Pardon us while we indulge in one of our favorite pastimes:  Visual stimulation (also known as retail therapy).

Seriously.  Contrary to our loved ones’ opinions, we’re not exercising our shopping jones.  Rather, we’ve been deliberately spending time in our favorite retailers in search of something, well, inspiring. 

Today, our visual stimulation hobby has turned into a cache of ideas, many of which are extraordinarily relevant to the issues we’re solving today. 

Take some recent statistics about women buyers, for one, hailing from a Surrey, England, retail consultant.   Shoppers who use fitting rooms have a conversion rate of 67 percent; in other words, they eventually buy what they try.  Compare that rate with consumers who don’t try on clothes in store (10%).   [No chauvinism intended since men buy without using fitting rooms, for the most part.] 

Those findings have prompted the likes of Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Bloomingdale’s, Ann Taylor and others to spiff up back-of-store dressing areas, adding;

  • Comfortable communal areas for waiting companions. 
  •  Spacious rooms and great lighting. 
  •  Buttons that alert ever-hovering sales associates to a specific request and call for one-on-one assistance.

Getting employees to engage with change – and the company - is not so dissimilar.  [Though we don’t advocate sprucing up media for design’s sake alone.]  Try these on … if you haven’t already: 

  • Installing channels to answer requests and acknowledge concerns. 
  • Ensuring that managers and influencers get the kind of help (read: information and face time) they need to inspire their staff and colleagues. 
  • Showing them the change – not just in flattering light, but also from all angles, up, down, and sideways – so they make the right decisions. 

Our analogies can continue.  Old Navy now features quick-change areas and labels – e.g., “I love it” and “Not for me” – to help overloaded shoppers organize their haul during try-ons.  Finally, one we especially like:  Anthropologie writes consumers’ first names on the fitting room doors, so sales staff can start to engage more personally.

Next time you’re strolling in any aisle – supermarket or department store, warehouse club or discounter – compare those stimuli to your employees’ experiences.  Do they register?