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Ralph Lauren Adds Fitting Room of the Future to Stores

Retailers know it’s no small task to get shoppers into stores—not even the ubiquitous, near-desperation level discounts are sure bets in today’s market.

One thing that is changing the way shoppers shop and retailers reach out is the smart fitting room and Ralph Lauren just rolled out the interactive technology made by newbie tech company Oak Labs in its Polo Fifth Avenue flagship in New York.

When shoppers step into one of these smart fitting rooms, the duds they’re toting pop up on the mirror because radio frequency identification (RFID) technology recognizes them right away.

Touch screen options come in six different languages, and if the consumer chooses one that’s not the store associate’s native tongue, the associate can answer in one language via their connected iPad and the response is translated back into the tongue the shopper selected.

Because clothing looks different depending on the lighting, options like “Dusk” or “Club” let shoppers see how they’ll look in whatever scenario an outfit might call for.

Instead of searching for different sizes or colors and calling for an often unavailable store associate to bring them while holding the fitting room door open with one hand so it won’t lock, shoppers simply touch a “Get Assistance” button, tell an associate what they need and it makes its way to their room.

And if a shopper settles on a size or color but then finds themselves stumped for what to pair it with, stylist recommendations come to their aid. Based on items customers have in the fitting room, they can call up outfit ideas from fashion experts or choose “Complete the Look” for additional inspiration. For retailers, the potential to upsell could be considerable.

When that’s all said and done, the customer can choose to check out right from the mirror and a store associate will bring over a handheld point of sale and deliver their selections to the fitting room paid and packed.

To avoid fitting room abandonment should the customer opt not to buy on the spot, their session can be saved and sent to their mobile device where they’ll see a text with a link to purchase all of their items online if they are so inclined.

With a tagline on its website that reads, “Online and offline are no longer discernable spaces,” Oak Labs understands the new demands of the market and says with the Oak Fitting Room, “We’re enabling our retail partners to create magical and meaningful customer experiences, while capturing previously unattainable shopper insights.”

The Oak Labs fitting room technology lets retailers get the kind of consumer insight data they don’t usually get—they’ll have access to volume, duration and conversion info for each fitting room session, according to Tech Crunch, and they’ll be able to look at which SKUs are most popular.

Ralph Lauren isn’t the first to implement the smart mirrors and Oak Labs isn’t the first to debut them.

Rebecca Minkoff started offering a similar technology last November called the Connected Store, a project Oak Labs co-founder and CEO Healey Cypher worked on while heading the retail innovation team at eBay before a corporate restructuring led him to go out on his own with a handful of other eBay alums.

Consumers have to be wowed if they’re going to walk into stores and further fulfilled—both with product and experience—if retailers have hopes of making a sale.

With $4.1 million in seed money raised, Oak Labs will continue to invest in the now-necessary shopping experience.

“We are bridging the worlds of tech and retail, designing elegant, intuitive customer experiences that will transform the way we think about shopping forever,” the retailer noted on its website.

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