything I liked that fit me well, I might feel like I was paying for nothing. But if I went for a fitting because I had no clue as to my size and the fitter helped me work that out, I feel like even if I didn’t make a purchase I’d still have gotten something useful and worth paying for out of it.

Reply
Rosanne May 15, 2031 - 11:45 am

I love this post from Kirsty it is well thought out and carefully written.
This is always a tough one for Lingerie Boutique owners the majority of customers understand the complexity of a fitting and appreciate the information shared during this process but we all know the ones who come and want to be fitted then intend to go off to their local supermarket and buy their bra where they buy their carrots. http://www.rosalingerie.co.uk/need-bra-fitting-service/

I have actually had ladies say this to me during a fitting that they are going to Primani or buying on-line and need to know their size.

As Kirsty points out we love this industry and never wish to upset or alienate our loyal customers who after all are the ones that keep the business going so these fittings are possible.

Reply