Retail and Dressing Room Psychology

Most people don’t really think about the millions of dollars that goes into the layout and design of retail stores. There is a method to where things are placed and it is all designed to guide customers through the store. Have you ever been to an IKEA? The store often feels like a maze as you twist and turn through the store on a predetermined path. There is also a direct correlation made between the amount of time spent in a store to the amount of money and or items purchased.

It’s not just the big box stores that want you to spend time in their establishments; clothing stores are also looking for your time and money. The retail companies like to view these statistics as “conversion rates” which they are looking to increase by observing the customer and their buying and shopping habits. What some retailers are beginning to realize is how crucial the dressing room is to closing the sale.

The sales conversion rates of those clients who visit the dressing room and try on clothing is always higher than those clients simply strolling about the store. Add in a conversation with a salesperson and a trip to the fitting room, and the result is 50% greater conversion rate compared to those customers who did neither.

What is also interesting to note is how men and women view fitting rooms. For men, fitting rooms are all about convenience; they need to be easy to find and accessible. Some professionally conducted studies have found that if fitting rooms are too difficult to locate, many men to simply put their items down and leave the store. The other big factor for men is how the clothes actually fit. Typically speaking, men usually purchase a much higher percentage of clothes tried than to woman.

For women, dressing rooms become a little more complicated. Women are less likely to purchase items they try on, and have different dressing room needs then men. Some high end retail stores have been experimenting with communal dressing rooms which allow women to try on clothes together. Some of the rooms are simply the size of two or three dressing rooms whereas other retail stores have one large room without the dividers and benches found in standard dressing rooms.

Dressing rooms come in all shapes and sizes with various lighting and mirrors, which can often lead to a negative outcome. Some retailers have placed lighting at incorrect angles which can cast unnatural looking shadows. Higher end retails stores have been combating this by using a variety of lighting schemes to provide the most natural light. Ideally stores should use backlit three way mirrors so their clients can view themselves in the most favorable light.

In closing, dressing rooms should be easy to find and well lit. This will lead to higher sales and provide customers with a better retail experience.

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