Revelry and Union Station both believe they've found a better way for women to shop for bridesmaid dresses.

For many women, shopping for a bridesmaid dress is anything but an enjoyable experience. After all, bridesmaid dresses are expensive. And bridesmaids often have little input on the dresses they’re instructed to buy. Even a bride with the best intentions, one who seeks to find a bridesmaid dress that women can wear again, often fails and the expensive gown winds up collecting dust on a hanger after the big day.

However, two online retailers recently featured in Internet Retailer 2018 Hot 100, Revelry and Union Station, believe they’ve found a better way for women to shop for bridesmaid dresses. Revelry.com sells made-to-order gowns, as does Union Station after it recently shifted its business model away from a bridesmaid dress rental service.

Revelry aims to put brides and bridesmaids at ease by sending them samples and fabric swatches before they purchase a dress. That way they can see how the fabric looks in person and how it coordinates with other wedding elements, such as the wedding gown, flowers and jewelry.

The retailer also enables shoppers to order three or more style and fabric combinations in sample dresses to ensure they select the version they like best. Founder Michelle DeLoach says that there’s a very high closure rate for shoppers who receive a sample box.

By selling made-to-order dresses and separates, Revelery aims to appeal to a wide variety of customers. For example, the company is one of the few that offers garments up to size 32 and in varying lengths, ensuring that a wide range of bridesmaids can wear matching outfits.

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Being made-to-order also lets the company keep up with trends easily, since they have limited stock on hand. Next year, the retailer plans to double its available bridesmaid styles to 70, in addition to launching a bridal gown line to bring the same made-to-order customization to brides that they offer to bridesmaids.

Union Station is following a similar model after launching in 2012 as an e-commerce site that offered bridesmaid dress rentals.

As the retailer shifts away from that service, it is selling its rental dresses at steep discounts, while also selling new dresses that are made to order. The dresses range in price from $120-$140.

Like Revelry, Union Station lets shoppers order swatches so that they can see the color and fabric in person.

To read more about these companies and other innovative online retailers, download the free issue of Internet Retailer’s 2018 Hot 100.

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