Place Based Media in Dressing Rooms

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in DOOH, Insight

One place where sign vendors are always promoting their wares is in retail. Retail seems to be a “hot bed” for touting such things as “sales lift” and ROI increases. I have personally seen such wide gaps in the number of purchase decisions made in store, that I now do not know who and what numbers I can trust at all–some of the stats range from 10% up to 80%. I am assured, based on my own experience that the number is somewhere above zero, but getting matching numbers from any number of industry case studies could prove difficult. Because digital signs certainly prove beneficial to those making purchase decisions within the store–whatever that percentage may be–we must be creative in how we approach the potential retail customers by pushing products on them using DOOH advertising. One simple and creative method for targeting those out-of-home can be seen through the use of signage in retail fitting rooms.

Fitting rooms generally consist of a small place to try on apparel, a bench, a mirror and a hook on which to hang clothing. Simple enough. Let’s discuss a bit how place-based media can be used effectively to target shoppers just before the point of sale as they try on clothing.

Let’s pretend as though the digital signage is a salesperson inside the dressing room with the individual. That should help us understand what is appropriate and what is not. There is a psychological aspect here that we may need to keep in mind–the signs must be as unobtrusive as possible. Why? People are undressing of course! How would you like it if a full length digital sign were staring you in the face while you took off your clothes? With the blogosphere always talking about Minority Report signs that will watch you, it’s good to make sure the sign is simple and avoids many of the whistles and bells of some “over-the-top” installs. Here are a few things to avoid when installing simple digital signage in retail fitting rooms.

1. Avoid Interactivity. Whatever you do, be sure to avoid interactivity. In the privacy of a dressing room, interactivity is generally not appropriate. One of the most prevalent reasons this is true is due to the fact that people suspect technology. And, in a place a private as a fitting room, you should avoid the

2. UPC Code Scanners a “no, no.” Similar to the problems with interactivity is the desire to over complicate. We get some interesting requests sometimes. One in particular comes to mind. This customer wished to place signage in fitting rooms complete with UPC scanners. They wanted the scanners to be able to scan the item inside the dressing room, giving the customer the price and other database-entered data about the item. First of all, isn’t the price next to the UPC code on the item? Secondly, what else does the consumer need to know? Are you going to tell him what country the linen came from and where it was manufactured? The same rules apply to implemented QR codes. Keeping it simple is probably the best boat with which to float the river of success.

3. No mobile marketing integration. Again, this should seem obvious (for many of the same reasons spoken of previously). But sometimes we need to point out the obvious to make sure problematic install exceptions don’t become industry rule.

4. Augmented Reality? Also similar to point #1, integrating augmented reality into your digital signage may not be the best idea. It could be entertaining and may help the customer see what he/she could look like without actually having to change, but it is more appropriate for the retail floor than the fitting room.

There are a few other implementations which I have discussed with a couple of potential clients. Namely, mirror back drop signage and having the signs integrated with some sort of queue system. I could see the mirror signage working (if it were implemented correctly). As for a queue system, I had to ask, “how many people are visiting your dressing rooms that you actually need to ‘take a number?'”

In many ways signage in a changing room could be a great way to promote items, introduce local events, and advertise generally. And, while there are some “don’ts” involved, I would not shy completely away form this unique market segment. I really like the words of Paco Underhill on the subject:

The standard tools of marketing work, they just don’t work anywhere near as well as they used to. Many purchasing decisions are made, or can be heavily influenced, on the floor of the store itself. Shoppers are susceptible to impressions and information they acquire in stores, rather than just relying on brand-name loyalty or advertising to tell them what to buy.

As a result, an important medium for transmitting messages and closing sales is now the store and the aisle. That building, that place, has become a great big three-dimensional advertisement for itself.

To me, it’s a bit like restroom signage. My only advice would be to keep the content simple, the screens small and the interactivity to a minimum. Other than that, dressing rooms can be a great way to target a captive audience.

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