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The next big thing(s) in retail

Posted on 10/10/2012 by Emma Dadswell

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The retail sector has had its fair share of ups and downs in recent months. While online sales appear to be increasing; the number of in-store purchases has decreased due to a weakened economy and consumers opting to buy their goods online. Brands have had to come up with new innovative ways to entice shoppers through their doors.  So what are they doing, and will it change the way we shop?

The most interesting initiative we have heard of is the ‘virtual mirror’. Invented by Cisco, the mirror enables consumers to see how an item would look without the need to try the garment on – they can even send it to Facebook or Twitter friends to get their opinion!  The ability to save time in the fitting room appears to be the biggest attraction to the device, although it remains to be seen if it will be a true reflection of what something would look like on yourself.  

Another recent product aimed at making the shopping experience better is the virtual pop-up shop available through Debenhams.  Debenhams has rolled out pop-up stores in various locations which allow customers to see on a hand held device what clothes would look like on them and then purchase them there and then. The advantage, it seems, is for busy people who don’t want the hassle of making a trip to a busy department store and queuing to buy and pay for clothes

In keeping with the virtual pop-up stores, Oasis has also recently rolled out in store tablet PCs to improve the shopping experience. They work in the same way as Debenhams’ hand held devices - allowing customers to avoid queues – and customers can even order the item and have it delivered within 90 minutes. Impressive.

 It certainly seems that retail brands are upping their game in the lead up to Christmas in a bid to increase revenue, and get consumers buying in store at the rate they used to.  Let us know what you think, have you tried any of them out?