Never mind the rush to sell in this current economy—retailers have always been focused on harvesting any and every opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell. While analysts and retailers alike have been on a strategy scavenger hunt looking for the best ways to do it, one of the most important touchpoints is right under their noses in the fitting room.
At a mall-based Metro Park store, this golden opportunity came to life for me full throttle. The LA-based specialty chain is focused on “transcending the traditional retail experience.” The merchandise is reflective of its target customer: trendy, detailed and artistic. The in-store ambiance is reminiscent of an underground club and store associates are like the well-dressed partygoers, young and full of life.
As I browsed the racks, an associate followed me from a distance, and the moment I took down a garment he came to my assistance. “Would you like me to start a fitting room for you?” he asked with a smile. I accepted. “What’s your name?” he asked. This really is like a club, I thought, as I told him. “I’m Matt, and if you need any help please let me know.”
Intrigued by the eccentric selection, I spent more time looking, and sure enough, Matt was there to take each garment back to the fitting room, which had a piece of paper with my name on it before I even got to it. This extra special touch is a no-brainer that costs retailers nothing and can make or break the deal.
With a loud and proud focus on the customer experience, Metro Park has managed to stay true to its innovative repertoire by creating and maintaining an ambiance reminiscent of the customer’s lifestyle. We hear about retailers striving to decipher a customer’s “wants” and “needs,” but at this store, the two intertwine, maximizing the encounter to make this shopping trip comparable to going out with friends.
Metro Park nailed it by:
- Keeping a distance: It’s important to let the customer know you’re there to help, but shopping is still personal, and customers need their space. Store associates should curb physical and verbal distance and read the customer’s body language to interject at the appropriate time. For instance: Matt saw me examining one garment for an extended period of time. He came over and asked if I found my size okay, informing me that the clothing sometimes runs big.
- Naming the Game: Having my own personal fitting room with my name on it not only made things fun, but it gave Matt and other store associates the opportunity to refer to me personally and ensure clear communication. This was literally a piece of paper with my name hand-written on it. No digital signage, no expensive equipment. It’s a no-brainer.
- Standing by: Several minutes into my try-on session, Matt asked how everything fit and if I needed any other sizes or styles. He never missed a beat, and rather than having to relinquish my room to go find what I needed, he was on standby. This is in itself, a moment of truth, because once a customer ditches the fitting room, the sale could be off.
While some retailers may be challenged to integrate the customer’s lifestyle with their shopping experience, a friendly, helpful encounter is an easy to accomplish must-have. Retailers should consider the brand’s promise and goals when hiring store associates. If the two correlate, store associates have the opportunity to sell seamlessly, and keep customers coming back for more.
The try-on touchpoint is a tangible opportunity to bring the targeted offers of the e-commerce channel to life. Online retailers take every opportunity to analyze metrics for conversion rates and shopping cart abandonment, but brick and mortar retailers have a leg up because the customer is physically present in there store. Retailers should pull out all the stops to ensure that customers don’t leave dissatisfied, particularly for petty reasons that can be easily remedied.
Conversion-centric online retailers earnestly attempt to up sell customers with “You Might Also Like…” type offers, and real store associates should be doing the same thing. The fitting room is ultimately where the customer decides what apparel items they will and won’t purchase, and store associates should be acute to the signs that indicate either or, to offer the necessary tactics that ultimately result not only in a sale, but in an optimal customer experience.