In-Home product trials
While there is no preexisting information to answer your question fully, we've used the available data to pull together key findings.
In-home trials of products are one of the new ways to shop but have had different results for retailers. Warby Parker (for which at-home try-on is just one of its offers) is thriving, while Stitch Fix and Trunk Club (for which at-home try-on is the center of their business model) are having a harder time financially.
Regarding in-store experiences, despite lack of hard numbers, showrooms can have a positive impact on net sales thanks to attentive sales staff and a reduction in returns.
Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to understand better why the information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.
To answer your query, we looked for hard numbers and reports on in-home trials, first specific to mobile devices and tech, and then expanded to retailers. However, after looking through reports by consultancies such as PwC, Nielsen, Ipsos, GfK, Deloitte and FTI Consulting, none of them featured numbers on the requested retail technique.
We then turned to specialized media and looked through articles by Fast Company, Inc., Motley Fool, Marketing Land, Total Retail, CNBC, Recode, Fortune, and Forbes. Then we expanded the search to in-store experiences and other sectors. However, data on in-home try-on and whether it drives sales seems to not be publicly available for any sector, whether exclusive to the US or global.
We did, however, find some general information for companies that offer this service. Information on whether the service was a part of its overall business (such as Warby Parker) or as the center of its business model (such as Trunk Club or Stitch Fix) was found, as well as how these companies were doing financially. There was also information on how showrooms work for in-store retail experiences, which we offer below as well.
In-home trials have been touted as one of the new ways to shop, particularly to attract Millennials. Several retailers, such as eyewear store Warby Parker and clothing stores Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, offer this service.
However, being able to try products at home before deciding whether to buy is no guarantee that companies will succeed. Whereas Warby Parker is doing well financially, but Stitch Fix and its competitor Trunk Club have been experiencing financial setbacks.
Warby Parker, valued at US$1.2 billion as of 2016, made an estimated US$250 million in 2017, up from US$50 million in 2013. The try-on at home program is recent but promising. However, it is unclear how much it has contributed or will contribute to the growth of sales.
On the other hand, the try-at-home model, which was the center of the business model for clothing companies Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, has not been as successful. Stitch Fix's shares plunged after the company went public in late 2017, despite its active members being 30% higher than a year prior.
Similarly, Trunk Club has seen its value go down. When Nordstrom bought the company two years ago, it did so for US$350 million — today, the company is valued at US$150 million. To improve its bottom line, Nordstrom is making some changes — such as starting to charge a $25 "home try-on" fee to customers.
Despite lack of numbers showing whether they increase sales, in-store experiences are of value to customers — which is why customers still prefer brick-and-mortar stores, as shown by a study by PwC.
One of brick-and-mortar stores' biggest sale strategies is to use showrooms. With attentive sales staff, showrooms can draw in customers, which can turn browsers into buyers. Physical stores also result in far fewer returns — 3%, compared to 25% in online sales.