Fitting room fatigue and a retail dilemma
Only 1 in 10 consumers are satisfied with the fitting room experience – new study finds
A bad fitting room experience is driving consumers to abandon their purchases, resulting in lost sales and damaging retailers’ reputations, according to a new study by Indyme, a customer engagement and loss prevention specialist.
The study revealed that on average, half of all consumers who try on clothes in store go on to purchase nearly three or more items than those who don’t use fitting rooms. However, with new evidence that reveals only seven per cent of consumers enjoy the fitting room experience – it appears many retailers are overlooking what should be a quintessential focal point in the path to purchase, often with significant financial consequences.
While two thirds of consumers try clothes on in store, a third of consumers prefer to try their new purchases on at home. 72 per cent do so because they find the fitting room uncomfortable and the overall experience too stressful. Consumers also cited the lack of in-fitting room help, messy and locked fitting rooms as reasons to avoid trying on items before making a purchase. This represents a missed opportunity for retailers as these consumers often have a significantly higher return rate than users of in-store fitting rooms.
For example, with over half of all consumers returning up to 50 per cent of goods purchased, retailers are frequently losing quality stock with women taking on average 3.5 days to return items to store, compared to men who will wait just 2.6 days. Recent research reveals that retailers lose over £429.9 billion each year to preventable returns, so retailers must address why consumers avoid using the fitting rooms in order to reduce lost profits.
Joe Budano, Managing Director at Indyme, said: “Industry research has proven that fitting rooms are one of the most important points for sales conversions in the customer’s path to purchase and can impact sales and satisfaction in a variety of ways. For example, previous research has revealed the conversion rate for apparel shoppers who use fitting rooms is 70 per cent, compared to just 10 per cent for those who don’t. Fitting rooms are routinely mentioned in customer surveys as the most influential factor in determining overall satisfaction and have a significant impact on the reputation or perception of a brand. Yet this is an area of a store, up until now, that retailers have had little understanding or influence over.
“Consumers walk into modern, stylishly appointed retail outlets fully expecting a full and immersive experience, yet are transported into a different world when they step into the fitting room. Badly managed, ill-equipped and messy or dirty fitting rooms are turning away customers and are increasingly resulting in a damaged brand image and significantly impacting the customer experience. With such an impact on purchasing decisions, and a key point of abandonment in store, retailers are missing an opportunity and need to transform what continues to be the most underutilised part of the store.”
Indyme have worked closely with apparel retailers to create its new SmartFit™ fitting room management system. This enables retailers to link fitting room activity with traffic data to help retailers understand and improve utilisation, resulting in increased conversion and sales. Armed with this data, retailers can make intelligent policy decisions including whether to lock or unlock fitting rooms and even alert security or in-store personnel on unusual dwell activity. In addition, it enables customers to request different sizes or colours from within the fitting room which drives positive satisfaction scores and increased unit purchases and average ticket values.
 Study was undertaken in May 2015. 2,000 UK consumers took part in the survey.
For further information on the new SmartFit fitting room management system, please visit the Indyme solutions. Alternatively, visit the Indyme solutions YouTube page to watch a video animation revealing how SmartFit can benefit retailers.