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June 7, 2013

The Fit Fitting Room – Part 1; Size Matters!

by Marge Laney

I’m often asked what constitutes a good fitting room from a customer point of view that would take into consideration things like size, color, and environment.  This is the first in a series of blogs on what I think about each element of fitting room design and the impact each has on the overall customer experience in the fitting room.

First up is size.  Size matters!  Unfortunately, there is no standard size fitting room.  Sizes range from a box about the size of a phone booth (remember those?) which are so small they make you lean up against the door when trying on, or the curtained ones that your butt pokes out as your balancing on one foot, to eerily large rooms that make you feel isolated and deserted.

Last there are the ‘gang fitting rooms’ that are so horrible they should be illegal.  There is nothing worse than standing half naked in a fitting room bay full of other half naked women pretending that the other one doesn’t exist and no one’s looking.

What appears to dictate size is the type of retailer.  Discounters are generally tiny, and the size usually grows with the price tags – but not always. Some architects try to jam as many fitting rooms as possible into the designated fitting room area without much thought about function or consistency of size.  Even within the same fitting room bank the rooms can vary significantly.

What constitutes a good sized fitting room?  It should be large enough to fit your customer and a reasonable amount of their stuff (purse & shopping bags), and something to put their stuff on, to sit on, and to lay their clothes on while they are trying on their selections.  People need room to take off their clothes and put yours on comfortably.  If you offer ‘big & tall’ items, be sure your fitting rooms can accommodate a ‘big & tall’ customer!

It should also be large enough so that when they have successfully undressed and are attempting to make a decision about what to buy; they have enough room to look into the mirror from a reasonable distance and see themselves.  This will not only make them feel more comfortable, it will also help them make their buying decision final in the store instead of taking the items home and trying them on to make their decision.

If you don’t make your fitting rooms fit for your customers, they’ll work around them by taking their selections home to try and buy.  And there’s the rub, taking items home increases returns, kills margin, and destroy comps.

So the next time you think about redoing your fitting room, remember, size does matter!

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