Consumers are invited to flick personalised digital snowflakes onto the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York this Holiday season.
The initiative, developed in partnership with creative digital agency, The Science Project, and sponsored by MasterCard, is part of the retailer’s wider focus on the legendary Yeti rumoured to reside on its roof making snow during the festive period, this year.
The Yeti Snow Workshop as this particular window is called, invites passersby to visit saks.com/snow on their mobiles where they can find out their own Yeti name, add it to a snowflake design and then flick it from their device to instantly see it gently falling down the window.
In-store those who spend over $150 or more with their MasterCard, can then receive a 3D-printed snowflake created by the MakerBot. Harry Cunningham, senior VP-store planning and visual at Saks, also told AdAge: “3D printing has been a big of late, so some of the figures in our window this year are actually 3D printed. As technology advances and as things move forward, we’re looking for opportunities to inject that into our process.”
Six of the other store windows depict different scenes of the Yeti’s life, from being “an under-appreciated snowmaker in Siberia to his starring role as a true snowflake artist in New York”. Each also features the hashtag #SaksYeti.
They were unveiled last week with a 3D light show mapped onto the façade of the store created by Iris Worldwide (as in the YouTube video below). It runs every seven minutes each night from 5-11pm over the Holiday season.
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.