Farfetch / Data-powered Shopping
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Luxury ecommerce brand unveils connected store concept
Online luxury shopping platform Farfetch is rolling out its connected store concept. Dubbed Store of The Future (SoF), the concept is a modular platform (meaning clients can pick and choose which bits to adopt) that works similar to an operating system, such as Apple’s iOS.
The Store of the Future uses customer data to bring elements of online shopping to bricks-and-mortar stores through retail technology. Farfetch provides the data but the retail technologies can be built by anyone: be it Farfetch, a startup or a brand. SoF aims to deliver personalisation to customers and provide store staff with more information about their customers.
For the SoF platform to work, customers will need to have the Farfetch app and the store staff will need the Shop Floor app.
Farfetch has developed a universal log-in for customers so that upon entering a store, they can check in with the app. This enables Farfetch to share a customer’s data with sales assistants, data such as the brands that the customer has previously browsed and bought, as well as their in-store browsing preferences. An example of browsing preferences is whether a person likes to engage with sales associates or browse undisturbed.
Farfetch has also developed a connected clothing rail. Using RFID technology and ultrasound, the connected clothing rail can recognise any product that customers physically pick up and then add these to their app, creating an in-store wish list. This enables people to browse the products they like after they’ve left the shop. Store assistants can also see customers' wish lists and use that information to recommend complementary products.
The SoF team is also enhancing changing rooms, for instance with connected mirrors. The software for the SoF digital mirror lets shoppers see their in-store wish list, request different sizes and colours, and even pay for an item directly through the mirror.
Customers can stay in touch with the store assistants they interacted with through WhatsApp texts and ask for feedback or product recommendations after they’ve left the shop.
To use the platform, retailers need to be Farfetch clients. They will be able to pick and choose the SoF technologies they use to match their brand, or even specific store locations. While initially the SoF platform will only work with Farfetch’s consumer app, the plan is to enable brands to integrate the SoF platform into their own apps.
Later this year SoF technologies will be launched in luxury boutique store Browns in London and the flagship Thom Browne store in New York.
Contagious Insight /
Very Important Data / Even though Farfetch has established itself within ecommerce, the company still believes in the power of physical retail. The SoF concept goes back to the brand’s mission – to enable small, independent boutiques to compete in the marketplace through increased online exposure.
Selling products from more than 700 boutiques and brands from around the world, and collecting 15,000 data points from every five-minute session on its site, the online retailer is well positioned to combine online data with physical retail environments.
Discussing the project with The Business of Fashion, Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves said ‘we don’t want to come up with all the innovation ourselves. The idea is to create a “store of the future” platform and then invite start-ups and brands themselves to come and build on top of it.’
And by owning the platform, Farfetch is in a position to benefit from others' innovations.
Retail gold / The SoF platform can give retailers invaluable customer insights based on shoppers’ in-store behaviour and activities. The universal shopper ID that Farfetch wants to create will enable brands to deliver a consistent and more personalised experience to customers. What’s more, the option for retailers to choose which technology solutions to deploy from the SoF platform enables companies to make use of the components that feel true to the brand.
‘Physical retail accounts for 93% of sales today, and even with online growing at fast speed, it will account for 80% by 2025,’ said Neves in a press release. ‘Retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches. Store of the Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store. It’s the offline cookie that closes the loop, between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering.’
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.