Retailers are finding that in order to keep their sales up for the holidays they are needing to not only be omnichannel, but go above and beyond what the normal every day customer wants and expects from them. For most retailers, being omnichannel simply meant keeping up with supply and demand through any platform, also therefore meaning that their customers expect to be able to order online and pick up in store or be offered faster and cheaper shipping rates if ordered online. Now retailers are having to find more ways to keep up with competition, figure out how to engage and keep their customers, and have those customers spend more time in stores and further spend more money.
Retale, a location based mobile platform, found that more than three-quarts of all holiday shopping will be done online this year and of the customers they surveyed, “54 percent said they would shop in-store and online, 22 percent said they would shop online only and just 24 percent said they will do all shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.”
Retailers are starting promotions and sales much earlier than they have in the past, but certain retailers are going beyond your typical BOGO and Black Friday deals and are experimenting with technology in store to draw customers in and boost sales. EBay is one of these daring retailers and is hoping that the in-store technology that they have not only experimented with at Rebecca Minkoff’s newest flagship store, but also in Nordstrom stores next week, will pave the way for new technologies in retail. Their first test is the Connected Fitting Room in the Rebecca Minkoff flagship, which opened earlier this month. These fitting rooms, plus the addition of RFID chips in all of Rebecca’s merchandise in store, work together in a seamless fashion, so that when the customer walks in the fitting room each piece of merchandise is recognized by the computer system in the room. By registering these items, customers can interact with the touchscreen on their mirror and ask for a retail associate to bring them another size or color, purchase from the fitting room, save to their virtual lookbook or text an image to their phones, giving them more time in the fitting room, which usually means more sales.
Steve Yankovich, eBay vice president, innovation and new ventures, said of Minkoff’s flagship, located on Greene Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. “It’s the Uber-fication of the retail shopping experience. Now, if you’re in a fitting room and something doesn’t work — unless you have a friend with you, it won’t be as efficient. You’re likely to put your clothes back on and go out, and it’s unlikely you’ll come back,” Yankovich said. “Now the dressing room becomes the place you experience all the product that you want to spend time on, and the success rate will go through the roof. My prediction is that everyone will want this; every store will need this kind of experience to compete.”
Two Nordstrom stores located in San Jose and Seattle will also come with the Connected Fitting Room, but, instead of Kinect sensors and RFID chips, they will have laser bar-code scanners to scan items manually. Yankovich says “shoppers can initiate getting help from an associate, ensuring that one’s time in the dressing room is maximized. And when a shopper is done trying on, they can request a sales associate to assist with checkout (there’s also an associate app that helps establish a dialogue between retailer and consumer).”
Yankovich says that pretty soon, basic fitting rooms will be a thing of the past. I, for one, can’t wait to try one of the new Connect Fitting Rooms out, but I am also more excited to see what come’s next and how other retailers will try and keep up because the future of fashion and technology is changing every day and retailers have to keep up or get left behind.