Cotton Incorporated, Features

A Fitting Future

In spite of easy, 24/7 access to brands and retailers online, most consumers prefer making their apparel purchases in an actual store. Perhaps as an unexpected consequence of e-commerce ease, previously minor in-store inconveniences are becoming pain points for some consumers. The fitting room and checkout experiences are two such aspects. Some retailers are looking to make the job easier, courtesy of some high-tech help.

When the ecommerce intimates brand Adore Me was looking to open brick-and- mortar locations, the company saw both opportunity and potential for friction. At the recent National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show in New York, Camille Kress, director of retail, said Adore Me was interested in creating a comfortable environment for women, because trying on intimates is often a very uncomfortable experience.

Adore Me tapped StoreAdvise, a tech company with a platform that assists and engages the customer in the fitting room, and also helps the retailer on a couple of fronts. The technology incorporates a touchscreen in the fitting room that reads what a customer is bringing in through RFID (radio frequency identification) sensors on each apparel item. The screen automatically makes recommendations for other items and shows additional colors and sizes that are available. Using the screen, the consumer can notify a sales associate that she would like another garment brought to her. Through the affiliated app, the associate receives a notification on their mobile device, and can quickly determine what items are in stock, and respond to the consumer.

Most consumers (52 percent) are likely to buy clothes from a store that offers high-tech dressing rooms with features such as a mirror that allows shoppers to see an outfit in various colors, post a picture of themselves in an ensemble to social media and get product details at the click of a button, according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

StoreAdvise doesn’t use a “magic mirror,” but rather a high-tech screen within the Adore Me fitting room.

“We’re leveraging RFID technology on inventory, providing a better engagement for Adore Me consumers, and enabling the retail sales associates and manager to provide a better service,” said StoreAdvise’s Keith Sherry, CEO.

Fashion retailers are aware that today’s consumers are used to getting what they want with the tap of a screen. However, most shoppers (72 percent) still prefer to buy their apparel in-store, according to the Monitor™ research. So combining the best of online and brick and mortar shopping is to a retailer’s advantage.

Adore Me has two stores and implemented the RFID program in both locations. The StoreAdvise program also measures traffic into the fitting rooms, which items were purchased and which went back to the floor, right down to the size and color. Dan Natale, vice president of customer engagement for StoreAdvise, says the program also measures peak fitting room times and tells retailers if they should reallocate associates’ shifts around fitting room activity.

Sherry said his company’s analytics are not just providing information for users. “We’re trying to move them along this journey from trying to understand loads of data with their generic analytics, and trying to make it prescriptive analytics,” he said.

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