Along with the never ending development of technology in all areas and all kinds of disruptive business models emerging, it soon became clear that the retail industry has to keep up. Now more than ever retailers have to stay in touch with any type of technological development that might help increase sales, no matter if it is online or offline. The idea is to create a complete and likeable experiences for customers and possible customers to turn them into loyal members of your ever-changing and growing business.
If you’re wondering what are the latest trends in display technologies and gadgets then prepare to have your mind blown of what the present and the future hold.
Clothing to go, vending machines and kiosks.
From living crabs in china, cooked pizzas in Europe and the States, T-shirts in Japan, Lego in Germany, socks in South Korea, shoes in London, to books in Australia, gold in Dubai, real life cars in the US and so on, it is clear that vending machines have been revolutionized to serve in almost any type of market. If you want to see some more bizarre types of kiosks click here.
Vending machines or kiosks have been around for a while now but in retail, this is something rather unique. We have the example of Kate Spade’s 2013, non-stop shop vending machine done in collaboration with ebay, as well as the plans of GAP to introduce customers to this new and fascinating experience, and the Bloomingdale’s flagship store in Manhattan.
So let’s talk about Kate Spade. This project was realized mostly as a pop up store that was set up for a month in New York. What shoppers had to do, was to walk up to that vividly colored window and start the so called vending machine, which was a touch-screen embedded into the display window. From there on, they had to navigate through the product selection and if they reached a decision, customers had to enter their phone numbers.
From there on shoppers would receive a text message asking to schedule the delivery, which normally was within an hour and the transaction was concluded through PayPal.
An ingenious idea that combines mobile, physical stores, logistics and fashion all to create a unique, fun and fast customer experience. More on the Kate Spade Saturday experience here.
Bloomingdale’s experience is rather similar, with six interactive display windows that were designed specifically to grab attention. They also used touch-screens in the street to allow shoppers to select products, colors and if they wanted to purchase, they had to send a text message containing the word “POLO”. They would automatically receive a link for a checkout page on which they could choose the delivery type. The clothing could even be delivered right away to them in the street.
Interactive dressing / fitting rooms and interactive mirrors.
This amazing kind of visual retail tech comes mostly from the concept of augmented reality, a phrase that has been buzzing around the globe for quite some time now, creating ripples of excitement in all pretty much all domains.
The interactive dressing or fitting rooms, while they are not exactly window display technology, they offer a more intimate customer experience. Why? It’s simple, because the client gets more personal with the products you offer in your store, being able to try anything on, in any color or pattern you have available, without being disrupted, or having to call store employees to get a specific size or color from the stockroom. There are indeed many more perks and functions to this type of technology, such as size recommendations, matching clothing items, adjusting lighting, social sharing, stock info or any other type of information clients might require in order to press that “mental buy button”.
The cameras used to scan and reproduce the customer’s figure and movements are based on the same technology as of the Kinect camera used for Xbox. Surfing through and selecting products is made possible by simple gestures recognized by cameras.
This kind of technology still has some bugs to be worked out before being absolutely perfect, but the simple fact that it exists is without a doubt amazing. Who would have thought that the digital age would bring to light such incredible working ideas?
To see how it works, we invite you to check out this YouTube video from FXMirror.
The virtual fitting room also known as the interactive mirror or smart mirror (so called by Samsung) is already used or is will soon be used by retailers such as: Rebecca Minkoff, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Mitsukoshi, Macy’s, Prada, Metropark and more.
It is clear that the dressing room provides a limitless amount of ideas and space to create a fantastic customer experience, raise brand loyalty and show that offline stores will not die out if they adapt for the sparkling future of retail technology.
A very intelligent piece of technology, immersive displays such as the ones from Perch are an excellent way to showcase products, make customers interact with them and offer a very unique and captivating experience.
Being able to place it both vertical and horizontal, we invite you to imagine the following: You have a display table with perfumes, shoes, bags, cellphones or other similar sized products. A projector is shining down on the products, lighting them up, surrounding them with static or dynamic frames.
A customer comes in, goes to that table and touches one of the products. Instantly, on the table, “buttons” appear and the client is hooked, he or she can choose any type of information provided by those buttons. You can show them audio-visual stories, creating amazing combinations with sounds and hand movements.
This incredible tech combo also serves as a tracker and gathers data, via a 3D camera, on the customers to help you even further as to determine what is the most interesting, most bought product, how they interacted with the display and so on.
If you want to understand more fully what goes on we invite you to view this video and be amazed of how technology can serve to boost sales in physical stores.
Still gravitating around the idea of interactive displays, we think that this is worth mentioning because it is actual and practical. Digital displays are being used to help the customers of retailers engage more with the brand, the product and have a positive impact on their whole in-store experience, providing them with something original with the aid of technology.
Coming in various shapes and sizes, the idea is to install LCD displays where you see fit that provide your customer with the information they have readily available on the Internet, making it easier for them and keeping their attention and focus on and in the physical store. Or go even further as to promote current collections or future products.
You can also add a camera to these displays and interact further with shoppers, like LEGO for instance that used a giant screen to turn its customers into video game characters and letting them move it as they wish, this must be fantastic for children.
It seems as if our dreams are being realized with the aid of technology and it is important for retailers to know that they must adapt, that there are tools available for them to create enchanting in store experiences. These experiences will not only create a stronger bond between brand and customer, but will also make the whole thing memorable and fun.
We will discuss more retail technologies in future so stay tuned and let us know what you think, is the future happening now?
Also, since Christmas is coming up fast we invite you to compare lists with us and see if your store is ready for Christmas.
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