Technologies Changing How We Buy Clothes — Smart Screens
The rules of retail are always in flux. Customer buying preferences are constantly changing and influenced by new technologies and access to information. For retailers, keeping up with the pace of changes is vital to continuously capture consumer attention and remain competitive. Technology is the essential ingredient for staying relevant, and as new shopping tools and experiences are introduced, how consumers arrive at purchasing decisions also changes.
Smart mirrors look like a traditional standing mirror, but is made using large LED monitors and microcomputers that give customers a 360-degree view of clothing rendered on their bodies. Intel has positioned itself as an early leader in smart mirror technology and first showcased its own prototype called the Magic Mirror at the Intel Future Showcase event in 2013. Since then, it has formed several partnerships with companies embedding its processor technology in their own smart mirror products.
The Magic Mirror is able to capture the user’s pre-set measurements and virtually display clothing over the customer’s body even as they move in front of the mirror’s camera. This creates a life-like rendering of how clothing will look on the customer just as if they were wearing it. The core concept of Intel’s Magic Mirror is to enhance the shopping experience by providing shoppers with a better perception of how the clothing looks while on and to quickly browse through a digital product catalog without leaving the fitting room.
MemoMi is a startup that has partnered with Intel to create its own smart mirror product called the MemoryMirror™. The MemoryMirror™ makes the shopping experience digital, interactive and social and extends the customer-retailer interaction beyond just the fitting room. Customers can interact with the MemoryMirror™ anonymously or register and become a “connected customer” so sales associates can push new outfit ideas to their smartphone via social media. Even when a customer isn’t in the store, they are able to virtually try on outfit recommendations using MemoMi’s branded mobile app and make purchases directly from their phone.
The in-store MemoryMirror™ remembers each outfit the customer tries on and has a split screen feature that allows the customer to compare outfits, change colors and view merchandise previously tried on. It also has integrated social features that can be used to share outfit images with friends to get instant feedback at the point of decision.
Smart mirrors make the clothes shopping experience easier by eliminating the need to undress and redress to try clothes on. This innovative technology is making clothes shopping more social and convenient by allowing customers to solicit feedback and complete the purchase on their own time outside of the store.
The Connected Store
In late 2014, Rebecca Minkoff debuted its flagship “connected store” in New York City’s SoHo Neighborhood. With plans to roll out two more stores like it, the fashion brand is engages customers in an innovative way by placing smart screens throughout the store that connect customers to digital content and store employees .
In the main room, smart screens loop through videos from runway shows and photos from curated look books. Customers access in-store services, such as ordering a free cup of coffee or glass of champagne, if they provide their phone number. Providing a phone number makes it possible for the retailer to offer a more personalized experience that allows them to select items to try on directly from the screen and have them brought to a fitting room later on. Customers are notified on their phones when their fitting room is available.
In the fitting room, the smart screens use data captured by RFID sensors to know what merchandise is in the fitting room. Using this information, they are able to display product recommendations that complement what the customer is already trying on. Rebecca Minkoff reports that over 30% of the customers who use the smart screens request to have additional items brought to them by a sales associate. As a result, the retailer best known for its handbags has seen an unexpected lift in clothing sales.
Smart screens are transforming the fitting room experience from a small, impersonal space where you undress and redress, into personal command centers that connect the customer to digital content and store staff. Customers no longer have to leave the fitting room to interact with merchandise which reduces the time it takes to reach a purchasing decision and improves the overall shopping experience by making it more efficient and convenient.
Retailers like Rebecca Minkoff believe customers want a more immersive and engaging in-store shopping experience and customers are choosing to align their spending loyalty with the companies that deliver it. Smart screens are showing promise that they could be an essential piece to a retailer’s technology portfolio to deliver an experience that lures shoppers into physical stores. The measured effectiveness of smart screens will determine if these devices become mainstream. If they do, there are early signs indicating smart screens could become a technology that changes how clothes are bought on a massive scale.
About The Author
Originally published at blog.dorrbell.com on October 26, 2015.