Mannequins talk to customers in London (through iBeacon)

Window shopping is ready to take on a new meaning as technology infiltrates brick and mortar stores where high fashion is being displayed. With more and more shoppers carrying their purchases online, even important retailers and fashion based businesses are facing a challenge. What to do when your tech savvy customer is walking by your attractive store windows without sparing even as little as a glance? A British start-up named Iconeme is solving the conundrum for important retail names, like House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls, with a smart and tiny app that connects customers with their favorite high street fashion stores in a sci-fi manner.

The miracle of technology

The app created by Iconeme is based on beacon technology, designed to access mobile devices on a 50 meters range. How does it work? The beacon is basically implemented on mannequins that can communicate with consumers’ smartphones, providing them with marketing information on what they are wearing and other details concerning merchandise. In turn, consumers can save photos, share them, and even make purchases in a safe way, using the store’s web portal.

The pioneers

Brick and mortar stores, no matter how fashionable, have one problem: they cannot be kept open 24/7, while online shopping can be carried on without any time restraints. Beacon technology is going to change that, by building the necessary bridge between consumers and these retailers.

For now, the technology is implemented by House of Fraser in their Aberdeen Online Store, Hawes & Curtis in their store on Jermyn Street, London and Bentalls in their Kingston-upon-Thames store. While this is a new initiative, the executives are quite thrilled. The possibility to draw their customers to shopping on the high street in larger numbers is not to be overlooked. Also, by allowing customers to make purchases at any time of day and night, they are no longer afraid of losing them to online portals.

In the future, the technology even aims at making the mannequins ‘talk’ so that customers can find additional details by carrying on a conversation. No, this is not a Dr. Who episode, just the near future.

A mannequin maker in London is using new technology to connect with shoppers and close the sale. Sensors that link to a smart phone app allow customers to learn what the mannequin is wearing, how much it costs and where the items can be found in the store.

Shopper analytics

If the consumer so chooses, certain information will be readily made available to retails. Such info will be related to age, gender and purchases. On the sideline, this can prove to be a true gold mine for retailers, if more and more consumers use the system.

What’s in it for customers?

Easy purchases, a what you see is what you get experience and a connection with technology that has become as necessary as air and water for the hip shopper can be counted as advantages for the tech savvy consumer. Of course, they will have to download the app so that information can be sent to their phones.

So, stores will be able to build shopper profiles as consumers walk down the street, while fashion addicts will be kept up to date with all the novelties hitting retailers’ stores. All in all, it’s a win-win situation.