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Lucile Le Goallec 01.21.21

Post Covid Retail: Rethinking the Fitting Room

Decodings

Reinventing trying on clothes : a major challenge for businesses.

Though stores are adjusting their hours and how they greet customers to meet social distancing requirements, one in two French people don’t feel safe today in clothing stores.

In fact, 65% are worried about touching and trying on clothes that others have handled, and 25% believe they have to give up certain shopping habits. (OpinionWay 2020)

So along with welcoming and selling practices, the fitting room has become a fundamental part of a positive customer experience.

As functional as they are inspirational and aspirational, changing rooms are now at the center of business’s new challenges.

With the Carlo Ratti Studio taking the hygiene track with a quick-acting purifying compartment, and other concepts based on immaterial solutions, like Botter’s digital cloakroom experience for SS21 during Digital Fashion Week,  the fitting room is turning out to be a source of creativity and disruption.

Carlo-Ratti_Design

A close look at five innovations that will revolutionize the future of trying on clothes and the in-store experience!

THE INTUITIVE FITTING ROOM: GIVING CONTROL BACK TO THE CONSUMER

Welcome to the era of the autonomous fitting room! Once you go inside there’s no need to go back out. Thanks to RFID tags, the room automatically knows which clothes you’ve chosen and gives you all the details. Smart screens present available sizes and colors as well as other products in the store or in stock, and you can have them brought to you or order them directly. Check out the Alibaba x Guess smart store in Hong Kong.

The must: No need to get undressed to try on clothes and see how you look. New technologies for connected dressing rooms like at LG are designed to be in synch with a brand’s shoppable products and your own wardrobe. Avatars try clothes on for you and you can see how new pieces would fit in with what you already own.

Dressing Connectés CES 2020

THE SOCIAL WINDOW FITTING ROOM: A REPLACEMENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

 Fitting room selfies are always irresistible and now at Adidas in London they can be customized thanks to LED screens that give consumers a choice of immersive, athletic, Instagram-ready settings. What could be better than trying on new gear with your favorite soccer team’s stadium in the background?

The must: Consumers take the stage when the mix of live-shopping and live-streaming turns into live-sharing!

Try, like, share: The winning trio of a fitting room / live content studio, as seen at Taostyle at the Kerry Center in Hangzhou.

Nano-influencersapproval adds fresh fuel to brands’ drive-to-store appeal.

Taostyle Hangzhou Kerry Center

THE DO-IT-ALL FITTING ROOM: A NEW TAKE ON TESTING PRODUCTS

Despite everything, physical retail, with the possibility of trying a product first-hand before buying it, is still attractive. Even so, extreme fitting rooms are pushing the boundaries of full-immersion product testing.

The must: “Enjoy before buying” in a fitting room where role playing mixes fun and function.

Use proof to demonstrate and convince: A motto adopted by the Canada Goose Cold Room (for testing products in extreme cold) and by Adidas fitting rooms in the London flagship store where there’s a treadmill and gym equipment in a sensory-adapted environment.

Canada Goose The Cold Room

THE DO-IT-ALL FITTING ROOM: A NEW TAKE ON TESTING PRODUCTS

Despite everything, physical retail, with the possibility of trying a product first-hand before buying it, is still attractive. Even so, extreme fitting rooms are pushing the boundaries of full-immersion product testing.

The must: “Enjoy before buying” in a fitting room where role playing mixes fun and function.

Use proof to demonstrate and convince: A motto adopted by the Canada Goose Cold Room (for testing products in extreme cold) and by Adidas fitting rooms in the London flagship store where there’s a treadmill and gym equipment in a sensory-adapted environment.

Posti Box Fitting Room

THE ONE-STOP FITTING ROOM: MAKING IT EASIER TO PICK, TRY & GO

Phygital’s aggressive development of the “try first, pay later” concept is losing ground with the complications of individual logistics such as choosing the place to receive the product, trying it on, sending it back.

Yet the lockdown sparked an acceleration of click-and-drive in sectors such as ready-to-wear and children’s goods, as seen with Kiabi’s success.

The must: The self-service store or the three-in-one fitting room where you can “pick, try and go” with no snags and everything managed on-site.

The Posti-Box in Helsinki leads the way; it includes a pick-up point, fitting rooms and areas for sending products back.

DAYLAB STUDIO

RESERVED FITTING ROOMS: ENCOURAGING TRYING ON CLOTHES IN THE STORE 

Making shopping excursions fun again happens primarily through reducing waiting times and limiting nonessential contact. A major challenge is optimizing fitting room traffic to encourage customers to try on clothes – and to transform that into spending – on-site.

This can happen through clear, easy-to-understand signage in ultra-design, ultra-modern fitting rooms (thing about the latest public toilets) set in the middle of the store, like in the Daylab Studio in Shanghai.

Another simple but efficient technique, seen at Zara, is to book fitting rooms ahead of time with a Smartphone for an optimal, personalized experience. This imitative goes along with using geo-location to find products in a store and QR codes to buy them, letting consumers’ time and energy remain focused on the brand experience and product.

THE NEW GENERATION OF FITTING ROOMS: INTERACTION, IMMERSION & INTIMACY

Well beyond the fitting room on its own, rethinking its space means rethinking the brand- and store-experience.

The priority is to ask the right questions about consumers’ relationships with three “I” words: Interaction, Immersion and Intimacy.

From enclosed, experiential fitting rooms, to more open spaces with photo-ready backgrounds, to the in-store fitting room + content studio combo, brands have all the tools to reinvent this point of contact. Design hooks up with technology, virtual with the real, and material with immaterial for an augmented, unified customer experience.

To learn about other surprising, disruptive concepts and explore the strategic levers brands can use for post-COVID social context and consumer expectations, consult our study (RE)-THINK COMMERCE 2020.

 

Cover image credit: © DEEP Digital Collection by The Fabricant

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