augmented reality

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - NRF retail
Image source: NRF

Mobile payments were the hot topic of last year’s National Retail Federation Big Show. Although NFC was still a buzzword at this year’s event, other issues – like omni-channel retailing and the increased spending power of millennials – came into play. We’ve analysed some of the emerging trends.

Swapping Virtual Reality for Reality

With last year’s raft of news stories explaining that millennials are more interested in purchasing experiences than material objects, it has become paramount for retailers to keep their customers engaged. In an increasingly tech-driven retail landscape, GoInStore’s technology gives in-store salespeople the opportunity to speak to online shoppers in need of assistance.

An in-store salesperson can wear a pair of GoInStore glasses, created by Epson, to allow an online customer to see items from the salesperson’s point of view. This could be a game changer for companies selling high-ticket items like designer goods, or indeed any items that are best seen ‘in the flesh’ before purchasing.

Augmented Reality Provides a Solution for Time-Poor Retailers

Earlier this month, advisory firm Digi-Capital forecast augmented reality (AR) revenue to hit $120bn by 2020. Unsurprisingly then, the trend for AR-enabled technology continued to shine through at NRF.

During a panel on AR, James Ingram, CEO of production company Splashlight, spoke of its benefits for fashion retail, commenting: “You can’t compete without personalisation.” Splashlight works with Looklet, a clever piece of tech that allows e-tailers to shoot one image of a model and then virtually ‘change’ their clothes with the brand’s newest lines – a perfect solution for today’s fast fashion landscape, which usually requires retailers to constantly photograph new product.

Mobile Devices are More Important Than Ever

The results of a survey into consumers’ mobile shopping habits, commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit, were revealed at NRF. Findings showed 69% of respondents use either smartphones or desktops for shopping but, crucially, 81% of millennials claimed to primarily use their smartphones to make online purchases. So, as long as the spending power of millennials is on the rise, it would be wise for retailers to think hard about the capabilities of their mobile apps or sites.

Mobile devices could also shake things up on the shop floor. Diebold has created a new technology that allows consumers to use their mobiles to scan items they wish to purchase while shopping in-store. They can then pay for the goods by simply tapping their phone on a self-checkout unit, alleviating the need to queue.

Retailers Need Exceptional In-Store Experiences

As tech becomes more powerful and relevant to today’s retail landscape, this year’s NRF really drove home the fact that bricks-and-mortar retailers need to offer exceptional in-store experiences in order to survive.

One example of a brand getting it right is Burberry, which, for several years, has integrated its extensive e-tail offerings with its ‘offline’ retail experience. In-store, staff use iPads to showcase products and profile customers, while LED screens stream recent footage from the Burberry runway.

At the other end of the market, a great deal of high-street giant Zara’s success can be put down to its speedy supply chain. The Inditex Group brand adds new lines every fortnight – comparably faster than its competitors – encouraging shoppers to return. Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report, told Retail Dive: “Consumers can’t wait to go to [a Zara] store to see the new lines… Zara’s visitation rate is 17 times a year vs 4 for traditional retailers because [customers] don’t want to miss the nuance of that. That is a form of experience.”

So, what is the store of the future? Join us at SXSW in March as we explore this topic and many more. See more details here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Shoppable Video Pepe Jeans

Being ahead of the zeitgeist when it comes to tech innovation might pay off in terms of user engagement and seasonal storytelling, but does it really pay? The trick to really increasing ROI is to turn the shareable into the shoppable – something that, in 2014, should be at the forefront of a fashion brand’s strategy.

So what kinds of technology can brands utilise to increase those sales? Online or offline, the trick is a melding of the digital and real world with no discernible difference – the customer’s journey is seamless at every point of contact (and, hopefully, every pay point). Shoppable videos, for example, are starting to gain traction as a more-than-viable way to convert browsers into shoppers. NY-based ‘touchable video’ specialists Cinematique reported an average 13% conversion rate earlier this year – a figure much higher than anything a banner ad could deliver. Wirewax’s taggable video work with Pepe Jeans, meanwhile, had 45% of users clicking an average of 3 times. The more brands engage with the technology, the more the tactic’s ROI can be proven – luxury brands like Gucci, who have already experimented in this area, might help kickstart the trend long-term.

