TODAY   |  October 26, 2013

More stores offering free personal shoppers

Shopping can be frustrating and time-consuming, but some stores are offering assistants that will select clothing especially for each the customer. Even better? It’s free! TODAY’s Bobbie Thomas reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning in "today's" style, making the most of your shopping trip. ever wondered what it would be like to shop with a personal stylist , someone who could find you what looks best on you? some department and charns are offering that service for free and other mid level retailers. it may sound too good to be true so to be sure we went style editor bobby thomas to check it out.

>> may pat, mary kate , mary francis, lae laets see it. come on.

>> reporter: if you think you can only get this kind of personal service by spend ago fortune on rodeo drive , think again. carly is a personal stylist at loeh marx ann aerks. i crashed one of her sessions with a long time customer fran . fran , what are you looking for? and why are you here?

>> i'm looking for a couple of outfits.

>> let's get to work. before fran arrives, carly picked out several outfits for her to try on. all right, fran , let's see.

>> exactly what i did not want to wear honestly. but i absolutely love it.

>> reporter: anyone can drop in. no appointment needed.

>> i work with the moms, professionals, athletes.

>> more shoppers are taking advantage of the service and more mainstream stores now offer it including banana republic , j. crew and even target.

>> the way the consumer is shopping is changing. stores are recognizing that and doing whatever it takes to get those people into those stores to shop.

>> reporter: it's a big draw for customers looking for a more personal experience .

>> the personal shopping is that one extra cherry on the cake just to make sure that that person feels like they are being taken care of a little bit more.

>> reporter: what do you think?

>> i love it.

>> reporter: with all of that personal attention, how did fran do?

>> i see a pile.

>> i got an outfit for my friday night, my saturday morning, i now have a shower outfit.

>> reporter: one more happy customer benefiting from a little personal touch.

>> bobby thomas and fran solomon are with us this morning. nice to have you both here. you look fantastic.

>> thank you.

>> who helped you find the outfit?

>> carly , my personal shopper , put it altogether for me.

>> what do you like about this?

>> what i like about it the stores are big and overwhelming and a personal shopper comes in and she kind of consolidates the store for you and shows you what looks good on you and knows her inventor.

>> you said i never would put this on.

>> i would never wear a black dress but it was a black dress that is so stunning.

>> this can be intimidating for people.

>> fran hits on a key point. salespeople in general and personal stylists and shoppers know when restock days are. they can lead you to discounts and special sales so they do have insider knowledge you can take advantage of. but just be aware. if they are working on commission, just know. i think my big point is the segment with fran is make sure people aren't intimidated. just ask. i think you see the sign on the door personal stylist or shopper, it's absolutely for you. there is over 16 stores i found that offer this all in the mid price range and you don't have to buy at most of them. there isn't the pressure.

>> there is not a minimum. when you go in, you need to be armed with some information because they are going to ask you question as they get to know you. what are some of the things you need to bring to the table, bobby.

>> maybe put a cheat sheet in your waltlet of your sizes and colors and anything you can help share with that person will help make the relationship work. it's all about finding the right fit and making sure you're comfortable so you can say to somebody, i don't like it, or i only have 50 dollars to spend. so that you have the confidence to really make sure that you're not being pressured in any way.

>> fran , what advice would you have for somebody who is thinking about this and maybe still a little bit leery even with all of these tips?

>> i think you should go out and try. it's a free service at most of these stores and it just takes the store and consolidates it and makes your shopping experience a lot more efficient.

>> do you call ahead?

>> sometimes i call ahead. if i have an occasion coming up, i'll call and ask her to put things aside and i run in and try things on and run

out: especially for busy moms. time is money so if you're able to have something pull everything in your size and color and cuts that work for your body, take advantage of that because they want to make a sale but you need the outfit and you don't want to spend hours on end. it's a win/win for the retailer.

>> a lot of women can relate to that. there isn't time to do it so nice to have someone pull it together for you. you look great.

>> thank you.