Macy’s Testing Digital Fitting Room Service As Foil To Online Shopping

hointer macys

Via Bloomberg

A former Amazon exec’s startup is running a test in a Manhattan Beach, CA Macy’s that mashes up digital screens, mobile and some old-school warehouse ideas to rethink the shopping experience.

In a nutshell, Hointer’s Whoosh program allows a retailer to focus on front of house being a real, tactile version on an online apparel website, while all the stock is in the back. So instead of having stacks of the same SKU in different colors and sizes, there’s one out front. That allows much more to be merchandised out front.

Shoppers use their phones or tablets to browse, using mobile apps, and order what they want to a dressing room, including the same item in multiple sizes. Once they get into the dressing room, a tablet in there is used to check in and get the clothes delivered. They drop in by a chute  – basically just a knockout in the dressing room wall to the store room in behind.

If what they try on doesn’t fit, shoppers can order a different size via the tablet, without getting dressed again. What they don’t like or need, they drop into a second chute.

It’s interesting, and goes to the heart of the value of bricks and mortar versus online shopping – the desire to actually pick up, touch or even try on products. People don’t need to see a replacement laser printer cartridge before they order it online. A swimsuit for women is quite another matter.

Hointer says a key is keeping the costs down, suggesting a retrofit is very inexpensive. That probably ignores a bunch of soft costs of staffing time reorganizing a floor layout, putting someone in the back, training, e-commerce integration and on and on, but the idea seems to have some general merit.

 

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
John Oliver: ‘Dangerous’ Donald Trump’s Scandals Far Worse Than Hillary Clinton’s https://t.co/1QqnpVpL6R https://t.co/lzYMypLQG8 - 2 hours ago
Dave Haynes