The Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab (known as iLab) has launched their interactive retail table project in three of its major locations in Austin, Chicago and Topanga.
Displayed in each store’s shoe salon, these concept tables are approximately 70” long, 34” tall, and 26” wide and comprise of a clean-cut Ultra HD 4K touchscreen that features a single, continuous pane of glass that changes to fit in with Neiman Marcus’ color scheme.
The table’s software enables shoppers to browse and filter Neiman Marcus’ inventory including collections both in-store and online. There’s also a ‘My Favorites for Wishlist,’ that visitors can add items to and request to be emailed the product links should they want to think about their purchase at a later date. There are also benefits for employees as the software includes an up-to-the-minute inventory that presents what’s “coming soon,” and latest trend reports, which means staff can offer accurate, insightful advice as to new arrivals and where the customer can purchase something elsewhere.
Scott Emmons, Neiman Marcus Enterprise Architect and iLab Manager explains the concept further,
“The iLab built a solution that marries form and function. The result is easy to use, leverages state of the art technology, and provides clients and associates with unbridled access to product.”
This collaboration has signalled a strong trend that involves the amalgamation of physical and digital concepts. The idea of bringing digital technologies into brick-and-mortar retail stores is happening more and more as consumers get increasingly accustomed to a digital way of life. In a previous post I showed how Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff and eBay have designed a ‘digitally connected’ store located in SoHo, New York. It features a ‘connected wall,’ in the form of an interactive mirror that displays inspirational content and videos aimed at motivating shoppers into purchases. If you haven’t yet seen how it works, here it is:
Another brand innovating in this area is British fashion house Burberry. They opened a new flagship store in Shanghai in April last year that the brand describes as, “part event space, part entertainment hub, and part store.” The external walls react to changes in natural light, while inside features radio-frequency identification technology, known as RFID, installed in key items which, when touched, display interactive product information and runway videos on mirrors close by.
The “phy-gital” concept invites and entices consumers through the door, while offering them exciting, futuristic toys that keep them entertained, in there for longer and thus more likely to make a purchase. With the ease of online shopping, consumers now need an added incentive to visit brick-and-mortar spaces and playing with technology is a great way to do this. It’s all about heightening a customer’s shopping experience and ensuring service is at a premium. Instead of leaving them with the simpler option to order online, brands should take note and give their customers something to talk about and most importantly a reason to go back for more.
Wanda Gierhart, CMO, Neiman Marcus Group concludes,
“Whether it’s a product in another store location or from our online inventory, our goal is to provide customers with omnichannel access to the best merchandise in the world. With our touch tables, we deliver another layer of exceptional customer service.”