On Monday, David's Bridal introduced virtual stylist and virtual appointment offerings. The company developed these features in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it intends to continue offering them going forward, per the company statement.
Consumers can text David's Bridal stylists to advise on available dresses, measurements, undergarments and other needs; book a virtual appointment with a stylist; and book in-store appointments at the company's physical locations once they reopen, the retailer said.
The wedding retailer expects to open all of its stores by June 1, beginning with select stores opening this week and the following weeks, according to the company statement.
As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, David's Bridal has taken multiple steps in response to the crisis. The wedding retailer issued a statement in late February, assuring customers of on-time dress deliveries. In March, the company shuttered stores (and later extended those closures), reduced company expenses, cut executive salaries, and furloughed store and corporate staffers.
Before the pandemic forced governments to close down nonessential stores, David's Bridal was investing in its overall technology and marketing strategies. In January, the wedding retailer introduced its chatbot Zoey and named its first chief digital experience officer in December. While just now officially launching, the retailer is already proclaiming its virtual features a success.
"After we tested this program, we received some of the highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in recent history," Kelly Cook, David's Bridal's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
In recent months, David's Bridal has made efforts to turn itself around. The retailer struggled in previous years in part because of shifting demographic trends. Last year, S&P Global downgraded the company after it came out of bankruptcy with a "significantly weaker than anticipated" performance, and in November the company reached an agreement for $55 million in new funding from lenders to jumpstart growth investments.
David's Bridal isn't the only retailer force to pivot due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been especially hard on retailers that were struggling prior to the outbreak. Others have also turned to virtual solutions, with Build-A-Bear as well as various grocers, introducing virtual initiatives to connect with customers remotely.