Why fitting rooms are essential and how to increase your clothing turnover

Are you looking for ways to increase your revenue?  Increasing sales of bicycling specific clothing and especially to women represents a big opportunity for bike shops.

How? By installing fittings rooms, or cleaning up and remodeling existing rooms and educating and training owners, managers and staff about how to integrate such spaces into your store’s sales process, conversions and close rates!

The latest research shows that the more customers entering a fitting room means more customers leaving the store with a purchase in hand!

The book local bike shops want to get – and read and make required reading for managers and staff is: Fit Happens: Analog Buying in a Digital Age by Marge Laney.

Total category sales is the metric most used by bike shops to measure and track the performance of their stores. In addition some shops also measure and track conversion, or the average ticket value of an individual transaction, and the number of items sold.

According to Laney a recent study commissioned by Alert Tech11 revealed two fitting room variables that play a significant role in increasing all of these metrics:” (1) the percent of total store traffic that enters each fitting room and (2) the number of associate engagements initiated by the customer.”

You and your staff focusing on getting customers into the fitting room and engaging with them while they are making their buying decisions will, the research shows, positively impact conversion and close rates and build loyalty and repeat business..

We know, or should know that women shop differently than men. Women and a growing number of men have to try-on apparel selections in order to make buying decisions.

According to Laney: “They will do that in the least painful way possible, whether in-store or at home. Retailers should embrace this idea and make their fitting room environments match their selling environments.”


A few years ago I was visiting a bike shop with a female colleague. The owner asked our opinion about what he should do to improve his store. Without hesitation my colleague said: “Your fitting rooms are down-right scary and women won’t go in them – so it is no wonder you are complaining about your stores inability to sell clothing to women.” 

I won’t go into details, but the daughter of the owner said: “I have been telling my father to clean up and remodel the fitting rooms if he wants to increase clothing sales.”

Treating fitting rooms as an integral part of your stores environment adds continuity to the apparel buying process and increases the likelihood that the customer will feel comfortable in using your fitting room, which increases the probability that they will buy.

The shop owner that we visited took my colleagues advice and completely remodeled and modernized his stores fitting rooms – and reported an immediate increase in clothing sales.

When clothing shoppers make their buying decisions in the fitting room, it’s more profitable for the store and more efficient and enjoyable for the customers, which in turn builds customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Accordingly, it is in your best interest to invest in the quality of your fitting room experience. When the fitting room experience reflects your store’s commitment to customer-centric excellence, shoppers will be more likely to take advantage of the fitting room experience and make more purchases.

The challenge is to create an experience that results in more sales and more loyal customers while educating and training – because you and your staff are the key to making the fitting room experience happen.

Integrate your fitting room into your customer service and sales process to connect with a shopper on the sales floor when you see her holding clothing items she’s considering, with an invitation such as “May I check to see if the fitting room is available for you?” This engages the customer and encourages her to commit to the next step—trying-on the apparel item(s).

Encouraging more shoppers to enter the fitting room is critical to the whole process. It is especially important in conversion, where the research found that even a small increase in the number of shoppers who enter a fitting room increases the likelihood of a sale

For those of you that are thinking, or actually saying out-loud: I don’t have the space for a fitting room”…I suggest you take a look at your clothing sales and then your overall revenue and calculate what an increase of 10 to 15 percent in clothing sales will mean to your bottom line. 

If the increase is interesting, or even compelling, start to plan a remodel of your store – no matter how small your square footage – to include a well lighted, cheerful fitting room with a full length mirror, a hanging rack for clothing and a chair! 

Increasing your bike shop’s revenue and profitability from the sales of clothing should be the focus of your fitting room strategy!

Jay Townley is a bicycle industry veteran with years of analytical experience of sales trends. Find out more about Jay here or visit the www.gluskintownleygroup.com