Earlier this year Farfetch, the leading ecommerce platform to shop the world’s greatest selection of luxury, announced its first conference – FarfetchOS – with the aim to drive change, demonstrate innovation, and revolutionise the future of luxury fashion.
On 12th April, brands, retailers and press gathered in London’s iconic Design Museum to hear from key Farfetch figures such as founder José Neves and recently joined Dame Natalie Massenet about what the future of luxury may hold. In between the sessions, attendees got a tour of Farfetch’s Store of the Future, showing what the ecommerce unicorn has in store (pun intended).
Store of the Future is a modular platform, or an operating system, if you like, where Farfetch will tailor technology solutions to each of its partner brands, each city and each store, humanising the retail experience, delivering personalisation to customers and empowering store staff. The BETA version of the Store of the Future, shown at the Design Museum, demonstrated how technology can be seamlessly woven into the customer experience and deliver a significant competitive advantage to retailers and brands.
During the tour we were shown four key facets of the BETA Store of the Future experience. Each of them was chosen to show what will happen if you bring online data into a physical environment.
Customer recognition: Farfetch has developed a universal log in so that consumers can actively ‘opt-in’ to data sharing to enhance their current and future shopping experiences across the store they are in and the Farfetch platform. In the BETA example, Farfetch showed how a customer might use a QR code to enable identity recognition as soon as they enter the store. Not only will the universal log in recognise the person who has entered the boutique, but it will also pull in their preferences, likes and past purchases. However, if a shopper wants to browse anonymously, they can skip the log in process.
Sales associate assistance: Once a customer arrives in store and uses universal log in, the sales associate receives a notification alerting them that a connected customer has arrived in store. The sales associate can then access insights into their recent shopping behaviour provided via their connected profile. Information such as the brands that customer has previously browsed and bought and even their in-store browsing preferences. This allows store staff to provide a much more tailored, personalised and high level of service.
Product recognition: Using RFID technology and ultrasound in the connected clothing rail, Farfetch can recognise any product that customers physically pick up in-store, and immediately link these to their mobile device, creating an in-store wish list and product selection as they browse. Sales associates can also see their in-store wish list and use that information to recommend complementary products to them.
Changing room experience: The Store of the Future team has also developed software to enhance different versions of a current changing room experience. The Farfetch team has taken existing digital displays and mirrors and developed software harnessing the power of the Farfetch open platform. New features for the Farfetch connected mirror include showing the customer’s digital wish list where shoppers can request different sizes and colours and even make a purchase items directly through the mirror. It goes without saying that everything is done on mobile.
While the concept is heavily reliant on data to enhance the experience, the Farfetch team takes customer privacy very seriously. If shoppers wish to browse a store anonymously or not be disturbed by sales assistants, they can simply state their preferences.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Farfetch’s Store of the Future is that it really functions like an operating system. This means that developers can build retail tech solutions for the platform and retailer partners can choose which ones they wish to deploy in their stores.
José Neves, Farfetch Founder, Co-Chairman & CEO, said: “Physical retail accounts for 93% of sales today, and even with online growing at fast speed, it will account for 80% by 2025. Retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches. Store of the Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store. It’s the offline cookie that closes the loop, between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering and, finally in-store technology which augments the experience of customers in store and overall. The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer centric. Farfetch is at the crossroads of luxury and technology and is well placed to understand its needs and deliver a tailored solution”
Later this year, the Store of The Future technologies will be launched in Browns in London and in the flagship Thom Browne store in New York.
Kristina is the founder of INTERLACED – a media and events platform highlighting the most innovative developments in fashion and technology. In 2015, INTERLACED hosted one of the fist fully-fledged fashion technology catwalk shows in London and in 2017 it took the format to Austin, TX for BDYHAXCON. Kristina often curates and speaks at industry events such as Wear It Berlin, Echo Dubai, Superhuman Summit and Avantex Paris, among others. She is also a jury and mentor for international fashion tech competitions, including Aarhus Walks on Water and The Festival of Curiosity.