Increase your revenue at the Point of Sale, by increasing your fitting room size.

Self-Image and Sales in the Retail Environment

I recently recovered from a two week long body image crisis brought on by moving my dressing mirror. After two weeks of thinking that old age had finally taken its toll on my skin tone, I realized I had merely subjected myself to one of life’s most sinister evils: bad lighting.

The mirror has since been returned to its original location, but the horror is all too often relived during the most inopportune of times, clothes shopping. However, my spirits were brightened this morning by an article in the Wall Street Journal. It seems that retailers are finally catching on to the connection between conversion rates and fitting room experiences.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Customers who try on clothes in fitting rooms have a conversion rate—meaning they ultimately buy something they tried on—of 67%, according to retail consultant Envision Retail Ltd., of Surrey, England, based on observations of more than 8,000 shoppers. Customers who don’t use the fitting rooms have only a 10% conversion rate.”

Lighting is just one of many factors to be considered when designing a ‘fitting room that sells’. Obviously, the way the customer feels about themselves when trying on clothes is going to affect their purchasing behavior. If I go into a fitting room, strip down, and see the very worst version of myself in the mirror, I am going to get in and get out as quickly as possible, likely empty-handed. However, if I walk into a fitting room and am confronted with the Photoshop version of myself, I am going to make the experience last, and am going to feel beautiful in the clothes I try on. When shopping for clothes, feeling beautiful is my signal to buy. Now, if the fitting room is conveniently placed in the store, has a comfortable place where my son or boyfriend is safely entertained as well as helpful attendants, then even better!

Many stores are redesigning their dressing rooms to account for these elements. The Wall Street Journal article states, “The new design at Ann Taylor, a division of Ann Inc., is intended to replicate a shopper’s walk-in closet, says Samantha Dorfman, senior vice president of store development, design and facilities. A huge chandelier and larger-than-life marketing poster fill the entrance to “seduce” customers back to the space, Ms. Dorfman says. It’s an about-face from the barren, beige entrance to the fitting rooms in the current layout.

Old Navy, the bargain-priced division from Gap Inc., moved fitting rooms to the center of its new store design. The relocation came after customers referred to the old tucked-away location as the “dungeon,” says Tom Wyatt, Old Navy’s president. To further cater to its target customer—a time-starved, young mother—the chain added what it calls “quick change” areas. The half-circle spaces are enclosed by a curtain.

Noticing that many women like to go into a fitting room together, Anthropologie, a division of Urban Outfitters Inc., makes sure each room can accommodate more than one person. “They consider it a little bit of a party,” says Co-President Wendy B. McDevitt.”

A well-designed dressing room is a win-win for everyone. Stores enjoy better sales and shoppers better self-images.


About the Author

Editorial Team is a leading industry news site for the point of sale and payments industry.We are also the go-to resource for small business owners that want expert tips and inspiration on how to run a successful business. Collectively, our team of experts has decades of POS, payments, and small business experience.