Neiman Marcus is equipping all of its 4,000 associates at its full-line stores with smartphones in an effort to better serve customers, company executives said on the retailer’s recent conference call with analysts. Neiman’s executives also said the company plans to remodel it stores on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and in Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour, Fla.
The overlaying of digital data on the real world is here, and it's a valuable tool for merchants. Here are three reasons why augmented reality is important for retailers’ commerce efforts:
Toys"R"Us has added QR codes in-store to promote more than 20 of its larger outdoor play products and to give consumers information on items that are too large to stock in stores. This past holiday season, the toy retailer first experimented with QR codes in its The Great Big Toys"R"Us Book holiday catalog. Last year, Toys"R"Us also featured a virtual store that let consumers scan QR codes featured on billboards across the country to virtually shop the retailer's "Hot Toy List."
Nordstrom will spend $140 million, or 30 percent of its total capital expenditure budget, on information technology infrastructure improvements. As Forbes reported, the IT expenditures will be used to intensify Nordstrom's internet presence, such as its new Salt Lake City store that has 150 mobile point-of-sale-devices, which makes shopping faster.
Visualitee has launched the first website dedicated solely to selling augmented reality (AR)-enabled apparel and merchandise. The new e-commerce site, Visualitee.com, is headed by a seasoned group of augmented reality professionals and will offer the most comprehensive collection of AR-enabled merchandise. In addition to carrying a wide variety of AR merchandise, the site will also facilitate independent artists and labels to venture into the quickly growing AR segment. AR enables inanimate objects such as T-shirts to "come to life" with a simple 1-2-3 process.
eBay is opening a New York City office that will focus on advanced technical development. Chris Dixon, co-founder of Hunch, which eBay acquired in late 2011, will head the eBay Technology Center of Excellence. The New York office will feature a large public event area and dedicated space for startup and entrepreneur incubation. The office will also include a permanent installation called the PayPal Shopping Showcase that will "offer a look at the not-too-distant-future, when how we shop will have changed dramatically from our experience today."
Ditto has raised $3 million from August Capital and other individual investors to continue developing its 3-D technology. The e-commerce site uses 3-D to allow shoppers to virtually try on glasses before they decide to buy them. To do so, visitors must record a short video of themselves to create a 3-D image, which they call a Ditto. The image is a little spooky, but it does do a good job of deciphering whether a pair of Ray-Bans would look better on your face. The company plans to use the capital to develop its technology and add to its team.
Giving a new meaning to the phrase ‘window shopping, Bloomingdale's has replaced its traditional window displays with interactive sunglasses shops. Now, instead of merely looking at sunglasses in a window, passerbys can virtually try them on.
One of the biggest trends in fashion these days has nothing to do with floral prints, pastels, lace, neon or outrageous nail art. While those loom large on many a shopper's spring and summer wish lists, it's technology that's sweeping across the industry faster than peplum tops and orange lipstick. Everywhere you turn, there's a new app, social shopping site or chance to share your favorite items with, well, anyone willing to pay attention to your tweets, pins, posts or status updates. Check out five high-tech fashion retail trends to watch.