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Shopping without fitting stress. The digital changing room makes it possible. Fitting means stress for many customers in the stationary trade. A high quota leaves the store frustrated if the goods are not found quickly in the right size and fit. This is exactly where the smart dressing room comes in. Peter Hohn and his company “Phizzard” observed the buying behavior and together with his 16 employees developed a shopping solution of the future. In an interview with Luna Journal, Hohn explains what the chances of such innovations are for stationary trade.
What is a smart dressing room?
Peter Hohn: “The smart changing room can be imagined as follows: we use touch screen solutions that are installed in the changing room, either as a separate touch screen or integrated in a mirror. The touchscreens are designed to assist the customer in finding a suitable product. To do this, customers have to scan the item, for example by barcode or ID, and can then see in which sizes the item is still available. If they choose a different size, the sellers bring the requested article into the cabin. In addition, the customer is offered products that can be combined with the previous article in a fashionably advantageous way.”
Can customers try on their clothes virtually through the smart dressing room?
“Our digital dressing rooms are made merely for the customer to experience the available items. In our opinion, the variant of virtual fitting is not yet practical. This is partly due to the fact that content production is too expensive for virtual viewing. For instance, because of the different types of figures and other things to consider.”
Does the customer then order the product independently in the stationary trade or does the seller take over the product?
“It depends on how the dealer wants to handle it. Ideally, the seller receives a notification on his or her tablet. In addition, the customer can also have the goods delivered directly to his home. Not only in the changing room, customers are given the opportunity to order the right sizes, but also through the touch screens in the shop. It also gives the customer the opportunity to request the goods from another dealer’s branch, from his online shop or directly from the manufacturer. This process is called “virtual shelf extension.”
Is there a need for this in the market?
“Since the virtual changing room is now in use in around 200 stores, I would say that there is a need on the part of the dealers. “
How long does such a development process take? And who is directly involved?
“For the retailer, it takes an average of two months to implement the shop solution. We now have a standard solution in the background that has already implemented the feedback from the market. The feedback we receive from our customers is very positive. Nevertheless, there is always something to learn. Our smart dressing room can be improved accordingly.”
What is the feedback from end customers?
“We find that the willingness of customers to use new shopping technologies is growing. A number of end customers are very pleased with the idea. The problem with the stationary retail trade is that customers have to put on and take off their clothes all the time in order to get a garment of a different size. We have found that customers only go into the changing room twice at most. If they haven’t found anything, they leave the shop out of frustration. The smart dressing room should make it easier for the customer to shop at this point. You can stay in the digital changing room until something suitable is found.”
Should the new fitting room replace the salesman in the long run?
“Our aim is to provide the customer with a pleasant shopping experience and not to replace the sales people. Thanks to the smart solution, the seller can finally concentrate on the customer again. Instead of searching for articles in the warehouse or putting a free terminal into operation, where the stock of goods is demanded exclusively by the seller, the seller can invest the time gained in intensive customer service. This background represents the primary added value. The smart dressing room offers the customer a better service, which optimizes the shopping experience in stationary shops.”
What does this mean for trade?
“In addition to the advantage that retailers can offer their customers a contemporary shopping experience, this clearly means a primary increase in sales for retailers. The solution forms a service-oriented basis for success in the Omnichannel business. In other words, to serve customers as they would like. Independent of the distribution channels.”
What are the disadvantages of the digital version compared to commercial fitting rooms?
“The digital changing room is more expensive for the dealer. It is also the dealer’s job to take his staff and bring it together with the smart solution.”
What financing is offered to the trade?
“We offer our model as hardware and software as a service. This means that retailers can pay a fixed monthly price for the solution. After that, business owners no longer have to worry about anything.”
Are the digital changing rooms already in use? If so, where can I find them?
“The smart dressing room is in use at Intersport or Karstadt in Düsseldorf, for example.”
What other changes in trade do you see in the near future?
“I think that online and stationary trade will become more and more intermingled and that there will no longer be a big difference between online and offline. Many former online retailers will open more and more stationary shops to promote Omnichannel solutions of this kind. Conversely, many stationary retailers will also enter the online trade to use the services via all channels. On top of that, I think there will be a whole range of new services and technologies on a global scale”.