Ralph Lauren adds interactive fitting rooms

Polo Ralph Lauren is diving into immersive retail today by unveiling an interactive fitting room at its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

There are eight touch-screen mirrors now installed that use RFID to extend the store experience into the fitting room. The Oak Fitting Room from Oak Labs is the brainchild of Healey Cypher, co-founder and CEO of the startup.

Shoppers select items from the showroom and the mirror will recognize each piece by reading an embedded RFID chip, which wakes the device from a resting state. Shoppers are welcomed and given a choice of three lighting settings: Fifth Avenue Daylight, East Hampton Sunset and Evening at The Polo Bar. The mirror is then populated with all the selected items, displays additional colors and sizes, and makes recommendations.

The technology can also translate content into five languages, helping store associates to communicate with international shoppers.

Requests for additional items to be sent to the fitting room are detailed, and even include the precise location of the item, size and color in the store or stock room, thanks to RFID.

Shoppers can even check out via mobile devices from the fitting room.

The Oak Fitting Room taps into Ralph Lauren's existing mobile POS and RFID networks. The retailer has purchased 16 mirrors in all, with eight still waiting to be deployed in other markets, according to Women's Wear Daily.

"Both technology and the human touch are equal elements of Polo's personality, and our customers should experience them seamlessly whether they are in the stores or shopping online," David Lauren, exec-VP of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications, told WWD.

"From the day the Polo flagship opened on Fifth Avenue, we wanted it to connect with the customer and that meant emotionally and digitally. Fully wired fitting rooms and the digital displays for PoloTech blend in seamlessly with the fireplaces and Ralph's Coffee shop," Lauren said.

In-store interactive technology is helping retailers to create more immersive shopping experiences while making it easier for both shoppers and stores to access inventory beyond the store.

Rebecca Minkoff's Soho store generated big buzz when it opened last year with interactive fitting rooms, and Kate Spade's digital windows (developed by Cypher at eBay) are two of the most high-profile examples of immersive or integrated shopping experiences. Since then, Macy's has launched tests of new interactive fitting rooms and refitted two departments: the Manhattan Beach, California, store and the new Bloomingdale's flagship that opened in Hawaii this month.

The technology used in the test, called Macy's Go, catalogues the entire inventory available in a compressed backroom at store locations. A shopper can choose items from her app while in the store, selecting a variety of sizes and colors. That order is sent to an associate in the room that then pulls the items and sends them to the dressing room through a chute.

For more:
-See the Women's Wear Daily article (subscription)

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