In most cases, fashion technology draws people away from the mall. Inventions like the virtual dressing room and augmented reality makeup tools transform fashion and beauty shopping into a home-based pastime. If you can practically duplicate an in-store browsing experience on your living couch, why leave your house? But fashion technology doesn’t cater only to the couch potatoes. For those of us who crave the crowded thrill of in-person shopping, there are new digital retail tech to help enhance our offline fashion sprees.
Most store tools are based on virtual fashion tools you can access on your phone. Interactive fitting rooms and touch-screen kiosks are basically blown-up smartphones. Their efficiency lies in the fact that they consolidate product knowledge so you aren’t dependent on search engines or cell service. Though not incredibly innovative, digital retail tech will give your shopping trips a futuristic boost. Here are the latest high-tech mall gadgets to know for 2017.
THE INTERACTIVE FITTING ROOM
Retail tech doesn’t always transform the way you shop. Most gadgets merely enhance technology you already have so they are more store-efficient. This is what makes interactive fitting rooms so impressive. They actually change the way you shop, bringing you the best in customer services and tailoring advice. As you enter one of these frosted glass rooms, it’s sensitive touchscreen scans the RFID tags on your clothing selection to transfer whatever items you fancy onto the mirror-like screen. From there, you can browse hundreds of available sizes and colors with just the swipe of your finger. The software will even give you advice about what to wear with your purchase and provide stock updates from the store warehouse.
If all that sounds too good to be true, brace yourself. There’s more. Once you’re inside one of these fitting rooms, you need never come back out until your shopping is complete. Summon a stylist with the press of a button, translate product reviews and style advice to any language, and purchase your favorite items online before they sell out. Ironically, interactive fitting rooms are so pleasantly private you’ll feel like you’re lounging at home. This design demonstrates there is still plenty to be gained from shopping offline.
NEW POS SYSTEMS
Self-service checkout stations are nothing new. Most grocery stores and hybrid superstores like Walmart and Target have provided these since the early 2010s. In this sense, the retail world has some serious catching up to do. Online shopping is taking people away from malls and physical stores for many reasons, but one of the issue of long lines. If you’re purchasing clothes over the web, you can ring up your items whenever you want without having to wait your turn. New compact self-service kiosks offer stores a cheap retail tech alternative. If they can cut down on the likelihood or time customers are stuck in line, they’ve beat one aspect of technology at its own game. With the growing fear of a retail apocalypse, expect to see many more user-friendly checkouts at fashion stores in 2017.
GOING ONLINE TO CONNECT
Location-based technology is a logical way to attract 21st-century customers to your retail store. Store apps offer something they can never access from their own homes, the chance to unlock deals and promotions only available in-store. It’s retail tech designed to draw attention to physical space. If you’re a retailer, this is an amazing option for you. What better way to get customers through your doors than marketing exclusive in-store options unavailable online? Apps like these are also designer to make browsing more bearable. Some even let you unlock virtual tools with a rendered wardrobe that only contains clothes that are currently in stock. If you stop by the store, you can quickly find out what’s in store and track down the latest deals without rummaging. User-friendly fashion at its best.
Here it is at last. The glorified smartphone screen. This bit of retail tech doesn’t really offer anything new besides size. iPad-inspired kiosks like these let you access product information and store app trivia in big, bold graphics. Lift your head from your phone and start surfing the net like a social person. Clever little trick to lure you into being present, isn’t it?
Retail tech isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a surprisingly effective answer to technology’s fashion takeover. The mall can be as tech-savvy as the virtual design tool on your phone. Just give it a chance.
— Nathan Young