The Store of the Future: combines the best parts of physical and online shopping experience
Depending on who you talk to, the retail industry is either in a free fall or in the midst of a renaissance while more and more people are going online. All myths are true, and as a result, a retail industry is under a rapid churning transformation and increased competition from digital natives. Stores can stay relevant in the era of online shopping but brick-and-mortar shopping experience must be driven to the next level.
To better understand what the store of the future will look like, we must analyze the benefits of brick-and-mortar and online shopping experiences. Bricks or Clicks? What do fashion consumers prefer?
These are just a few of the reasons why some consumers often prefer to shop at physical stores while others prefer to purchase online. So, the store of the future must adopt AI concepts to its physical stores, combining the best parts of both shopping experience.
This is what the future of fashion retail looks like
True shopping extends from brick-and-mortar locations to mobile-browsing, ecommerce marketplaces, onsite storefronts, social media, retargeting, and everything in between. Technology is changing how we shop, and breaking down the walls between the virtual and the real world driving to omnichannel retail.
Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead, it’s just evolving. The store of the future will be defined by the reinvention of the consumer experience, taking the magic of the physical store experience and bringing it together with the advantages of the online and digital experience, underpinned by the use of data. The store of the future will use artificial intelligence to anticipate visitors’ every wish to help customers shop smartly.
Software transform retail
Customer experience is the key when winning the hearts and loyalty of consumers. Nike by Melrose, Alibaba Store in Hong kong and Zara Westfield Stratford flagship are prime examples of brands which are really taking this lesson to heart, creating a local, digitized, customized, humanized and socialized experience for their customers.
Retail is not dead, but boring retail is dead
Cathy Sparks, Vice President of Nike’s Global stores
These stores operate as a digital-meets-physical retail, combining digital features with a unique physical environment. Once inside, these stores do not seem so different from a regular shop (clothing is neatly displayed on hangers). However, the stores´ technologies promote their online product range and online shopping options through connected mirrors, ipad-powered employees and robot arms.
Our business model combines stores and digital seamlessly
Pablo Isla, chairman and CEO of Zara
How masters of fashion like Zara or Benetton are boosting customer in-store experience with AI
Here’s how big players of fashion are reinventing retail experience with artificial intelligence solutions:
AI MIRRORS: drive smart recommendations for shoppers in the fitting room or in-store
Zara and Alibaba’s Store featuring interactive mirrors are equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification) which can detect the garment a customer is holding and make bring it up on the screen.
Via the AI-powered mirror, shoppers can look at the different sizes available in-store, view other colour options, and explore additional recommendations based on what they brought into the changing room. Smart suggestions like visually similar in-stock options and personalised mix-and-match options to complete the look.
AI-POWERED EMPLOYEES: boost all sales opportunities
Sales people help with the purchase process, but the technology runs the real show. In these sense, Zara and Benetton are empowering their sales people with mobile technology that instantly provides them with all the information they need to assist a customer, to bring the benefits of online shopping into the brick-and-mortar environment.
Via smartphones or ipads with AI solutions, retailers are providing them with the tools they need to enhance an end-to-end shopping journey for each customer.
Similar to the smart mirrors, iPad-wielding assistants can help customers from product discovery and styling inspiration, to instant checkout. They can display color and size options, or available in-store items that the AI system thinks would be a match to complete the look or other visually similar products. But also, to shop customer favourite influencer’s outfits, recreate some of the most stylish looks with available in-store items by uploading images.
The AI systems provide a retail team with an easy and speedy way to access and browse through the catalogues to build an entire outfit, from matching clothing items to complementary accessories and shoes.
At the end, the new concept fashion store is based on high-tech and AI solutions enabling new physical experiences. In this post we have analyzed some of the most relevant applied solutions to create in-store experiences that drive sales.