Addressing pain points of apparel shopping
Zara recently opened a new store in Soho, their first one to feature the “smart” dressing room using RFID technology. Inside the fitting room, customers can see on a touch screen the product information of the items they brought in, all tagged with RFID, as well as available sizes and colors.
RFID is an exciting technology with numerous possible retail applications. Yet, it is often used to showcase digital innovation or generate buzz. Zara’s initiative on the other hand appears more customer-centric than technology-driven: it enhances the customer path, rather than changing or disrupting it, and simply makes it easier and more convenient.
Whilst not technologically spectacular, this setup addresses a genuine and well-known pain point of apparel shopping by saving customer undressing/redressing and running-around time. Last year, Macy’s had already experimented with an automated fitting room concept to ease and speed-up the customer shopping experience.
Automating fitting rooms to ease and speed-up the shopping experience
Macy’s reduced the need for human interactions to a minimum by fitting out iPads and chutes inside the changing room, enabling shoppers to request and automatically receive different sizes or colors, or other items altogether. In addition, a “discard” chute facilitates returning products they do not wish to purchase, which eases and encourages trying-on multiple items.
As an increasing number of e-tailers deliver multiple items to customers homes knowing some of them will most certainly get returned, Macy’s test was largely meant to be a defensive measure in their on-going fight with Amazon. Yet, it demonstrates how digital commerce and technology such as RFID can simply add value in store, if intended to solve issues faced by customers rather than simply showcase innovation.
Zara offre une belle expérience utilisateur dans son magasin de Soho – soparticular.com
Automated delivery of clothing to changing room at Macy’s – retail-innovation.com
Macy’s Tests Chutes, Tablets in Dressing Rooms to Repel Amazon – bloomberg.com