Keeping up with developments in the retail world is increasingly tricky business.
The scene changes with such lightning speed now, technology delivering progressively rewritten iterations to what used to be a fairly predictable setting, that it should surprise no one to learn of another dramatic reinvention.
The world’s first “smart, interactive” retail store opened its doors in Chicago this week.
ShopWithMe’s interactive store — filled with merchandise from Toms Shoes and Raven + Lily — is designed to showcase the most cutting-edge of technologically informed retail logistics in action, the same ones that were prominently used in the pop-up that Zappos opened last holiday season in Las Vegas.
- Smart fixtures, including glass-top digital displays;
- Interactive mirrors in state-of-the-art fitting rooms that relieve consumers from having to leave the place in pursuit of new merchandise;
- Moving shelves that advance toward a shopper to recommend their wares based on what they have been browsing;
- Highly responsive mobile apps that connect shopper to store like never before;
- An express checkout that allows an app-equipped shopper to walk out the door and be charged as she leaves; no more checkout lines.
ShopWithMe wants to build a network of smart stores around the world that retailers — both traditional ones considering a shift to smaller showroom locations and online ones looking to expand into brick-and-mortar stores — can activate and deactivate within days. Here, the files are changed, not the fixtures, and each new brand can enjoy its own pop-up existence in extremely short order.
Specifically, this is a 3,000-sq.-ft. mobile structure — divided into four self-contained units that are connected to one another by a bridge — that is outfitted with the very latest consumer-centred technology. The store is a marvel for its absolute mobility, built such that it can be scrapped and re-established anywhere, and without the call for massive upfront capital.
ShopWithMe plans to bring its store concept to New York, Dallas, LA, San Francisco, Houston and Miami in coming months.