What will retail become in the future? Retail industry leaders such as H&M and Guess will gather on January 23rd to discuss this in Hong Kong, at this year’s edition of the Retail Cutting Edge conference. The conference will revolve around the four themes retail for the next decade, blockchain in retail, global change pain points and AR and VR. Within these themes they will explore for instance how blockchain can be used to prove product authenticity, how the demand for sustainability changes the way brands interact with customers and how AR and VR can make the transition from gimmicky to mainstream in the retail space. Read more at https://live.insideretail.hk/.
An AR app for digital try-ons with the ultimate goal to lower return rates – that’s the plan for Swedish online store Chiquelle. Just in time for buyer fest Black Friday, the company will launch an app where the customers can try on clothes digitally, using an avatar.
High return rates are a big problem in the fashion industry today. Customers usually get free returns in order to make their purchase as smooth as possible. But it’s expensive. For the companies, and most of all – for the environment.
Attempting to solve this problem is therefore a great initiative, and something that all of fashion must give some serious thought. So what about the app then? Well, you just choose body type, size on upper and lower body and skin colour, and then take a selfie to complete the avatar. After that, you get to choose two items from the beta version mini collection and try it on in the environment you’re in.
According to Swedish magazine DI Digital who tested the beta version, there’s still a lot of work to do before the app works properly. But if the glitches can be fixed, I celebrate the idea of virtual try-on and look forward to it as a function in the future.
Are consumers warming up to the idea of virtually enhancing their online shopping? So it seems, according to a new report from e-commerce agency PushOn, The Current Daily reports.
According to the study, 45 percent of consumers would spend more money online if they had access to technology to help them visualize what they’re buying, while more than half (52 %) think that retailers should invest in technology for creating a seamless link between in-store and online shopping.
40 percent of the surveyed shoppers, would also specifically like to use some kind of Augmented Reality solution to try out what they’re buying beforehand.
Zara, Ikea, Google and Apple have all begun to invest in these technologies, and it seems it was right on time.
Starting in April, clothing chain Zara will introduce AR in their window displays. The move is said to be a way of attracting millennials who tend to prefer online alternatives such as Amazon to physical stores, according to Reuters.
So how will this AR installation work exactly? Well, when holding a mobile phone to a sensor in the window (or inside the store), customers will be able to see models wearing different looks, and also click to buy what they want.
The AR displays will be introduced in 120 Zara stores all over the world, from April 18.
Merging the benefits of online shopping with the benefits of the physical store is often described as a thing of the future. But here’s a very real example of today. Just a couple of days ago, a new tech infused Browns boutique opened up in London’s Shoreditch district. Like its sister store in London’s Mayfair, Browns East features design brands such as Balenciaga, Raf Simons and Gucci. But the most exciting thing is how Browns are now in the first stages of the Farfetched powered ”Store of the future” concept which will include for instance radio frequency stock tracking. If a customer can’t find an item in store, but finds it online, Browns East can deliver it to the store within 60 minutes. Via the Browns app, customers can tap to let the staff they’re in the store and want help, or opt out by clicking the ”do not disturb”-function. Need another size? Swipe the reflective screen on the smart mirror. When will we see something similar in Sweden? Yes, I’m looking at you @H&M.
Photo credit: Browns East
I know, I tend to go on quite a lot about the future of retail these days, but hey, a lot is happening in that area right now. And too little here in Sweden I might add. On May 2nd, the city of Toronto and number of fashion oriented organizations and businesses, are holding a joint event in Toronto about the future of retail. And they are right to do it, because the boundaries between our digital and physical lives are blurring and that goes for retail as well with stores becoming more digitally friendly, for instance in how Augmented Reality is moving into dressing rooms. The Toronto event is just the kind of thing I would like to see happening in Sweden right now. But the problem is I just can’t hear anyone even talking about this right now. Why is that? I think it’s about time to start this conversation.
Photo: Rebecca Minkoff smart dressing room.