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How to embrace the future of retail

Image: Daniel Flynn from Thankyou via Online Retailer.

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This week I’m coming to you live from the Online Retailer conference in Sydney. We’re only a few hours in and have already heard from some great retail brands including Australian social enterprise Thankyou, made to measure menswear brand Indochino and US fashion label Rebecca Minkoff.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Krissie Millan, Rebecca Minkoff vice president ecommerce and digital innovation, talk about the retailer’s ‘four pillars’ for embracing the future of retail.

As a fashion label with a massive millennial demographic, Rebecca Minkoff is at the forefront of retail innovation, both in-store and online, and Millan spoke about how the business is using data and technology to bridge the digital-physical gap.

She said they were the “first brand to launch the store of the future”, by bringing digital experiences into a physical space with ‘connected walls’. These are screens that engage customers when they first enter the store by displaying the brand’s current collection and live-streaming fashion shows.

The retailer also features smart mirrors in its fitting rooms that use RFID to identify items of clothing and allow customers to order other products to try on.

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The packed room (and Rebecca Minkoff’s Krissie Millan in the distance).

“We will continue to look for emerging technology to provide more engaging experiences for our customers,” said Millan.

Along with technology, data is also important and Millan said it “permeates everything we do”. The in-store technology ties into this, as data collected from the smart mirrors is analysed for insights into shopper behaviour. Other data collected and analysed by the retailer includes site analytics, POS and digital marketing outcomes.

“Having data available in real-time means we have actionable insights and a holistic view of our performance,” said Millan. “We try to infuse innovation into everything we do.”

Part of Millan’s role involves scaling Rebecca Minkoff’s direct-to-consumer business model, which she said is a “fundamental change” from how the brand was operating. It has adopted a ‘see, buy, wear’ strategy, allowing customers to purchase items straight after they have appeared on the runway. Making the collections immediately available has led to an approximate 65 per cent lift in online sales.

Stay tuned for more updates from Online Retailer Sydney!

 

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