APD loves a new problem to solve and helping clients to find smarter ways to work. In collaboration with AOpen and Google for Work, APD undertook a UX research and design project to build an interactive change room assistant for fashion retailers.
The Virtual Change Room Assistant, a touchscreen ‘concierge’ of sorts, has the potential to make trying clothes on an easier and more enjoyable experience for customers. At the same time it would also enable retailers to suggest alternatives, deliver the correct size and up-sell in a non-invasive way.
It is the question that retailers are forever asking themselves: ‘How can we sell more products to the customers that come into our stores?’ When APD’s partner, AOpen, suggested a collaboration on a digital solution that could do just that they jumped at the opportunity.
A touchscreen in each dressing room connects to a Bluetooth-enabled tag on each item of clothing. The device automatically detects the items brought into the change room. The customer can then request a different size or colour of that product, or select suggested accessories, without leaving the room. A (real) store assistant is notified via a handheld device when a change room requests additional products and they’re brought to the customer. The new items are automatically picked up by the Virtual Change Room Assistant and the process continues.
For a month, a small team of smart digital people worked on an interface that met the many challenges presented with this scenario.
APD had to consider the impact on change room queuing, the physical change room experience, designing for a physical screen rather than a web interface – even down to the impact of the light emitted from the screen on customers viewing themselves in the mirror.
A prototype of the Virtual Change Room Assistant was unveiled at the Retail Tech X Expo in Melbourne last week. The first release has been designed as a blank canvas – enough to demonstrate the concept and value whilst still allowing flexibility for each brand to add their own design, functionality and brand aesthetic. The expo housed a melting pot of large and small, mass market and boutique retailers who saw the solution’s potential. The assistant attracted loads of interest and we received great feedback.
If you are interested in looking at how digital signage can add to your in-store customer experience get in touch. They love a challenge!
Ashley McVey is Head of Strategy at APD Australia