Who Is a Personal Shopper?

March 21, 2024

Who Is a Personal Shopper?

A personal shopper is a professional who assists people in selecting and purchasing clothing, accessories, and other items. They provide personalized shopping experiences based on individual preferences, body types, and budgets. Personal shoppers possess excellent interpersonal skills, knowledge of current trends, and an innate ability to understand client needs. 

They handle all the research, planning, and coordination, saving clients the stress of juggling multiple tasks. Personal shoppers can work in stores or online as gig workers, and they can cater to a diverse range of clients, including busy professionals, new parents, and individuals looking for assistance in refining their personal style. Personal shopping services can be tailored to fit various budgets and needs, making them accessible to a broader audience.

The Role of a Personal Shopper

Below are what personal shoppers do:

1. Advising and Guiding Customers

Personal shoppers advise and guide customers, helping them make the best possible purchases by understanding their preferences, needs, and budget. They offer personalized recommendations and styling tips to enhance the shopping experience and ensure that customers are satisfied.

2. Assisting with Purchase Orders and Deliveries

They process purchase orders, prepare deliveries, and handle returns, whether it's through phone calls, in-person interactions, email, or live chat. This involves ensuring that orders are accurately selected, scanned, and packed, as well as engaging with customers to follow any special instructions and resolve any issues promptly and effectively.

3. Staying Informed About Product Offerings and Availability

They keep track of product offerings and availability, collaborating with store departments to ensure efficient service delivery. This involves staying updated on the latest trends, brands, and inventory to provide customers with the most relevant and current information.

Essential Skills for Personal Shoppers

Here are the essential skills for personal shoppers and why they are crucial for providing top-notch service to clients:

Fashion Acumen

Personal shoppers must possess a keen understanding of current fashion trends, styles, and brands to offer relevant and up-to-date advice to clients. This skill helps them make the best recommendations that align with the client's tastes and preferences. It enhances the overall shopping experience and satisfaction.

Communication Skills

Top communication skills.‍
The top communication skills. Source: Maximum Advantage

Effective communication is essential for personal shoppers to understand clients' needs, preferences, and expectations. They do not even have to talk. According to Passive Secrets, approximately 93% of effective communication is nonverbal, while spoken words account for only 7%. So, this shows that communication goes beyond speaking.

Clear and concise communication fosters trust and rapport, allowing personal shoppers to build strong relationships with clients. It also helps them to provide personalized recommendations that resonate with their clients' individual styles and goals.

Customer Service Excellence

Definition of customer service.‍
Customer service. Source: Investopedia

Exceptional customer service is paramount for personal shoppers to exceed clients' expectations and deliver a memorable shopping experience. Personal shoppers cultivate loyalty and satisfaction by providing attentive, personalized assistance and addressing any concerns or queries promptly and professionally, fostering long-term relationships with clients.

Organization and Time Management

Personal shoppers must have strong organizational and time management skills to juggle multiple clients, appointments, and tasks effectively. Prioritizing client needs, coordinating shopping trips, and managing schedules efficiently ensure that personal shoppers deliver prompt and reliable service, maximizing convenience and satisfaction for clients.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is critical for personal shoppers to accurately assess clients' preferences, sizes, and styling requirements. By meticulously selecting clothing and accessories that complement clients' tastes and fit seamlessly into their wardrobes, personal shoppers create cohesive looks that reflect clients' individuality and enhance their confidence and satisfaction.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Personal shoppers encounter various challenges, such as sourcing specific items, handling budget constraints, or addressing unexpected issues during shopping trips. Strong problem-solving skills help them adapt quickly, find creative solutions, and overcome obstacles, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for clients.

Empathy

Types of empathy and what they mean.‍
Types of empathy and what they mean. Source: Sundance College

Empathy is essential for personal shoppers to connect with clients more deeply, understand their emotions, and anticipate their needs effectively. By empathizing with clients' preferences, concerns, and insecurities, personal shoppers create a supportive and inclusive environment, fostering trust, loyalty, and satisfaction in the client relationship.

The Difference Between a Personal Shopper and a Personal Stylist

The most fundamental difference between a personal shopper and a personal stylist is that a personal shopper’s primary focus is on buying clothes for clients. In contrast, a personal stylist focuses on developing clients’ personal style and teaching them skills to maintain it. Do not forget that a personal shopper can also be a stylist.

Personal shoppers typically shop in stores, have an excellent network of designers and retailers, and take into consideration budget and the specific occasion for which clothes are needed. On the other hand, personal stylists work with individual clients to help them figure out what clothes flatter their body shape, size, and complexion, and encourage them to try out new styles and trends without compromising their individuality and authenticity. 

Below is a table that highlights some of the key distinctions between personal shoppers and personal stylists, emphasizing their respective roles and areas of expertise.

How to Become a Personal Shopper?

To become a personal shopper, individuals can follow these steps:

1. Acquire Fashion Knowledge

Start by developing a strong understanding of fashion trends, brands, and styling techniques. Stay updated on the latest industry developments through fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle, blogs like The Blonde Salad and The Sartorialist, and online resources like Who What Wear. Attend fashion events like New York Fashion Week and workshops like Central Saint Martins short courses to expand your knowledge and network with industry professionals.

2. Hone Customer Service Skills

Cultivate excellent communication, interpersonal, and customer service skills. Practice active listening to understand clients' preferences, needs, and budgets effectively. Learn to provide personalized recommendations and build rapport with clients to ensure a positive shopping experience.

