Is Your Boutique’s Dressing Room a Sales Killer?

I admit I am not a fan of the dressing room especially when it comes to poor lighting, doors that don’t shut, curtains that won’t close, and absolutely no seating. That is why I loved reading this article written last April in the WSJ.  In summary, according to Envision Retail Ltd, customers who try on clothes in fitting rooms have a 67% conversion rate—meaning they ultimately buy something they tried on.  Customers who don’t use the fitting rooms have only a 10% conversion rate. Store execs realized they needed to transform the less than desired fitting room into a more flattering space. Strategists also believe the retail market is saturated and increasing the amount of stores does not necessarily equate to increased sales.  Instead, companies are trying to work with what they have got to generate more profits.

Most of the dressing-room makeovers are an attempt to go from being bland to being more comfortable and inviting for the shopper.  For example Ann Taylor’s newest dressing room (shown in picture)  is intended to replicate a shopper’s walk-in closet .You can find these rooms have six sources of lighting and three types of bulbs, compared to one source and type of lighting in the old design. The mixture of ceramic metal halide, compact fluorescent and low-voltage bulbs is instantly more flattering.

Bloomingdale’s has installed rear-lit three-way mirrors, which allow customers to see themselves from a variety of angles. There is also a ceiling-mounted light three feet back from the mirror to eliminate shadows on the shopper’s face.

I learned that clothing stores typically allot about 20% of the square footage towards fitting rooms and storage and 80% towards displaying the merchandise according to Robin Kramer, head of Kramer Design Group.  Personal touches at Old Navy include labels placed over a trio of bright yellow hooks, helping shoppers organize their selections.  The organized hooks read “I love it!” and “Not for me”.  Such a clever idea and really helps the selection process.  Anthropologie writes shoppers’ first names on the fitting room door.  It makes it easier for sales staff to refer to them by name and engage shoppers on a more personal level.

For more information on this topic, look over this interactive dressing room graphic here.  Leave us a comment on how you think dressing room can be improved!

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