Also bubbling under the digital strategies of fashion’s biggest players are augmented reality applications. Burberry was among the first to embrace AR back in 2011, celebrating its Beijing store opening with an AR catwalk show in which holographic models walked alongside real ones. But fast-forward to 2014, and branded phone apps are using layered realities to drive retail purchases in store. Plus, the universal cart – launched last year by London-based fashion site Lyst – is allowing users to buy luxury items all over the web, in one place. Spring, a new dedicated shopping app, also offers mobile users hundreds of brands at their fingertips.

Technologies like shoppable videos, in-store AR apps and universal carts work because they allow consumers to feel totally in charge of their own retail experience, all whilst increasing brand loyalty with their added ease and innovation. Our New York summit will play host to some of the industry’s most influential players in retail-oriented tech: speakers will include Alan Tisch, founder of Spring, along with a retail panel, headed up by Jared Schiffman (Perch Interactive) and Dan Garraway (Wirewax) focussing on the coolest tech – with the most tangible ROI – around.

Can’t wait that long? Our Milan summit is calling – a day dedicated to exploring the new possibilities of Omnichannel, on October 22nd.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion Milan will take place on October 22, 2014 at La Pelota. Check out the full agenda here.

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

Decoded Fashion - News - Fuelbox

Technology is intrinsic to the sportswear sector – the use of innovative, lab-produced materials has been standard industry practice for many decades now. But things have moved on from workout leggings being more stretchy and sweat-resistant than ever before, sports fanatics are looking for more than this.

Sportswear brands need to use clever marketing to spark everyone’s attention. In the past it’s been through sponsoring events, launching guerrilla campaigns, entering into collaborations with designers or celebrities. Recently, they’ve also started incorporating technology into the design of their marketing strategies. Here are a few examples of how big sportswear brands have managed to use tech to stimulate media attention, add value to their product offering, and drive ‘brand love’ over the last month.

Reebok added a customisation program to its Union Square FitHub location. It’s called Local 1nk and it lets shoppers customise their merchandise purchases free of charge, using an innovative portable silkscreen printing device. Amidst its current crossfit craze, this is a cool way for Reebok to use technology (rather than bacon) to set itself apart from its’ competitors – whilst appealing to the masses.

Nike upped their ante with technology by introducing a vending machine that can only be operated with the Nike FuelBand. The so-called Nike+ FuelBox holds items such as socks and hats, and dispenses these when users plug in their FuelBand USB – if they’ve amassed enough points. It’s effectively allowing FuelBand users to turn their exercise units into a currency – a great incentive to use the FuelBand (or deterrent from buying one of the new fitness trackers out there) and a fun motivation to work out. Read more about the FuelBox here.

Then there’s Lacoste, who started dabbling in Augmented Reality for their spin-off brand LCST. In collaboration with Engine Creative, they created an AR app for in-store use that allows customers preview what a trainer would look like, without trying it on. It also lets users take a picture of the preview and share it on social media. Check it out here.

It was also interesting to see that Adidas lifted the restrictions they had placed on ecommerce distribution (read more about this here). The German sportswear brand has now joined competitors like Nike in being available for purchase over marketplace sites such as Amazon and eBay. They will enter into further direct competition with Nike when they launch their first wearable tech fitness accessory later this month. These steps may not be that innovative, but you gotta to start somewhere. We’re excited to see what the other big sportswear brands come up with in the future.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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“While TagPoints is looking to enhance the in store experience, Sayduck, a London based company founded by Mikko Martikainen, has developed an app which uses cutting augmented reality technology to bring catalogs to life and enable customers to see how everything from a sofa to a bookshelf would look in their home.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Sayduck

Decoded Fashion - News - Sephora Augmented Reality 3D Mirror

Augmented reality has many applications in the fashion industry, predominantly it has been used to create interactive shop windows or responsive mirrors in-store. Uniqlo, for instance, implemented their so-called ‘magic mirror’ in some stores to help customers choose the ideal colour for their garment. In luxury fashion, Hugo Boss created an augmented reality game for their shop window in London. The jewellery industry has also found practical uses for augmented reality. Boucheron, for instance, created MyBoucheron, which allows customers to preview what a piece of jewellery could look like on them using their webcam at home.

