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.
Shopping in the physical world is definitely going more and more digital. Rebecca Minkoff installed smart mirrors in the changing rooms of her flagship store a good while ago to make try-ons easier, and by fall 2015 Zara had done something similar by providing ipads in theirs. Now The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås has added the masters course Management of digital trade to their curriculum. The course is intended for students with a bachelor in business administration and the idea is to create an understanding not only for online trade but also how trade in physical stores is starting to change with these digital in store-solutions.
Well, that might not be far away, actually. Tech company Tanvas showcased one such screen at CES 2017 recently. Collaborating with the apparel company Bonobos, they have created a screen that lets you feel the textures of different fabrics right there on the screen, using a haptic feedback system! Imagine what that would do for retail, if we could get a real sense of the material before we buy! And just imagine what it could do for people with impaired vision.
Right now the company is looking for partners that want to implement this technology in different ways. So let’s hope they hear from the fashion industry soon.