How your fitting room experience could be affecting your bottom line

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 percent of consumers enjoy the fitting room experience – it appears many retailers are overlooking a key part 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 percent 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.

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: “Research has revealed the conversion rate for apparel shoppers who use fitting rooms is 70 percent, compared to just 10 per cent for those who don’t. Yet this is an area of a store, up until now, that retailers have had little understanding or influence over.

“Badly managed, ill-equipped 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. Linking fitting room activity with traffic data, it helps retailers understand and improve utilisation, resulting in increased conversion and sales.

Watch a video revealing how SmartFit can benefit retailers here.