This past spring, Cisco and John Lewis—the United Kingdom’s leading department store retailer—successfully completed their pilot of the Cisco StyleMe virtual fashion mirror. The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) ran the pilot, while partnering with C In-store and AITech.
During the six-week pilot (April and May), more than 1,000 customers tried StyleMe (an average of 40 a day)—far more than expected. In addition:
- A staggering 34,000-plus garments were viewed in the outfit builder, and almost 2,500 garments were tried on virtually.
- 67 percent of customers gave the mirror a positive assessment, and some great shopper stories emerged—including one from a delighted disabled lady, who was able to try on clothes for the first time in a store, thanks to Cisco StyleMe.
The John Lewis Partners (staff) also loved it. They found that StyleMe was a tool that created shop floor “theater” (crowds formed) while helping them provide great service sell even more effectively. They came up with lots of ideas on how to develop the experience even further.
We learned several key lessons.
- Shoppers are ready and willing to use this type of technology in public. They really liked being able to browse the range of fashions on a large screen in a shop. Customers liked the way that StyleMe made it easier to try on outfits, while also providing them with new ideas.
- The optimum experience and results require a combination of confident, skilled, and engaging staff plus an experience that can be used without help. Staff must lead the initial customer engagement every day; once customers are using it, then crowds form and others want to give it a try. The virtuous circle of shopper engagement kicks off.
- Good design “makes or breaks” the success of these kinds of solutions—the physical setup, the user interface, and the customer “takeaway.” While lessons and insights can be taken from web and store design, only real experience proves which ones are valid. For retailers and consultants, this is a new area of expertise to be developed.
If you would like to read the full story, access the case study here.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the John Lewis CIO Paul Coby:
“With StyleMe, we have taken the walls off the store and are beginning to create theater in the store. We have shown how we can create the foundation for our omnichannel vision in the store. It’s fantastic. It equips our Partners to sell and it creates sales. We want people to enjoy shopping at John Lewis, and customers can really do that with Cisco StyleMe.”