A Fitting Room Solution That Works

Recently, when I was speaking with a retailer about our fitting room solution, they said something along the lines of, “That’s not really something our customer base needs.

In fact, their clientele is exactly the type of customer who would benefit from this type of solution. It seems to be a common misconception that only a certain demographic appreciates call buttons, so I’d like to set the record straight on why everyone benefits from fitting room call buttons.

Fitting Room Psychology

When trying clothes on, customers feel somewhat vulnerable because they find themselves at least half naked in a public place during the process (this is especially true for female shoppers). Most fitting rooms are also not pleasant, well-designed spaces. Further, without insight into fitting room occupancy, associates often knock during the process or, heaven forbid, enter during the middle of it! These factors combine to cause customers to want to move in and out of fitting rooms as quickly as possible.

The fitting room experience seems fairly straightforward: customers bring in their selections, try them on, and make a buying decision. However, this is not always the typical customer experience. For example, as a form of loss prevention, stores will often limit the number of items allowed in the fitting room at one time. This means that the customer will have to try on clothes in “batches”, which can significantly disrupt the process. This is not only hugely inconvenient but it prolongs the process, creating longer wait times and higher walk-off rates.

The Dreaded Re-Dresstry on

During the try-on process, customers routinely find themselves in need of assistance, often without an easy way to ask for it. When there isn’t a way to easily get an associate’s help, customers find themselves faced with the decision to re-dress and leave the fitting room to serve themselves. When a shopper decides that they will leave the fitting room to get alternate clothing, the process of trying on clothes becomes even more arduous.

It’s inconvenient at best to change out of what they were wearing into something else, but it can also be awkward. Thoughts like:

Should I leave my purse? Will it be safe?”

“Is it rude to leave and come back when there is a line of people waiting?”

“Will I lose my room if I step out?”

“What about the clothes I’ve already decided I want? Should I take them with me?”

“Is the door going to lock behind me? Will I have to track someone down again to let me in?”

“How much longer is this going to take, is it even worth it? Should I just leave?”

Much of the time, shoppers will decide that it’s not worth it and once they leave the fitting room, they’ll keep walking right out of the store. (It happens all the time – you can probably think about the last time you did this yourself.)

The Problem with Door Knocking

door-knock

In order to prevent the customer from leaving the fitting room, many retailers encourage their sales associates to knock on the door and check on the customers intermittently. Unfortunately, door knocking as a fitting room service strategy is woefully ineffective because service is not being provided based off of the customers’ need-basis, but rather the associates’ best guessed timing. Caught in the middle of undressing many people will forgo asking for anything in order to avoid an awkward interaction.

An Effective Fitting Room Solution

The only way to ensure that customer assistance is available at the most effective time, is to implement a call button system that enables them to notify the associates when they are ready for help. This allows the service to be provided on the customers’ timing rather than the associates’. A customer who values their time is likely to appreciate a call button as it puts the power in their hands to reach out to an associate exactly when they want one. When assistance is needed, there are very few shoppers who won’t utilize a call button system.

Find out more about our fitting room call button solution here.

 

How to Reduce Retail Apparel Returns

Each year, The Retail Equation releases a survey covering “Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry.” In 2015, perhaps the most notable stat was “Returns as percentage of total sales,” which came in at 8% according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

That is of particular significance when you consider this: the total industry sales as tracked by NRF equated to $3.256 trillion. Which means that 8% of that sizable figure is $260.5 billion. Now, imagine if the industry could get even just some of that money back.

That’s an industry average; what are your annual sales figures and revenues? Are you hitting your targets and goals for growth and earnings? What would it do for your company if you were to add back even half of that 8%?

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The Power of the Customer’s Journey (& How You Can Use it to Fix Your Fitting Rooms)

How intimately familiar are you with your customer’s journey? Do you know what brings your customer into your store? Do you know what happens while she’s in your store to make or break her decision to buy from you? What about after she leaves – what can you do to help ensure she doesn’t return her purchase?

An analysis of your customer’s journey can leave you with valuable insights into areas of weakness/opportunity.

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How Much Time Do Your Customers Spend in the Fitting Room? (& Why Should You Care?)

Wouldn’t it be great if your associates could take a peek into your fitting rooms?

The try-on is crucial to the buying decision, which is one reason fitting rooms are so important to retailers’ financial health. If associates could – at a glance – see which customers need service, they could provide support when most needed in the purchase process.

And yet, for obvious customer privacy reasons, there is usually no visibility in this area of the store (although call buttons can be pretty useful in providing customer service when necessary).

Fortunately, you can gather a number of critical data points without stirring up a privacy lawsuit. For starters, you can examine statistics, such as the average length of a fitting room visit.

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Why is the Fitting Room so Important in Retail Analytics?

Relatively speaking, the fitting room is one of the smallest areas of any retail store. These unobtrusive rooms are often tucked away in the back, and as a retailer, you could easily forget all about them. That is, until you understand the importance of this small-but-mighty area of the store.

For example, did you know that fitting rooms are key to increased sales and decreased returns? Let’s look at why the fitting room is crucial to retail performance.

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How Shoppers Purchase Apparel: Understanding the Customer Journey

For you to understand the retail experience of your customer, you need to look at the process through their eyes. While shopping, the customer navigates through three very distinct zones: The Engagement Zone, The Decision Zone, and the Disengagement Zone.

How can you successfully engage your customer, help her to decide on a choice or choices from the sales floor, and then move her quickly and efficiently through the fitting room and out of the store?

If you can fulfill your customer’s needs and desires, you will establish customer loyalty. If your customer has an outstanding retail experience, then you’ll have a repeat customer again and again.

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of retail technology?

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What Kind of Customer Uses a Call Button?

There are a number of pieces of technology that Alert Tech provides. One of them is fitting room call buttons.

Sometimes when I am talking with a retailer about these call buttons, they say something along the lines of, “That might work for other retailers, but our customers wouldn’t use call buttons.

So I’d like to set the record straight on the type of customer that uses a fitting room call button. In order to do so, I need to start with what goes on in the fitting room.

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of retail technology?
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