If you were to analyse the customer journey of you last big (physical store) shopping spree, where would you place the biggest pain point? For many, it’s the part where you get hot under the collar, smudge your make-up, see yourself under bleak, strip lighting, strain your neck trying to call a shop assistant without exposing your naked body, jump around trying to pull your tights back up in the space the size of a solitary confinement sell and walk out feeling totally disheveled. That’s right, the changing rooms.
But technology is changing all of that. One day soon, our avatar selves will take all the uncomfortable embarrassment out of the whole process. Our bodies will be scanned in all its 3D glory and clothes superimposed upon them without the sound of a single unzipping.
There are a huge array of ways retailers are trying to make it more comfortable behind the curtain, from touch screen, digital product tagging, real time inventory and augmented reality. And rightly so.
Chances are if someone goes into a fitting room, there is a 2 out of 3 chance they will make a purchase. And if someone talks to an associate, the chance they will buy it is five times even more likely.
Here’s a look at 3 different ways brands are responding to frustrations in the fitting rooms.
In Polo Ralph Lauren in New York, items brought into the fitting room are detected via RFID technology, and immediately appear on a touch-screen mirror. Shoppers can view unique item details, request alternate colours or sizes, view stylist recommendations or request help from an associate.
All requests made by the customer are immediately delivered to a retail associate via an iPad who can respond with a friendly note that appears on the fitting room mirror (e.g. “I’ll be right there”). Lighting themes in the fitting room are customised to mimic social occasions that match Ralph Lauren’s brand aesthetic, such as “Fifth Avenue Daylight,” “East Hampton Sunset” and “Evening at the Polo Bar.”
Integrating the latest technology into it’s stores, shoppers scan items on an iOS-based device to see and request other available sizes and styles, receive product recommendations, view running cart totals and e-mail information to themselves or potential gift givers – all without leaving the fitting room. Store associates receive notifications and deliver any other items the shopper wants to try on.
Penningtons plus-size women’s fashion retailer have gone down a different route to bring delight to the dressing room. It’s less about convenience and more about theatre, changing the image of plus size retailing with a little bit of sass. Using augmented reality and motion-sensor technology in the main mirror, they could detect when a customer entered the fitting room. This triggered video footage of two flirty firemen in the reflection, who performed an entertaining dance routine and appeared to offer a rose or champagne.