Imagine the store of the future. Imagine that when you walk in, instead of actually seeing any technology, you just see a beautiful store. There is wood, metal and glass. There are people, products and music. As you walk throughout, it comes to life around you – it knows you. It becomes your personal version of the store.
We like to imagine the future and then build it. How do authentic materials like wood, metal and glass come alive around you? How do you seamlessly integrate audiovisual experiences into the shopping journey in a way that surprises consumers and makes moments of inspiration instantly “shoppable”?
Rebecca Minkoff is a great example of where retail is going and audiovisual technologies’ role within that future. Minkoff’s brother, Uri, who is ceo and co-founder of the company, came from a tech background. When we met (I was at eBay at the time), I said, "I want to build the ultimate ‘store of the future’ with you." We both came with our respective lists of ideas, and as we were talking back and forth, we found this kind of spiritual alignment. That was three years ago, and today, you can shop in our vision of the future at Rebecca Minkoff in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Here's the shopping experience we created:
You walk in, and there is a large runway show playing behind the beautiful, 12-foot-wide mirrored surface that greets you. Walk up to it and touch it, and it opens up an interface (automatically adjusted to your height) on top of that runway show and shows you which of the items on the runway are currently being sold in the store.
You can select the merchandise you want, in the sizes you want, and then request a fitting room to be prepared with your selections. The store texts you when the selections are ready. In the meantime, we offer you a drink while you wait: Champagne? Coffee? Tea? While what we’re doing might seem obvious, there is some real data science behind this tactic. By pulling a customer from the top of the conversion funnel, walking into the store, down to the bottom, the fitting room, we raise the conversion rate from 21percent to 67 percent.
We call the immersive audiovisual experience in the fitting room the Oak Mirror. It's an interactive mirror; it's touchable glass. They are in all of Rebecca Minkoff's stores.
When you walk in, the mirror actually comes alive and shows you: here are the things you asked for; here are other sizes and colors and cuts of those items that are available right now; and if you want anything, just hit a button and someone will bring it to you. And so you tap the mirror – the glass itself – and an associate brings you what you asked for. The mirror displays the associate’s name, so you know who is coming. The point of technology in stores isn’t to dehumanize, rather, it’s to re-humanize the experience by empowering associates with unprecedented access to data.
The mirror lets you change your fitting room lighting and the language. In the future, you’ll be able to sign in to the fitting room by holding your phone against the NFC-enabled glass so the mirror will read, "Welcome back. Here are your past purchases. Here are recommendations for you. Everything that you try on but don't purchase we're going to send you a note afterwards, just to remind you of what you're trying on in case you're interested."
You can even check out from the mirror, if you would like, purchasing items that weren’t in stock in the store but are available online. The entire process is designed to be seamless and easy. It's very intuitive, and we think it is an example of the future of retail, based on personalized shopper journeys through a beautiful environment, brought to life by immersive audiovisual experiences.
For more information on Healey Cypher and Oak Labs, visit www.oaklabs.is.
AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, is helping retail designers create a more successful future through the integration of compelling audiovisual experiences. AVIXA represents the $178 billion global commercial AV industry and produces InfoComm trade shows around the world.