STORE SPACES

Tommy Hilfiger embraces in-store virtual reality

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers who still think virtual reality is just for hard-core gamers should think again.

In another example of how physical retailers are employing state-of-the-art technology to remain engaging — and relevant — in a digital age, specialty apparel powerhouse Tommy Hilfiger on Tuesday became the first major retailer to employ virtual reality in its stores. The technology offers shoppers who otherwise might never attend a runway show a chance to view close-up and personal the fall runway show of the Hilfiger Collection.

Using a Samsung GearVR device, shoppers will have an immersive virtual experience that creates the impression of sitting live in the front row at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory at showtime on February 16, 2015, when the fall 2015 Hilfiger Collection was originally presented. In addition to providing a view of the runway (and guests at the show, who appear to be sitting right next to the viewer), the experience also includes an exclusive sneak peek backstage.

The virtual reality installation is housed in a dedicated area of the store that reflects the American football theme of the brand’s fall show. After viewing the show, shoppers can actually shop the collection, which is also housed in the same area.

The technology launches on October 20, 2015, at the Tommy Hilfiger store on 5th Avenue in New York City, followed by additional locations in London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Florence, Zurich, and Moscow. It will also be featured at Selfridges, London.

“We are driven by a vision to exceed consumer expectations, inspire them, and offer retail experiences they never thought possible,” said Daniel Grieder, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PVH Corp. “Through cutting-edge virtual reality technology, we can invite shoppers to experience the Hilfiger Collection fashion show from a front row seat. We’re using virtual reality to open the doors to a unique part of our world, directly connecting the consumers in our retail space with one of our largest brand events each season.”

The Hilfiger virtual reality concept was created in collaboration with Dutch start-up WeMakeVR, which filmed the Hilfiger show using a 3-D camera fitted with 14 special lenses. The lenses allow the camera to capture video in 360 degrees both vertically and horizontally, with no blind spots, according to the New York Times.

Through virtual reality, we’re now able to bring our one-of-a-kind fashion show to the retail setting,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “From the incredible set and music to exclusive backstage moments, consumers will be able to watch the clothes move and see the collection in the original show environment – it’s a compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Omnichannel consumers favor consistency

BY Dan Berthiaume

Retailers operating across multiple channels need to ensure customer experience does not vary by touchpoint.

According to a new survey of 1,000 consumers by customer experience management technology provider Sitecore and King Brown Partners, 80% of respondents agreed that offering consistent shopping experiences strongly impacts a retailer’s brand perception. Ninety percent of consumers would switch brands if the brand promises one thing and delivers another.

In addition, 86% of respondents say faster service strongly impacts their brand perception and 91% of consumers would switch brands if another offers better customer service. Eighty-nine percent of consumers would switch brands if they received poor customer service.

The survey also contrasted opinions of millennials and baby boomers. Millennials are 70% more likely than boomers to strongly believe that "brands are not using the most relevant technology to interact with me," and 30% are more likely to strongly believe that "brands that use the right technology … are doing better than those that don't."

When it comes to personalized offers, 66% of millennials find it highly aggravating when personalized advertising is off-target. Nine times as many millennials picked different ways to purchase as the most impactful strategy in improving brand favorability, while boomers were much more likely to select consistent experience in shopping as the number one driver of brand perception.

Looking at boomers, the survey found these consumers are 80% more likely to believe brick-and-mortar retailers treat their customers the best, and are much less likely than millennials to switch brands because another brand makes it easier to interact with them using various technology platforms.

Boomers are also 73% more likely than millennials to prefer interaction with a brand via direct mail, while millennials are much more likely to prefer social media and mobile apps.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Havertys sees what’s coming

BY Dan Berthiaume

When you know what’s coming your way, it’s much easier to make successful plans.

For this reason, furniture retailer Havertys will deploy the GT Nexus collaborative supply chain management platform to improve supplier and inventory visibility. This, in turn, will allow Havertys to automate procurement processes, including purchase order management, three-way matching and invoice settlement.

Havertys, which operates 123 stores in 16 states in the Southern and Midwestern regions, is deploying GT Nexus as part of a broader strategy to improve operations and mitigate risk through end-to-end supply chain visibility.

"Greater factory and production visibility, and simplification of the procure-to-pay process, will offer us a greater handle on orders and inventory,” said Richard Gallagher, executive VP of merchandising, Havertys. “This will allow us to better serve customers while minimizing costs."

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