With online shopping becoming increasingly popular, it was obvious that the plain, old-fashioned stores would have to do something to up their game. Here comes the digital store. Its innovative technology will keep you entertained and astounded throughout your shopping experience and will, inevitably, persuade you to return.
Take one of the busiest streets in London – Regent Street – as an example. COS, Liberty and Michael Kors will await you along with high street beauties, Zara and H&M. None of these will catch your eye as the only thing that you will have noticed is the majestic palace in front of you: the Burberry store. You enter; expecting to be faced with traditional decor that screams British heritage. Looking around, you notice the 100 screens and 500 speakers that make up this digitally enhanced building. Creative director, Christopher Bailey, has aimed to replicate the online ‘Burberry World’ by creating it into a real life website through his flagship store. Most people would agree that he’s done a pretty good job.
Pick up a garment and take it to a nearby screen or even a changing room. You will be presented with information about how it was made and catwalk footage that shows how the garment moves on the model. Although it may seem like a magic trick, Burberry clothing is using RFID. That’s radio-frequency identification technology to you and I.
When you’ve chosen your favourite pieces (there is no way that you are walking out with only one item), you will be directed to a sofa to find that your items are wrapped and waiting. Queuing isn’t an option, according to Bailey. When shopping online, you are sitting comfortably and have no need to stand up to pay. This is the situation that Bailey is recreating. Your Burberry shopping experience will not end painfully, as is usually the case when it comes to paying, as you will find yourself more than happy to give the sales assistant your card while you enjoy the attention that is bestowed upon you.
Burberry aren’t the only ones catching on to the technology hype. More brands are investing in research projects that aim to bring a sense of excitement to shopping. FashionLab s one such company that is working on a particularly interesting invention. A mirror that can use your body measurements to show how clothes would look on you could mean no more infuriating trips to the changing room.
Although this mirror may take between 3 and 5 years to be featured in stores, other retailers have already started trying new technologies. New Look in Stratford was the first place to embrace a 3D body scanner. What’s the point of this? Many a time you think you’ve bought the perfect pair of jeans – only to go home and find that they really don’t fit the way you expected them to. This will never happen again with the body scanner informing you of the products that will best fit your body shape. More handy than you first thought? This is only the beginning. October 2012 saw Adidas launch a completely new interactive shopping experience by introducing a virtual store into their window. A smartphone can be connected to this interactive window so that shoppers can drag products onto their phone for a quick online purchase.
Fashion designers are also using different forms of technology to raise awareness of their brand: social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ – there is just too many to name. This season marked the first time that catwalk lovers could watch a show from every perspective; whether that was from the view of the model, audience or even the make-up artist. The Topshop Unique A/W13 show was the first to be live-streamed on YouTube and Google+. The most exciting part was evidently the Model Cam which was worn by Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and Rosie Tapner. It gave a live view of what these girls see as they walk down the runway and really brought the audience into the show.
Technology will continue to play a bigger part in the fashion industry. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be exciting times ahead for us.