One of the most underrated touch-points in fashion retail is the fitting room. More than half of purchase decisions in fitting rooms are negative, more often than not due to factors such as bad lighting and small cabins (3 m² ) offering little to no positive customer experience. However, two high street retailers – intimissimi and Primark – are bringing experience into the fitting room with two very different concepts.
In the middle of the pulsating core of Munich, hearts have been beating a little faster for some time now. With a completely new concept for fitting rooms, the lingerie specialist intimissimi has created a very personal stage for its customers in its store on Kaufinger Straße. The dressing room ‘Youzon’ gives lovers of sophisticated fashion the opportunity to look beyond the shopping mile in an intimate atmosphere. In the 5 m² tastefully designed oasis of well-being, the lingerie manufacturer utilises various digital lighting elements to provide a unique fitting room experience.
Scene change: At the other end of Munich, Primark opened its newest branch in Germany in mid-May. Over 6,000 square meters of sales space, the Irish fast-fashion supplier has integrated 66 standard 2-3-square-meter changing rooms – the complete opposite of an oasis of well-being. One of the cabins, however, stands out: in the women’s section, a changing room was designed as an adventure zone. The showroom fitting room is big enough for eight people – a service for all girls who enjoy their Primark purchases with their girlfriends. The large changing room offers seating, power sockets / USB charging points and free Wi-Fi (available throughout the store).
Two very different concepts pursuing similar goals: emotional brand and product experiences at the PoS. The strength of such ‘bricks and mortar’ retail approach over online is the experience of products and services in an appealing environment. In fashion retail, the fitting room plays a hugely important role, because it is here that the purchase decision takes place.
At Intimissimi, supple soft light flows out from behind the main mirror, thus highlighting the fit and materiality close-up. Homogeneous indirect illumination via reflectors makes flat structures vividly clear without unsightly glare. The “light-shower” ceiling light gives Ansorg’s Youzon a softly flattering and uncompromisingly clear illumination. The backlighting of the upper body emphasises the contours of the customer whilst providing a glimmering shine to the hair. All luminaires specified have tuneable white light and excellent colour rendering. A light source opposite the main mirror ensures that the customer sees herself radiantly in the mirror. Thanks to a compact touch panel in the dressing rooms, customers can create the right lighting mood for underwear, swimwear, nightwear or sportswear – an experience which online shoppers can only dream about at home.
The intimissimi retail architect Filippo Mercanti explains this love of detail: “We want to continue the high standards that we place on the production of our collections in the store as well. The quality of the garments should therefore be consistent with a first class in-store shopping experience.”
In comparison, Primark relies on classic downlighting in the fitting rooms. An extremely important factor in the design of shopping experiences today are ‘sharable moments’, which place social experiences in the foreground. Today, flagship stores are clocking onto the idea of optimised in-store selfie spots. The simplest solutions are mirrors with hashtags branding. More and more retailers and brands are developing selfie optimised “stages” near the fitting rooms.
And where are the magic mirrors?
Fashion retailers have had very different experiences with Magic Mirrors. Five key challenges for large-format fitting room mirror displays have so far revolved around content, image quality, data protection, costs and fingerprints.
In addition to delayed mirror functions (time-shifted video), Magic Mirror display concepts integrate, for example, endless shelving functions. The integration of cameras is necessary to project selected products onto the display for the customer to see. Fixed-integrated fitting room cameras are not culturally accepted and are extremely problematic in terms of data protection law.
On the display, customers can experience and select alternative colours, complementary products or different styles. Continuous maintenance of the content is practically impossible for multi-brand retailers. Unfortunately, the representation of the colours on mirror displays is insufficient under typical downlighting conditions.
The costs of life-sized interactive mirror displays in fitting rooms is still too high for any meaningful ROI. Professional tablets or smaller LFDs, on the other hand, can certainly offer added value in selected locations – providing the personal service can be guaranteed, that is. The order function of other sizes or colours from the cabin is another practical aspect which is greatly appreciated by customers. Frustration is, of course, very high if the selected products can not be quickly delivered to the cabin.
And finally, in practice, fingerprints on mirror displays are a big problem. The only thing which can be done to help against fingerprinting is regular cleaning of the mirror several times a day.
Whether it’s a feel-good oasis or a group changing room – if the story is designed to suit the target group, unique and tailored shopping experiences in the retail sector can stir the emotions of the shopper, hopefully translating into more sales for the retailer.
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