Often neglected as shopkeepers look at the big picture for their brick and mortar stores, fitting rooms represent one of the biggest opportunities for retailers to increase retail conversions and drive up sales. The fitting room is where shoppers make their final buying decisions, a factor that makes it more important than ever for shop owners to take special care of how their fitting rooms are organized, cared for, and managed by associates.
It’s crucial to ensure that the fitting room experience is as convenient, comfortable, and exciting for shoppers as the rest of their shopping experience. However, before retailers can even begin to think about providing a quality fitting room experience, they must take into consideration what it takes to get customers into the highest converting part of the store.
Who Uses Fitting Rooms Anyway?
In the digital age, where tons of goods are bought and sold online every day, it can be easy to forget that brick and mortar stores remain the preferred method of shopping for apparel for upwards of 70% of shoppers. That’s in large part because of the ability to try on items – both for the fit and for the experience.
Once a customer heads to the fitting room, the chances that they will make a purchase shoot up to 67% – that’s compared to the 10% likelihood of a sale among floor shoppers! It means that customers headed to the fitting rooms are more serious shoppers and that having a great fitting room experience is ever more important to them.
Also important to keep in mind – those customers who head to the fitting room are typically in the midst of their decision process. (Of course, a better fitting room experience and more attentiveness from the staff mean more opportunities to turn a “maybe” into a “yes”!) Store associates should also remember that the better experience customers have in your fitting rooms the first time, the more likely they are to return – potentially even with a few friends in tow.
All this being said, there is one individual looking to use your fitting rooms that most definitely does not have the intention to buy. Fitting rooms are havens for would-be thieves, and poorly attended fitting rooms can be a major source of shrink. Though you want to draw potential sales into your fitting rooms, you want to keep potential thieves out by ensuring your staff is readily available to keep an eye on the fitting room area.
Driving Customers Into Your Fitting Rooms
The process of driving customers into your fitting rooms begins with ensuring that they are easy to find and that they appear comfortable and clean from the outside. While you want to ensure your customers get time to browse without feeling pressured, simply asking a customer with an armful of items “Can I get a fitting room started for you?” can help ensure they make their way from the shop floor to the fitting rooms.
Ensuring that you have single gender fitting rooms can also be important in providing customers a safe and comfortable environment to try on items. Remember that once you get them into the room, you want to keep them there – not having good, secure locks and an ample amount of privacy can drive them away before they try their potential purchases on.
Be sure that you have accurately estimated the number of fitting rooms that you need as well. Plenty of customers will opt out of trying on their items if there is a lengthy wait for an available room ahead of them.
Of course, it’s not enough to get customers into the fitting rooms the first time. If they have a poor experience, not only are they less likely to make a purchase on that visit, they are unlikely to want to use your fitting rooms in the future – that is, if they even return to your shop!
Be sure to provide comfortable seating, quality mirrors that give them an accurate look at the fit of their apparel, and plenty of accouterments such as a place to hang their clothes. Also, be sure to pay attention to factors such as temperature control – nobody wants to be uncomfortably cool or overly warm while dressing and undressing.
Making the fitting rooms accessible, convenient, and comfortable helps draw customers in. Providing a superior fitting room experience will help them make a decision to buy, and keep them coming back. Once buyers have entered the fitting rooms, sales associates can engage them and not only convert them into a sale, but potentially even increase the size of that sale. The process all starts with understanding the importance of the fitting room as the center of the shopping experience at brick and mortar stores.