The biggest mainstay of dressing rooms may be going away. The humble mirror has been doing its job of reflecting your image since 400 BC. That was just a shiny brass plate. The mirror as we know it, glass with a thin layer of metallic silver, was developed in 1835. That’s the last major technological advance for the mirror.
Your dressing rooms will soon be just the mirror, which will actually be a reflective LCD that can simulate you trying on clothes and jewelry. Three-dimensional cameras will map these items to the contours of your body. You will even be able to see how an outfit will look from the back. The average mirror doesn’t stand a chance against that.
These virtual dressing rooms already exist in stores across the globe. It’s likely only a matter of time before you encounter one as they become more commonplace.
They are part of a trend known as interactive retail, which is the next big draw that retail stores are using to lure in new and returning customers. Interactive retail utilizes technology and real-world simulations to deliver unique shopping experiences.
The Now of Interactive Retail
We’ve already discussed virtual dressing rooms, but what about virtual inventories? Neiman Marcus has added interactive retail tables to a few of its retail locations. The tables are embedded with touchscreens that allow customers to browse through the store’s current inventory, to see what’s available and what’s not. Shoppers can even create a wish list and email it to themselves.
Golfers in Birmingham, Alabama who want to practice their long and short game while avoiding the hot sun need to simply swing by the PGA TOUR Superstore. This massive outlet provides several golf swing simulators, practice hitting bays, and a massive putting green.
Photo Credit: gentlemansstyle.com
Maybe you have a stopover at Japan’s Haneda Airport and get a hankering to buy a Mercedes-Benz. Well, you’re in luck. Just head over to the Mercedes-Benz branded lounge, digital displays, restaurants, and cafes. While you’re there you can also browse the cars on display. This type of “store” is an attempt to get travelers to explore products while they have spare time.
Specsavers is utilizing interactive retail to improve how the retailer measures you for a new pair of glasses. Staff uses a tablet to take digital measurements of a consumer’s face. Next, the customer is given a “magic mirror” to virtually try on different pairs of glasses.
The Future of Interactive Retail
The next step for interactive retail will be to quickly pair your own devices – wearable tech, phones, etc. – to further personalize the experience.
Certain Apple Stores are already doing something like this with their HomeKit experience, where, using the “Home” app on an Apple Watch, iPhone, or iPad, users are able to control various HomeKit-compatible components throughout a virtual room.
The only difference will be that soon the “room” won’t be virtual, and you’ll use your personal device instead of one tethered to a display.
Interactive retail will also soon incorporate virtual reality. VR can deliver limitless experiences to consumers. Imaging: being able to see how a new refrigerator would look in your kitchen before you buy it, or taking a new car for a spin without ever hitting the road.
The possibilities for interactive retail are unlimited. If you need some help brainstorming your next crowd-pleasing display, let The Trade Group help. One call – 800-343-2005 – will have consumers stopping by your store even if they don’t have a specific purchase in mind.