When you think of fitting room technology, does Rebecca Minkoff come to mind?
This stylist has partnered with eBay to put together one of the most jaw-dropping fitting room experiences. The rooms are complete with personalized kinetic sensors and tracking systems to get to know customers on a deeper level.
For most retailers, the idea of adding technology to a fitting room feels far-fetched. This is where most retailers are sorely mistaken.
Technology isn’t something to be afraid of in retail. It’s something to embrace.
Many retailers worry about adding technology because of the cost or extravagance. Still, some of the best technologies to use in a fitting room are simple and highly effective. They drive sales and improve customer’s experiences.
The first step, is knowing what you need and what makes the most sense for your brand.
Considering Technology in the Fitting Room? Start Here!
Before you buy any type of technology, you need to have a good idea of how it will align with your store’s goals, budget, and current technology. Your store’s starting point will differ depending on these three core factors.
1. What goals do you want to accomplish with technology?
Before you invest a penny in technology for your fitting rooms, you have to understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Do you:
- Need more customer data?
- Want to improve customer experiences in your store?
- Need to grow your sales?
If your answer is all of the above, it’s time to hone in on what specifically is most important to you.
For example, if you’re losing sales because customers are having a poor experience in your store, improving your service levels should be a top priority. On the other hand, if you’re still unsure of what’s stopping your customers from making it to the checkout, you might need to gather more customer data.
Decide which goal is most important to your individual store’s needs. The other goals will fall in line as a result of your focus in one area.
2. What is your budget?
It’s a common misconception. Technology doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to implement.
While deciding what technologies to add to your fitting room, consider your budget. Decide how much you’re able to invest and the return you can expect to see on your investment.
Keeping your budget in mind when making a decision is smart. It’ll guide you to find what’s necessary to help you reach your goals.
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3. What technology do you currently have in place?
Do you already have iBeacons in your stores? Do you use RFIDs or a mobile app? Or are you like most retailers – just getting started?
Understanding how your technology will work cohesively is important. This goes beyond making sure the systems interact correctly. Think about how the technology can be paired up and used together to further your goals.
For example, do you already have iBeacons in your store? If so, you might be able to add new technology to improve your customer’s experience without breaking your budget.
Choose From the Many Fitting Room Technologies
When it comes to fitting room technology, there’s a lot of variety to sift through. Here are some of the most popular types of technologies being used.
Perhaps nothing is more embarrassing than having a salesperson walk in on you while you’re halfway to wriggling yourself into a slinky, black dress. Fitting rooms without doorbells leave buyers uneasy, stealing from the customer experience.
Doorbells add a little bit of comfort and luxury. They allow your sales team to personally interact with a customer. They also eliminate the fear that their privacy will be unintentionally violated.
Customers are 71% more likely to buy after trying on a piece of clothing than if they just browsed the store, AlertTech research has found. Transactions happen in the fitting room. When your customer needs help, you want her to be able to access a salesperson right away.
The call button makes it easy for your customers to engage with sales reps without having to go back onto the showroom floor. When a customer is in a fitting room and needs a new size, a call button can be used to ask a sales representative for help. This way, the customer gets what she needs without having to leave the fitting room.
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Do you know how long each person has been in the fitting room? Occupancy indicators answer that question with a single glance. They can also work in harmony with other types of technology.
For example, a doorbell can also be used as an occupancy indicator. Or, a call button could provide information that shows how long a person has waited for service.
Text Message Alerts
More and more people have text messaging enabled on their phone. Now, stores are using it to eliminate the need for a visible line. Instead, shoppers can continue browsing the store until a fitting room is open and ready for them to use.
Cashwrap in Fitting Rooms
Once a customer has made her final decision, she’s ready to check out. Don’t make her wait in another line. Add a cashwrap in or right outside of the fitting room.
Smart mirrors give customers stats and updates in digital format. In fitting rooms (and outside of fitting rooms) the mirror can be used to offer information about specific products.
When used outside of a fitting room, these mirrors encourage customers to try on a garment. The mirror answers questions up front. No sales team required.
What happens when a size or color isn’t available in store? You don’t want to lose the sale so you have your team look online for the customer, right? Wrong.
We caution against using tablets and apps in this way. It steals from the unique in-store experience and could jeopardize sales rather than help. 90% of retail transactions take place inside stores, according to research by The more you can keep your customer’s experience in store, the more likely she is to buy.
Instead of whipping out an app or tablet to find another size or color, encourage your sales team to interact with the customer. Ask her questions. Get to know what she’s shopping for so you can point her in the direction of something you have in store that’ll meet her needs.
The Best Technology for Any Retail Store
There’s a lot to sift through. Technology continues to advance at a rapid clip. Keeping it up with it all is enough to make any retailer’s head spin.
For those retailers just getting started with new fitting room technologies (and most are), we often recommend call buttons.
Call buttons are one of the easiest types of technology to install. It’s also one of the most effective at achieving the majority of goals.
- They allow you to gather data about what the customer wants and needs at the moment she’s looking for it;
- They make your customer’s experience in your store better by giving them higher-level service;
- They ultimately drive sales by giving your customer the exact items she wants to buy in the time when she’s deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
Let’s dig in to why call buttons are one of the best starting points for a retail store.
1. They help with queue management.
Consider the average customer’s experience. Most people pick the wrong size or color off the shelf. They’re forced to ask a friend, who is unfamiliar with your store, to go find a different size. Or, if they’re alone, they put their clothes back on, drudge back out into the store, then return to stand in line to try on a different size.
With a call button, you can avoid the added queue times. You’re able to move people in and out of the fitting room faster by having a sales associate within constant reach.
2. They offer significantly better customer service.
Personalized shopping used to be exclusive to large luxury retailers. These stores had the budget to hire someone to attend to each shopper’s needs.
With a call button, you can provide that same luxurious service without the expense. Customers feel doted on and happier as a result. They’re able to get what they need faster and with better service. In turn, they make your brand look more luxurious without extraordinary costs.
3. They boost sales.
When a customer finds what she was looking for faster and with better service, she’s more likely to buy. Optimizing the in-store experience is the first step in boosting sales.
Remember, 71% of customers are more likely to buy a piece of clothing after trying it on. The more you can get your clothing into your customer’s hands, the more likely you are to see your sales rise.
4. They gather data.
You can see the immediate ROI of your call buttons because they work in the background to gather customer data. Track your customers to see who used the call button to get a different garment and who bought.
5. They help you understand your customer.
The more data you gather, the more you’ll get to know your customer. This can be used to make future store decisions for other technology investment, queue management plans, and sales.
See when shoppers like to shop the most. Find out when people need the most help in the fitting rooms. Plan your store and your schedule accordingly so you’re always prepared to offer the best level of service and make sales.
Before you rush out to buy the latest and greatest technology, do your research. Decide what makes the most sense for your store’s budget, goals, and current situation.
Then, discuss the pros and cons of each type of technology. Some will be obvious. Others won’t.
Getting to know what’s available to you is the first step in bringing your store into the technologically modern age. It might not be as expensive as you think.
With technology, such as call buttons and occupancy indicators, you can accomplish quite a few goals. Better yet, you can do so without fear of breaking the bank while turning your fitting room into a Rebekah Minkoff style boutique overnight.