There are many devices used in the world today that you don’t appreciate until you do without. Take occupancy lights, for example. Anybody who has ever used a public restroom understands that it’s difficult to know what’s going on behind a closed door. Peeking under doors or knocking feels a bit creepy, but nobody likes waiting unnecessarily.
Who knew such a complex social situation could be solved by something as simple as a lightbulb that’s triggered by the locking of a door?
In fact, retailers should give some serious consideration to the idea of occupancy indicators for fitting rooms. It’s crucial to know if a fitting room is occupied, and here are a few reasons why.
Customers Can Leave Without Notice
Ideally, customers will be taken to a locked fitting room and an associate will be there to assist them the whole time they’re in there. However, things don’t always go as planned. Customers have been known to leave without saying goodbye, leaving a fitting room vacant when an associate thinks it’s occupied.
If nobody is waiting to try something on, this isn’t a big deal. But when customers are tapping a toe waiting to get on with their day, tying up fitting rooms for no reason can become a significant problem. After all, a customer is more likely to make a purchase when they have had the opportunity to try clothing on first.
How much more likely? The odds of converting a sale jump from 10% to 67% when a customer visits the fitting room. With that in mind, it quickly becomes apparent that you must do all that you can to get customers into the fitting room.
Fitting room occupancy indicators do more than let associates know if a fitting room is free; they are a valuable tool to help manage customer expectations about wait times.
Door-Knocking is Disruptive
Without occupancy indicators on fitting room doors, sales associates don’t know for sure that a fitting room is available. A knock on the door is the only way to find out, and that’s great for the person who is waiting to try on clothes. But how does the person who is already using that fitting room feel now?
Think back to the public restroom example about knocking or peeking under doors. In both cases, if there is someone on the other side of the door, they’re in a position where some privacy is appreciated. A knock on the door brings a moment of panic when your next fear is that the door is going to swing open while you’re in a state of undress!
One can’t help but feel rushed when they know someone is waiting to use the room. It’s the antithesis of providing relaxed, friendly service to customers in the fitting room.
In the rush to make sure that every customer can use a fitting room without a long wait, occupancy indicators can help ensure that customers who are already in the “decision zone” can stay there without interruption.
Empty Rooms = Lost Sales
Without the technological assistance that occupancy indicators can provide, there is a good chance an empty fitting room will stay unoccupied for longer than it should. Well-trained fitting room associates know that knocking on the door is intrusive, so they want to avoid it at all costs.
Customers waiting to try something on are worried about their needs, not the needs of another shopper. Knowing that a fitting room *might* be available, if only the sales associate would check, only increases their feelings of impatience.
Once the tide of frustration has turned, a countdown clock begins until the customer decides to leave the store without their merchandise. That is a practice that retailers must avoid at all costs because it has long-term implications for that customer’s relationship with the store:
“Poor merchandise assortments were less detrimental to the retailer/consumer relationship than poor service. Findings revealed that half of the consumers who walked out because of poor service indicated they would not shop in the store in the future.”
The time saved by automatically knowing the occupancy status of each fitting room saves customers’ time, and, therefore, their relationship with your store.
The Last Word on Occupancy Indicators
Heading to the fitting room is the moment of truth for customers shopping for apparel, and retailers must do all they can to make the transition to the decision zone a smooth one. We have given you three good reasons to consider the use of fitting room occupancy indicators.
It’s one of the many important steps you can take to improve queue management, and ultimately the customer experience, in every part of the store.
Need more ideas to help keep track of customers in the store? Download your free copy of “What is Your Queue Costing You?” here today!