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Will COVID-19 mark the end of trial rooms?

Coronavirus has definitely given  the Indian retail industry a new shape, bringing in some serious changes in the way it functions. Retailers are cautious than ever before and do not want take a single chance to loose the customers, therefore, they are doing every possible thing to attract customers into their store. The big question that rises is, how are the traditional methods going to sustain?

In a new retail environment, where customers constantly possess a feeling of insecurity and fear, trial rooms are gradually becoming an area of concern for the retailers. Where, once the customers wanted to try out every piece from the rack, are now thinking twice to even touch it. Therefore, they can now be seen gradually shifting to online channels.

Trial rooms that were once curated with great enthuse and creativity, now just stand as a vacated area in the store. Therefore, many retailers are planning on to totally eradicate them from their store layouts.

Designer Hemant Sagar of Genes Lecoanet says that the consumers are more concerned about their safety and sanitation than enjoying the shopping experience nowadays, hence, businesses will have to act accordingly.

Menswear brand Blackberry’s recently announced that is planning ton completely do away with the trail rooms, while designers like Manish Malhotra are trying the concept of virtual consultations. Sagar, however, believes that completely eliminating trial rooms from the stores is not possible as the physical formats are preferred only because of the facility they provide to touch and feel the garment.

Giving a better solution to thus problem, Designer Shruti Sancheti says that physical formats are going to face a tough challenge, however, instead of eradicating trail rooms, a better option is to avoid unnecessary trials. Sancheti adds, “A detailed size chart with corresponding international numbers along with pictures of various views online would reduce the frequency of trial room visits and yet account for brand loyalty and sales.”

This period of lockdown has also given a huge boom to the online markets. This concept, which was once just famous among the youth is gaining popularity in all age groups due to its convenient nature. Inspired by this, many premium and luxury brands are also taking the online route. Many brands are also on the move to give a competition to their online rivals and revive physical retail. For this they are adopting various safety measures like thermal screening, sanitation, use of masks and other protective gears.

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