The Power of Mirrors in Retail: More than meets the eye


Humans are one of a few species that can recognize our reflection in the mirror as ourselves. It is a powerful tool that affects the human psyche. It can make us more self aware, but it can also lower our self-esteem. It even has the power to compel--think of poor Narcissus, who fell in love with his reflection and stared at it until he died!

Most of us go through our days using mirrors without thinking much about them. But imagine your world without mirrors for just a minute. We use them as beautiful pieces of art to decorate our homes and offices. They provide us with useful information on our appearance. They keep us safer in our cars.

Mirrors in the retail environment are crucial for customer engagement. They give you the opportunity that no online merchant can: the 'Try On.' Sure, there are some virtual try-on experiences out there. But it’s not capturing facial expressions, different poses, etc. Did you know that customers are twice as likely to purchase if they try something on?

In Optical, your entire dispensing area is your fitting room. Encourage your customers to try on frames by making sure there are lots of mirrors visible. People want full length mirrors to see their whole selves in your product. Have smaller mirrors spaced out in your product display at a height that your customer doesn’t have to look down. Table-top mirrors should be adjustable for the same reason. There is a reason why we hold our phones up to take selfies.

Make sure large mirrors are secure and mechanically fastened. They are heavy with sharp edges, so make sure sharp edges are covered.

Mirrors also have aesthetic value. They can draw attention to a specific area. They make a space appear larger and busier. They can conceal things like columns or doors. They provide security, both to increase sight lines and give a general perception of being ‘watched’ or ‘on display.’

So what’s new with mirrors? Technology of course, digital mirrors that provide interactive experiences like the ability to email a friend to help in your purchase or selection, adjust lighting, or take a selfie to compare your choices.

Fun mirror facts:

  • Your reflection is reversed horizontally, but not vertically. So your right ear in the mirror is on your left, but it’s not upside down.

  • Your reflection is about half of your actual size.

  • If you step away from a mirror, your reflected size stays the same.

So when you're designing your retail and/or optical space, keep the customer in mind. Create a clean, inviting environment where they are encouraged to try things on and can easily select products. Your bottom line will thank you!

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