Once, the fitting room was a revolutionary mid-17th-century idea with an immense popularity. At the time, it was a luxury customer experience, but is this still the case today? Recent research shows that only 7% of retail customers are truly happy with the average fitting room. The majority even talks about the least favorite part of the shopping experience. Find out below how you can give your fitting room an upgrade and how other retailers are restoring their fitting rooms to brand new hotspots.
The fitting room. How can you improve this shopping experience?
Fitting rooms used to be thé place to comfortably try on new outfits. But today a staggering 25% of customers simply skips the fitting room when shopping in-store. Nevertheless, research shows us that customers who do use the fitting room have a much higher conversion rate and buy more products per store visit. This means that the quality of the fitting room has an important direct impact on the turnover of any physical fashion retailer.
“There are always waiting lines, there is no one there when I need help, the fitting room is dirty, there is not enough space, the fitting room doesn’t close properly, there’s no room to put all my stuff,…”
How can stores do better? In Japan, retailers are much more concerned with the shopping experience of their customers. They view it as a type of hospitality. Japanese fitting rooms are larger, they have a bench or chair, more than enough coat hooks and storage space, reading glasses to read the price tags, a shoehorn and a help button in case you want to ask for advice or try on another size. All very accommodating with a personal touch.
On the other side of the globe you can find another very personal shopping approach in the store of Karl Lagerfeld in Los Angeles. There’s a comfortable sofa for waiting and when you’re waiting for the fitting room to be available, you receive a snack and a drink. You’ll feel no time pressure at all, since the more time you spend in-store, the higher the conversion rate and the more cross selling opportunities. Once you enter the fitting room, you are greeted by a smart mirror with camera, inviting you to quickly share your new outfit on social media.
The digital fitting room
Next to the easy ways to make your fitting rooms more enjoyable, there are some interesting tech elements you can add to boost the fitting experience. For instance, Mango introduced digital mirrors to quickly help you ask for assistance or let you check the store’s stock. Sharing outfits on social media is of course an option there too.
At Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, they strongly believe that video is the future for fitting rooms. Via a touchscreen with camera you can record short videos of yourself to easily compare different outfits and combinations. Using the videos, customers can observe themselves in mini fashion shows and pick their favorite ensembles out of everything they’ve tried on. Customers can immediately create a profile and send the videos to their account. The system remembers your previous outfits so you can watch them again during your next visit.
Lululemon in New York also uses digital mirrors outside of the fitting rooms to enhance the customer’s shopping experience. This chain focuses on comfortable sportswear and lets you discover cool events and things to do in the neighborhood via displays in the mirrors. You can look for yoga studios nearby, the most popular jogging routes amongst employees, an overview of sportive events or healthy lunch places. For Lululemon, the community around the store is as important as the store itself. Bringing customers together in an original way means they can stay top of mind and strengthen their brand experience in the long run.
Turn your fitting room into a great shopping experience
Do you want to give your own fitting rooms an upgrade too? Here you’ll find some quick and easy tips to get started:
- Make sure there’s enough space in the fitting rooms for customers to comfortably get dressed, without tripping over their own stuff.
- The fitting room should be able to close properly, to avoid any privacy issues.
- Keep your fitting rooms dust free and clean throughout the whole day.
- Bright lights shining down from above won’t do any good. Flattering lightning is essential to make your customers feel beautiful when looking into the mirror.
- Install sufficient coat hooks.
- Add a bench or a chair so customers can comfortably sit down to remove their shoes for example.
- Make sure you’re available in case a customer asks for advice. A help button in the fitting room can do miracles for the shopping experience.
- Experiment with new technologies to help improve your customers’ experience and not just to collect new data about them. They will happily share some of their personal data if you give them a seamless shopping experience in return.
The more you can do, the better, but remember that small changes can already go a long way in boosting your store’s conversion. Eager to learn more? Find some other practical retail advice on our retail newsblog.