ZARA STEPS INTO HYBRID REALITY
As you probably know and have experienced yourself, our physical world is currently shifting towards a hybrid reality in which the material and virtual worlds are merging. This Inline trend really came to the forefront with the arrival of the smartphone. Now more than ever, a smartphone is seen as an extension of one’s body, which resulted in us now being able to seamlessly switch between on- and offline activities. Plenty of brick-and-mortar shops are struggling to maintain relevance in this new playing field, but luckily there are a few hybrid heroes on the rise that seem to have successfully adapted to the ever-changing retail branch.
Tomorrow April 12, Zara will open its first augmented reality (AR) concept in 120 of their flagship stores worldwide, including Amsterdam. When you download the Zara AR application, it allows you to scan the windows of the participating shops after which models will pop up to showcase the latest collection. The experience continues inside as well, as there are special scanning points inside to provide additional info. Aside from that, you can also point your smart device at clothing you’ve purchased online. By aiming your phone at your package, the screen comes alive showing you different clothing options that match with your purchase.
Earlier this year Zara also launched their first online-offline store in London, a physical store with a twist. Like most flagship stores, the shop has the full collection on display. Only difference being that you can only make in-store purchases online. Say what?! When you decide which clothing pieces you want after trying them on, you simply hand in your order through the Zara app or one of the self-scan cash registers. However, you can’t take any of the items you purchased with you, as they will be delivered to your home instead. If you make the purchase before 2pm, your package will arrive the same day your ordered it too.
You might get startled by the mirrors inside the fitting booth, as the inline experience continues here as well. While entering, this interactive mirror will scan the items inside and provide you with recommendations based off what you brought with you. Quite nifty, but at MARE we ask ourselves what happens with the data that gets released in the process. Do these mirrors know how to keep a secret, or is our private information up for grabs?
Playing into the hybrid retail theatre is one of the biggest challenges the industry has faced to date, but Zara took a step in the right direction by looking for new ways to connect with their Millennial audience. Want to know more about the Future of Retail? In our trend talk on the matter we unravel what drives and motivates consumers and look into how retailers are responding with unique and memorable experiences.
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