People have been dreaming of what the future will look like at least since we have been able to record such speculations.
As shown by recent pop culture, things such as robots, flying vehicles, and space buns come to mind.
Many would argue that in today’s digital age, we might be closer than ever to living out these flashy, chrome-colored fantasies. We may soon see a day in which more advanced technology will facilitate many of our more mundane day-to-day activities.
I, myself, have often imagined being able to select outfits for myself on a digital screen, à la Cher Horowitz from 1995’s Clueless. The good news is that H&M, aside from displaying an impressive technological advancement, is one step closer to making everyone’s pre-adolescent dreams come true by trialing a new smart mirror in their Time Square flagship store.
The technology behind this mirror was developed by Microsoft and Swedish digital agencies Visual Art and Ombori. According to Business Insider, the mirror “combines voice and facial recognition in order to communicate with customers.”
Using voice commands, customers are able to take selfies that are then downloaded into the H&M catalog. One has the option of transferring the picture to one’s phone via a QR code. Along with the selfie, the mirror is programmed to give one shopping tips by suggesting other items from the catalog. When using the device, customers will also be given to option of subscribing to the store’s newsletter and saving 20% off of their next purchase.
This stunt by the fashion retailer is said to be resonating with consumers as, according to a report by Lebensmittelzeitung, 86% of the customers who used the mirror to take a selfie ended up using the QR code to download the image to their phone.10% of these customers also registered for the newsletter.
Many people today are certainly no strangers to voice control, due to the widespread use of it with technologies such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. It should come as no surprise that people are comfortable with the integration of such smart technologies into their shopping experience. Business Insider does state that “digital assistants and smart technologies” are “playing an increasingly important role in retail.”
We should make no mistake in assuming that this is “it” in terms of technological advancements in the retail world.
Christian Bärwind, the Industry Leader Retail at Google Germany, says that “voice control is still in its early stages.” Therefore, who truly knows what is next? Perhaps these smart mirrors could be modified to include a wider range of commands through voice control, and we may get to be that much closer to having a digital assistant to pick our outfits at home.
H&M’s competitor, Zara, has also bought into the hype of smart mirrors. Not quite like their competitor, Zara has taken a different approach within its London flagship store. Unlike H&M, Zara’s mirror does not respond to voice command but is able to recognize items selected by customers and use them to create a virtual outfit. So, it would seem that we are that much closer to being “Clueless'” Cher.
Technology has certainly made many aspects of life easier and certainly has changed the way we interact with the world at large. As shown by the statistics, it’s clear that consumers enjoy the personalized experience created by these smart mirrors. Trying on items is something unique to the retail experience, and such advancements may change the way consumers regard the act of shopping in general.
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons