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Published: 27 Oct 2014

Bloomingdale’s: Big Omni-Reboot

Bloomingdale's, Palo Alto

Bloomingdale's Palo Alto location in California has just become its most technologically advanced, thanks to a series of renovations conceived to create a more compellingly connected, digi-physical retail experience. Interactive touchscreens, ultra-connected staff, and next-gen delivery tools have all been implemented by the upscale department store in a bid to stay relevant to the locale's tech-smart Silicon Valley clientele.

Though tested elsewhere, this is the retailer's first location where all the fitting rooms are 'smart'. Tablets embedded in the walls offer product information and reviews, alternative colours and sizes, recommendations of complementary items, and a button to call for assistance. The mirrors feature touchscreen-enabled lighting options, allowing shoppers to gauge how they might look outdoors, in the office or on an evening out. Echoing initiatives seen at lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters and UK department store John Lewis, the changing areas also include communal tables equipped with charging stations for shoppers to reboot their mobile devices while browsing (for more on this topic see Commuter Commerce in our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.

It's also the first time that all its sales associates have been equipped with small tablets on which to check product availability, contact customers by phone or email, and complete purchases with a mobile checkout system.

Other features implemented across the entire chain in a bid to boost Bloomingdale's omni-channel credentials include a click-and-collect service, same-day delivery for locals via an app-based system from San Francisco start-up Deliv, and tablets throughout the stores for shoppers to browse current and upcoming stock. For more on the newest delivery tools, see New-Gen Fulfilment, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.

In a bid to create an aesthetic modern enough to match the state-of-the-art tech, the three-storey, 125,000 sq ft store is largely open plan, with a monochrome colour scheme. Natural light penetrates a third of the store through a huge bank of windows that constitutes one corner of the building.

For more on connected store experiences, see The Omni-Channel Store in our Future of the Store Industry Trend, Tech-Fuelled Retail SpacesVirtual Immersive Commerce in our Post-Digital Macro Trend and In-Store Interactive.