The way we shop has changed dramatically in recent years bringing misery to many high street retailers. We are all buying more and more online with many shops rapidly turning into nothing more than places to browse. The attractions of online shopping are obvious. With the opportunity to save both time and money and access to products that you wouldn’t even easily find at the local shops, sales are set to go in one direction but now the fashion retailers are fighting back.
Online shopping itself isn’t without potential obstacles. Whilst electronics, books and sports equipment may be a bit of a no brainer, clothes can present a problem. Clothing is one of the few things which shoppers may want to experience in the real world before they buy. It is hard to tell how a garment will look on you and which size will fit when you only have a picture.
High street fashion stores may have thought this fact would ensure that their customers would keep coming but new technology has changed things yet again.
With the development of virtual changing rooms and personal avatars it has become possible to try on garments whilst online. You can’t feel them but you can see how they will suit your body shape and even how different pieces coordinate. The new technology will doubtless become more prevalent and combined with the convenience of shopping from home may well be enough to keep more consumers away from the shops.
Now the shops are fighting back and also by using the latest technology. New innovations are appearing in store to make shopping more of an experience and to promote product lines which may not appear in that particular outlet.
The Karl Lagerfeld flagship store which recently opened in London is using our new found love of the selfie to help boost sales. Here you can use iPads in the changing rooms to send pictures of yourself in the clothing in order to gain the opinions of your friends. You can even apply filters to your picture before you send it to ensure that you look at your most stylish! In addition there are iPads fitted into the displays to enable shoppers to view the entire collection from right there in the store.
Burberry has incorporated new technology into their changing rooms which feature interactive mirrors. Microchips in the clothing trigger the mirrors to display product information and catwalk videos featuring the products concerned. There is even a virtual nail bar where customers can experiment with nail polish shades which have featured in the Burberry catwalk shows.
Perhaps you might be interested in trying the new technology at the famous Harvey Nicholls store in London. Their virtual mirrors scan customer’s faces and superimpose new looks onto them. Shoppers then have the opportunity to purchase the products.
High Street fashion retailers are trying hard to regain the initiative in the battle against online sales. It may be the case that this is a battle they cannot win but by offering the best in store experience they can win a bigger share of the foot fall that is left. Right now it is mainly the high end stores which are upgrading their outlets but soon you might be trying on your jeans or Hollister hoodies in front of a magic mirror!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer with an interest in fashion and technology. She does not yet have a personal avatar.