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On-the-spot try-ons: Paris post offices introduce fitting rooms for online shoppers

At select post offices in Paris, customers can pick up a package and instantly try on the clothes or shoes they purchased online. As part of a trial by La Poste, France's postal service, seven of its locations now feature bright yellow, standalone fitting cubes. If customers decide not to keep an item, they can return it immediately β€” no need to go home, try on a garment and then find time to get back to the post office.

La Poste offers packing tape and return label printing, as well as a recycling bin for discarding boxes and other packaging material. The fitting rooms β€” designed to resemble La Poste's iconic yellow mailboxes β€” are part of the company's broader efforts to modernize its post offices. Other elements intended to accommodate online shoppers include 'duo' lockers for fast collection and shipping of parcels, and pick-up lockers that allow customers to collect deliveries 24/7.

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La Poste's new fitting rooms save consumers the time and hassle of a second trip to the post office after trying on a garment at home and deciding to send it back. Besides convenience, the initiative could offer sustainability benefits, too.

Return rates for apparel are shockingly high. They cut into retailers' profits and are a massive waste of resources. Most stores offer 30-day returns, and customers often wait until that window is about to close before mailing a package back. Yet the faster an item is returned, the more likely it is to be resold instead of ending up in a shredder, incinerator or landfill.

Which is where La Poste's fitting rooms come in. Encouraging people to try on garments and immediately return them if they're not satisfied can shave days or weeks off the return process, allowing retailers to restock items sooner. For La Poste, meanwhile, the concept presents a potential advantage in the fiercely competitive e-commerce logistics market.