Fitting rooms are an essential part of the fashion retail customer experience, Here are our top five tips to convert fitting room visits to sales.
All retailers will assure you that they have a carefully considered fitting / changing room policy. So why are shoppers still subjected to broken lights, stress inducing music, overflowing bins and piles of stock?
Here’s our top five tips for improving the changing room experience, finishing with a photo of what we believe to be the best fitting room in the UK today.
1. Make your fitting room tech friendly
The way in which customers use fitting rooms has changed in the last ten years. Before, if they wanted advice they would ask a sales assistant, today’s smart phone users ask the internet. They might send a selfie to a Whatsapp group, or do a quick price comparison. You can enable them to do this with:
- working WiFi that’s easy to access
- ‘selfie friendly’ lighting
- digital applications that make shopping for clothes a better experience by improving service
2. Install friendly lighting
Customers want decent lighting. It feels silly typing something so obvious, but a recent HOLM outing to the Westfield Stratford shopping centre revealed two extremes. In one national fashion chain, the trendy dark lighting was so bad shoppers had to come out of the cubicle to fasten shirt buttons. Fashion chain Reiss on the other hand had fantastic (selfie-friendly) lighting that mimicked natural daylight. The difference in atmosphere between the two was huge – frustrated vs relaxed shoppers. More now than ever we need to convince online customers that the in-store experience is better.
3. Offer personal service
Pressure on shop budgets means the changing room rota has been cut. By example, the two at my local Tesco are always locked! Customers are going online, so savings have to be made somewhere. Fair logic perhaps, but making the customer experience worse just exacerbates the problem. Ask any experienced store team and you’ll get the same answer. A positive changing room experience gives customers a reason to come offline and visit your store. Here’s some quick wins:
- Free up staff time with in-store technology
- Prioritise your tasks – is re-stocking a shelf ever more important than serving a customer? Service that starts at the till does nothing to influence basket size
- Train your staff to serve – changing room duty is not just about counting items in and out. It is their big chance to engage with the customer and influence a purchase
- Fetch new sizes, suggest better styles and make the customer feel important… because you will find they come back if you do
4. Clean fitting rooms are non negotiable
Scenes such as the above picture are all too common (and what is that weird plastic bag that seems to knock around all unloved changing rooms?)
- Reinvent how your staff see changing rooms: they are not a stockroom overflow or an extension of the staff room
- Get them to imagine the fitting room is a ‘show home’ and an important visitor is coming, how would they tidy up?
- Create and enforce an inspection rota
5. Design is everything
As promised, here is one of our favourite high street changing rooms, step forward Boden. Why do we love it so much? It is designed with the customer at the centre.
- Space – the cubicles are huge as is the central area.
- Lighting – feels like natural daylight
- Selfie friendly – that colour scheme pops
- Cleanliness – it is spotless
- Hooks – no clothes on the floor here
- Benches – for ease of changing
- Mirrors – both inside and outside the cubicles
We spoke with Boden a few years ago on this very subject. Maybe we helped? Ironically, for a largely online retailer with less than a handful of stores, Boden has nailed almost every aspect of a near perfect fitting room. Is it time other retailers caught up?
By Cristina Holm, co-founder of HOLM
HOLM’s in-store personal styling technology matches clothes to customers depending on their body shape. Its USP is accurate recommendation from day one. Following a two-minute measuring process by your sales staff, shoppers are presented with a ranking of garments guaranteed to make them look great, not simply fit. Transforming the way shoppers feel about your brand as we only show them clothes they look great wearing.
The result? Delighted, loyal customers who promote their experience by word of mouth; a thriving bricks-and-mortar store and a customer profile (data set) that boosts sales across all channels. Happy and motivated staff too, hitting their targets using an application that’s been carefully designed for simplicity and ease of use (even for Saturday staff).
To find out how HOLM‘s in-store personalisation technology will fit seamlessly into your retail infrastructure and to hear more about their own fitting room designs and a new store concept that doubles turnover in half the space, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for more details: www.myholm.com