Rebecca Minkoff Ushers In The Future With New Highly Digitized Store (Photos)
Designer Rebecca Minkoff unveiled her latest store this week in NYC's Soho neighborhood, and it's unlike anything shoppers have ever seen before.
The concept store, created in collaboration with online auction site eBay, is a techie's dream come true: Nearly everything is digitized in some way or another, creating a new and improved shopping experience for her brand's loyal devotees.
Though CEO Uri Minkoff insists that traditional shopping is still very much alive, the company wanted to improve the experience using technology. He explains,
I don't think the desire to play with product, to be social and to be guided is going to go away. [But] I think we're at the beginning of this new age, and it's something we're obsessed with.
So how does that obsession translate in-store?
[caption id="attachment_857204" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rebecca Minkoff[/caption]
Well, with a lot of media.
The store boasts 122-inch touchscreen television displays that present looks from the designer's most recent runway shows.
Users can navigate the touchscreen interface to receive product recommendations and send items directly to their dressing rooms, reducing the need to hunt for a particular item.
When a customer's dressing room is available, she'll be notified via the Rebecca Minkoff app, which also allows people to adjust the lighting in the room according to different “filters” such as Soho After Dark and Afternoon on the Highline.
If something doesn't fit correctly, or a different item is needed, customers can “ping” the sales associates for assistance, and RFID technology allows staff to see exactly what the store has in stock, so there's no need to run back and forth between the sales floor and the stockroom.
[caption id="attachment_857145" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rebecca Minkoff[/caption]
This isn't Minkoff's first foray into the tech world: The designer recently unveiled a line of “smart” accessories that sync with a user's smartphone to deliver information and serve as an external portable charger.
Pretty sweet, right?
Minkoff is set to open a similar store later this month in San Francisco, and pending customer feedback, will likely continue to digitize her brick-and-mortar locations.
But the question remains: How will customers react?
It's likely the “connected retailer” concept will be a hit. We're all looking for ways to make our lives easier, and this super tech-centric store clearly does just that.
But there is something to be said for what's lost, which is the joy of quietly browsing a store without the threat of constant harassment — and on that end, technology fails.
[caption id="attachment_857150" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rebecca Minkoff[/caption]
For some, shopping is a reprise from the insanity of daily life; adding tech elements only makes it another thing to escape.
There's also the fact that digitalizing everything ostracizes shoppers who may not have smartphones, increasing the already massive gap between the rich and the poor.
Of course, this is all speculation. It's up to Minkoff's followers to determine the shop's fate, and all things considered, it looks as if it's shaping up to be a major success.
Citations: Heres what the boutique of the future will look like (The Daily Dot ), Rebecca Minkoff the futuristic super connected fashion boutique has arrived (Upstart Business Journal ), Is the runway ready for high tech fashion? (The Kernel )