House of Fraser's Online Store in Aberdeen, Hawes & Curtis in London's Jermyn Street and Bentalls in Kingston upon Thames have become the first ever retail outlets to introduce VMBeacon-enabled mannequins.

Designed specifically for visual merchandising, the technology from design and tech firm Iconeme enables customers to receive details via their smartphones about the clothes on display, as well as allowing retailers to engage directly with consumers in-store or nearby.

To access this technology, customers can download the free Iconeme app for iOS and Android, which they can then use while shopping in one of the three participating retailers.

Customers using the app within a 50-metre range of the VMBeacon enabled mannequin, will receive alerts about additional content they can access, including pricing details for fashion items and links to purchase the products directly from the retailer's website. Information about where the items are in-store, as well as more detailed photos and descriptions of the products, are also accessible.

Andy Harding, executive director for multichannel at House of Fraser, said that his company is open to introducing new technologies that can help maximise customers' shopping experiences.

"With such demand from mobile devices, it's important we continue to bring new technology to our stores, and believe that the Iconeme App provides retailers with an opportunity to really engage with their customers," he explained.

Edward Smith, b​rand m​anager of Hawes & Curtis, said his business is working with Iconeme "to develop a greater engagement with our customers".

"Our visual merchandising team help bring our​ product to life in the windows and now we can have a better understanding of how this impacts the man and woman in the street," he added.

"The VMBeacon also works 24 hours a day, so we can have instant feedback and instant sales as a result of our displays​, even if the store is closed. It's a complete game-changer for the retail industry and we're delighted to be in it from the start."  

Iconeme is set to announce further retail partners in due course, with stores in the US and UK set to implement the VMBeacon technology.

In his first column for Essential Retail, this week, the GSMA's Paul Crutchley says that the continued advent of mobile technology will result in new, innovative uses of technology in the retail space.

"Confidence and education in the use of mobile payments and commerce technology, such as applications, NFC and mobile wallets, iBeam and iBeacon, among other technologies, is continuously growing," said the strategic engagement director.

"As this proliferation of mobile continues, we will see more companies looking for new, interesting and convenient ways to use the technology to drive sales and to retain consumer interest and relevance."

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Iconeme

GSMA