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Reformation opening tech-enabled store inspired by Silicon Valley

Reformation's tech-enabled San Francisco store
Reformation’s tech-enabled San Francisco store

Reformation is set to open its fifth store, this time in San Francisco, and inspired by brands that call Silicon Valley home, including Apple and Tesla. The result will be a more efficient experience for those who visit, enabled via touchscreen monitors and a smart dressing room setup.

The aim is to get away from the “self-service cafeteria” feel of so many stores, according to founder Yael Aflalo. “Most [stores] are super messy, you can never find your size, you have to wait in line forever, the dressing room lighting is the worst,” she told Fashionista. “I felt like a high-volume, high-end retail experience was basically nonexistent. So we wanted to blend internet and IRL to create a store we’d actually want to go to ourselves — that hopefully solves a lot of these problems.”

She took inspiration from the ease of shopping at Apple, where even on its busiest days, there’s a high level of customer service maintained. She particularly appreciated the fact the products are neatly on display, not cluttering the store, and used that to inform the way she designed her own space, placing her best selling pieces front and centre.

Reformation's tech-enabled San Francisco store
Reformation’s tech-enabled San Francisco store

The touchscreens meanwhile were influenced by Tesla, where there are similarly minimal models on display and instead digital interfaces that showcase the detail of everything you can purchase. “I bought a Tesla in a showroom and it left a profound impression on me,” Aflalo told Fast Company. “Usually buying a car is so difficult and horrible. But buying a Tesla on a flatscreen monitor was so easy that I wondered if I was doing it right: I picked the color I wanted, entered my address, and swiped by credit card, then it was all done. My car showed up a month later.”

Customers to the Reformation store can use the touchscreens to explore looks they like, and then select them to arrive in the dressing room. Much like the Rebecca Minkoff and Ralph Lauren experiences, that connected space allows users to request additional sizes, colours or styles, as well as do things like change the lighting and play your own music.

Aflalo says she’s already planning the next steps, including a system that merges both the online and offline experience in a literal sense – allowing shoppers to purchase an item there and then to have it sent home, or to pre-order at home and have them ready for you to try on when you come in.

The store opens at 914 Valencia Street in San Francisco on February 21.

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Digital snippets: Ralph Lauren’s connected fitting room, IBM Watson predicts holiday shopping, Burberry customers can star in new campaign

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

A Polo Ralph Lauren associate trying out the interactive fitting

  • Ralph Lauren and Oak Labs debut interactive fitting rooms [WWD]
  • IBM Watson trend app predicts hot holiday shopping items [AdAge]
  • Burberry makes customers the star of their own fashion campaign [Brand Republic]
  • Sephora’s new retail stores will take cues from YouTube [Digiday]
  • New Balance will sell 3D-printed shoes in Boston starting next year [Beta Boston]
  • Target’s big digital holiday campaign combines Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram [AdWeek]
  • J Crew and American Girl embrace social commerce ads for the holidays [AdWeek]
  • Andy Dunn’s plans to build a digital native brand empire with Bonobos [Redef]
  • Burberry receives top ranking in L2 digital index [Yahoo]
  • Macy’s imagines the shop of the future in time for Black Friday [PSFK]
  • What’s behind the exodus from Rent the Runway? [Fortune]
  • Amazon touts new drone prototype [WSJ]
  • Brooklyn’s Catbird prioritises digital over brick-and-mortar expansion [Fashionista]
  • Is there still hope for fashion crowdfunding? [BoF]
  • Can artificial intelligence sell shoes? [WSJ]
  • Three ways data is transforming fashion retail [WGSN]
  • Instant messaging will change the way brands talk to customers, says Tictail [Wired]
  • The potential of geolocation for revolutionising retail [HBR]
  • Retail enters third phase of digital evolution [FT]
  • Will social selling work in fashion? [BoF]
  • Hands-on with Facebook’s haphazard shopping feed [TechCrunch]
  • The future of shopping is… Second Life on acid? Imagining a virual reality mega mall [Co.Design]
  • Stitch Fix creates an army of brand advocates, one social share at a time [The Future of Commerce]