It’s safe to say that paper isn’t the only thing coming out of a printer these days. Freedom of Creation design house have produced bags, furniture and jewellery while James Yoo from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University has talked of bio printing; printing skin directly onto burn victims. The list of materials that can be popped into a 3D printer is growing. Be Your Own Souvenir project from Blablablab in Barcelona took it to the next level in advertising, allowing people to print models of themselves using the Microsoft Kinect.
The 3D printed Bikini N12, created by Continuum Fashion in partnership with Shapeways, looks set to change the fashion world. It may be ready to wear, but it is not cheap at $450. Although one wouldn’t be the first person to put their hand up to wear what appears to be a piece of plastic chain mail, the material Nylon 12 is strong, flexible, waterproof and apparently it becomes even more comfortable when wet, so that’s there excuse.
Future 3D printing has the potential to reduce labour costs and waste, however its real potential lies in custom made clothing. Imagine being able to design your own clothes, no templates, drawing, dying or stitching involved, it’s just you and your printer. Spotted somewhere wearing an outfit you like, take a picture and the 3D printer will do the rest, maybe it will become the next Primark?
So what could this mean for the future of clothing brands? Will they cease to exist? Instead of wearing the Prada, will I be wearing Gemma? I might be getting a little carried away, but is it really that farfetched? Dress shirt makers Blank Label already allow their customers to do all the work for them, designing their own fabrics, styles, sizes etc and Threadless even has a community that submits and scores their own t-shirts, which they just take and place on sale. So is this good crowd-sourcing or just cunning laziness? Well, I can’t answer that but if Kate Moss starts to collaborate with consumers to create a range of TopShop 3D fashion, then I’ll have one.
After ten weeks of working for ClustaLabs, one has collated all the information together to determine what technologies will be used in the future of fashion and retail. Within the next two week, one will continue to release snippets of insight, yet today we shall concentrate on Interactive Applications.
As e-commerce is going from strength to strength, retailers fear that they will lose further consumers to the Brick and Mortar stores; hence personalisation is at the forefront of retail development. Intel, a leader in interactive displays has already taken this on board with the evolution of their core i7 connected store, as explained below.
The transparency of Intel-Digital signage kiosk enables users to see into the shop, whilst offering targeted campaigns to consumers through a dynamic motional holographic display. The large transparent touch screen offers multiple user interaction and views of the store. When you approach the screen, it uses anonymous video analytics to determine the height and gender of the consumer, resulting in the development of virtual tags that provide personal information regarding products in-store, enabling immediately viewing or purchase on-site.
AdiVERSE was developed with Adidas for a virtual search engine footwear wall. It provides customers with more product choice, whilst enabling Adidas the chance to showcase their online inventory through a digital display. The system is gender and age aware, whilst featuring an in-built Twitter stream to enhance the overall customers’ experience.
The Next Generation Meal Planning Solution has recently been developed with Kraft Foods to provide consumers with tailored made recipes based once again on age and gender. Nevertheless, this kiosk is unique, as it can also help consumers plan meals by providing samples & directions on where to find Kraft products in-store.
Digital Technology has become fundamental in enabling stores to showcase their products against competitors. For instance, Selfridges last May introduced the Holition Technology - Augmented Reality display, resulting in an 85% increase of sales for Tissot watches during installation.
Lastly, although it is from last year, one has to mention the Forever 21 interactive bill board in Times Square. It featured virtual models that directly interacted with the crowd, a concept that has been recently adopted by Lynx with their fallen angel campaign. These are only a few campaigns that have really stood out over the last year, but where else has digital technology been used to enhance fashion and retail brands?
ClustaLabs attended the Retail Business Technology Expo at Earls Court, London yesterday, where several seminars caught our eye, including ‘The C-Tailing Revolution: Consumers Rule, The Changing World of Retail by Rick Chavie, VP Marketing for NCR. He highlighted key consumer points for 2011, focusing on those starved of time but desire more control through digital solutions.
Since 2009, a rapid 70% growth in smartphones has resulted in mobile commerce becoming vitally important in the sustainability of brands, behind loyalty systems and 360 degrees view on consumers. 52% of all customers now research products online before visiting outlets, a vital area where brands can capitalise on offers and discounts.
The popularity in self service technologies is steadily rising, especially self service checkouts, mobile self scanning and kiosks for product information & location. There has now been a reverse shift towards consumer to business needs, meaning that they are now in control of the complete shopping experience, enabling them to update preferences through apps, online media, kiosks and consultation buttons.
Throughout 2011, 46% of the top application retailers plan to implement ‘One View of the Customer’ and CRM, 44% will be implementing loyalty system with customer data linked to buying patterns, whilst mobile commerce stands at 41%. For further results, visit www.globalretailciosurvey.com.
Over the last seven weeks, I have been given the opportunity with ClustaLabs to utilise my knowledge of Fashion Retail Management from BCU to develop a fresh approach in using new technology to showcase retail brands, just like Intel has with Adidas.
ClustaLabs focuses on five main categories: Apps, Film, Voice, Touchscreen and Interactive. Yet, my role was to breakdown these further into key problematic areas of retail, including time, queues, data search and tidiness. How? By asking the right questions: What tactics can shops employ to reduce waiting time and queues? How can brands make shops more engaging to consumers and what does it take to develop a truly pleasurable shopping experience?
ClustaLabs approach of analysing patterns within past and present technology has allowed me to accurately predict incremental changes within retail technology over the following 2, 5 and 10 years. All of my findings will be collaborated into a refined whitepaper that will be available to download from the Clustalabs website in April 2011.
In the meantime, keep an eye on my blogs to view other exciting projects that I am working on whilst at ClustaLabs and feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and enquiries.