Weekly Stories

How Can New Technology Allow Brick and Mortar to Thrive in the 21st Century?

Posted by Claire Healy on Nov 5, 2014 9:24:15 AM

“Excite the mind, and the hand will reach for the pocket.” So said Harry Gordon Selfridge, the famous founder of the eponymous London department store – the best in the world by popular vote. His own dedication to creating the best in-store experience for his customers demonstrated the kinds of innovative thinking that has been adopted by modern department stores ever since. Were he alive today, then, the originator of so many of our retail rules of thumb would certainly be making the most of new technologies – technologies which, in 2014, can enhance the retail experience beyond mere bricks & mortar. But with two weeks to go until the dedicated panel discussion on the subject at our NY summit, what exactly are the technologies that top retailers are embracing in a physical context today?

Recent months have seen a host of high and low-end brands placing hot-off-the-press technologies into the physical retail mix. Beacon technology is the one-to-get to know now – otherwise, the first you hear of it might be as a text alert on your next shopping trip. The technology implements imperceptible pieces of hardware around stores that can pinpoint the location of a consumer’s smartphone. This will allow the retailer to send offers and info to your mobile, with localised know-how. For example, if you pause (longingly) in front of some shoes, the store can send you a link to the latest reviews or info on stock levels. Remember Bluetooth? Us neither – but iBeacon works using a low-energy version of it, and shopping-savvy consumers can keep theirs on using their iPhones and Android phones for very little energy. One of the biggest proponents of this in-store technology, is, paradoxically, the oldest luxury, speciality-retail department store chain in the US: Lord & Taylor, whose investment in digital has seen a partnership rolled out with Beacon technology provider Swirl. Their SVP, Ryan Craver, will be sure to explain the company’s getting behind Beacons as he takes part in our panel discussion on November 18th.

What’s more, a truly successful in-store/on-line strategy might mean more than giving customers a truly personalised experience; as start-ups in the field are increasingly realising, the brands need more personalisation, too. That is, as start-ups target store retailers with their solutions for bespoke customer experience, the brands themselves continue to desire complete control and customisation over the shopping experience proposed by an app. Spring, launched in August of this year, is the much-hyped shopping app with a difference: going further than other tried-and-failed apps of the same genre, Spring integrates with retailer’s existing e-commerce systems to allow products to be purchased by users with a single swipe. Everything on Spring is shoppable, and it seamlessly integrates brand’s existing in-store environment into its Pinterest-style lifestyle shots. Co-founder Alan Tisch will be on hand to discuss the case for apps helping old-fashioned bricks & mortar thrive in years to come.

When it comes to implementing retail technologies today – in-store or at-home – the key is to accompany the customer every step of the way. With iBeacons, innovative apps, digitised SKUs (stock keeping units) and more secure payment methods, there have never been so many reasons to innovate.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

Read More

Topics: Lord & Taylor, Spring, omnichannel, Beacon Technology, Weekly Stories, Alan Tisch, swirl, Retailing

Cool Tech That Increases Sales

Posted by Claire Healy on Oct 9, 2014 12:51:41 PM

Being ahead of the zeitgeist when it comes to tech innovation might pay off in terms of user engagement and seasonal storytelling, but does it really pay? The trick to really increasing ROI is to turn the shareable into the shoppable – something that, in 2014, should be at the forefront of a fashion brand’s strategy.

So what kinds of technology can brands utilise to increase those sales? Online or offline, the trick is a melding of the digital and real world with no discernible difference – the customer’s journey is seamless at every point of contact (and, hopefully, every pay point). Shoppable videos, for example, are starting to gain traction as a more-than-viable way to convert browsers into shoppers. NY-based ‘touchable video’ specialists Cinematique reported an average 13% conversion rate earlier this year – a figure much higher than anything a banner ad could deliver. Wirewax’s taggable video work with Pepe Jeans, meanwhile, had 45% of users clicking an average of 3 times. The more brands engage with the technology, the more the tactic’s ROI can be proven – luxury brands like Gucci, who have already experimented in this area, might help kickstart the trend long-term.

Also bubbling under the digital strategies of fashion’s biggest players are augmented reality applications. Burberry was among the first to embrace AR back in 2011, celebrating its Beijing store opening with an AR catwalk show in which holographic models walked alongside real ones. But fast-forward to 2014, and branded phone apps are using layered realities to drive retail purchases in store. Plus, the universal cart – launched last year by London-based fashion site Lyst – is allowing users to buy luxury items all over the web, in one place. Spring, a new dedicated shopping app, also offers mobile users hundreds of brands at their fingertips.

Technologies like shoppable videos, in-store AR apps and universal carts work because they allow consumers to feel totally in charge of their own retail experience, all whilst increasing brand loyalty with their added ease and innovation. Our New York summit will play host to some of the industry’s most influential players in retail-oriented tech: speakers will include Alan Tisch, founder of Spring, along with a retail panel, headed up by Jared Schiffman (Perch Interactive) and Dan Garraway (Wirewax) focussing on the coolest tech – with the most tangible ROI – around.

Can’t wait that long? Our Milan summit is calling – a day dedicated to exploring the new possibilities of Omnichannel, on October 22nd.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion Milan will take place on October 22, 2014 at La Pelota. Check out the full agenda here.

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

Read More

Topics: Spring, Pepe Jeans, Gucci, Wirewax, augmented reality, omnichannel, DFNY, Cinematique, Weekly Stories, DFMilan, Perch Interactive

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Follow Decoded Fashion