Adding to its technology efforts, H&M is rolling out a voice-activated mirror in a flagship New York City location. The device offers style recommendations, selfies and a route to eCommerce, Forbes reported.
Microsoft, Ombori and Visual Art worked to create the device, which "sleeps" until facial detection technology turns it on. The device then asks the person to take a selfie, which appears on the screen in the style of a magazine cover. The user can then download the image by using their smartphone to scan an on-screen QR code. The idea is to use the technology to create a relationship.
“In physical spaces, you have a lot of people, so the focus is on triggering a relationship,” Ombori founder and CEO Andreas Hassellöf told Forbes. “The formula is based on creating surprise, satisfaction of experience and then making a conversion. Big screens are a great way for grabbing attention, making them ideal catalysts for a relationship, but it’s far more likely that the personal dialogue will stay connected to personal devices.”
The news comes as H&M is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data to tailor the merchandising mix in its brick-and-mortar stores to reduce markdowns and break out of a sales lull. The fashion retailer is using algorithms to gain insights from returns, receipts and data from loyalty cards to improve its bottom lines, according to news source Retail Dive.
H&M is utilizing the technology in a store located in an upscale section of Stockholm, Sweden. So far, it has learned that women make up most of its customer base, and that fashionable items, such as floral skirts, have sold at better-than-predicted rates. Sales have improved with these insights, and H&M is moving away from the idea of stocking each location with a similar selection. That strategy previously led to unsold inventory and subsequent markdowns, as the retailer needed to clear out approximately $4 billion in excess merchandise.