Tales from Retail: Omnichannel Shopping
Zara's Omnichannel Technology at their SoHo Flagship Store
As a retail sales rep, there’s nothing worse than scurrying through a store on a mission for a customer, looking for that XS skirt to replace the small. At the same time, this frantic hurry is the plight of the rep: nothing beats a customer experience than trying on clothes in a store, properly.
So the retail techies of the world have developed this new fusion of retail tech and marketing, allowing brands to have their cake and eat it too. It’s called omnichannel marketing, providing a way to streamline customer experience (in the fitting room, for example). The experience consists of offering multiple technological and software channels through which users can experience a product.
The brand-new Zara in SoHo is testing the omnichannel waters, upping the ante against their next door neighbor competitors. Each fitting room in the new flagship is outfitted with wall-embedded touch screens, installed with a customer-friendly product inventory software. This system allows customers to scan their product and swipe through item size and color variations, or call a sales rep for assistance. The system streamlines the fetching process for the flustered maintenance department, keeping the fitting room line short and quick.
Some have advocated for a smartphone app with the same features as the omnichannel software. We did some research, and the issue lies in the speed of Mobile WiFi/3G versus a hardline-connected screen, mounted at roughly eye-level. Plus, nearly no one wants to download an app just for trying on a couple items—it’s easier to call in the sales rep.
Not to mention, it’s a wall embedded screen serves as a great platform to suggest other products, advertise store promotions, show off new merchandise, even link to social media accounts. For fashion retail specifically, customers most often make their purchase decision in the fitting room, while wearing the product. Could there be a better time to scroll through other people who’ve outfitted that item successfully? Likely not.
It’s an idea, and evidently, it works for Zara. This seems to be the future of retail, and we’re looking forward.