As smartphone usage in the world increases, shoppers are more likely to opt for online purchases. Mobile commerce conducted through smartphones will account for $117 billion in the U.S. alone this year, translating to about 23% of online retail sales and 3% of all retail sales, according to a new report by Retail Dive.
While this may hold for grocery or food items, shoppers experience a bit of a dilemma when making outfit purchases online. The biggest reason being their inability to try on clothes physically. However, a lot of fashion retailers have identified this gap and tried to improve the overall in-store as well as online experience by digitizing it. Even if shoppers were to go and visit a physical store, if they are dissatisfied with their overall shopping experience, they lose interest in that brand altogether. Intelligent fashion retailers have taken cues from this and tried to enhance the shopping experience so much that in-store shopping experience has actually proven to be far more beneficial to them than online shopping.
Interactive fitting rooms
The fact that a customer has stepped foot into your store instead of opting for online shopping means that he/she wants to try on the outfits and be really sure about the purchase. However, one common problem faced by in-store customers is the hassle related to trying on different products and asking the in-store associate to bring a different style/ size while standing in the fitting room, etc.
Popular fashion retailers such as Macy’s and Ralph Lauren have come up with creative solutions for this consumer predicament. Both the fashion giants have experimented with the concept of interactive fitting rooms. The idea is to provide ease and convenience to the customer. The customer simply walks in the fitting room with the items to try on. On the interactive screen, the items are displayed with the help of RFID. An AI-enabled on-screen stylist comes up with suggestions or similar items that can be tried. Customers also have the ease of merely notifying an associate about a different style, size, or outfit with the help of the interactive touch screen. Thus, customers basically try on the clothes without having to sweep the entire floor for similar items or different sizes. This makes the whole experience so friendly and convenient that sales are guaranteed to go up. Ralph Lauren representatives state that their sales have increased threefold owing to the interactive fitting rooms.
All big fashion brands have their personalized apps. These can be used not only for making online purchases but can also be used to complement the in-store experience. For instance, Macy’s has an app. When a customer walks in the store, he/she can scan an item using the in-app bar-code scanner to look for an item in a different color or size. This helps save time and makes the experience smooth. There is also an option of making the purchase online and picking it up later from the nearest outlet.
The concept of augmented reality has been there for a very long time; however, its applications in the fashion industry are now being explored. One such application is the use of augmented reality mirrors where the customer stands in front of the mirror to visualize how the outfit will look. Not only does this save time and effort, but it also makes for a pretty pleasant experience.
Transform your in-store experience without going bonkers!
There is bound to be a technology disruption in the future of fashion retail. Digitizing your in-store experience as well as enabling a seamless online/ in-app experience is essential to increase your bottom line. However, it is understandable that the kind of technology that big fashion retailers are using is expensive.
For smaller fashion retailers or brands that want to experiment with technology, Innowi offers a tailor-made solution. Innowi offers Model T, which is designed to reduce checkout lines as well to enhance the customer experience. Instead of having entire fitting rooms, fashion brands can have the model T mounted inside the fitting rooms. The idea is to bring the products to the customer without him/ her having to navigate the store. The tablet can have a layout of the store to navigate each section smoothly. Moreover, it can be mounted inside the fitting room for the customer to choose the product he or she wants. Furthermore, a change in size/ style can also be selected and communicated to an in-store associate who can be notified instantly using the device. Moreover, the software can be tweaked so that it is interactive and able to suggest outfits/ similar styles based on the customer’s trial history.
This type of solution is scalable as opposed to being restricted to a few stores, owing to the inexpensive technology. Millennials are tech-savvy shoppers, and providing an AI-enabled seamless shopping experience is a sure-shot way of boosting brand awareness as well as profitability.
Author: Shazra Irfan