Women’s Lifestyle Publisher Marie Claire Opens Tech-Filled Next Big Thing Pop-up Shop In NYC

September 28, 2017 by Dave Haynes

In a slightly odd twist, the women’s fashion and beauty publisher Marie Claire has teamed up with Mastercard to open a pop-up shop in New York this fall, called  The Next Big Thing Concept Shop because it features what’s perceived as whiz-bang interactive retailing technology.

The store at 120 Wooster in Soho, open until the middle of October, is working with the concept that a lot of what gets presented as retail innovation is at technology trade shows that markets heavily to men, whereas this demo shop is squarely focused on what may interest and intrigue women.

There’s a bunch of stuff going on, but the technology side here has dressing room smart mirror from Oak Labs that read RFID tags on clothes brought into the change area, and do things like recommend complementary items such as handbags. The mirrors will also do dispatch to store associates for things like asking for the same top, but in a different size or color (so the shopper doesn’t have to dress and leave the room to get a different item).

There’s also virtual mirrors for assessing skincare needs, a Sunglass Memory Mirror from MemoMi that allows women to view how sunglasses look on them from all angles, and touchscreens that enable product lookup, including one located outside the store and available after hours.

There is some press suggesting these experiences are artificial intelligence-driven, but it’s much more likely just database rules – as in, if this item is looked at, show these related items, like purses and belts.

It’s just a pop-up thing and not a business plan, so judging the point of this is, well, kind of pointless. Things like smart mirrors are VERY expensive and labor-intensive (silly thing, maybe, but fingerprints on a touchscreen mirror would need to CONSTANTLY be wiped or shoppers will say something like “Eeeeeeeew!”). I like the concept of asking a sales associate to get other sizes, but there’s probably far less costly and complicated ways to do that. We all have smartphones for things like product lookups and skincare tips.

Everything I hear and read from retail experts suggests the next big things in tech have to do with payments, and the really big thing in making retail better is experience, not gadgets.

But then again, I’m, a 59-year-old white guy whose favorite stores are Costco, Canadian Tire and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario ;-]


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