Since the advent of ecommerce, technology has totally transformed how people shop; that dream handbag is just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks away. But beyond the world of online shopping, technology is also having a profound effect on bricks and mortar stores, offering endless opportunities to enhance the consumer experience. Here, we look at how technology is rewriting the retail rulebook in 2018.
Customisation is the ultimate way to put a personal spin on your garments. From your initials on a Louis Vuitton tote to bespoke Savile Row suits, until now customisation has been a timely process. Now, brands are offering services in-store while you shop.
Sportswear label Adidas’ Knit for You pop-up experience creates ultra-personalised printed garments that are custom-fitted and created within four hours. Utilising 3D printing technology, customers have sweatshirts projected onto them to see how they look in different styles and colours. Once they’ve chosen their design, the garment is then crafted, washed and dried, ready to be taken home.
Platforme is the leading technology platform for luxury brands offering digital customisation. Karl Lagerfeld footwear and Nicholas Kirkwood utilise Platforme’s state of the art 3D modelling technology to let online shoppers easily personalise their shoes. On the product webpage, they can click to pick their own colour combinations, leather types and monogram additions.
For accessories brand Bottletop, 3D technology leaps out of the screen and into physical reality. Their new London boutique has upcycled 60,000 plastic bottles to create the store’s 3D-printed interior. In partnership with AI-Build and using Reflow filament (the recycled plastic), Bottletop’s wall panels have been fashioned with a tactile raised pattern. The result is both sustainable and ecologically conscious. Furthermore, you’ll see the Kuka robot mechanical arm live-producing small items like keyrings and bag charms for shoppers to buy.
Having a super-personalised service is something brands are recognising the digital sphere lacks and are taking steps to change this. At the end of 2017, Louis Vuitton launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger for their US audience, coming to Europe and Japan in 2018. Powered by mode.ai, it offers their 20 million followers a “sophisticated, personalized, visual and conversational online shopping experience.”
Essentially, users engage in a conversation with the bot, whilst being guided to products they are searching for, making the experience a more bespoke one, tailored to their shopping needs. “We are still in the very early stage of AI technology adoption in the retail industry,” explained mode.ai CEO, Eitan Sharon to Forbes. “The dominance of e-commerce isn’t just a trend, but an ever-growing arena, giving luxury brands like Louis Vuitton the opportunity to reach and sell to their customers in new and exciting ways.”
The retail future looks bright for 2018 thanks to ever-progressing technology, which continues to rewrite the retail rulebook.
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Image credits: Main image © Bottletop, Karl Kustomize © Karl Lagerfeld/Platforme.