Ralph Lauren is proving to be an innovator when it comes to adopting Internet of Things technologies in its products and at retail outlets. This summer the fashion brand unveiled a wearable technology shirt that uses sensors to capture heart rate and other vital data.
This week Ralph Lauren revealed that it is partnering with startup Oak Labs to launch RFID-enabled fitting rooms at its New York City flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Ralph Lauren is piloting a touch-screen mirror from Oak Labs that syncs with the store’s existing inventory and point of sale systems, offering an engaging consumer experience.
Items brought into the fitting room are detected by reading their RFID tags, prompting an item quantity number to pop up on the touch-screen mirror. Shoppers can view unique item details, request alternate colors or sizes, view stylist recommendations or request to help from an associate for a more engaging person-to-person experience.
Lighting themes customized to fit Ralph Lauren’s brand aesthetic — “Fifth Avenue Daylight,” “East Hampton Sunset,” and “Evening at the Polo Bar” — offer an easy first touch point for the consumer.
“We are on the cusp of a tectonic change in retail,” says Healey Cypher, CEO and founder of Oak Labs, which just raised $4.1 million in venture funding. “We will see more change in the next five years than the last 20,” “Not only are we helping our partners exceed the rapidly accelerating expectations of their shoppers, but we’re taking an entirely different approach to technology in the physical world.
All requests made by the customer in the fitting room are immediately delivered to a retail associate via iPad. Sales associates can respond to a shopper’s request with a note that appears on the fitting room mirror (e.g. “I’ll be right there”) alongside their name and photo. Through streamlined communication, sales associates can ease the transition from the fitting room to checkout with mobile point of sale systems all while re-humanizing the experience.
The Oak Fitting Room is the company’s first step towards developing a larger ecosystem of hardware & software for connected retail spaces.
In addition to creating a more magical customer experience, the Oak Fitting Room will empower retailers with a host of new, unparalleled data that has never been collected throughout the history of retail. With the help of the insight collected from Oak’s proprietary analytics dashboard, retailers will be able to measure fitting room “sessions” – including volume, duration, and conversion, and track SKU velocity in and out of fitting rooms, as well as conversion rates of specific SKUs which can be fed back to the merchandising teams.
In addition, retailers can reduce the inherent inefficiencies around today’s fitting room experiences: no waiting for associates, no asking for additional items and then waiting to see if it’s in stock, and no need to get dressed to go out and ask for help. Retailers can also better understand the nature of associate-shopper interactions and response times.