Here’s my adaptation of that list to fit what consumer psychology research finds about all the different sorts of environments in which we allow shoppers to try out our merchandise to decide how well it fits their preferences.
- Put those try-out areas in convenient locations. Old Navy is moving their dressing rooms from the far reaches of the store layout toward the center.
- Keep the environment uncluttered and fresh looking. A True Value Hardware store in Omaha, Nebraska keeps fresh flowers in the areas where customers might try out items.
- Provide places for shoppers to safely put aside packages and belongings so they can turn their attention to the prospective purchases. Some retailers use an ottoman and mirror arrangement for easy visibility.
- Encourage group shopping. Anthropologie designs fitting rooms to accommodate friends who come together.
- Merchandise the area. When the customer is assessing the suitability of the item, what else might they be interested in purchasing? Since you’re not sure what will be brought to the area, these should be items that can fit a number of preferences. In a semiprivate space, also be aware of the risks of theft. Loft has accessories like large belts and decorative jewelry.
- Have proper lighting. Not so harsh that it exaggerates flaws in the merchandise or the consumer. Not so dim or uneven that the shopper can’t easily inspect the merchandise. Ideally, allow the shopper to adjust the lighting. Ann Taylor dressing rooms use six sources of lighting and three types of bulbs—ceramic metal halide, compact fluorescent, and low-voltage.
- Make it easy for the shopper to have staff do any re-shelving. Kohl’s, like many other retailers, has a “Not for me” container by the dressing room entrance.
- Have supportive staff easily available. The WSJ reporter who wrote the article has said in a separate interview that it would not hurt at all to have a handsome man standing by female fashion dressing rooms who says to each woman coming out and gazing around, “You look absolutely lovely.”
Use Accent Lighting to Build Shopper Interest