The Fitting Room Evolution: Hall of Fame or Hall of Mirrors? 

In 2014, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her flagship store in New York City’s Soho neighborhood to fanfare from the retail industry, hailing it as the first truly “connected store” of its time, collecting customer data and enhancing the shopper experience at every turn.
We reflect back to how we at Swarm expected this benchmark in retail technology convergence to impact the bricks and mortar shopping experience. 

Do you think the fitting room has been revolutionised in the way we forecasted in 2017? Check out our predictions below and watch out for our 2020 review of the state of play for fitting rooms and beyond as part of our ‘Let’s Science the S*** out of Retail’ series. 

May, 2017: 
Rebecca Minkoff paved the way to the future store. Her groundbreaking approach introduced interactive technology mirrors into her flagship. Shoppers touch screens, order champagne, get stock, size and style information all while being influenced by the latest catwalk videos and photos. Clothing is taken to the fitting room where a digital mirror continues the curated shopping journey. Minkoff's customers are three times more likely to buy if they use the fitting room according to Minkoff's stats. Brilliant!

After several months of piloting smart fitting rooms at a single store, a global sports apparel retailer is now installing the technology at 350 of its stores across Eastern Europe. Last year, the retailer began exploring how it could expand the system to provide benefits to in-store customers, while also gaining analytics. During the pilot, the company reports, the system improved sales by making it easier for customers to request a different size of a garment they were trying on, as well as recommending other products to them. So this year, the firm began deploying the technology across 350 stores and factory outlets, within a total of 1,200 fitting rooms. These stores and outlets represent the largest of the retailer's locations. 

According to the Alert Tech, the shopper is seven times more likely to purchase if persuaded to try a garment on in the fitting room. The sale is the ultimate prize and this happens, mostly, in the fitting room. Sales data isn't the only insight that matters. Near misses, abandoned items, dwell time, sales associate help all count. This insight helps retailers with the two important questions, 'how' and 'why' the sale was made or not made. The tech is here to provide this data and it should be used.
And the top prize in the battle between online and offline retail? Research finds that merely touching an object results in an increase in perceived ownership of that object. The eBay effect is a testament to the fact that touching an object increases its value. The online world cant competes with this. For non-owners or buyers, perceived ownership can be increased with either mere touch.

In a world where bricks-and-mortar retail is working harder than ever to justify its existence, we need to science the s*** out of every element of the store. The fitting room is my first target!