by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn. This is the first in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

1 City, 2 Days, 16 people, 32 Stores.

I spent the last two days living out every fashion and retail-lovers dream…shopping in New York City. I went on this shopping trip with 15 Listrak colleagues, including members of our executive team, account managers, developers and other marketing team members. Our goal was to try out the technology and in-store experiences many flagship stores are beginning to offer in order to gain first-hand knowledge.

The technology we saw included magic mirrors, holograms, virtual reality, iBeacons, touchscreens – and there was even robotic luggage storage in our hotel.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more details of our trip and go more in-depth on the retailers we visited and the experiences we had, but I wanted to share some of our best and most exciting findings now.

Magic Mirrors

If you haven’t seen the awesomeness of a magic mirror yet, plan a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren on 5th Ave or the Rebecca Minkoff store in Soho immediately! This is truly the future of retail as they not only enhanced the shopping experience by making it both faster and easier for shoppers to find what they want and checkout but it ties in both mobile and email acquisition points as well. I wanted to note that the staff in both stores was exceptional. It seems that the mirrors give the employees the opportunity to really interact with the customers on a more personal level.

Touchscreens

Another useful shopping tool available in many of the stores were touchscreens and iPads that let you explore merchandise, read product reviews and interact digitally. The best ones included a call-to-action to let the shopper sign up for text or email messages. New Balance had two different digital experiences. The first let shoppers customize their own sneakers:

And the second scanned the customer’s feet in order to help them find the best fitting sneakers while allowing customers to email themselves the results.

Cameras

Warby Parker has its famous photo booth in store, which provided a lot of fun for the shoppers as well as an acquisition point for the retailer. But that wasn’t the only camera we experienced. Sephora took a photo and then emailed directions on the best way to apply contouring makeup:

And Lego added a cool hologram to the screen when you held up a product in front of it. The hologram was animated and provided a lot fun for the shoppers, but it lacked an acquisition point or additional product information. It was strictly for fun and it really did enhance the shopping experience!

Mobile Integration

We made sure to download each retailer’s app before our shopping trip and the outcome was mixed as connectivity was an issue. One outstanding example was Urban Outfitters where we received a push notification as we were checking out their vinyl.

However, in many cases we tried scanning merchandise to learn more about the products just to be told the products weren’t in stock or we’d just be taken to the product page of the retailer’s site.

Key Takeaways

Retailers, don’t add technology just for the sake of technology. If it doesn’t enhance the shopping experience, don’t bother. Technology that takes away from a buyer’s experience is worthless. However, technology that helps customers connect with you in new ways while helping them explore new products and leading to a faster checkout is definitely worth the investment.

Also, the shopper journey is all about engaging customers in multiple channels and making the experience seamless as shoppers move from the store to your site to their email or mobile device. The channels should not only support each other – think using email to drive traffic to your stores or acquiring email subscribers and mobile numbers in store – but they should all work together to help the customer find and purchase merchandise no matter where they’re shopping.
We’ll cover this in more detail as the series continues, but let us know if you have any specific questions in the comment section.

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