How fashion retailers can make use of the Internet of Things to provide a positive in-store shopping experience.
IoT brings digital customer experience to its peak
After reading the latest post by fashion-blogger Andy Torres, Mia, 17, believes she urgently needs a new pair of jeans. Together with two girlfriends and – of course – her smartphone, Mia starts her shopping trip. It does not take long until the first beacon pops up on her smartphone to lure her into a store and direct her to the promotion. The jeans are super-trendy and the right size is available too. Mia takes them to the fitting room to try them on right away. In the meantime, her girlfriends are chilling while watching video clips of fashion shows until they hear Mia cry out. Unfortunately, the “slim-cut” of the jeans does not look good at all. Well, what other jeans styles are there? Touch, browse, swipe, click. It’s all right there on the interactive screen in the fitting room. All three of them find that totally hip, and furthermore, Mia does not have to get dressed again and dig through the whole jeans assortment on the shelves herself. She finds all the articles right here in the fitting room. A bit like a virtual, endless shelf. Using the button for “store assistant”, the desired jeans are then brought to Mia by the sales personnel. Whilst waiting, Mia is checking out various shirts, belts and bags – all from the current collection. Wow, Mia found a sweater she likes very much. Is it still available in size ‘small’? And in what colour? That’s just awesome; she immediately gets feedback that the sweater is in stock and can be found on the upper level, right here in the store. There’s also a XXL-Bag she likes as well. However, it is only available in the web shop. Five pieces are left and Mia is considering getting the bag too via the in-store ordering service, offered directly here on the screen in the fitting room.
Understand customers. Improve service. Sell more.
Most people in sales, marketing, IT and logistics departments at the headquarters of any fashion brands would agree that providing a consistent positive customer experience is only possible through digital change in the store and throughout the entire supply chain in order to boost sales and let customers relate with the brand. Using the Internet-of-Things (IoT) in the store, digital intelligence is provided on the sales floor. So called smart objects – i.e. garments equipped with RFID labels – generate useful data and trigger measures, such as displaying information about the item and/or matching accessories on interactive touchscreens. Furthermore, intelligent RFID ceiling reading devices allow data to be collated in real-time, capturing all movements of the “intelligent garments” and evaluating all relevant information with analytical software. For instance, which zones in the store are highly frequented, and which are less popular? What articles are often tried-on, but rarely bought? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) generated in the store – such as conversion rates in the fitting room, or dwell time of articles on the sales floor – reveal a lot of information about customer behaviour and offer the potential for improvements in customer service. If a customer decides to go to a store, he/she often really just wants to know one thing: is a specific article available in the store and if so, where? A transparent article management process provides information on the availability of sought-after items in the fitting room, in the store, as well as in the web shop. At the same time, cross-selling opportunities can be actively pursued and, in case of critical minimum quantities of items on the sales floor, notifications are sent for timely replenishment. If a store is stocked appropriately and the product assortment is presented nicely and according to consumers’ preferences, articles are sold at their calculated prices and do not end up in sales-outlets. In the background, IoT-based services do their magic. Mia had a great shopping experience and is happy with her purchase. She gives the store the best rating and shares her purchase via smartphone immediately. She will definitely come back again.
Image source: IStock, Copyright: JackF