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Retail technology

MAC targets Chinese Gen Z with interactive store concept

 

MAC Cosmetics is targeting Gen Z consumers in Shanghai, China with the Experience Center, an interactive store that aims to bridge the gap between physical and digital with a host of interactive experiences.

According to the Estée Lauder-owned brand, the store is a result of six months of consumer behavior research into the MAC consumer, including cognitive walkthroughs, focus groups and exit interviews with customers. Results then helped shape the design and experience of the store, including all tech elements that give visitors a more personalized experience.

For example at the store’s entrance, stationary digital screens invite customers to scan their phones to check into MAC’s WeChat mini-program. The program then triggers a variety of functions during the experience, such as instant checkout and product pick up.

Meanwhile in the lipstick section, a smart mirror enables customers to virtually try on 18 different shades in under 30 seconds through augmented reality. Customers can also choose from six eye shadow palettes and customize it to their tastes through the WeChat platform, which is then 3D printed for them. Lastly, an infrared touchscreen interface can scan a shopper’s face and recommend a foundation shade.

Beauty companies are leading the conversation in creating retail concepts where tech plays a major role in allowing consumers an increasingly personalized experience. Last year, brands from Bourjois to CoverGirl unveiled concepts where the try-on experience was further enhanced by tech fixtures, while Sephora often experiments with such features in its many store concepts across the globe.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick technology

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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Comment digital snippets

2013: a designer meets digital year in review

DolceGabbana_AW13

What a busy year it’s been…

From 3D printing taking its first trip down the New York Fashion Week catwalk, to the launch of Vine and Instagram videos, not to mention the continuing debate about the role of bloggers as influencers, the increased focus on the potential market size of wearables, and Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year as ‘selfie’one thing after another has rapidly impacted the role of innovation in this niche fashion x digital space.

Below then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on F&M this year. It’s an interesting collection, nodding to familiar ideas like storytelling and crowdsourcing, as well as higher quality content, and a general reassessment of what it is that actually works in this space. Video content does of course also have its place, as does the continuing power of celebrity.

Thank you for reading and see you in 2014!

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e-commerce

Colette hosts Art Drive-Thru at Art Basel Miami

Colette_ABMB12Parisian retailer Colette hosted an ‘Art Drive-Thru’ as part of Art Basel Miami last week, open 24/7 and complete with shoppable digital screens.

A partnership with local concept boutique, Alchemist, the initiative was inspired by retro American drive-thrus of the 50s. Far from typical burgers and fries, however, the menu offered everything from a $27,500 Bamford x Rolex watch to a $6,500 set of Damien Hirst skateboards (both sold out by the way). There were multiple other big names on sale including Jeff Koons, Kenzo, Thom Browne, Karl Lagerfeld, Zaha Hadid, Kitsune, Longchamp and of course Colette.

It was hosted at 1111 Lincoln Road on level five of the car park. Drivers could pull up to one of three kiosks reminiscent of pinball machines and use iPad size screens to order their items. Those pieces would then be delivered by girls on roller skates.

The temporary space, in place from December 2 to 8, was created by René Gonzales Architect.

Colette_ABMB1Colette_ABMB2Colette_ABMB5Colette_ABMB711Colette_ABMB7Colette_ABMB9Colette_ABMB8Colette_ABMB10Colette_ABMB3 Additional photography by shelasher.com

Categories
e-commerce

Literal window shopping with Kate Spade Saturday’s digital, touchscreen storefronts

KateSpadeSaturday1

Kate Spade Saturday has taken up residence in New York with four pop-up digital stores appearing as window fronts around the city.

The “weekend brand” from Kate Spade, which opened its first store in Tokyo in March, offers 30 products from its range through an interactive touchscreen experience that’s available 24-hours a day. New items launch every Saturday following.

“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” Kate Spade CEO, William McComb, told Reuters. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.”

Standing in front of the window, shoppers can click to explore looks, opt to buy them via PayPal, and best of all have them delivered with an hour to wherever they are in the city thanks to a partnership with eBay. Security also isn’t a concern – despite being a giant screen, the initiative doesn’t ask for credit card information or your address for every other passerby to see, instead texting you with a link that leads you to your window shop bag on your own phone instead.

Here are some images I took from the West 18th Street store. The other locations are 175 Orchard Street, 154 Spring Street, and 30 Gansevoort Street. All are open until July 7. Window shopping just hit a new reality…

KateSpadeSaturday6 KateSpadeSaturday2KateSpadeSaturday3KateSpadeSaturday KateSpadeSaturday5KateSpadeSaturday7 KateSpadeSaturday4

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media

Digital snippets: Gap and DVF, JC Penney, Nike, eBay and Kate Spade Saturday, Burberry

A round-up of recent stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital:

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  • GapKids launches photo filters and stickers with Aviary to promote Diane von Furstenberg collection (as pictured) [TechCrunch]
  • JC Penney says ‘We’re Sorry’ and ‘Come Back’ with social media blitz [BrandChannel]
  • Nike gears customised shoe campaign to Instagram users [ClickZ]
  • eBay and Kate Spade Saturday to launch touchscreen store window [PSFK]
  • Fashion meets music with Burberry’s new eyewear campaign [Vogue Australia]
  • Condé Entertainment previews video channels for Vogue, Wired and Vanity Fair [WWD]
  • Making the best of a digital situation: what luxury brands can do to catch up online [Forbes]
  • Online, everyone can be a make-up critic [NYTimes]