The Perfect Fit

Fitting-Room Requirements Source: Chain Store Age /Leo J. Shapiro & Associates ...
Fitting-Room Preferences Source: Chain Store Age /Leo J. Shapiro & Associates ...

Chico’s has created a niche catering to women 35 and older, helping them coordinate and accessorize wardrobes in sizes (0-3) that make them feel good about themselves. Service is paramount to the chain’s success. In none of the chain’s close to 600 stores will a customer find a mirror inside an individual fitting room.

Chico’s believes that by having the customer walk out of the fitting room to stand in front of a common-area mirror, the sales assistant can influence her choice of apparel and accessories.

It’s hard to argue with Chico’s successful formula, yet a new study by Chain Store Age and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates on fitting rooms, lighting and flooring suggests that for most retailers, adding a mirror would go a long way toward making the shopping experience more appealing.

Asked to imagine an ideal fitting room and what it would take to make it perfect, 29% of respondents to a national survey said a mirror, more mirrors or a three-way mirror. The desire to view oneself trailed only seating (46%) in its appeal to shoppers.

Overall, consumers said they preferred fitting rooms that could accommodate two people at once, had doors vs. curtains and had mirrors inside rather than outside. They also opted for private rather than communal fitting rooms. They’d rather not have a limit on the number of garments they brought into the fitting rooms. And they’d rather not be bothered returning unbought garments to the racks.

The data comes from a February 2007 national sample telephone survey of 813 consumers age 16 or older. It is part of an ongoing series of consumer studies conducted by Chain Store Age and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates of Chicago.