Shoppers Stop Experimenting with Virtual Reality Smart Mirror and Other Digital Tech to Bolster Offline Presence


Shoppers Stop has shifted its digital initiatives into the fast gear as it tries to become more relevant and aligned with the needs of the increasingly digitally savvy customers. India’s leading retail chain is not only trying to create a foothold in the newer channels of online and mobile, but also working on bolstering its brick and mortar strategy through use of innovative in-store digital technologies.

 

Upping its ante, the company is experimenting with technologies like IoT, smart mirror and digital catalogue. According to Anil Shankar, Customer Care Associate and VP – Solutions and Technology, Shoppers Stop, Today’s customers are digitally savvy and have far greater expectations when they step into the store. Through these initiatives, the retail chain hopes to create a more engaging and enriching experience for its customers.

 

The smart mirror is, essentially, a display screen with gesture recognition capabilities. Standing in front of the mirror, the customer can virtually try on himself / herself the different clothes/apparels through the use of gestures.

 

This is how it works. There is a digital catalogue available that enlists all the products. The customer can quickly browse through the catalogue and shortlist the products that he/she is interested in trying on. The catalogue is integrated with the smart mirror, which means that the products chosen by the customer for trial will be displayed on the mirror as virtual try-on on him/her. As a next step, the retail chain is now working on enabling customers to post photos of what they have tried on the digital medium to social media.

 

The initiative has been piloted in one of the Shoppers Stop stores in Mumbai and is currently under trial. It is currently doing some targeted usage around it and have seen good amount of engagement from the customer usage perspective. Now the company is trying to fine tune it further and take it to a certain level of maturity to make it mainstream. Once it is convinced that its helping the customer to do shopping much better, it will roll it out.

 

On another front, Shoppers Stop is experimenting with IoT to understand customer behavior in the store. When it comes to e-commerce, the possibilities and potential for analytics is much higher because of click stream, whereas in the store its difficult to track a customer in terms of how he/she entered the store, how and what did he/she browse, which sections did he/she visit, what was the sequence of purchase, etc.

 

To overcome this challenge, the company is planning to install beacons inside its stores. As the customer walks through the store the beacons will sense his/her presence and would know where he/she is in the store, in which section and for how long. This information, which is relayed to the server, can help the company to understand how the customer is behaving.

 

Analytics can then be run on top of this customer behavior information for targeted marketing. For instance, if a customer is standing in a particular section of the store for 15 minutes and at the end of it if he/she is walking out, then the store can design a promotion from that particular section and push it to his/her mobile phone on the Shoppers Stop app. This can bring in a lot of benefits for the retailer, particularly from the customer engagement point of view.

 

A PoC with a few select stores is currently underway. It will be further fine tuned before being rolled out at a larger scale.


(Image Courtesy: www.livemint.com)

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