Like something out of Back to the Future Part II, the new “magic mirrors” at Rebecca Minkoff in San Francisco may be the future of shopping. The new technology was developed by eBay as a way to bring the online shopping experience into the real world. “People still want to use their five senses, not just the one sense you use when you’re doing e-commerce,” said Steve Yankovich, eBay’s Head of Innovation and New Ventures. “So physical retail, a showroom, I think will never go away.”
Customers at Rebecca Minkoff can use “connected glass” walls to view the latest looks through pictures and video. When they want to try something on, they simply tap the item to add it to their dressing room. They can even order drinks, like champagne, which they can enjoy while trying on clothes. By entering their mobile number, the customer can receive a text when their dressing room is ready.
The magic mirror experience continues into the dressing room, where the mirror uses RFID technology to recognize which items the customer is trying on. It also acts as a virtual stylist, suggesting accessories and other items to complement the customer’s selections. The customer can then ask an associate for the suggested items, or request different sizes, simply by tapping the screen.
“If you bring five things into a dressing room and they don’t work, you might be tempted to leave a store,” Yankovich explained, “but what if you could determine the availability of different colors and sizes and request them from associates while still in the dressing room?”
“Every woman hates walking out of a dressing room half-naked in search of a sales associate for another size or style, which is why I’m so excited about the magic mirrors in our dressing rooms,” said designer and founder, Rebecca Minkoff. “My customers will be able to virtually connect with their stylist through the mirror’s touchscreen technology for anything they need, whether it’s another size or a glass of champagne.”
Customers can even use the magic mirror to adjust the dressing room’s lighting, so they can find the right look for day or night. When the customer is ready to make a purchase, they can add items to their virtual shopping cart and receive a digital receipt. Their purchases will be added to their personal profile for future visits, so the staff can suggest other items based on what the customer already owns.
If a customer isn’t quite ready to make a purchase, they can add items to their personal profile to review later or show to friends through the store’s mobile app. The app also notifies the store staff which customers are currently shopping, making it easier for them to help the customer find the perfect outfit. Store cameras are able to anonymously track customers throughout the store. This allows store managers to observe shopping behavior and make adjustments to suit their customers’ needs.
In addition to Rebecca Minkoff, magic mirror technology is being used at Bloomingdales in Palo Alto and Uniqlo San Francisco in Union Square.