Technology Makes The Difference
Although technology is only a facilitator, many innovative concepts could not exist without the amazing technological progress that we are experiencing. As we have seen over the last few years, many of the most disruptive ideas in retail are “technology-intensive,” directed at providing increased access to product, an augmented experience, greater convenience, or more of anything that generates excitement.
As an enabling tool, technology allows customers to bring things together, have more choice, more access and more information than ever before. Customers are experiencing new solutions such as seamless check out, touchscreens which access detailed product information, sharing on social media, and many others.
Several cases featured in Retail Innovations 11 demonstrate this key driver of innovation.
Fashion icon Rebecca Minkoff ‘s partnered with eBay to develop the technological wizardry behind the NY Soho flagship store’s special technology and digital features:
- A large multi-screen digital wall dominates the front entry. Three panels on the touchscreen enable customers to perform a variety of tasks or access detailed information. The product, Look Book, offers customers an opportunity to take photos and post on social media, reserve a product for the dressing room or even order a free beverage. Customers are invited to enter their mobile number so they may be contacted inside the dressing room.
- Touchscreens in the dressing room. Via touchscreen, lighting can be adjusted to showcase multiple environments in which a woman would like to see herself. RFID tags on products are detected when a visitor enters a dressing room; the items pop up on a mirror with suggested accessories and the option to summon a different size. Sales associates check customers out on iPads, allowing sales to close in the dressing room, facilitating impulse buys. A stylist can be called for assistance, different sizes can be requested, and further product information can be called up for an item under consideration.
In London, Google opened its first physical location in 2015 to allow customers to seamlessly experience Google’s online world in a physical setting. Customers can play, experiment and learn about the company’s physical products and online applications.
- A large screen called a “portal” allows users to fly around the world using Google Earth. Budding artists can paint their own Google logo to share on social media on a digital “Doodle Wall”, and a “Chromecast Pod” invites customers to watch Google Play movies and YouTube. Every service that Google offers can be experienced in store.
- Customers can touch, feel and experiment with the full range of Google products, including Android-based phones, tablets and chromecast, for those who want to try before they buy.
- Classes and events are hosted regularly in store, including tutorials about online security, as well as how to use Google devices. Potential educational tools are tested by teachers at open-house events, and experts are always present to provide help and support for all of Google’s devices and services.
As retailers look to understand the connected store, experiments like the Rebecca Minkoff flagship and The Google Shop are an intriguing way to gauge what works and what doesn’t. These technology-driven stores are helping retailers connect to customers via an enhanced shopping experience.