Phil Wise, European marketing director at Formica Group, considers the factors that can help secure sales in the retail environment in the latest issue of ABC+D magazine.
According to research, once a customer enters the fitting room the prospect of converting the sale rises from 10% to 67%.1 A focal point on the path to purchase, the fitting room offers a comfortable and secure area for customers to make a better informed purchase decision. Having well-trained and attentive sales staff on standby, complemented with a welcoming atmosphere, are additional factors for consideration.
Hygiene is another aspect that should not be overlooked. Considering that the average amount of time spent in fitting rooms is five minutes and 45 seconds2, it is reasonable to believe that unclean fitting rooms will hinder repeat custom.
Unsurprisingly, research shows hygiene is essential to persuading a customer to make a return visit with over 18% of those surveyed conceding to being reluctant to return to a retail store due to the facilities having poor levels of hygiene.
The first point of contact a customer will have when entering a changing room is the fitting room door. Retail environments have high traffic footfalls which means specifying doors with surfacing properties that provide ease of maintenance is an alluring proposition for retailers, since it assists in delivering the hygiene standards required to meet consumer expectations. Materials that require little more than water, mild detergent and a wipe to stay clean, therefore, make for a sensible option.
Conversations with designers affirm that interior door design is responsible for setting the right tone before entering a room. In the context of a fitting room, the door is just one facet of the overall retail design but is one of the limited number of surfaces customers will come into physical contact with in the retail environment. From this perspective, the opportunity to be able to specify custom design doors both in terms of size and décor is an attractive proposition for retailers and one worth consideration.
Today’s fitting rooms need to be comfortable and inviting from an aesthetic perspective in order to give shoppers an experience similar to trying on clothes in their own home.
It is also worth noting that despite the rise of online shopping and free return policies, research indicates that 70% of online apparel is returned due to fitting issues. Bearing this in mind, brick and mortar stores should view their fitting rooms as an important deciding factor in securing a customer’s purchase; delivering a fitting room with an appealing design is likely to assist in encouraging repeat custom.
Another influential factor in creating an interior atmosphere and affecting mood is colour. Colour creates an emotive response and can be used cohesively across a store, be it the whole interior or complementary to the existing colour palette, product displays and lighting.
Modern door collections provide a breadth of design options to reflect contemporary trends, including the on-trend aesthetic of nature and eco themes through the use of organic material such as wood.
Advances in digital technology mean it is now possible to replicate the looks of wood, metals and natural materials, but with more durable materials featuring hardwearing surface properties that are much better suited to retail environments.
Manufacturers can now print practically any design to meet the most creative or demanding of design briefs; from brand colours and logos to reproductions and eye-catching artwork, retailers are limited only by imagination rather than technological progression.
The aforementioned advances offer additional advantages where it comes to the consistency of design detail. For instance, with wood, when an existing door requires replacement it is not always possible to get consistency in colour, shading and grain.
For manufacturers with the technology to apply authentic looking finishes to surfacing such as laminate, this is not an issue, since the doors can be colour matched as needed. High Pressure Laminate is particularly resistant to stains, impact, scratches and moisture, as well as meeting Building Regulations for fire-resistance.
Door technology is improving and with it comes a broader scope of colours, sizes, finishes and styles to suit any retail style.
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