It’s hard to imagine the humble fitting might be a hero in the modern retail story, but in many ways that’s proving the case.
Like all areas of the retail sector, the fitting room is benefitting from an influx of modern technology which is working to play to the strengths of bricks and mortar, improve customer service and decrease shoplifting as well.
Here’s an insight into how…
The central role of the fitting room
Test, try, feel and engage – in the modern retail environment these four words are at the heart of the strength of bricks and mortar retail and it’s here that the fitting room falls into the role of an unlikely modern-day hero.
In an era of social media shopping, online retail and digital showrooming, the fitting room facilitates customer engagement with a product, allowing them to try on and envisage that product in their world.
That said, the fitting room has long proved a theft prevention challenge for retailers, with anecdotal evidence indicating it’s a prime site for retail theft.
Out of sight of sales associates, it’s a place with the potential for items to be concealed, where security tags can be detached and where shoplifters can take the time they need to secrete stolen wears on their person or in their bags.
But now, technology is allowing the fitting room to better fulfill a role in the push towards better customer service, while thwarting shoplifting as well. From smart mirrors to theft prevention, the fitting room is far from immune to the march of technology.
Tech to improve the fitting room experience
Call them magic mirrors or smart mirrors, new technology is transforming the customer experience in the fitting room.
Implemented in Australia by major retailers like Seafolly, these mirrors utilise RFID to provide onscreen sizing, colour options and a concierge service enabling customers to send messages to store staff from the change room.
“Shopping for swimwear can be a daunting task for many women,” Seafolly said in a statement announcing the magic mirrors’ introduction.
“In a bid to alter this mindset, the ground-breaking technology offers a non-invasive approach to size options, colour choices and styling recommendations without deterring from Seafolly’s exceptional level of customer service from store staff.”
In the process they’re allowing customers to better experience a product, see what options are available and even understand whether that item is in stock at the current store, or an outlet nearby.
In the meantime, they’re enabling the store associate to better do their job by ensuring the customer has all the information they need about a product that piques their interest and they can assist them immediately if required.
Tech to reduce fitting room theft
In addition to improving the customer experience, new technology is also allowing retailers to better combat the problem of fitting room theft.
Innovations like the FittingRoom Guard harness the power of electronic article surveillance to alert staff when a security tag is being tampered with and removed, or when shoplifters are attempting to conceal the item using other means.
In the process, it combats one of retail’s traditional weak spots without jeorpardising the privacy or the consumer.
As a welcome outcome, the security further improves customer service, allowing the store associate to focus on the customer in the change room and their needs, rather than counting items going in and out of the change rooms, watching for suspicious behaviour and guarding against shoplifting.
Instead, they are free to find and deliver the items a consumer needs, while offering advice on outfits or accessories that would suit their them or complement their current choice.
Meanwhile, magnet resistant security tags, like the IR Cable Lock, are also proving invaluable in reducing fitting room theft.
These innovative all-encompassing cables and tags allow retailers to protect merchandise like coats, jackets and apparel with an alarming lanyard lock that cannot be defeated by magnets, yet matches the high end aesthetics of the merchandise it protects and offers a quick “one-step” application making securing merchandise easy for sales associates.