The Smart Fitting Room Is the Future of Retail

December 17, 2015

9:00 pm

The digital revolution continues to influence spending habits as more and more shoppers take their custom online. Smartphones are fast becoming a popular shopping method with 28 percent of consumers now feeling comfortable completing transactions on their devices. Social shopping is also rapidly gaining traction, with 28 percent of social network users having made a purchase after coming to a site via social media.

In response to the competition presented by mobile and social commerce, brick-and-mortar retailers are introducing digital technology into their stores. It is hoped that by offering shoppers personalized multichannel experiences with particular focus on saving time and money, more consumers will be tempted back to the high street.

Consumers Want a Personalized Shopping Experience

According to DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce survey, 62 percent of consumers purchase more items more often when provided with a personalized service. E-commerce is already tailored to provide tech-savvy customers with a personalized experience. To compete, the in-store experience needs to become more connected with digital technology. 85 percent of consumers are more likely to shop in places that offer exclusive promotions in-store through Beacons technology which sends data to smartphones via Bluetooth.

Smart fitting rooms are the latest technology retailers are implementing into their stores. Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren and Bloomingdale’s have all tested the digital cubicles that can identify items, suggest complementary items and feature interactive mirror systems.

RFID Technology Identifies Items Taken Into the Changing Room

Smart fitting rooms are fitted with technology that can automatically detect which items a customer takes in to try on. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are attached to price labels which transfer data via an antenna installed in the cubicle.

OCS Retail Support have pointed out that RFID tags work in a similar way to barcodes but contain much more information. In this case, garment information including style, size and colour appears on a wall-mounted touchscreen device via the RFID sensor. The screen enables the user to request alternate sizes, colours and styles from sales associates who are alerted by handheld devices.

The customer can also use the touchscreen to browse other suggested items that can be put together to create an entire outfit. There is also an option for customers to log into their online account and add items to their wishlist. The customer can then sign up to receive alerts when the item is reduced or included in a promotion.

Magic Mirrors Give Customers New Ways to View Items

Retailers are fitting “magic mirrors” into their changing rooms. The mirrors provide customers with a range of extra services such as 360-degree views of outfits, alternative lighting conditions and even personalized compliments.

More than a third of people in the UK are unhappy with their body image. Magic mirrors are being used to help combat this by providing timely boosts to the self-esteem of customers. Creative production agency REWIND have created a motivational mirror that gives personalized compliments to IKEA customers.

The mirror uses motion sensor technology to detect a customer’s facial and body features and then activates a corresponding compliment stored within its system. The mirror can flatter a customer on their choice of attire, commend impressive facial hair and has even been known to wolf whistle at passers-by.

Magic mirrors are also being designed to make the clothes fitting process quicker and simpler. Topshop have introduced a mirror that means customers don’t need to get physically undressed to try on clothes. Built-in cameras track the customer’s body and reflects this onscreen. The device then uses augmented reality to superimpose selected items of clothing onto the customer’s reflection.

Luxury designer Rebecca Minkoff has introduced magic mirrors into her stores that allow customers to change lighting settings. This gives the shopper a better idea of how clothing might look in different scenarios such as at nighttime. Shoppers are also able to select different colours and sizes as well as being able to add items to an online shopping basket. The eventual aim is to enable customers to make purchases from inside the dressing room.

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Simon Davies is a London based freelance writer with an interest in startup culture, issues and solutions.

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