HOW TO: Help men buy Valentine's Day lingerie

How should retailers go about helping the hapless male shopper buy lingerie for their partners this Valentine’s Day?

Luisa Loveday
Founder, Loveday London

“The ‘hapless male shopper’ was always my favourite kind of customer when working at Agent Provocateur throughout University. He wants to impress, but doesn’t know where to begin, so it’s very easy to guide him through your favourite designers and styles. My best advice would be to spend time finding out about his partner and her style: girly, bondage, soft, hard, light, bright or dark, and then be sure to match her taste as best as you can. Ideally, choose a brand like Loveday London that can be adjusted for a perfect fit, to take the guess work out of choosing a size and minimise post-Valentine’s returns.”

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Fleur Turner
CEO and founder, Fleur of England

“My advice would be to merchandise your bestsellers along with new stock and ensure you know all the pieces that create that extra special look; you need to make it as easy as possible for the male customer to make a decision. Sizing your garments correctly is also essential as it will minimise any returns. Communicate effectively with your customer to make sure they get the right size and have plenty of stock available in small, medium and large, in order to make fitting easier. Have a short list of questions to ask your male customer about their partner so you can steer them to the right brand for them: Is she romantic? Does she like silk? Does she like lace? What colours does she wear? Make sure you listen to them and ask their opinions. Finally, make sure you have plenty of pictures of how the lingerie pieces look on the body. It is very hard to visualise a silk baby doll on a hanger, but in a photo you can see how exquisite it is. Lookbooks are essential, at Fleur of England we provide all of our retailers with this kit.”

Ella Hitchins
UK managing director, Rigby & Peller

“Valentine’s Day gifting is a minefield and any gentleman can be forgiven for feeling like a rabbit in the head lights – especially when it comes to lingerie. That’s why we’re making our famous gift cards even more special this year with the launch of our romantic gift box, which includes a sensual Rigby & Peller candle, a box of quality chocolates, a rose – as well as a gift card. Not only does this mean that hapless males avoid picking the wrong lingerie, but that they’re armed with a beautiful gift for their loved one on the day as well.”

Lucy Litwack
Managing director, Coco de Mer

"It is important to ensure the male customer feels at ease in your store – sales associates should be friendly, accessible and welcoming. Be personal – tell the customer what you like and why. Establish if he knows his partner’s size. If he doesn’t, then show him your range of nightwear or lingerie sized small, medium and large – so much easier for gifting. Retailers should merchandise easy-to-buy items together in store so the experience is as simple as possible. Place your blacks, reds and pinks together, as, in general, the male customer prefers these more traditional colours and they will automatically make him think of Valentine’s. Start with showing the simpler and feminine designs – you will quickly gauge if this customer is more daring in his choices.”

Fifi Chachnil
Founder, Fifi Chachnil

“We advise male Valentine’s Day shoppers to be generous with their gifting. When he enters the store, familiarise him with all of the matching garments and accessories available from his chosen ranges to complete his gift. Garments like our ‘Mirna Loy’ babydolls and matching ‘Fabuleuse’ tie-side culottes are perfect for shoppers who aren’t sure on exact sizes. For those who know the sizes they require, assist them with choosing a gift which is frivolous and special.”




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