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.
When John Lewis (JL), a leading U.K. retailer, faced challenges with running its new, geographically distributed at home shops, Cisco IBSG knew that the problems could be solved through the innovative use of video technology.
Working with John Lewis CIO Paul Coby, Cisco IBSG and JL picked two critical concepts to pilot for the core retail use cases:
High-definition, real-time video conferencing based in each store for communicating among the at home shops, and between the shops and head office
A video portal for sharing and viewing videos on demand (via each shop’s PCs)
The pilot’s results proved the value and the business case for video in shops, including estimated annual savings of 28,000 man-hours across the eight shops, and estimated annual travel savings of 20 percent to date.
Two days ago, DC Shoes, retailer of footwear & gear for Extreme Sports, released the latest of their GYMKHANA video series, titled “DC and Ken Block present Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco.” This video broke all the records from their previous videos, currently achieving 14 million views in its first four days.
Gymkhana is a form of motorsport where drivers a preset course featuring obstacles such as tires, cones and barrels in timing/speed competition. DC shoes CEO, Ken Block is their president, chief brand ambassor and an accomplished rallycross racer.
Some interesting facts about the DC Ken Block Gymkhana Project’s marketing effectiveness
Have been thinking about the retail implications of an early May article in the Wall Street Journal.
“Renting Prosperity” (by Daniel Gross, May 5) spoke to the growing trend of rental – and not just in the traditional housing or automotive markets. Numerous other rental business have emerged in recent years, from the Zipcar car-sharing plan to the Chegg.com college textbook service to the one million customers who have used Rent the Runway’s frock-and-accessory services.
The obvious implication for retail is all about new business models. A number of traditional brick-and-mortar players are now testing the waters. We’re aware of initiatives in which purveyors of hard goods are renting clothes washing machines by the load and high-end consumers of electronics are leasing home theatre set-ups and even iPads – along with monthly subscriptions, say, to Netflix.
But the lessons of the rental trend go deeper than simply a new business model.