Why hire an image consultant

Why Image Consulting v In-store Personal Shopping

Most higher and mid-end stores have personal shoppers. You need to make an appointment with them at which time they will assess your needs, style, budget, etc. They will then call you back to choose your preferences from items they have pulled off the racks of their store. The personal shoppers are paid a commission on what they sell to you by the store.

Image consultants are another choice. They charge a fee, usually by the hour, for the time they spend with a client. Image consultants will talk with you ahead of time or see you during an appointment to evaluate your needs before they shop with you. Then they will meet you in the right store according to your budget, needs, location and time constraints.

Why Image Consulting over In-store Personal Shopping? Top 5 reasons

1. Consultation in the privacy of your home.
Most clients prefer the fact that the initial consultation takes place in the privacy of their own home. It is at this point that image consultants not only break the ice with a new client but also get a real understanding of the client’s lifestyle and wardrobe needs and have the opportunity to strike up a relationship with the client. Many clients are concerned about losing their identity through an image make-over but the image consultant can put their mind at ease very quickly by agreeing an approach to the process which works for each individual client. By virtue of the consultation taking place in the client’s home, the image consultants often gets to meet and interview key family members who can provide additional insights into the client’s requirements. They also get an opportunity to view the clients’ existing wardrobe which helps when making purchase decisions.

2. Image consultants do not have sales targets.
Image consultants are paid for the time spent with a client as opposed to being paid a salary from a retail outlet. They do not earn commission on garments purchased nor are they dependant on repeat business. The value of an item of clothing is irrelevant to an image consultant provided it is in line with the client’s budget. This makes them impartial as to whether the client actually purchases clothing on a personal shopping date or not. If the client is not 100% happy with a look or an item of clothing, the image consultant is more likely to recommend moving on to the next store.

3. Personal shoppers are tied to one store or location.
Generally personal shoppers are tied to a particular store so they can only offer the client advice on what to buy limited to a small number of brands. Image consultants will take the client shopping wherever they wish from small town boutiques to large city shopping malls to specialist outlets.

Not many people buy entire wardrobes in one store so image consultants can offer clients the benefit of their knowledge and targeted research about which stores/brands are best positioned to meet their client’s specific needs.

4. Enduring relationship with the client.
An image consultant gets a fairly deep insight into the client’s lifestyle, personality and shopping history which the in-store personal shopper may not. The image consultant gets to see the client’s current wardrobe and this gives them a huge advantage in terms of wardrobe planning while shopping. Some clients already possess fantastic items of clothing which are under-utilised because the client isn’t sure how to mix and match them. Working with an image consultant ultimately leads to greater customer satisfaction because they can help find items which will work with the client’s current wardrobe and save them money in the long run. This often leads to repeat business for the image consultant and knowing their customer means that image consultants can proactively propose client engagements when new seasons start or prompted by events in the client’s life which the image consultant is aware of through their client relationship. Word of mouth is extremely important as a means of generating new business for the image consultant, so fostering good and lasting customer relationships is of paramount importance.

5. Educating the client.
At the end of a consultation the client typically receives some form of tangible guide from the image consultant to help them with their future shopping experiences. Whether it’s a colour swatch in the colours which best suit the client or a booklet outlining what styles best suit their body shape, the client is better equipped to face their next shopping trip alone. Some clients opt for the image consultation without going for the personal shopping experience, which is usually the next step. Once informed on what will flatter their shape and colouring best, many clients don’t need the image consultant to accompany them on their post consultation shopping trip.

Often clients just need to regain lost confidence in order to shop independently.