Why post offices in France are opening changing rooms for shoppers

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Why post offices in France are opening changing rooms for shoppers
A woman stands near a changing booth set up in a La Poste French post office to allow people to try on clothes purchased on the internet in Paris. Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

France's post office is experimenting with opening changing rooms in some branches to cater to online shoppers


The idea is that they allow shoppers to try on clothes they have ordered but then want to quickly return purchases if they don't fit.

In a Paris post office participating in the test, a stand-alone changing room in the shape and canary yellow colour of a French mailbox has been installed. Inside is a chair, mirror, and shelf to place your package for on the spot returns.

France's La Poste said the idea came about after seeing many customers pick up their packages only to return shortly thereafter as their purchases didn't fit.

France, like many countries, has seen a boom in online commerce, with clients purchasing items including clothes and shoes that are often returned.

La Poste said the experiment is more than just a changing room.


"The idea is to simplify the lives of our clients," said the company, letting them receive the merchandise, check it out on the spot and, in the event of a poor fit or a change of mind, send it back.

La Poste is experimenting with fitting rooms in a few agencies in France, upsetting certain traders who point to "serious risks" for "local shops". (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

"It helps people avoid making pointless trips back in forth and save time, it's practical," said client Michele Limouzy, adding she nevertheless prefers to buy clothes in shops.

La Poste also hopes the experiment will boost traffic.

Like other national post offices, La Poste seeks to compensate for the drop in letter traffic over the years by boosting its parcel business.

The experiment doesn't please shop owners, however.

The initiative "is causing deep displeasure among small independent retailers and poses serious risks to the vibrancy of local economies if it is rolled out nationally," said the French Retailers Association, which unites some 450,000 small shops.


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