New tech for more seamless high-end shopping

LONDON • As high-end shoppers become increasingly mobile and connected, luxury retailers are testing new technologies that promise a more seamless experience between the physical and online worlds.

At a Store Of The Future event at London's Design Museum, luxury e-commerce platform Farfetch showed off connected clothing racks, touch screen-enhanced mirrors and sign-in stations that could help put data collected from customers online to use in stores, as well as harvesting material gathered during store visits to ease orders on the Web.

"How do you capture all of that fantastic information you gather in stores, where customers touch and feel products?" asked Farfetch's head of product development Gavin Williams.

Farfetch showed a scanner for customers to "log in" with their smartphones when they enter a store, allowing sales assistants to view customers' profiles, including what items they may have bought previously or saved to a wish list online.

The connected clothing rack records items customers pick up, storing them in a smartphone app where they can later swipe left or right to edit selections.

The smart mirror allows shoppers to request items in another size, browse online alternatives and pay without leaving the dressing room.

The company also showed off a holographic display that enables customers to create and order custom shoes - experimenting with different types of leather, skins and colours - from British brand Nicholas Kirkwood.

Created in 2008 as an e-commerce portal for luxury boutiques, Farfetch has increasingly positioned itself as a technology provider.

Last month, it launched the e-commerce portal for high-end shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, pushing into a space where competitor Yoox Net-A-Porter Group has been a leader.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'New tech for more seamless high-end shopping'. Print Edition | Subscribe