While technology in luxury stores might be increasing, so is the idea of frictionless style of shopping. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding and expect to get what they want, when they want it. Retailers who enable a smooth shopping transaction are the winners – this includes taking the self-check-out from the supermarket to the luxury store (as already seen at Rebecca Minkoff). It’s this heightened attention to convenience which will make for the best shopping experiences in 2018.
A recent survey done by PWC highlighted that 80% of customers are likely to visit a proper bricks and mortar store if they knew there would be some kind of experience for them. This includes entertainment like virtual reality or augmented reality. Unfortunately, despite this, luxury brands have been slower to move in this direction – perhaps for fear that VR doesn’t gel with luxury. On the plus, despite this ignorance, luxury brands have enormous opportunities to fight for the leader’s place.
One example of VR at home in a luxury environment, is in Christian Dior stores. In selected stores, customers are given virtual reality glasses which allows users to explore behind the scenes at fashion shows. This sort of experience incentives stores visits and encourages customers to comes back. Another example is the Prada x Prada VR experience which is an online 360° platform invites visitors to a sensorial journey and to the exploration of the abstract world of Prada Fragrances.
Using VR in another one, Ralph Lauren leveraged it’s in-store experience to drive online sales. Stepping into the Oak fitting room at Ralph Lauren’s fitting room is an experience like no other. The RFID-enabled merchandise sensors know what products the customer is trying on and saves the session. Functionalities include changing the lighting and the ability to request new sizes and colours. The shopper can then buy the session via the app. Learn more by watching the video here.
Of course, VR is fun and creates an experience for the shopper but for brands it also poses a very useful purpose. Virtual Reality has the ability to save time on queues and can actually drive to complete the purchasing decision faster. Thanks to VR mirrors, shopper’s measurements can be recorded and items can be displayed on to a virtual version of the client without them even trying anything on – this is an experience that offers convenience for both shoppers and the retailer.
Not just this, but the future can see an app that alerts sale staff when an existing customer enters the store and enables them to make suggestions based on size, taste and shopping preferences.
Take this one step further, and you have a full VR immersion that can see customers visit stores from their own home. To put it simply, customers can sit in their living room, put on a virtual reality headset and feel like they are walking into a luxury fashion store. These customers can browse all clothing whist moving around the store freely.
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