BrainTrust Query: Dressing Rooms More Than a Convenience
Commentary by Bob
The Retail Doctor
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doc blog.
Initially, a fitting
area was for checking the “fit” of corsets and handmade clothing. Department
stores included them eventually, and they became a decision zone for customers.
Now, most retailers see them only as conveniences for the customer. Yet the
facts are astounding:
- Shoppers who use dressing rooms are 71 percent more likely
to buy versus those who browse the sales floor at 28 percent.
- Those who use
dressing rooms buy approximately two times what the browser buys. And they
If they’re assisted in the dressing room, they will buy nearly two times
what the unassisted buys.
- My colleague Marge Laney with Alert Technologies who provided
those statistics says, “There are only two reasons people use fitting rooms:
number one – to steal something; or number two – make a buying decision.
In both cases, service helps.”
Indeed, I found myself shopping at a Zara store recently.
I ended up on the third floor and discovered a small men’s section with some
nice flannel prints. I grabbed a large and went to the fitting rooms.
As I walked
to my dressing room I passed pegs with number tags on them. I figured during
busy times they must give these to people entering as a security precaution.
In my case, the retailer had only one girl working the entire floor. She didn’t
notice that I went into the dressing room.
After finding my arm wouldn’t go
through the sleeve, I put my shirt back on, walked out to grab the extra-large
and returned to the fitting room. Not a word from the girl.
After again finding
the extra-large too small, I just walked out looking like some Elvis impersonator
from Canada in a red, white, and black check shirt unbuttoned to the waist.
Still not a word from the girl who saw me go into the dressing room again;
she was just too busy standing behind the counter.
The XXL I found fit.
My time spent: 20 minutes.
I didn’t get mad and just walk out like most. Instead,
I did her job for her. Many times, stores let customers feel like unpaid associates.
what if you don’t sell clothes? Are there places someone could encourage you
to, ‘Try it on to see how it fits?’ Yes.
- Cars. “Let’s take her for a test drive.”
- Eyeglasses. “Let’s see how you like
- Bowling balls. “Try to pick this up to make sure the finger holes
- Chain saws. “Feel its comfortable grip and notice how light this is.”
“Let’s open it up and see how easy it is to play.”
- Food. “Free sample.”
When you get the item in someone’s hands or on their body,
they are more likely to bond with the item. The competitive advantage for retailers
able to train try it on and sell via the fitting rooms is meeting with success
for big retailers like Nordstrom.
Discussion Questions: Why do fitting rooms
appear to be a second-thought for many apparel retailers? What should the role
of the fitting room be?