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How to surprise a customer: high technology in fashion retail Photo: iStock
09.04.2014 10301

How to surprise a customer: high technology in fashion retail

Modern buyers are no longer surprised by the combination of price and quality or polite sellers, they will remember the one who makes them say “wow!”. Augmented reality technologies are one of the elements that advanced retailers rely on to create a wow effect. So far, these technologies cannot be considered an effective means of increasing sales, but they cope with the cheers with the tasks of attracting a young audience and increasing brand loyalty.

Nike's Enchanted Store

In March 2012, Nike opened a floor-to-ceiling temporary store in London's Boxpark Mall with state-of-the-art technology. All visitors' movements were monitored by cameras, and the sensors changed the color of the LED walls from green to red as a person approached them. Instead of real Nike sneakers, QR codes were presented on the shelves that could be read using an iPad or iPhone and viewed on these devices a three-dimensional image of the model and all its characteristics. Digital mannequins showed videos of running people. Separately, the Nike Fuel Pod installations were located. Approaching them, the visitor saw his digital reflection in full growth, and each of his movements were read by sensors and recorded. The image was reproduced thanks to Microsoft Kinect technology. Kinect is a non-contact touch controller that allows the user to interact with the game console or computer only through verbal commands and gestures. The reason for the opening of such a "tricked" store Nike said the desire to promote its brand Nike +, under which the company produces high-tech sports products and positions it as a brand of the future.

City in the palm of your hand Adidas

Adidas rival keeps up with Nike. In 2009, the company released sneakers that could open virtual reality to their owner. A special code was applied to the shoe’s tongue, which had to be brought to the computer’s webcam. After that, the Adidas website automatically opened on the computer, and a virtual 3D town appeared on the screen, along the streets of which people walked, rode on skateboards and played basketball. The user could travel around this city using the sneaker as a game controller for movement. Based on this technology, several computer games were developed for which Adidas running shoes were also needed.

"Undress me!"

In the fall of 2012, Canadian underwear brand Wonderbra launched an unusual advertising campaign. On posters, in magazines and on the Internet, an underwear advertisement was displayed showing a fully dressed girl. In order to see a real “naked” photo shoot, users had to download the Wonderbra Decoder App for iPhone or Android, and then point the smartphone’s camera with the application running on a poster in a display window or an advertising page in a magazine. The same model appeared on the gadget screen as on the advertisement, but not in jeans and a T-shirt, but in underwear. The results exceeded all expectations: the application was downloaded over 100 000 times, and the average time that potential buyers spent reviewing the brand’s ads was 13-18 minutes. Videos demonstrating how the app works have been viewed on Youtube and Vimeo over 1 over a million times.

The experiences of Russian retailers

Based on the Kinect technology already mentioned above, a virtual fitting room project was also implemented at the Topshop youth clothing store in Moscow. In May 2011 of the year, on 3 of the day, a virtual mirror was installed in the flagship Topshop in the SEC Evropeisky, which allowed visitors to try on clothes without going into a real fitting room. The camera, built into the monitor, recognized the contours of the human body and “superimposed” the model of the dress or blouse on the 3D customer’s image. With the help of gestures it was possible to change the outfit or take pictures in the clothes you liked. The disadvantages of the system turned out to be that it automatically adjusts the image of clothes to the parameters of the image of a person, so it is impossible to choose the size. Nevertheless, the virtual fitting room technology is a step into the future when the turn to the fitting room will become just a memory.

In Russia, the MF company, which produces print T-shirts, tried to use the virtual fitting room. In the Peter-Raduga shopping and entertainment center in St. Petersburg, the company has an island-type store where it is not possible to organize a fitting room. To solve the problem of fitting, a virtual mirror was installed using Kinect technology. But, as representatives of the company noted, they did not feel any increase in customers or increase in conversion. The only thing that has changed is brand awareness among young people.

Trying online

The Russian startup company Fitting Reality has advanced even further in development. She offered online shopping service fittingreality.com, which makes it possible to virtually try on clothes from their assortment. Taking a picture with a webcam, Kinect console or smartphone, a store visitor can create a ShapeID - a digital 3D image of his figure - and "try on" the clothes digitized by the store. The site has a mobile interface, and a version for Google Glass has been developed: with its help, you can scan the barcode of clothes and see an image of yourself or a friend dressed in the chosen thing. In the video advertising the technology, the hero scans the digitized versions of women's dresses, “tries on” them on the photo of his girlfriend and sends her a photo - all without hands, using just Google Glass, which looks almost like ordinary glasses. Despite the interest generated by the project at TechCrunch, the largest technology trade show in the United States, there are very few online retailers supporting this technology. However, it is obvious that the service has a high development potential.

Modern buyers are no longer surprised by the combination of price and quality or polite sellers, they will remember the one who makes them say “wow!”. Augmented reality technology is one of the elements ...
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