OPINION: Traditional retail can be interactive
Stuart Geekie, Managing Director of HMY Group (UK), talks smart fitting rooms and virtual mirrors…
Retail is in the middle of a major digital transformation, with technology constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries in order to enhance the customer’s experience and to garner intelligence for the retailer and brand.
There is often an assumption that such technological advances are not having the same impact offline as they are online.
However, the reality is that traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers have a significant opportunity to take advantage of digital developments through intelligent shop fittings.
Retailers have long recognised the importance of offering a personal, convenient and individual service to shoppers and, as such, brands must take advantage of all the information they can glean from shoppers’ interactions with their brands through digital devices.
One of the ways retailers are achieving this is through shopping apps. Fashion brands do this very well. They develop individual customer profiles that users create and with the information they have obtained, get closer to them, develop new products in line with their tastes and let them know about targeted promotions.
To offer a complete user experience, retail brands need to be integrated and make themselves present in all sales channels, to offer a complete user experience. There are aspects of shopping that users have assimilated online and now demand instore.
At HMY we believe that simply taking online shopping practices into store isn’t enough. It’s important for brands to offer something distinct and exclusive. This is where, once again, digital technologies become relevant.
Retailers are aware that if a customer takes something into a fitting room, they are far more likely to make a purchase than those who just browse the shop floor. With personalisation and convenience in mind, at HMY we are also witnessing an increasing interest in interactive shopping.
Smart fitting rooms
Early adopters of the smart fitting room include Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue and American retail icon, Bloomingdales. Smart fitting rooms are fitted with technology that automatically detect which items shoppers takes into a cubicle to try on. How? Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are attached to price tags.
The RFID readers offer additional information on the selected product: sizes and colours available, and recommendations on additional products to promote cross-sales.
If the client needs a different size or colour, or wants one of the suggested recommendations, he or she may request them through the smart fitting room. The salesperson will receive a signal with their request and bring the garments to the fitting room.
The advantages for the retailer are clear; smart fitting room technology increases cross-selling opportunities and improves the customer shopping experience for the end user.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
The virtual mirror is a new, functional way for customers to try on clothing without getting undressed.
As its name suggests, the smart virtual mirror acts as a virtual fitting room, combining RFID technology with augmented reality. The customer brings the garment to the mirror, which identifies the item, adapting it and superimposing the image of the person reflected in the mirror. The garments follow the body’s movements with a totally real simulation.
It also provides information on available sizes and colours and makes suggestions on matching garments to promote cross-sales.
For the retailer, this provides the perfect opportunity for cross-selling, reduces waiting room queues and for the customer, provides a convenient, quick hassle-free, fun shopping experience.
HMY Solutions is a leading group in the engineering, design, manufacturing and fitting of retail interiors. Find out more at https://hmy-group.com.