Dressing aka ‘fitting’ rooms are essential elements to a retail customer’s shopping experience. Allowing customers to truly see, feel, and wear clothing without the burden of making a blind and rash purchasing decision can be the difference between a happy, loyal customer, and a one-time shopper. The dressing room of a retail store has power and can convey a particular message through design, lighting, space, and most importantly—cleanliness.
“Fitting rooms are extremely important to the retail experience. I think they’re as important as the front of the house, if not more so.”– Diane Gatterdam, owner of international store design and visual merchandising company Creative Consultant Studios
As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retail shops to close their doors and operate online, many wonder what an in-store shopping experience will look and feel like post-pandemic. While hundreds of shoppers may stroll through a store on any given day, keeping these public spaces clean and sanitary will be the retail store owner’s highest priority. This is especially true of the dressing room, where people will try-on and share different pieces of unwashed clothing, time, and time again.
Here are Garment Savers’ 5 tips to ensure cleanly dressing rooms:
1. Provide Hand Sanitizing Wipes
Offer customers hand sanitizing wipes prior to and after using the dressing room. Opt for wipes that are gentle enough to be used on the face. This helps to kill bacteria and germs that may be transferred by touching, wearing, and changing garments.
2. Communicate Best Practices
Ensure that your customers know you are doing everything possible to minimize risk on the store’s end, and encourage them to do the same. Post signage of completed daily cleaning duties via a clean log, provide instruction on using sanitizing wipes prior to and after trying on clothing, encourage using hygienic materials like disposable try-on socks or makeup tools, and use posters to encourage customers to prevent the spread of bacteria on exposed skin by wearing appropriate undergarments.
3. Wipe Handles, Mirrors and Hooks Often
Cleaning is no longer an end-of-day task. Ensure that dressing rooms are cleaned periodically throughout the day to keep these high-traffic areas freshly sanitized.
4. Show-off your Cleaning Tasks
Allow customers to see your staff wiping, dusting, and cleaning the store. This will give customers peace of mind knowing that the store is as clean as possible and that there is a focus and dedication to their safety. This will make shoppers more comfortable and encourage them to spend a longer amount of time in the store, and possibly inspire a return visit.
“It is important for retail clothing stores to adopt the same attention to hygienic care inside the dressing room as they would in other areas of their store.”– Sheryll Fraze, Owner of Garment Saver
5. Offer Hygienic Materials and Tools
While it may not stop the spread of viruses, providing customers with hygienic protective gear like disposable socks, makeup tools or face covers to be used in dressing rooms will give customers the confidence they need to try on the store’s products. These hygienic tools will act as a barrier to bacteria transfer, and will ultimately add to the longevity of products in-store (no more white shirts stained by makeup!).