US fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff has taken the dream of creating a tech-smart store for the ultra-connected consumer to unprecedented levels with a super service-fuelled flagship in SoHo, New York, created in partnership with e-tail giant Ebay.
For a more personalised visit, shoppers are encouraged to check-in upon arrival through the brand's mobile app, which prompts the shopper's personal profile to be carried across the store's digital channels – such as interactive fitting rooms and stylists' iPads.
At the front of the store sits a 'connected wall', which firstly invites shoppers to order a beverage, then enables them to leisurely select items on-screen which are gathered by a stylist, who texts the customer once their fitting room is ready. This, according to the brand's chief executive Uri Minkoff, solves the "awkward" first greeting between the store's stylist and the customer.
Further blending the efficiency of e-commerce and the gratification of personal service, each fitting room houses an interactive touchscreen mirror, which automatically recognises items via on-garment RFID tags. These tags enable the viewing of other colourways and matching items on-screen. They also offer accurate information on location and inventory count, meaning that items requested at a touch of the mirror – which are sent to the iPad-holding stylist – can easily be found in-store.
This technology also brings the brand closer to resolving what Minkoff terms "fitting-room abandonment". Offering checked-in customers the chance to save their try-on sessions and buy later online, or re-establish a fitting-room session in another city, taps into the 'hold-&-consider' mindset of today's online shoppers. The fitting-room mirror also offers a convenient checkout facility that accepts Ebay's payment service Pay-Pal and credit cards. Payments can also be made via the stylists' iPads.
Anonymous data gathering is just as crucial to the store as the opt-in, hyper-service features. According to the brand, items tried on in volume but left unsold will be used to assess suppliers, as perhaps the wool was too itchy, for example.
See also Tech-Enhanced Flagships and In-Store Interactive for more on connected retail spaces. For more on hold-&-consider retail, see Start, Pause Go: Retail in Hyper-Flow, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.