‘Smart Mirrors’ Come To The Fitting Room

by MR Magazine Staff

Since e-commerce began threatening stores last decade, retailers have been trying to make their locations operate more like the web. Yet despite splurging on the latest bells and whistles, they’ve mostly failed and fallen further behind their online rivals. Recent efforts—such as QR codes, which call up merchandise information when scanned with a smartphone, and internet kiosks, where shoppers can browse a retailer’s online store—are either too far ahead of, or behind, shoppers technologically, so they haven’t been embraced, says Brendan Witcher, an expert on retail strategies at Forrester. Plus they do little to improve the actual shopping experience, he says. “If you just deliver tech for tech’s stake, people will test the novelty of it, but it won’t stick.” Oak Labs, a startup founded in 2015 by former EBay executives, is focused on fixing what’s wrong with brick-and-mortar retailing. The San Francisco-based company started with the dressing room, which seemed as good a place as any given that shoppers have long complained about its lines, lackluster service, and bad lighting. What happens inside those few square feet of real estate matters—a lot, in fact: Shoppers who use fitting rooms are almost seven times more likely to make a purchase than those who simply browse the sales floor, according to research by Alert Tech. Read more at Bloomberg.