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Retail Selling Tip: What If Home Depot Had A Dressing Room?

01 | 04 | 11

bloody shoe print

What if Home Depot had A dressing room?

Can you picture it? A guy picks up several chain saws and heads off to a room to “try them out?”

After a few minutes, a sales clerk sees him limping out the doorway with a puddle of blood in every step, and greets him with, “Did you find everything ok?”

You wouldn’t let someone go into a dressing room and not check up on them, would you?

I hope not because out of sight is out of mind. And that’s dangerous if you’re trying to grow sales.

Initially a fitting area was for checking the “fit” of corsets and handmade clothing. Department stores included them eventually, and they became a decision zone for customers.

Most retailers now see dressing rooms only as conveniences for the customer. Yet the facts are astounding:

  • Shoppers who use dressing rooms are 71% more likely to buy versus those who browse the sales floor at 28%.
  • Those who use dressing rooms buy approximately two times what the browser buys. And they return less.
  • If they’re assisted in the dressing room, they will buy nearly two times what the unassisted buys.

In case you didn’t get that, a person who uses a dressing room and has a helpful salesperson will buy nearly four times more product than the person who never walks into a dressing room.

My colleague Marge Laney with Alert Technologies who provided those statistics says, “There are only two reasons people use fitting rooms: number one to steal something or number two make a buying decision; in both cases service helps.” dressing room statistics

Indeed. I found myself shopping at a Zara store recently. I ended up on the third floor and discovered a small men’s section with some nice flannel prints. Since this seems to be the year of looking like a lumberjack, I figured I could update my wardrobe with several flannels for winter.

Understand, I take a size 40 jacket. Usually that means I take a medium shirt, but sometimes in casual clothes, I’ll wear a large.

When I found a print I liked, I held up the medium. It looked too tapered so I grabbed a large and went to the fitting rooms.

As I walked to my dressing room I passed pegs with number tags on them. I figured during busy times they must give these to people entering as a security precaution.

In my case the retailer had only one girl working the entire floor (a frequently seen disturbing trend in retail.) She didn’t notice that I went into the dressing room. I tried on the large.

That is to say, I attempted to try on the large; my arm wouldn’t go through the sleeve. I put my shirt back on, walked out to grab the extra-large and returned to the fitting room with not a word from the girl.

I again took off my shirt to try on the extra-large. I couldn’t button it. This time I just walked out looking like some Elvis impersonator from Canada in a red, white, and black check shirt unbuttoned to the waist.

Still not a word from the girl who saw me go into the dressing room again; she was just too busy standing behind the counter.

I had to search the racks to find an XXL, returned to the dressing room - it fit.

My time spent = 20 minutes.

I didn’t get mad and just walk out like most. Instead, I did her job for her. Many times stores let customers feel like unpaid associates.

What are the most common complaints from shoppers?

  • Finding someone to wait on them.
  • Finding something that fits.

They go together, don’t they?

Here are some basic tips how to use your fitting room to grow sales:

  • Make sure to empty it after every customer.
  • Make sure every employee knows their goal is to get customers to try on the merchandise.
  • Make sure as they’re taking the customer to the dressing room, they unpin or unfold the items.
  • Make sure they check back within 2 minutes to see if the customer needs anything.
  • Make sure they suggest items to complete the outfit.

Then the customer will happily follow the associate to the counter to be rung up and trust me, they will return again and again.

What if you don’t sell clothes? Are there places someone could encourage you to, Try it on to see how it fits? Yes.

  • Cars. “Let’s take her for a test drive.”
  • Eyeglasses. “Let’s see how you like the frames.”
  • Bowling balls. “Try to pick this up to make sure the finger holes line up.”
  • Chain Saws. “Feel its comfortable grip and notice how light this is.”
  • Toys. “Let’s open it up and see how easy it is to play.”
  • Food. “Free sample.”

The best associates can preface it by saying, "Can you do me a favor and try this on?" If you have a commissioned salesforce they'll understand getting the customer in the fitting room is the goal and make it a fun experience.

This is the essence of customer service, an invitation for the customer to become acquainted with your products. When you get the item in someone’s hands or on their body, they are more likely to bond with the item.

These are by no means all the tips for making the fitting room payoff but are necessary tips if you want to move average check, conversion rates, and margins higher.

The competitive advantage for retailers able to train try it on and sell via the fitting rooms is meeting with success for big retailers like Nordstroms. They understand the power of the dressing room.

Foot saved, sale made, what could you do to harness the power of the dressing room?

AUTHOR Bob Phibbs

Topics: Retail Sales

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