When designer Rebecca Minkoff opens two new stores this month in New York and San Francisco, shoppers will be treated not just to her candy colored handbags and velvet holiday frocks, but also to a taste of what’s to come in retail and technology. The stores are digital wonderlands chockfull of high-tech services developed by eBay Inc.’s retail innovation team, and aimed at making the shopping experience easier.
Merging online with brick-and-mortar, each store will be equipped with oversized, high definition display screen for customers to use to browse merchandise, view runway footage and select items to try on. Shoppers can be alerted via text message when a fitting room becomes available to them, and once inside they will be able to request additional sizes and assistance by using touch screens imbedded into the mirrors. Fitting room screens are also able to suggest other clothing and accessories that pair well with the merchandise the customer is already trying on.
Customers do not even have to leave the fitting room to make a purchase. Employees will handle transactions with iPads, or they can pay through the fitting room with PayPal or traditional methods of payment.
Following the digital footprints of Burberry, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, the high-tech Rebecca Minkoff stores are a chance to nab a portion of the $592 Deloitte says omnichannel consumers are expected to spend on average on gifts this holiday season.
The tech-savvy approach to retail extends to the boutiques’ inventory, as well. RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, powered by eBay Inc., will properly measure inventory and keep tabs on what shoppers have already tried on. Likewise, infrared sensors on the ceiling will keep data on which products on display screens get the strongest engagement.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), one hypothesis is that images that rotate quickly could do better at lunchtime when shoppers are short on time. Healey Cypher, head of retail innovation at eBay Inc., told WSJ, “It’s all about capturing the data you usually lose.”
Minkoff has become a household name since launching handbags in 2005 and apparel four years later. And she has taken her own shopping experience into consideration as she made these retail enhancements to her new stores. The designer told WSJ, “I felt like there was a lot missing from retail stores. Being half naked and having to hope that someone sees you when you pop your head out, that’s never been a fun experience.”