When you’re shopping solo – with armfuls of clothing stuffed into the fitting room – snagging different sizes and styles can be tricky. (We’ve all done the hurried, barefoot trot out onto the sales floor in search of that alternatively sized pair of pants.) Not so at Rebecca Minkoff’s debut flagship store, where trying on clothes comes with an arsenal of interactive technology, all designed to keep the process as simple, positive and free of frantic-size-searches as possible.
The New York-based luxury brand, launched in 2001 by designer Rebecca Minkoff and her sibling co-founder Uri Minkoff, boasts a collection of edgy handbags, accessories and apparel. In 2005, the Minkoff line hit it big when her Morning After satchel became the coveted “it” bag, slung over the arms of ultra-cool Hollywood types. A decade later, the brand has opened a 2000-square-foot flagship in SoHo that – thanks to a strategic partnership with eBay – merges the online and physical shopping worlds in an effort to cater to digitally inclined, next-generation shoppers.
“We want to ease shoppers’ pain points and introduce a retail experience that feels uncomplicated, yet innovative,” says Uri Minkoff, ceo and co-founder. “As technology continues to evolve, we’ll adapt in a way that makes sense for our customers’ wants and needs and plan to treat our stores like a software project where every quarter we’ll be rolling out new features.”
The store includes check-in upon arrival via the brand’s mobile app, enabling store associates to see the shopper’s personal profile and customize her experience. The app also incorporates PayPal mobile checkout. A mirrored Connected Wall along the boutique’s perimeter lets customers browse styles and send their choices to a fitting room for a one-on-one styling session with an associate. Thirsty patrons can even tap the wall to order a beverage.
Inside fitting rooms, the interactive VIP experience continues: A touchscreen mirror automatically takes stock of all the items (cleverly tagged with RFID technology) in the room and identifies other available sizes and colors. Need a different size? Touch the mirror to alert a stylist. Not ready to commit to that skirt? Save the fitting room session to review later on the Rebecca Minkoff website.
Ratings and reviews will soon be incorporated into the touchscreen’s offerings, but the company already has positive results to report: “We’ve seen a six- to seven-times increase in ready-to-wear sales since opening our connected stores this past year,” says Rebecca Minkoff. “About 75 percent of consumers engage with the ‘wear it with’ feature in the connected dressing rooms, and 25 percent are then asking for that item to be brought into the fitting room.”
Minkoff also notes that the data has helped inform her company’s marketing decisions, specifically, the notion that the millennial consumer is using her phone both for research prior to walking into the store and while she’s shopping, too.
Regardless of the customer’s desired experience – a pampered VIP treatment or quick-and-efficient shopping trip – Rebecca Minkoff’s sleek SoHo flagship serves both ends of the spectrum. “We want to de-anonymize the shopping experience,” Uri Minkoff says. “Our stores are set up to offer the best of retail and the best of e-commerce, leaving it to the customer to determine whether or not she will engage with the technology.”
From the looks of it, she’s all in.