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Marketing Retail Retail Deep Dive

The future of the fitting room: 4 brands innovating behind the curtain

By Maddie McGovern | Designer



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November 13, 2023 | 7 min read

Smart fitting room tech is largely in the prototype phase, ready for rollout worldwide. Here, for The Drum’s retail deep dive, Connective3’s Maddie McGovern surveys the most transformative concepts.

A fitting room in a clothes shop with a neon sign

Which retail brands are pushing the boundaries of traditional fitting rooms? / Nikola Đuza via Unsplash

Smart tech is reshaping how brands are creating connections with consumers, even behind the curtain.

The fitting room influences almost every stage of the customer journey – especially customers’ decision-making processes, helping them to visualize and interact with the product on themselves.

Still, many brands neglect the design of fitting rooms. Often, we as customers may feel uncomfortable within these spaces. But new technology can help create positive experiences, increase consumer satisfaction, accelerate the buying journey, and increase sales. By prioritizing this strategy, brands can enhance the points of contact between brand and consumer.

Technology behind the curtain is becoming an important future touchpoint in the interaction between consumers and their favorite brands, enabling relationships to be established with (targeted) consumers and creating positive, personalized experiences.

Technologically-enhanced fitting rooms can provide consumers with a heightened sense of comfort. Virtual elements can alleviate consumer concerns and queries about garment fit, size and availability, allowing for a hassle-free process that aligns with the buyer’s preferences. Brands that utilize the data and insights gathered from technology can create a personalized experience, increasing brand loyalty and developing trust. Shoppers will then be even more inclined to spread positive word-of-mouth, due to positive brand perception. This in turn boosts brand awareness.

1. Zara: ‘Technological’ fitting rooms

Fashion retailer Zara has used smart tech for several years. Implementing it into fitting rooms has been a gradual process. Now, though, the brand’s latest flagship store in the northeast of England showcases a practical and efficient concept for customers to try on clothes faster.

The technology includes interactive tablets, empowering customers to easily request different sizes and colors of the desired products.

This ‘phygital’ space also offers the advantage of potentially shorter queues and the ability to search for products online in real-time, while in the fitting room.

Over time, expect Zara to roll out this technology across more stores. The brand is hoping that it will increase footfall, enhance the overall shopping experience, and boost online sales.

2. Savage x Fenty: ‘In-store virtual’ fitting rooms

Partnering with Fit:Match, Rihanna’s fashion brand Savage x Fenty has introduced a virtual instore fitting room that employs advanced technologies such as AR body scans, computer vision, and AI. Consumers can have their bust and band measurements scanned, receiving personal recommendations for products to purchase online.

This tailored experience ensures a positive interaction for consumers and contributes to a higher customer retention rate. It merges physical and digital aspects of the brand, making sure it addresses consumer needs and delivers the brand’s commitment to comfort and perfect fits in lingerie.

3. Amazon: ‘Smart’ fitting rooms

Online retail giant Amazon has expanded physical footprint with grocery stores. Most recently, the brand has entered the realm of physical clothing retail. Customers enter a store where only one sample of each item is displayed, featuring a QR code. When customers scan the QR code, they can seamlessly add the item to their digital shopping basket and reserve a space in the fitting room to view and try it on.

Customers can also share their style and fit preferences, enabling personalized product recommendations.

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4. Nike: The future of fitness

Nike, in collaboration with ad production house Unit9, experimented with immersive fitting rooms in its Paris and London stores. The activation uses futuristic mirrors, enabling consumers to mimic breathing and movement exercises, helping to guide them through the fit and functionality of the product. Following this interaction, consumers received feedback on how the product should ideally fit, along with sizing recommendations.

The virtual experience aimed to reduce the rate of clothing returns by enabling customers to try on clothing and receive virtual recommendations before leaving the store.

While many of these initiatives are trials or temporary installations, they provide a glimpse of the future of fitting rooms. The integration of advanced technologies could result in improved consumer experience, enticing them to return to brick-and-mortar shopping.

Get ready for the retail world of the future with more smart thinking and detailed analysis over at our dedicated deep dive hub.

Marketing Retail Retail Deep Dive

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