the interactive fitting room of the future #mstechdays

As I browsed the “point of sale” offerings in the experience zone at Microsoft TechDays, one particularly fun retail innovation caught my eye: the connected fitting room.

When we talk about “connected objects,” we’re generally referring to the connected versions of things we use in our daily lives like bracelets, watches, washing machines, etc. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the connected objects that will transform the retail customer experience. Specifically, the connected fitting room by Avanade.

Imagine you’re out for a bit of shopping: you walk into a clothing store, and you find a nice shirt. But you’re not sure about the size or the color or anything else for that matter. You pick up the item and head to the fitting rooms. You wait in line, put your stuff down and finally, try it on. The verdict? The color’s right, but the size is all wrong. So you poke your head out from behind the curtain and look for a salesperson to get you another size. But there’s no one there… (or they’re busy with other customers or, as usual, they can’t leave their post to get you the right size).

We’ve all experienced this at least once. Oh, the frustrations of retail! Without help to complete the sale, the mere thought of “basic fitting rooms” is enough to drive many would-be shoppers to the parking lot. It’s like a black hole, a place where information is lost, and unlike online shopping where buyers have access to personal information. In the fitting room, you’re left alone with your item and a mirror, which rarely does much to boost sales. So it’s no surprise that most customers head home empty-handed.

the connected fitting room

The challenge is to think up new uses for the fitting room. Retail stores need to innovate to meet growing customer expectations. As it stands, fitting rooms have remained nearly unchanged since they first appeared. Basic and often impractical, they were clearly not designed to increase sales, persuade customers to try on more items or collect data. Instead, today’s fitting room must turn into a fully interactive, data-rich environment that will please customers and assist sales staff. 

The concept: “combine the possibilities of digital, the cloud and analytics” to create a more comprehensive and satisfying customer experience that drives sales. And to give store managers access to:

  • performance indicators: duration of fitting room "sessions,” number and type of selected items, touchscreen interaction (recommendations, articles requested, colors, sizes, etc), available articles, sales staff response times, etc
  • indicators to improve decision-making: merchandising, staffing, etc

my experience with the new fitting room

I tried the connected fitting room and it provides much more interaction:

  1. I hang items on the wall. Products are recognized using an RFID chip
  2. the smart fitting room loads the product data and offers different colors and sizes
  3. it suggests other products that might go with my item
  4. I can request a salesperson to bring me an item
  5. a message lets me know that a salesperson is coming

In short, the connected fitting room provides an immersive and interactive experience that’s fun and much different from the basic fitting room or online shopping experience.

Many thanks to Stéphane Donic, Director of Avanade Digital, for this presentation.

Soraya Benali

photo - Avanade France

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a video tour of the connected fitting room

This post was originally published in French here