It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is now turning a hand to AR. Last year, Bobbi Brown launched a print-to-mobile campaign using an app named Blippar that allowed customers to rate and purchase products on the brand’s mobile site when they scanned a campaign image that appeared in print (more about that here). The year before, Maybelline launched a campaign which enabled customers to try on different shades of nail polish virtually using the Blippar app and a photo taken of their hand.

This year, we have seen a lot more innovation within the industry. In collaboration with ModiFace, Sephora have introduced 3D augmented reality mirrors which show customers what different types of makeup will look like on them. ModiFace have also developed an anti-aging augmented reality mirror whose purpose is to show the effect of anti-aging and general skin care creams (more about this here). They also recently launched an app named Beautiful Me, which detects its users’ skin tone and eye colour and recommends products suitable to these (an article about this can be found here). Meanwhile, L’Oréal have also created an augmented reality mirror, but one that can be used anywhere, using just a smartphone – the Makeup Genius app. It also lets customers try out different shades of product.

The entertainment factor in augmented reality is significant, especially in the beauty industry, it allows users to play the “make-over” game without the hassle of smudges. Brands using augmented reality can be confident that it will create considerable press buzz, but whether these measures drive conversions can be questionable. Customers may enjoy using augmented reality, but it remains to be seen whether many of them will buy makeup based purely on a virtual preview.

Reported by Anna Abrell

 3circle

“Google Glass can do everything from snap photos to aid navigation. But one thing it can’t do–so far, at least–is make you look cool. Outside nerdy tech niches, most are reluctant to embrace the $1,500 reality-augmenting eyewear that’s been mercilessly ridiculed by the likes of SNL.

In an effort to change that, Google has just hired the fashion-savvy Ivy Ross as the new head of Glass. A design and marketing expert who has worked for Calvin Klein, Mattel, Swatch, Gap, Coach, and more, Ross’s task at Google will be making the wearable technology marketable to the style-conscious masses.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Ivy Ross
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“According to A.S. Colour boutique, many people lack the confidence to wear colors, which is why they have invented a digital color critic at the store’s Britomart location in New Zealand. It will allow customers to break free from neutrals.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - A.S. Color

Decode Fashion Wearable Technology Show Kiroco

Last week we headed down to the Wearable Technology Show in London’s Olympia, where a multitude of new wearables were exhibiting, from UV activity monitors to responsive running jackets. Most of the gadgets that were on show, were versatile in terms of the applications they could be used for and the industries they could be used in. With some seeming to serve a recreational purpose, others had functionalities that could also be applied in retailing, healthcare and even military contexts. Here’s our top picks:

  1. Intelligent Headset, the world’s first 3D audio headset, made its debut along with it’s own Zombie game that requires players to ‘listen’ rather than ‘look out.’  This also has great applications for the educational sector and atmospheric marketing.
  2. ViewAR showcased apps that allow customers to navigate through virtual environments by means of gesture control – beyond gaming, this has some very interesting implications for retailing and branding.
  3. SnapWatch showcased their fun concept – a rigid steel band featuring a display that can snap around the wrist thanks to the flexible nature of its display. The modern comeback of the eighties Slap Bracelet!
  4. A piece of wearable tech that might serve to motivate sports enthusiasts to improve their running times is the Glofaster running jacket – it syncs with the wearer’s mobile phone and lights up as long as they are running above their minimal speed.
  5. A showcased product that is already on the market is the emotional jewellery by the British brand Kiroco Touch. Content in the form of images, videos or text can be stored on bracelets or necklaces and then unlocked when the jewellery gets into contact with a mobile phone. This won the award for ‘Best Innovation.’

 

Reported By Anna Abrell

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  1. How the Fashion Industry is Giving Tech a Hand
    For the fashion-conscious, wearable gadgets are currently not wearable. But at CES 2014, fashion moguls and global tech authorities are finally chatting about how to fix that problem.
  2. Are Fashion Designers Finally Getting Serious About Wearable Devices?
    The wearable device market  is one of the fastest-growing categories in consumer electronics, estimated to be worth somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in the next two to four years, according to an aggressive forecast.
  3. Virtual Reality Ready to Remake Shopping in Stores
    Give it a few more years, industry experts say, and the once ho-hum trip to the average store will be radically different.
  4. Nomi Continues Build-Out of In-Store Tracking Tools
    Of the current class of hot “omni-channel” startups, Nomi has managed to gather a lot of venture funding and press attention.