Thursday 12 October 2017

Retail and the influence of doors

Phil Wise, European Category Manager for Commercial Products at Formica Group, discusses the different factors that can influence and help secure sales in the retail environment.

Research indicates that once a customer is in the fitting room the likelihood of converting the sale rises from 10% to 67% (1).  A quintessential focal point in the path to purchase, the fitting room provides a secure and comfortable area for customers to make their purchase decision. Having well trained and friendly sales staff on standby, combined with an inviting atmosphere, are also factors for consideration.

Another aspect to take into account is hygiene. When it is considered that the industry average for amount of time spent in fitting rooms is 5 minutes and 45 seconds (2) , it is not unreasonable to surmise that dirty fitting rooms are unlikely to inspire repeat custom. Unsurprisingly, research indicates that hygiene is vital to influencing a customer’s return visit with over 18% of those surveyed admitting to not returning to a retail store due to the facilities having poor levels of hygiene (3)

 The fitting room door is the first point of contact a customer will have when entering a changing room. Due the high traffic nature of the retail environment, specifying doors with surfacing properties that offer an ease of maintenance is an attractive proposition for retailers since it assists in delivering the hygiene standards consumers have come to expect. Materials that require little more than water, mild detergent and a wipe to stay clean make for a sensible option.

Conversations with designers reveal that interior door design is responsible for setting the right tone before you enter a room. In the context of a fitting room, the door is just one aspect of the overall retail design but is one of the few surfaces customers will come into direct contact with in the retail environment. From this perspective the option to be able to create custom design doors both in terms of décor and size is an interesting proposition for retailers and one worth consideration.

Aesthetically, today’s fitting rooms need to be inviting and comfortable in order to provide shoppers with an experience akin to trying on clothes in their own home. It is also worth considering that despite the rise of online shopping and free return policies, research indicates that 70% of online apparel is returned due to fitting issues (4).  With this mind, brick and mortar stores should view their fitting rooms as a significant determiner in securing a customer’s purchase; providing a fitting room with an appealing design will certainly contribute to attracting repeat custom.

Colour plays an important role in creating an interior atmosphere and influencing mood. It creates a reaction and can be used cohesively across a store whether it works across the whole interior or complements the existing colour palette, product displays and lighting.

The latest door collections available in the market provide a breadth of design options to reflect contemporary trends, including the on-trend aesthetic of nature and eco themes through the use of organic material such as wood.

Advances in digital technology mean it is now possible to replicate the looks of wood, metals and more natural materials, but with more durable materials featuring hardwearing surface properties that are much better suited for retail environments.

Manufacturers can now print practically any design to meet the most creative or demanding of design briefs; from brand colours and logos to reproductions and eye-catching artwork, retailers are limited only by imagination rather than technological progression.
Such advances offer further advantages where it comes to the consistency of design detail. For example, with wood, should an existing door need to be replaced it is not always possible to get consistency in grain, shading and colour. This is not an issue for manufacturers with the technology to apply authentic looking finishes to material such as laminate since the doors can be colour matched as required. High Pressure Laminate is particularly resistant to stains, impact, scratches and moisture, as well as meeting fire-resistant to Building Regulations.

Door technology is improving and with it comes a broader scope of colours, sizes, finishes and styles to suit any retail style.

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