Retailers are entering a new era of consumer shopping behavior fueled by the digital world in which we live. The explosion of digital content has major implications for retailers across all of the channels through which they offer products and services.
In fact, a new study just released by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) reveals that web-based digital content is now the most powerful influence on buying decisions for shoppers across all retail channels. The study surveyed 5,000 shoppers across five countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
The study’s results highlight the need for retailers to “catch and keep” today’s consumers, who now effortlessly “mash-up” digital and physical shopping. At this week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention & Expo, Cisco will explain how retailers can take advantage of this evolution in consumer shopping behavior.
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.
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.
John Lewis, a leading U.K. retailer, is now piloting two Cisco StyleMe Virtual Fashion Mirrors at its flagship London department store on Oxford Street, providing customers with a virtual way to try on clothes. The mirrors were developed by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), with partners C In-store, AITech, and The Team.
The 6- by 3-foot mirrors incorporate built-in cameras that capture shoppers’ body dimensions and positioning. Using artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and gesture-recognition technology, the mirrors then superimpose clothing items over customers’ on-screen images.
In effect, the mirrors become virtual changing rooms where customers can create complete outfits from more than 500 women’s-wear garments and accessories selected from johnlewis.com. This makes the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable by letting customers see how they look in new outfits without getting undressed.