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Store designs impacted by latest technology at NRF show in New York

Such is the increasing flow of technology into stores that it is clearly having a growing impact on store design. There is nowhere better to get a feel for the latest IT solutions in the US than the annual Retail’s Big Show, organised by NRF (National Retail Federation) in New York City.

One impacted area is changing rooms, with eBay using the event to demonstrate a new solution that takes this often bland aspect of stores onto another level. Already being used in four fashion boutiques of Rebecca Minkoff and Nordstrom department stores, the system comprises a touch-screen mirrored wall that allows customers to personalise lighting, ask for assistance, and access further product information.

Two of the Rebecca Minkoff stores also house a touch-screen wall where shoppers can select products in their size and send them to the changing rooms. There is also the facility to order drinks and request a mobile phone alert once a changing room is ready.

The changing rooms and interactive wall are part of what eBay calls the ‘connected store’ and this theme is being seen increasingly across upscale department stores in the US. At NRF there was a demonstration of an interactive table from T1Visions that is currently operating in three Neiman Marcus stores.   

Customers can browse goods, add them to their ‘wish lists’, and view forthcoming product ranges that gives a flavour of what is heading into the store. There are also plans to add transactional functionality to the tables.

Unlike typical technology the tables are stylishly designed with the screen component housed within a smart light wooden table frame. They are an integral part of the Neiman Marcus shoe departments where they have initially being deployed and sit well in that environment.

The Visual aspect of the technology was crucial to Neiman Marcus, according to Marco Venura, VP of business development at T1Visions, who says: “One of the things that led Neiman Marcus to work with us was our ability to create a very sophisticated product that was not obtrusive, but a more elegant display of technology. We were able to integrate software, hardware, and furniture to create a seamless, complete look.”