Here’s how it works: a small chip gets embedded into a garment, essentially turning it into a “smart” device, and users who have the Awear app can scan a stranger’s dress as long as they are within thirty feet of the item. The app then returns all of the style details and pictures of the product and customers can purchase directly from the app or share what they’ve seen on social channels.
DKNY will tag twenty of its items with an Awear digital chip as part of a test run.
“The unique patent-pending modules, specially curated for the fashion industry, are seamlessly embedded within the items to promote brand awareness, one on one relationships with consumers, and impulse purchases at every turn, while simultaneously providing companies with real-time consumer data,” the Awear website notes.
The whole idea is that products can still generate sales and boost brand awareness once outside of the store.
Brands that incorporate the technology into their products will have access to a full analytics dashboard that allows them to see how often their products are being noticed off the shelf, how many people are discussing it on social channels and how many are actually buying. They can also track where an item is popular and where it isn’t.
Personalized data per customer that shows that shoppers’ wish lists and social media activity surrounding the product is also made available to brands enabling them to send custom deals to individuals based on products they’ve taken interest in. Awear can also recommend other styles and colors of similar products the brand offers to customers.
DKNY presented the innovative technology to the industry last week with an Easter Fashion scavenger hunt. According to the New York Observer, guests downloaded the Awear app, selected their favorite colored Easter egg from a screen and then the app gave users “hotter” and “colder” cues as they moved through the store to find designated chip-equipped items.
Yuli Ziv, a social media and fashion technology expert on Awear’s advisory board told the Observer, “This can be a game-changer.” She added, “If it’s adopted by a large number of brands, this can be a whole new platform. It can be a platform that has its own API and other people developing apps on top of it. That’s what a lot of social [retail] apps we see are missing right now.”
The Awear solution builds on ASAP54’s app that lets users track fashion with a photo. Consumers can take pictures of fashion items they like and the app works to locate the item or suggest others that are similar.
But Awear’s competitive advantage is that it finds the consumer exactly what she is looking for; it answers the simple, but often-asked question, “What is that person wearing and where can I buy it?”
The next step is adoption and Awear is working to bring at least twenty more brands on board. According to the Observer, embedding a chip costs less than one dollar per garment, but the cost becomes nominal when considering that every customer out and about in that item becomes a walking advertisement.