Four years after opening, Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique has developed a strong reputation in the small community of Wabash. But owner Lisa Ellen Downs recognizes that while there was still some untapped opportunity locally, her boutique's future heavily depended on reaching non-local customers. With big-brand competition thick in nearby Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, the challenge facing Downs was persuading the newly engaged to visit her small-town boutique.
“My biggest challenge was getting people to understand they can come to Wabash for their special dress,“ says Downs.
Increasing her sales was critical to her survival, especially given the industry’s low-volume, high-ticket nature. If she couldn’t move more volume at a faster rate, turning a profit would get further and further from reach.
The marketing team at Deluxe immediately saw the opportunity to elevate Ellen’s brand to better compete with big city boutiques, as well as draw more brides to Wabash. Deluxe began building a website to raise awareness among brides that Wabash presents a uniquely personalized shopping experience, packaged with the charm of a small town.
After meeting with Downs, the Deluxe team outlined three tenets to guide the development of her new website:
- Ellen’s offers the big city experience every Midwest bride deserves
- Owner Lisa Downs brings special value and expertise to the dress-buying experience
- Ellen’s provides a personalized shopping experience for every client
Starting with a simple creative brief, the owners were able to outline their likes and dislikes relating to color, shapes and other important branding elements. Within five days, Deluxe logo designers developed several concepts that represented the high energy, family fun feeling the Kilmers were after, while still giving a nod to the legacy of the establishment by incorporating the original color palette and kettle icon.
Striving to replicate the in-store boutique experience online, Deluxe outlined a website content strategy that would highlight Downs' expertise and provide the information that the most important bridal audiences need to make an appointment:
- Brides looking for that special destination
- Mothers wanting a trustworthy and stress-free experience for their daughters
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen looking for multiple options for the right fit
- Promgoers seeking the latest trends
One major improvement to the website was including calls to action on every page to book an appointment with Ellen’s. Too often, businesses spend a lot of energy on the design of the website and overlook how important it is to guide the online visitor to take action.
Showcasing owner’s expertise
In order to differentiate Downs’ boutique from other big city shops, it was imperative to highlight her expertise and consultative style on the website. Deluxe built a dedicated page to share Downs’ approach to helping brides, emphasizing the importance of a one-on-one experience when searching for the right dress.
Added call-to-action buttons
With a website that conveys ‘big city’ and an in-shop experience that is personal and warm, Downs’ has already started to see solid results. Her user-friendly website helps out-of-town brides book appointments for fittings, which positively impacts the bottom line.
Compared to the prior year, Downs' sales in the month of January nearly tripled. In the first quarter of 2017, she sold twice as many bridal dresses as she had in the first quarter of 2016. She has been featured in bridal magazines, has added a wedding planning service to her business model and feels like a more confident leader to her team. Most importantly, after four years in business, Downs finally took home her very first paycheck.
Brides looking for that special destination.
Mothers wanting a trustworthy and stress-free experience for their daughter.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen looking for multiple options for the right fit.
Prom-Goers seeking the latest trends.