in-store technology

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Notify Nearby
Image source: AppAdvice

A new study released by Planet Retail and Wipro affirms that retailers must provide meaningful customer experiences in order to achieve results.

‘The Era of the Individual: Unleashing the Power of ME’ contains some key takeaways – as noted in our CES 2016 report, pressure is mounting on bricks-and-mortar retailers to deliver high-quality customer experiences. So how can stores use tech to revolutionise their businesses, and avoid getting caught in the trap of using tech for tech’s sake?

Approaching Beacon Technology the Right Way

Although it’s been on the scene for a while, the ability of beacon technology to connect with consumers shouldn’t be underestimated. One start-up, Notify Nearby, uses the technology in conjunction with its iOS app to deliver targeted information to customers about the stores that they shop in.

With participants like DKNY, Reiss, Uniqlo, Saks and Nike on board, Notify Nearby is fashion-specific and claims it doesn’t bombard users with ads or promotional content, unlike other apps. A push notification is sent whenever they pass a beacon from one of the participating stores, using targeted information to alert the user of the retailer’s latest updates – be they coupons, flash sales or product launches.

Seamless Online-Offline Transition

With all the industry’s talk of omni-channel retail, one point is abundantly clear: the customer’s transition between a brand’s online and offline worlds should be seamless.

Creating a strong in-store presence has the potential to reduce the numbers of ‘showrooming’ customers (who come in-store solely to browse, before heading home to purchase online). Retailers can tackle this in various ways, such as matching online prices, allowing a speedy click-and-collect service, or incorporating tech in-store with impressive concepts like magic mirrors and interactive fitting rooms.

Making a Strong Workforce Stronger

It’s no secret that taking the time to recruit high-calibre salespeople pays off in the form of happier, more satisfied customers. Self-service checkouts and other ‘people-free’ technology may work well in supermarkets, but in fashion, a more personable approach is what really drives sales.

The answer, then, is to use technology to make fashion retail’s workforce stronger, rather than replace it altogether. The use of tablets (enabling staff to view a customer’s purchase history in order to make tailored product recommendations, for example) and mobile POS systems can be used in stores to wow people on both sides of the cash desk.

Continue the discussion on Revolutionary Tech Vs. Tech for Tech’s Sake at our London Summit on May 17-18. Book your super early-bird ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Modiface
Image source: PSFK

US virtual technologist ModiFace has unveiled an augmented reality mirror at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. The touchscreen mirror simulates the effects of make-up, skincare, teeth whitening and anti-ageing products in high definition for a more realistic try-before-you-buy shopping experience.

An updated version of its 2014 concept the mirror uses advanced tracking technology to capture consumers’ facial features in 3D in real-time – allowing them to virtually try on cosmetics by selecting shades from a sidebar menu, or simply changing their facial expression. For example, they can change their lipstick just by puckering their mouth, or try a different eyeshadow by raising their brows.

The mirror can also stream live video tutorials, allowing users to follow step-by-step make-up tips – potentially allowing brands to broadcast from the shop floor itself.

he technology is immediately available for retailers to use in-store as well as on mobile apps. Brands already signed up to collaborate on the project include French beauty giant L’Oreal, Irish pharmaceutical company Allergan, and US beauty brand Jane Iredale.

Guest post Stylus.com by Marta PodeszwaKatie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - JL FOUND
Image source: John Lewis FOUND

This week has seen some of the UK’s most traditional retail institutions throw their hats into the in-store technology ring. At 131-year-old retailer Jaeger, CIO Cathy McCabe promised a front-to-back IT revolution in stores – including kitting out staff with iPads to enable them to take payments from customers anywhere on the shop floor. Meanwhile in Birmingham, John Lewis will be trialling a new lifestyle store concept called Found. It will curate lifestyle collections across fashion, homeware and technology – aiming to bring a younger, more stylish audience into stores with a targeted lifestyle ‘edit’.

By making in-store technology their chosen driver for change, both retailers are clearly attempting to get beyond gimmicks in favour of bigger profits. But can the latest in-store tech really drive sales? This question (alongside many others) will be posed at our NYC Summit on 28-29 October, where a dedicated panel will debate how we can optimise in-store tech to create retail concepts of the future.

The matter of whether it can be a true revenue driver has been on many minds at bricks-and-mortar stores in the past year. The most famous investors in this space in the luxury fashion market have been big-name brands like Burberry, Kate Spade and Karl Lagerfeld. The latter, for instance, has deployed in-store tech in all its outlets, such as iPad minis integrated into display racks and fitting rooms equipped with fun photobooths – you can even add a Karl-inspired filter and share on social media.

Start-ups getting in on the action include Perch, an experiential media technology that makes physical displays more immersive – in other words, the display table becomes an interactive digital screen. According to Mary Beech, CMO at Kate Spade, there’s a higher sell-through for products on Perch tables. Other brands that have partnered with Perch include Levi’s, Nordstrom and Estee Lauder.

But there’s also evidence that certain customers feel overwhelmed by the presence of too much technology in their real-life shopping trips. While facial recognition tech could be employed to give individuals more age-appropriate beauty recommendations, for instance, 68% of UK shoppers would find that “creepy” (source: RichRelevance). But that’s no reason not to experiment. The future for more easily digestible in-store technology could lie in lifestyle concepts within larger retail institutions, such as John Lewis’s new Found space.

Retailers’ best bet may be to take cues from lifestyle e-tailers like Warby Parker and Bonobos – stores that, in their model for using technology to create a better fit and lower price for customers, have been huge e-commerce successes. Moreover, both brands have now been able to open physical spaces directly informed by the shopping patterns of a younger customer, rather than trying to anticipate their desires with a random selection of technology gimmicks. Either way, in-store technology is a space that’s bound to make for some trial-and-error success stories in the next year.

Book your ticket for the Decoded Fashion NYC Summit here.

Reported by Claire Healy

rachel_tipograph_headshot

Rachel Tipograph is “making Gap cool again for the first time since Bill Clinton was President,” according to Business Insider. As Gap’s Global Director of Digital & Social Media, Rachel oversees strategy, implementation and measurement. She judged the pitches at the world’s first Fashion Hackathon, and we chatted with her on what tech she can’t live without.

Decoded Fashion: What is the most useful technology to you in your job as Global Director of Digital & Social Media at Gap?
Rachel Tipograph: My iPhone. The social web doesn’t care about time nor space and having a computer in my pocket always allows me to do my job from anywhere and anytime. And Radian6. Social media stretches across every discipline of the business, and Radian6 allows anyone from the C-suite to community managers listen to conversations about Gap worldwide.

DF: What areas of fashion-tech are extremely crowded?
RT: Affiliate programs, ad tech, and SaS for social media. With the explosion of content, conversation and data happening across the web, one of the first opportunities entrepreneurs addressed was 1) how to turn massive amounts of data into meaningful interactions, and 2) turn those interactions into something that’s actionable in the sales funnel. As a result, there are an abundance of companies that have come to be in the affiliate space, ad tech and SaS for social.

DF: What areas of fashion-tech are relatively unexplored?
RT: In-store technologies and enterprise SaS. 2013 will be the year the B-to-B space explodes with innovation. Many entrepreneurs are taking learning from the B-to-C space and applying it to B-to-B. In addition, IT technology is improving at rapid speed, the cost of technology is becoming more affordable, all of these variables will influence innovation within organizations.