The post-lockdown dilemma of the trial rooms

August 9, 2021

Findings from a focus group

A selection of individuals from Confiz recently sat down to discuss their shopping experiences in apparel stores in Lahore. We discussed the importance of trying out an outfit before buying it in hope of analyzing the impact of lack of trial rooms on conversion. We have some interesting findings to share.

A retail store versus an online store stands out for the customer experience it provides. The advantage of having to see the product, the colour, the print and trying it out for the perfect fit is the one unique factor lying with the physical stores. The lockdown has now lifted and we can observe a good number of people entering stores. The store experience, however, is still not back at previous capacity.

While we can see the product, the perk of trying it out before buying is absent. Majority of the participants in the focus group reported at least one incident where they could not buy a product because they were unable to try it on.

A participant shared her story

‘I went to [unnamed] store to buy a saree. I checked the tag to see the yard length. There wasn’t any. I only decided to buy it when the salesman encouraged me to try it on, although over my clothes, to check the length.’

Another one said

‘I was not comfortable buying a pair of pants from [unnamed] store and I could not tell what the fit and the stretch would be like. I asked the salesman but he could not let me in the fitting room’.

The way forward

As we step into the ‘new retail’ normal, conversion for the survival of stores has become more important than ever. With the change, factors affecting conversion have also changed. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken to address the hurdles at hand.

Trial/Fitting rooms should be on their way to opening for store visitors. The next best alternative is to have measurement counters in the store with an expert on size available to help convert a potential sale.

Just before the businesses fully resumed and retail stores were allowed to function around the clock, we saw a few brands promoting the use of measurement tapes as part of the ‘new shopping experience’. However, designated counters for measurement of clothes can hardly be found within the stores.

Until the trial rooms open again, measuring counters with the right measuring toolkit such as the ones available in Shopper Value and an attendant are the potential way forward.