New digitally tuned-in retail fixtures may help department stores regain some of the fashion authority they have given up to specialty stores and mass merchants. The Virtual Personal stylist, developed by nG Connect Program, takes away some of the frustration of fitting rooms and messy makeup counters by enabling customers to "try on" apparel and make-up without physically putting anything on.
Fashion avatars The new technology requires the fashion customer to create an avatar based on her specific measurements in a quick and easy in-store 3D scanning process. What makes the process so exciting is that the personal avatar, once downloaded, can be accessed anywhere in-store via mobile device, or online by the customer to try on fashion items or test beauty products virtually.
The Virtual Personal Stylist is an enhanced retail experience created by a combination of innovative 3D electronics, video conferencing, cloud computing, and ultra-high bandwidth connectivity. An ng Connect Program member, VisionMAX, integrated the scanning, avatar creation, in-store display, and online shopping technologies into asystem that also permits users to view interactive fashion videos, get style tips from fashion gurus, and sample products on their avatars.
Magic mirror The Virtual Personal Stylist is just one example of augmented reality technology being used to engage customers, develop customer loyalty, and increase sales. Last October at the Fashion Night Out event in New York City, Macy’s introduced The Magic Fitting Room, a 72-inch mirror controlled by an Apple iPad.
Customers have a digital photo taken by a camera attached to the mirror to register their position and body orientation before trying on virtual apparel that is projected onto their image. Not only can the Macy’s shopper view what her fashion selection virtually, but she can also send images by text, e-mail, or Facebook to get her friends’ opinions.
Merging physical and digital Christopher Enright, chief innovation officer with LBi, the digital marketing company responsible for creating the magic mirror says, "As the role of retail changes and the lines between physical and digital continue to blur, agencies are tasked with providing innovative solutions."
The entertaining and convenience-oriented technology seems to be meeting the favor of the public. Within the first week, thousands stepped in front of the mirror for their virtual wardrobe change, according to CNN.com.
“Reaching out to and engaging with the digital-savvy, young consumer is something all retailers are striving to do,” scomments Joe Feczko, Macy’s senior vice president for innovation. “The Magic Fitting Room marries together our goals as a marketer and consumers’ expectations perfectly.”
Interested in exploring your own ideas for fixture innovations? Contact Misty Wilfing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.780.0004.