Behind the curtain: Fashion brands reinvent the fitting room

It’s all change in the changing room. Meet the technologies fashion retailers are trying out for size.

The retail industry is changing as fast as you can pull on a pair of jeans in a fitting room. Some of the most innovative fashion retail trends are emerging from behind the curtains, and with online retailers like ASOS making shopping more effortless, brick and mortar stores have to work much harder. That’s why retailers are giving their premises a digital make-over with solutions like video walls, virtual changing rooms and interactive media to create a more engaging shopping experience.

Here are some of the most interesting innovations happening in the world of fashion fitting rooms:

Outfit approved via Facebook

Tommy Hilfiger have introduced interactive changing rooms using Bouncepad iPad wall mounts. In their Düsselfdorf store, customers can try on items, take a selfie using the tablet and share the photo on Facebook to check what their friends make of the new look. All the while, their partner can relax at the in-store bar and check out the latest fashion trends on a tablet kiosk.

H&M turns shoppers into catwalk stars

The H&M mega store in Times Square has launched a “try and buy” option that lets customers pay for items from inside the changing room to speed up the purchasing process. Shoppers even have the option to leave the store wearing the new ensemble, perfect for last minute party invites.

H&M is one of just many retailers rolling out the interactive experience across the entire shop. In this futuristic flagship store, shoppers are also invited to a Social Media Lounge with seating, free Wi-Fi, integrated iPads, headphones with music, mobile fitting rooms, and a photo studio. There are interactive mannequins with screens attached to their foreheads that play videos or show photos. Shoppers can even walk a “virtual runway” and have their catwalk performances projected on the store’s external LED screens.

Virtual changing room: dressed in a flash

Never get stuck in an optimistically sized pair of jeans again. Another key trend, the virtual changing room (created by Fashion3D) allows shoppers to ‘try on’ different styles, without physically removing any clothes. Seen here at the FLUX Innovation Lounge in London, it uses iPad technology and Xbox style 3D-animation to render a life-like representation of how the clothes fit and move – just like real, soft fabric.

Digital denim delivery

The drive to make clothes shopping more convenient also inspires Seattle retail store Hointer. A jungle of jean foliage hangs from the ceiling where shoppers use smartphones to scan the QR code of their favourite pairs, whilst a robotic system delivers the items direct to their dressing rooms. They can send for different sizes and colours, and once decided, shoppers simply slide their credit cards through a machine and leave without ever talking to a salesperson.

Experience is everything

Studies show that customers retain information much longer if they play, share or interact, compared to simply reading. The experience helps connect with their favourite brands, which ultimately translates into greater sales. However fun the tech experience, retail innovation needs to go beyond the ‘novel’ and address the consumer need to ‘touch and feel’, that the digital experience simply cannot replace.