The day of just having beautifully attired mannequins is over. The digital world is opening up a whole new frontier for retailers. New and wonderful ways to engage customers and showcase products. The possibilities are immensely exciting, but the resource requirements challenging. The digital world is a two edged sword. A window to an imaginative and captivating domain, but equally leaving you looking like yesterday’s brand if you do not creatively unlock the magic of what is available.
One fashion retailer that is stepping up to the mark is Gucci. It is encouraging consumer interaction in its retail stores with the launch of a new immersive experience using groundbreaking technologies developed by experience design company OOOii. Unveiled at its newly-renovated Milan via Montenapoleone flagship recently, the initiative includes 50 LCD video wall displays from Planar Systems tiled throughout the store that from 2012 will enable natural human-computer interaction.
The immersive display installation at the flagship includes almost fifty 45″ and 50″ Clarity Matrix LCD video wall displays from Planar Systems, tiled throughout the store. These ultra-thin, energy efficient, near-seamless LCD displays, together with OOOii’s graphics engine create life-size interactive images – forming one of the most technologically-advanced retail environments in the world.
For the first phase, three “zones“ have been developed: the Immersive Window Display, the Immersive Entrance Display and the Immersive Women’s and Men’s Fashion Show Displays. Each zone showcasing a range of specially curated digital content. The highlight being the Immersive Women’s Fashion Show Display, where customers will experience Frida Giannini’s Autumn Winter 2012 Milan women’s fashion show as though it was happening right in front of them, thanks to 5k resolution film shot by a team from Hollywood on one of the world’s few RED Epic cameras.
Pause, rewind and search for specific content by making simple hand gestures in front of the displays. Then, if a customer likes a certain product they will be able to receive an image on their mobile device allowing them to consult with friends and later send a notification to their usual sales assistant in order for an item to be reserved.
Not for one minute do I pretend to have any understanding of the technology driving this immersive and dynamic customer experience. But I do understand that the face of retailing is changing, that retailers need to start making conscious decisions about how they are going to use digital technology to inspire deeper customer connection. The Gucci initiative is also a greater reminder of whether it be virtual or real, shoppers are going to more and more expect to be entertained and thrilled in their shopping excursions – simply because that is what the best retailers will be offering. If you are a retailer, without the deep pockets to fund a Gucci type brand gesture, then you must look for other creative ways to engage. Make it personal, make it intimate, make it real, make it funny, make it outlandish, make irreverent, make it a social cause ……make it something! In the words of legendary Australian Rules Football coach John Kennedy ‘……don’t think, do something!’. Well almost, think first always! What is the most effective way you can evolve your retail experience to touch the lives of your customers in a more meaningful and inspiring way. But after the thinking, if you don’t act, you will be yesterday’s player.