Tommy Hilfiger opened a new store in the Garden State Plaza mall in New Jersey last week, and with it introduced a ‘digital pod’ tied to its autumn/winter 2013/14 campaign.
Hosted near the AMC theatre at one end of the shopping centre, the pod invites shoppers to take a quiz to determine which member of the Hilfiger family they are. The resulting character is showcased on a digital card that offers the option to add a tagline from a series of keywords.
It then asks the user for their email address to receive a copy of it in their inbox (from which they can share on Facebook), before posting it on the other side of the pod for others to see. The whole initiative is tied to the hashtag #tommyxgsp.
It will be in place through the end of December 2013.
I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of the fashion industry working out how to nail audio branding. I’m not talking about just straight up music partnerships or even the sounds associated with a brand when being in-store, but the noises that personify the clothing or accessories in particular and whether they have the potential to subsequently be owned by an individual label. Food for thought…
It’s for that reason though that I love this initiative from SHOWstudio called The Sound of Clothes: Studio Sessions. The creative editorial site founded by Nick Knight, captured the sounds of Mary Katrantzou, Sibling, Piers Atkinson and Matthew Williamson’s collections being made ahead of their spring/summer 2014 shows this past September.
From the noise of the knitting machines and crochet needles being used, to beads and gems rustling, jersey being ripped, the pattern cutters in action, zips fastening and even models’ heels clicking during fittings, everything was collected, edited and then remixed into four musical tracks (as below) said to give “a unique audio take on the collections and capture the diversity of London Fashion Week”.
Sound artist Stu Sibley worked on the initiative, stretching and manipulating certain sounds so they seem like beats or instruments, while leaving others exactly as they were recorded. Each track is accompanied by abstract 3D visuals based on the runway collections themselves. Concept and direction was by Lou Stoppard and Neal Bryant.
There’s also a wonderful essay by Maria Echeverri alongside the project that charts the history of sound through dress: “The various instances of sound in dress ranging from the Renaissance to present day hint at the untapped potential of resonant dress, for ultimately, the act of making and hearing noise is implicit in the experience and interpretation of clothing. And by understanding the enlivened dexterity of sound through its past, we can begin to imagine, and hear, its future.”
By now, you will all have heard of Louis Vuitton’s new three-storey shop-in-shop in London’s Selfridges – a symphony of glass, leather, stone and bronze-painted wood, anchored by a double helix-like elevator spiralling up from the floor, as The Business of Fashion referred to it.
What’s got less attention however, is the interactive touch table that’s in place on its ground floor. Designed to help facilitate the personal shopping experience, this “Digital Atelier” allows sales assistants to guide customers through the brand’s inventory of accessories, share the story behind each piece, and offer opportunities for upselling.
It was developed by 3D digital experience company Holition in collaboration with the LV team. Selfridges is the pilot for a scheme that, if successful, could see it introduced to all flagship Louis Vuitton stores.
I popped along to the Holition studios ahead of launch in London last week to have a play with it. Here’s what I learned:
- The table offers three different digital experiences. First up is one called Atelier based heavily on storytelling as well as an exploration of the product. To activate it, consumers place a block – selected based on the print they’re particularly interested in (as the picture above shows) – on the bottom right hand corner of the oversized screen. Embedded with a code on its underside, that pulls up specific content about the corresponding line. Each of the different products are showcased with high res imagery and detailed information about its design as well as its care. There are also various videos based on the heritage of the brand and the craftsmanship of the products.
- The entire experience isn’t meant to just be about table however, but its integration into the store – otherwise the user might as well be at home and on the internet, the Holition team said. As a result, it enables consumers to either use a QR code attached to each product to bring them up on their own smartphones on the brand’s website, or save each one to a digital basket, called ‘My Selection’. From there they can either email themselves the list they’ve chosen to follow up later via e-commerce, or the sales assistant (as mentioned, this is after all a guided experience) can add it to their iPad so they can go and find the actual products.
- The second chapter of the table is called Gift Finder, offering a more playful experience based on discovery. The user answers a series of initial questions, such as whether the item is for him or her, what kind of character that person is (i.e. trendy) and what the gift is for (i.e. travel). A series of results follow under different categories – from belts to sunglasses and bags. An infinite circular scrolling reel showcases all of them, while a series of cute cards underneath allows refinement based on shape, material, colour and price. Once again, the items chosen can be added to ‘My Selection’.
- The third app is called Complete the Look, offering a more tailored experience. Consumers select items they already own to see a series of suggestions that go with it. It’s about upselling and cross selling. If you own this bag, you might like this scarf, or this purse. Each of the suggestions can be added to a moodboard by the user, and then once again sent to the ‘My Selection’ list. As Holition CEO Jonathan Chippindale explains: “It isn’t just about the technology – it’s about creating a fascinating and immersive experience for the end consumer. If the content isn’t exciting or engaging enough then the consumer quickly loses interest.”
- Holition was provided with all the information on the collections by LV so they could populate the apps. Now launched, the LV team has full access to the CMS behind it so they can change things like prices, and control the results that are surfaced. One of the most interesting things for them of course is how much can be tracked from the experience. They can see how long consumers spend with the apps, understand what exactly they’re interacting with, and capture both purchase information and interest. Email sign-up does of course also mean data.
- The initiative is designed to be a way to “start the selling ceremony”; asking consumers what they’re looking for and then interacting with the table as part of the conversation. As a result, it relies heavily on the sales assistants and their training to really work. The acquisition, retention and upsell of all clients is about the ability of the staff to maximise opportunities. For now, while the table is solely in Selfridges, it is hoped that will be a seamless exchange. The entire experience is not meant to be about technology, but a marketing and sales experience coming together to create a feeling. As is the main issue with wider in-store tech rollouts, it’s maintaining that level of quality so the table doesn’t just become a gimmick that will be the key in the future.
Asos won the retail technology initiative of the year at this month’s World Retail Awards, for its Fit Visualiser tool.
Powered by Swedish company Virtusize, the technology enables shoppers to see how well an item might fit based on similar pieces they already own.
As pictured, it plays out in the form of a button next to the colour and size options on a product page (at this point for Asos’ own-brand products only). By clicking on it, users are invited to add measurements of a piece they already have to compare to the one they’re trying to buy.
The tool will then display overlaying silhouettes of the two garments in two-dimensional form and pinpoint the exact variations in bust, waist and length for instance. Different sizing options alongside allow the shopper to work out which to buy.
According to reports at launch earlier this year, using such a tool is proven to reduce fit-related returns, in some cases by up to 50%. Virtusize co-founder, Peder Stubert, said: “Many virtual fitting companies have tried and failed in this area because their solutions have been too costly or inaccurate. Our positive results from the ASOS [six-month] trial signal that there is a bright future ahead for our 2D garment comparison method.”
Other retailers who have used the tool include Nelly.com and Stylebop.com. A video below loosely demonstrates it being experimented with: