Every fashion retailer has had a return where the product has been tried on and immediately returned, often covered in dog hair or similar while the consumer waits to repack it. Now the French Post Office think they have come up with a solution – Post Office fitting rooms where you can collect your purchase, try it on in front of the mirrors, and if you don’t want to keep it immediately pack it back up to be returned.
It’s a small scale trial by La Poste, with the first Post Office fitting rooms opening in Paris, gaudily yellow to reflect the colours of their post boxes. There are shelves for your shopping and mirrors all round so that you get a similar experience to shopping in store. They can even print a returns label on the spot.
As well as being a ploy to get more consumers to use their services, the Post Office fitting rooms are also an advantage for retailers. If the product is going to be returned anyway, the quicker it gets back the quicker it can be resold and the faster it’s repackaged the better condition it’s likely to be in.
It’s not all good news though, France is a notoriously protectionist country and the Conseil du Commerce de France (CdCF – French trade council) is already protesting that the step could see fewer consumers shopping at physical retail shops. Currently with a couple of fitting rooms in Paris and plans for more to be rolled out in Valenciennes, Saint-Etienne and Amiens, this is a very small scale experiment and the physical layout and size of many Post Offices probably mean that the CdCF don’t have too much to worry about.