Retail store technology innovations to reduce wardrobing and showrooming

28th March 2014

You may remember a while ago we reported on the process of ‘showrooming‘ and how damaging it can be for some bricks and mortar retailers – particularly those who do not have a strong online presence. So this month we were interested to read about some of the new technology which is being introduced help tackle the phenomenon. According to the report, the practice of showrooming (where people go into a store to look at things then go home and buy them elsewhere online) has now been joined by ‘wardrobing’ – where customers come in to a store to try on clothes but then buy them online from a different source. Now retailers are focusing on ways to help customers to check out the products differently – with innovative technology – to increase sales at source and reduce the environmental impact of showrooming, wardrobing – and also ‘webrooming’ – where people find something online and then traipse into town to buy it in-store.

Fitbot virtual fitting room

Fit.Me virtual fitting room

In a recent survey, 31% of shoppers admitted to buying multiple sizes and then returning what they didn’t need. Some felt guilty about the cost to retailers whilst others were concerned about the environmental impact of making returns.

Fit.Me technology is designed to reduce the amount of returns generated during online shopping by providing a virtual fitting room, which is already being used by retailers such as Austin Reed, Crew Clothing, Ghost, and Hugo Boss. Fit.Me combines the user’s measurements with data on the fit that might suit similar body shapes and sizes. It then uses this information to create a realistic impression of the shopper wearing the garment. It does this by using a robot mannequin called FitBot, which was developed at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Fitbot changes shape according to the customers dimensions to show them how a particular style might look on them – rather than an unrealistic image of the garment being worn by a skinny model.

LED lighting on the rise

Lighting and colour are essential when trying clothes on in store. Customers want to be able to see what they look like without appearing washed out by unflattering lighting. At present only 10% of UK stores use LED lighting but this is now set to change after the British Retail Consortium recently pledged to cut their energy-related emissions by half before 2020.

Featured heavily as the future for retail lighting at the recent EuroShop trade fair, LED lighting is energy efficient and has a low thermal load, which makes it essential for reducing a store’s carbon footprint as well as saving money. Lighting expenses can make up a significant portion of retail energy costs – as much as 65% in some cases.

Lighting designer Joerg Krewinkel of Lichtkompetenz explains:

“LED lighting has caught up with traditional lights. A lot is still going to happen in the coming years in this area.To be able to assess and influence energy as well as the impact of lights, lighting designers are increasingly pursuing their own ways at the moment. More and more companies such as Lichtkompetenz and Guttenberger are developing their own spotlights and LED lights”.

Virtual Runway for Topshop

Topshop's Virtual reality runway

You may remember last year we reported on Topshop’s collaboration with Google for an interactive fashion Experience at London Fashion Week – well this February they were at it again with a Virtual Runway of it’s Autumn/Winter collection show. Never mind ‘Showrooming’ this display enabled hoppers to go ‘Catwalking’ with cutting edge Oculus Rift Virtual reality Headsets, produced in collaboration with Inition, providing an immersive 360 degree view which allowed shoppers to feel like they had front row seats at the show.


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