Farfetch wants to power your digital store

Farfetch has launched a store of the future concept, which centres around providing luxury customers with a universal ID to connect online and in-store purchases.

A beta version of Farfetch's store of the future technology was showcased at its inaugural conference in London's Design Museum, demonstrating how digital in-store technologies such as magic mirrors and RFID tags can all be powered by the Farfetch operating platform.

"Don't get locked down with proprietary solutions that don't talk to eachother," advised Gavin Williams, director of product development at Farfetch.

The e-tailer plans to launch the technology later this year in the London boutique Browns and the flagship Thom Browne store in New York, but last week press were given a sneak preview of how a store powered by this software might work.

Williams described how the store can recognise a customer's universal login as they scan their smartphone when they walk into a store.

"We have this information online, it's crazy we can't surface that in store," he said. "We didn't want to use beacons and cameras because it invades privacy as far as we're concerned. Customers should opt into a store like they do online for services."

The connected clothing rail

Like saving a piece of clothing to a wish list online, Farfetch showcased a smart rail which uses RFID and ultrasound technologies to detect when a customer removes a piece of clothing to take a closer look. This action is then recorded on their mobile app, which customers then take a "Tinder-approach" to saving their favourite items to their digital account. The smart rail showcased has been created by the British startups Friendly Technologies and Retail Magic.

Fitting room mirrors

Williams admitted there are lots of examples of mirror technology on the market, which as long as they have open APIs a retailer can use existing technology with the Farfetch universal ID software.

In the Farfetch store of the future, Williams demonstrated how RFID-tagged items appear in the digital mirror once they are placed on the fitting room rail. Customers can also use the touch-screen mirror to change the mood lighting in the fitting room.

Williams said Farfetch is also working on an API where online data of previous purchases can be included in the mirror, for example a customer who bought a dress online last week, can then see how it will look with the coat they are trying on in store.


Customers could even pay for their items using the mirror, or alternatively use their smartphone to communicate their purchase with the store, using Apple Pay or similar digital wallets, to provide their delivery details and complete the transaction.

"Payments can be a real pain and tills are basically boxes that don't look that great," said Williams. "The future of payments - I want it to be as easy as two people sending a text message."

He described how today's customers are fed up of being asked for their email at the point of sale. "Just leave me alone," he said. "So how about instead be connected with the store associate via Whatsapp and the relationship can continue outside the physical store?"