Image source: Apple Pay
Since the phenomenon of online shopping gained traction, retail analysts have long been predicting the demise of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. But while some retailers have buckled under the pressure placed upon them by their online competitors, others continue to thrive despite their old-school approach to selling. Some formerly online-only retailers have ripped up the rule book and opened bricks-and-mortar stores after becoming successful on the web; brands like Bonobos, Nasty Gal and Warby Parker have all successfully injected their online presence into a tangible, real world setting.
Given our current financial climate, a good price is paramount. Even in the exclusive domain of luxury fashion, the popularity of discount sites like Yoox and The Outnet proves that consumers are increasingly concerned by cost. If e-commerce has the monopoly on bargains, how can traditional fashion retailers ever compete? Some have decided the answer is to use clever in-store tech in order to enhance the customer experience and, of course, to drive sales. Since technology and fashion are still growing together and learning to play nicely with each other, some stores’ approach to tech is rather gimmicky. Others, however, have got it just right. Here are some innovations worth implementing.
Body scanning to get the bespoke look
Selfridges was the first major retailer to introduce body scanners to its stores back in 2011. Since then, the slightly gimmicky, clunky concept of body scanning to achieve perfectly fitted outfits has become more sophisticated and impressive. Before creating a bespoke suit for a client, French tailor Les Nouveaux Ateliers invites them into one of its stores for a quick body scan, thus eliminating the lengthier (and slightly less accurate) processes of having your measurements taken by hand or having to send in your own measurements.
Faster payments; easier shopping experiences
Accepting NFC payments like Apple Pay helps to bring physical stores into the 21st century as well as making for a more efficient shopping experience. The trend for NFC payment has been bubbling under the surface for a while, but the fact that Apple has now endorsed it with Apple Pay is a likely sign that mobile payments will soon become commonplace amongst all types of retailers. A year since its launch, Apple Pay is growingly successful in the US; the service only launched this July in the UK, but retailers like Marks & Spencer, Liberty of London and New Look are already on board.
Analytics go offline
One of the e-tailer’s greatest advantages is their ability to easily track their customer’s buying habits and target them with appropriate marketing material. This invaluable data is much more complicated to track in physical stores, but analytics tools also have the potential to shake up the traditional shopping landscape. Some retailers have already experimented with heat mapping to track customers’ movements throughout their stores – an invaluable insight into people’s shopping habits and to see which products garner the most attention on the shop floor – and there is much scope for this sort of technology to develop.
Beating e-tailers’ delivery times
Barneys is following in Net-a-Porter’s footsteps by launching a same-day delivery service, giving its moneyed clientele the option for almost-instant gratification in the form of designer goods. At present, New York-based customers need to visit Barneys’ online store in order to set up a delivery slot, but the same-day delivery concept also has the potential to add a string to the bow of bricks-and-mortar retailers. While many customers will try on an item in-store and then buy it if they like it, others will go home to take time to think. Instead of having to return to the store at a later date if they eventually decide to buy the garment, it would be better if the customer had the option to simply call the retailer, or visit their website, to get that must-have item delivered there and then.
While many customers will try on an item in-store and then buy it if they like it, others will go home to take time to think. Instead of having to return to the store at a later date if they eventually decide to buy the garment, it would be better if the customer had the option to simply call the retailer, or visit their website, to get that must-have item delivered there and then.
Want to know more about how retailers are reimagining the possibilities of retail using tech? Join us next week at the Decoded Fashion New York Summit. Find out more here.
Reported by Grace Howard