Creating New Touch Points In OmniCommerce: iPads In Dressing Rooms

Recently, Nordstrom announced that it is considering the possibility of installing iPads in its dressing rooms. Although it might sound like an unusual move, the idea actually makes a lot of sense — especially as retailers race to find new ways to bridge the gap between the online and in-store customer experience.

But before your brand jumps on the iPads-in-the-dressing-room bandwagon, it’s important to understand the factors that would lead a department store to have tablet devices support sales associates in enriching their customers’ experience.

From Multi-Channel To Omnichannel
In many ways, Nordstrom’s idea to install iPads in dressing rooms reflects the transition from a multi-channel to an OmniCommercetm — the convergence of online and offline experiences into a seamless commerce experience for customers. This mindset moves beyond channel thinking toward a commerce model that creates “one experience” for customers around a retailer’s brand. As forward-thinking retailers look to forge more meaningful connections with consumers, the way that technology is deployed in stores will be critical in determining whether it enhances — or detracts — from their experience.


In this new manner of reinforcing your brand values, retailers need to recognize that a consumer may use multiple channels during a single shopping experience. The use of technology in the dressing room area — which is the point when customers are deciding what to buy — helps the sales associate immediately intervene to save the sale if there are issues such as a color or size being out of stock in a particular store but available online to be delivered to the location of the customer’s choice.

The idea of personalized delivery is becoming standard, i.e., many retailers are now offering buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online ship from store (BOSS) options for consumers who enjoy the convenience of online shopping as well as the immediacy of brick-and-mortar. Shoppers are also engaging in a variety of mobile and social channel activities during in-store experiences, all of which need to deliver the consistent content and customer experience.


So for retailers, the transition to OmniCommerce represents a fundamental shift in the way they approach the marketplace. Superficial site enhancements and channel-based gimmicks won’t cut it with today’s tech-savvy shoppers. Instead, retailers need to generate value by identifying new ways to improve the customer experience throughout the shopping journey regardless of the channel or touch point of the moment.

By installing tablets in dressing rooms, Nordstrom and other like-minded retailers can empower their associates to leverage technology. This can immediately benefit customers in the context of a more personalized, consistent and convenient shopping experience that supports interaction with the retailer’s key asset in the store: its employees.

Enhancing The In-Store Experience
Successful OmniCommerce retail hinges on careful strategy and robust technology infrastructure. Each new channel or shopping opportunity needs to work in tandem with the brand’s commerce platform and other technologies, creating a single, seamless customer experience. In addition to providing shoppers with a single view of inventory stock availability and enriched digital in-store interactions, robust commerce technology incorporates the extension into the consumer’s mobile. This increases instant mobile commerce in a self-service mode as well as social channel engagement that is a growing contributor to success at leading retail brands.

By installing iPads in dressing rooms, a department store isn’t simply offering shoppers easy access to a fun technology. The brand is inviting shoppers to leverage tablet devices as a resource for participating in a carefully coordinated customer experience that differentiates the store from the unassisted, big box shopping experience.

In fact, tablet technology creates opportunities for several enhancements to the customer experience — many of which can be leveraged by other retailers to achieve similar results.

Product Search — With The Empowered Sales Associate
The use of tablets in dressing rooms allows the associate to inform shoppers whether the product they are trying on is available in a different size or color. If it’s not available at their current location, they can see if the item is in stock at a nearby location or if it can be purchased online.

The incorporation of tablet technology into the in-store experience embraces the convergence of digital and brick-and-mortar channels. When combined with a robust omnichannel commerce platform that provides a single view of inventory across all channels, tablets have the potential to create a best of both worlds experience for consumers.

    At-Home Shopping — Consumers Are Increasingly Using Mobile Tech To Order
    For many consumers, brick-and-mortar shopping experiences begin long before they enter the store. In the era of customers shopping at home, on-the-go and in-store retailers can allow customers to select specific products at home from the brand website, and have those items waiting for them in the dressing room when they visit the store — viewable by the sales associate on both an ad hoc basis as well as via an appointment with the customer.

    In addition to improving shopper convenience, the use of at-home technologies that enhance the in-store visit reinforces the seamlessness of the customer experience and helps increase consumers’ confidence in the brand.

    Personalized Product Recommendations
    Personalization is a high priority for all omnichannel retailers. By delivering content that is tailored to individual shoppers’ needs and preferences, retailers can significantly improve both the quality of the customer experience and the effectiveness of targeted marketing initiatives.

    The use of tablets in dressing rooms and other in-store areas presents unique opportunities for retailers to suggest similar or complementary products based on the items the shopper has already selected, setting the stage for larger carts and a more satisfying shopping experience.

    Although Nordstrom’s proposed use of iPads in dressing rooms may be a first in its sector, the use of technologies that borrow from the idea having a personal shopper can bridge the distance between brick-and-mortar and digital experiences is becoming commonplace for leading retail brands. By targeting strategies that blur the line between online and in-store, OmniCommerce retailers are substantially improving the customer experience and achieving better business outcomes as a result.


    Rick Chavie is Vice President, OmniCommerce for hybris. He is responsible for creating the OmniCommerce vision and technology platform that enables seamless customer experiences across digital and physical touch points for global and mid-market companies in all major industry verticals. Chavie brings more than 25 years of industry experience including leadership roles at retailers such as The Home Depot and C&A, where he led transformation and growth programs. He has also held executive roles in technology, which include leading the global retail and wholesale business at SAP and leading global marketing and solution deployment for the retail and hospitality business at NCR. He has also served clients across the major retail and wholesale verticals, including hardlines, softlines, and food, and branded consumer manufacturers in his partner and leadership roles at Deloitte and Accenture.

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