The Store of the Future – enhancing the retail experience with smart fitting rooms
Smart fitting rooms are a great starting point for digital transformation in the physical store and can greatly improve the customer experience. Robin Coles, Product and Technology Lead at HSO, explains why this is so important and how changes in this area can have a significant impact on your bottom-line.
In fashion environments, the last thing the customer is thinking about is Digital Transformation, the chances are they have found something they like, they want it, and they are heading for the fitting room, their intended purchases hanging over the arms.
At this stage, they don’t need product content, they don’t need to be transformed digitally, they just want to make sure they look right, that the garments fit, and they will work together. The clothes feel good on their arm, they have an idea of where they intend to wear them, and how they will make them feel. It’s all good.
So, the purchase is all but done isn’t it, there just remains the rubber-stamping exercise in the fitting room, and then to pay, the customer is happy, the assistants are happy, all is well.
This thought pattern must be why the fitting room is the last bastion of manual, clumsy procedures, with no technology used, to help, no science applied. Why bother, the sale is a done deal isn’t it?
The customer arrives at the fitting room, guess what, they all seem to be occupied, and there is no one to help. You would have thought that it would be worth manning the fitting rooms at this busy time, but, no matter, a short wait and one will be free. Great, there’s one, all the customer has to do is to enter it, and check that the clothes work as well as they think they do.
Wait, they intended to pick up a skirt with that blouse, and they forgot, but they daren’t leave the room, they will only have to wait for another one to become available. Oh well, they decide to try on what they have with them. Ah, the blouse fits, but the jacket is too small, and in any event, looking in the mirror, they are not sure it’s quite the right colour, perhaps they should have picked up that blue one instead. A quick look through the curtain shows that its busy out there, and there is still no one to help. Is it worth, making a dash to the clothes rail to get the item? On balance probably not, and oh no, look at the time.
It’s a pity, the customer wanted these things, but their time is scarce, there are people to meet, and other household items to buy. Mentally, they decide to come back later, of course, they probably won’t. On the way out, finally there is an assistant to help, but in this case, that’s only to give the garments too.
A depressing end to a good start, the result being no money taken, the garments not being available for other customers until they can be returned to rails, and a potential customer who feels a little off colour with the brand.
Why is it like this? Digital Transformation should in many ways start at the fitting room, the opportunities to improve are plentiful.
Using data captured during the customers’ visits, staffing can be planned to reflect customer shopping patterns. Simple data capture of what the customer takes into the room, with an inexpensive display, enables suggestions to be made, whilst they are there. When they want another item, being an alternative colour or size, or an additional suggested item, they can at a glance see whether it’s available.
A quick click on the screen and an assistant’s smartwatch could show what the customer wants, whether that be an additional item, or just help. Before a moment has passed the customer will have the replacement items, they fit, they match, and they have decided to take the additional item, as well. They feel great, it’s a job well done, and the service was excellent.
Meanwhile back at the head office all the data relating to the customer journey, the garments they tried on, the replacements, the additional items and the time spent there, are all feeding into store based analytics. Staffing plans are being drawn up, investigations are being scheduled for items that are tried on multiple times and not sold. Better still the tills are ringing.
This is an example of Digital Transformation, relating to the store, the assistants, and one that enhances a key customer journey.
Oh, by the way, today’s Digitally Transformed tills don’t actually ring anymore, no matter!
Are you ready for the store of the future? Download our infographic to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.