We’re on a mission to help you understand how to make fitting rooms better. This is the third of a three-part series intended to provide the basics of a great fitting room experience. This post focuses on creating consistently stellar customer experiences in the fitting room.
You can have fitting rooms that are comfortable, well-lit and perfectly laid out to make customers feel at home. You can have a store that subtly but assuredly directs customers to the fitting rooms each and every time they shop. You can do everything right, and still have trouble getting customers to try stuff on.
So what is the problem? It could be your staff. Not a problem with the people working in your stores, per se, but with their training.
The most engaged employees are the ones that feel valued, appreciated, and empowered. They’re also part of a team that works together to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Fitting Rooms are Critical to the Customer Experience
We get it, retailers are looking to for ways to reduce their expenses all the time, and unfortunately, cutting payroll is often viewed an effective, albeit difficult, way to cut costs. But leaving staffing levels too low to properly attend to customers in the fitting room is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Many retailers pay close attention to door traffic, as well they should, it’s an important metric. But it’s not the only one that matters when it comes to determining appropriate staffing levels. When setting the schedule for associates in the store, very few retailers are paying close attention to fitting room traffic.
That’s baffling because the fitting room is the lynchpin of the retail shopping experience for customers!
Our research shows it time and time again, unserved fitting rooms are used less frequently than those that have a dedicated fitting room attendant.
Allocate Payroll to the Fitting Room
The addition of fitting room associates is much more effective when it’s part of an overall strategy. An engaged associate on the sales floor leads the customer to the fitting room and leaves them in the capable hands of their colleague. It’s a whole-store approach where all points lead to the fitting room.
If you’re in the business of selling apparel, you’re in the fitting room business – Fit Happens
Fitting room associates need to do more than just fetch different sizes, colors, and styles. They need as much training on the products in the store as the staff dedicated to the sales floor. After all, how can they make helpful upsell and cross-sell suggestions and introduce customers to your store’s loyalty program if they are unfamiliar with your product lines?
Dedicating resources to the fitting room works on two fronts:
- Customer Service. Customers have long memories. They might not specifically remember the details of excellent service, but they’ll certainly remember the time they got locked out of the fitting room and couldn’t find anyone to help them!
- Sales Conversions. Customers who receive service in the fitting room are more likely to buy, and they’re more likely to spend more when they’re making those purchases.
While adding a fitting room attendant should help increase sales, and allocating payroll to the fitting room is decidedly a smart move, there’s more to the art of consumer engagement.
Engaged Customers Start with Engaged Employees
Have you ever been waited on by a server who clearly hates their job? Or had your groceries scanned by a cashier who would rather be ANYWHERE else? Then you know how it feels when you’re dealing with someone who is not engaged in the workplace. We can’t all make the list of “The 5 Retail Apparel Stores People Love to Work For,” but investing in training and development is one way to make your store a great place to work.
You can pay your employees to service your customers, or you can pay your customers to service themselves with discounted merchandise. What does that mean? Apparel stores with a high price point often have a high level of service in the fitting room, whereas lower-end retailers do not. You need to decide where on that spectrum you want your store to reside, before poor sales and clearance racks do it for you.
Steering traffic to the fitting room, thus generating the need for dedicated fitting room attendants, requires a keen eye on the sales floor. Associates need the training to choose the appropriate service response based on the customer’s behaviour.
Taking the extra time to train associates, and establishing ongoing training initiatives is a big investment. And it’s one that really pays off when it comes to job satisfaction, which is ultimately a boon to customer satisfaction.
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The Final Word on Creating Stellar Fitting Room Experiences
If you want your customers to feel the love, your staff has to feel it first. Educate and empower your employees, give them specific responsibilities in the store, and make sure one of those specified zones is the decision zone, otherwise known as the fitting rooms!
We’ve only scratched the surface with the information provided in this three-part series, but you can learn more about what turns an average fitting room into a great one in the book, “Fit Happens.” Download your free chapter today.