Ain’t No Dummy
High-tech mannequins enliven brick-and-mortar shopping
Tech / 6 Mar 2013
As online shopping surges, retailers are searching for inventive ways to lure customers away from the computer and into their stores. To enhance the shopping experience and create engaging spaces, among the innovations that businesses are employing are digital mannequins to gather customer information and improve the way patrons interact with their products.
: When shopping in a rush, having to spend time in a dressing room can feel like an unreasonable annoyance. Japanese apparel store VANQUISH has integrated teamLabHanger digital mannequins into its ikebukuro Parco shop to give customers an instant visual of how clothing looks on their bodies. Each clothes hanger is equipped with a unique ID. When a hanger is removed from a garment rack, the teamLabHanger system identifies the item and displays a video or photo of a model wearing the selected piece on a nearby monitor. When the hanger is placed back on the rack, the display switches off automatically.
: Japanese retailer United Arrows created a Kinect hack that pairs Microsoft’s motion-tracking camera with mannequins. Called MarionetteBots, two window display figures (one male, one female) dressed in United Arrows clothing mimic the poses and movements of passersby. The mannequins, which have 16 wires strategically attached to their bodies, are controlled by motors and linked to a Kinect system that synchronizes the poses. Onlookers can change positions to see how the clothes move on the body, affording them a multidimensional view of the fashions. While gimmicky, the technology may pique shoppers’ curiosity enough to come inside.
: Retailers are incorporating Italian mannequin maker Almax spA's EyeSee model into their window displays and store presentations to gather intelligence on their customers. The life-sized mannequins are embedded with eye-level cameras that feed shopper data (age, gender, race and length of time spent looking at the outfit) to facial recognition software. Stores can then use the information to develop targeted marketing strategies or to determine which departments require additional sales associates due to high traffic. For those concerned with privacy, the company assures that the EyeSee saves just demographics information, and not the images it collects.
©The Intelligence Group