3. Gain Experience

Look for opportunities to gain practical experience in the fashion industry. Consider working in retail, fashion boutiques, or department stores to familiarize yourself with different clothing styles, brands, and customer preferences. Internships or part-time roles in fashion-related positions, like Retail Sales Associate and Fashion Stylist Assistant, can provide valuable hands-on experience and insights into the industry.

4. Develop Personal Shopping Skills

Sharpen your personal shopping skills by assisting friends, family members, or acquaintances with their shopping needs. Practice selecting clothing and accessories that align with their tastes, body types, and style preferences. Experiment with styling techniques and learn to curate cohesive outfits that suit diverse personalities and occasions.

5. Build a Professional Portfolio

Compile a portfolio showcasing your fashion expertise, customer testimonials, and successful shopping experiences. Include photos of outfits you've curated, client testimonials, and any relevant certifications or training you've completed. A well-presented portfolio demonstrates your skills and credibility as a personal shopper.

6. Market Yourself

Create a professional website or social media profile to showcase your services and attract potential clients. Develop a strong online presence by sharing fashion tips, styling inspiration, and client testimonials. Network with local businesses, fashion influencers, and industry professionals to expand your reach and gain referrals.

7. Offer Exceptional Service

Strive to deliver exceptional service to every client you work with. Provide personalized attention, timely communication, and expert advice to exceed clients' expectations. Build long-term relationships with clients by understanding their needs, preferences, and style evolution, ensuring repeat business and referrals.

How to Choose the Right Personal Shopper

Clients must consider the following to ensure they choose the right personal shopper:

Assess Personal Style Compatibility

Clients should evaluate a personal shopper's portfolio and previous work to ensure their style aligns with the shopper's expertise. Look for evidence of similar tastes and preferences in the shopper's recommendations and styling choices.

Review Other Clients’ Testimonials

Reading their testimonials and reviews can give you some insights into the personal shopper's professionalism, communication skills, and ability to meet client expectations. Positive feedback and testimonials indicate a record of satisfied clients and successful collaborations.

Evaluate Experience and Expertise

Clients should consider a personal shopper's level of experience and expertise in the fashion industry. Look for evidence of relevant training, certifications, or previous work experience that demonstrates the shopper's knowledge and proficiency in providing personalized styling services.

Consider Budget and Services Offered

Clients should inquire about the personal shopper's pricing structure, service offerings, and any additional fees or charges. Clarify what services are included in the package and whether customization options suit individual needs and budgets.

Schedule a Consultation

Clients can schedule a consultation or introductory meeting with the personal shopper to discuss their goals, preferences, and expectations. Use this opportunity to assess the shopper's communication style, professionalism, and ability to understand and cater to your needs.

Benefits of Working with a Personal Shopper

Below are some of the benefits of working with a personal shopper:

  • Expertise and guidance. Personal shoppers offer expert advice and guidance on fashion trends, styles, and brands, helping clients make the best purchasing decisions that align with their preferences and lifestyles.
  • Time-saving convenience. Personal shoppers save valuable time and effort by handling the shopping process on behalf of clients. Clients can bypass crowded stores, long lines, and tedious searches, allowing them to focus on other priorities.
  • Personalized service. Personal shoppers tailor their services to meet each client's individual needs and preferences. They provide personalized recommendations, styling advice, and curated selections that reflect clients' unique tastes and goals.
  • Access to exclusive resources. Personal shoppers often have access to exclusive discounts, sales, and merchandise not readily available to the public. Clients benefit from insider knowledge and special offers, maximizing their shopping experience and value for money.
  • Confidence boost. Working with a personal shopper can boost clients' confidence and self-esteem. By receiving compliments and positive feedback on their appearance, clients feel more confident in their style choices and overall presentation.

Personal Shoppers’ Salary

eekly average salary for personal shoppers.‍
The weekly average salary for personal shoppers. Source: ZipRecruiter

Based on data from various sources, personal shoppers earn varying salaries. According to Indeed, the average hourly wage for personal shoppers is $15.27, equating to $158 per day, $1,166 per week, $4,512 per month, and $63,730 per year. On ZipRecruiter, personal shoppers make an average of $17 per hour, surpassing the international hourly salary average by $0.49, or 30.125%. 

Salary.com reports an average salary of $46,411 for personal shoppers, with a typical salary range falling between $41,440 and $52,105. These salary figures vary based on factors such as location, experience, and specific employer, but they provide a general idea of the earning potential for personal shoppers in the industry.

What the Future Could Look Like

In the future, personal shoppers will play an even more pivotal role in the fashion industry, fueled by the integration of cutting-edge technologies and evolving consumer preferences. According to Boston Consulting Group, they will increasingly engage in global sourcing, particularly in the burgeoning pre-owned luxury market. With pre-owned luxury items expected to account for 27% of secondhand customers' closets, there will be a growing need for a global network of reliable suppliers catering to personalized requests.

Furthermore, personal shoppers will leverage advanced technologies to enhance their services. Augmented reality will enable virtual try-on experiences, while artificial intelligence algorithms will offer personalized product recommendations based on individual style preferences. Additionally, blockchain technology could be integrated to ensure the authenticity and traceability of luxury items. As the personal shopping landscape evolves, it is vital to explore the exciting opportunities this field offers, both as clients looking for tailored assistance and people considering a rewarding career path.

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