Innovative Changing Room
Changing rooms are often the location within a store where you make the decision on whether to buy an item of clothing or not. Yet they are far too often not given a second thought and let down in the design process. Often a tiny space at the back of the store, with unflattering lighting, mirrors that stretch and distort your body and tinny sound systems.
Rather than being a space of enjoyment, you often feel harassed and uninspired. Is it any wonder that increasing numbers of consumers are opting for the hassle-free option of online shopping? With countless brands offering quick delivery and free returns, it definitely is the more appealing option for many.
Saying that, retailers are starting to consider innovative ways of altering the consumers perspective of the dreaded changing room. So, what is the future of changing rooms looking like?
Reformation and the ‘Magic’ Wardrobe experience
LA-based clothing brand Reformation has reinvented the way we see in-store changing rooms. They are an outstanding example of a digital-first brand that has moved to a brick and mortar setting – and got it right.
Taking inspiration from their successful digital space and avoiding the changing room errors made by many. They have created an open and airy store, with more than 50% of the floor space being used for fitting rooms and stock replenishment. The remaining shop floor isn’t an overwhelming clutter, but unified rails showcasing a single version of each item available. Shoppers can scan the item they wish to try, select their size and find it waiting for them by the time they reach the changing room.
The changing rooms are each fitted with a ‘magic wardrobe’. If your item doesn’t fit, select a different size on the tablet and close the wardrobe door. Within minutes your replacement will be waiting inside the wardrobe for you. Reformation has also created an environment which can be personalised by the customer. With the option to change the lighting and a cable to plug in your smartphone and select your own music. This enjoyable environment works to entice customers to spend a little longer in store, improving sale outcomes.
The Virtual Experience
Bringing the digital experience in-store, Beyond loves the ‘virtual dress-up experience’. To save your customer physically trying on an item, we’re seeing the introduction of mirrors that allow you to virtually try it on. An example is Superdry’s Berlin flagship’s ‘Smart Mirror’. The mirror captures the user’s body movements and reflects back an animated character. You can swipe left and right to experiment with different styles. This type of interactive technology engages customers and gives them a chance to enjoy ‘trying on’ the collection in a fun, digital way.
Other great examples are being developed by cosmetic companies. Covergirl's magic mirrors encourage shoppers to try on make-up by picking the item up in front of the mirror. As you do so the selected shade will appear on your reflection. An entertaining way of testing out new products, without leave you reaching for the wet wipes to clean all the samples off the back of your hand.
The Virtual Personal Shopper
Like the virtual try-on mirror, denim brand Pepe Jeans London was hot off the mark, launching their Magic Mirror concept in 2015. This digital screen within the mirror can detect what items have been brought into the fitting room. It will then recommend other pieces to help build an outfit or let you compare items. Shoppers can also use the screens to request different sizes or colours from the changing room.
A great way of encouraging the customer to interact with your brand in-store, explore the full collection on offer and increase the chance of up-selling by recommending items to complete a look.
With the changing room developing in different ways to keep up with our growing digital world, it’s exciting to see how retailers develop the changing room to suit their brand. Whether that’s creating larger fitting rooms and less shop floor space to offer a more enjoyable, relaxed experience. Or adopting the digital ways of virtual dress-up – encouraging consumers to come in-store to try on in an entertaining way. The important thing is the days of the dark cubby hole changing rooms will no longer stand. How will you change?
Reformation. Adam Laycock. Pepe Jeans, Drapers. CoverGirl.