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John Lewis to trial virtual mirror in stores

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John Lewis is set to launch virtual mirrors in its stores within the next 12 months, providing a new interactive service for its customers and providing the department store group with more opportunities to cross-sell.

Shoppers will be able to ‘try on’ multiple fashion lines using the system, as the mirror superimposes clothing products and accessories onto their reflection, and the tech company behind the equipment, Cisco, is confident the technology will be well received.

John Lewis confirmed that the system will be trialled in its new localised Exeter store, set to open next year, but Director of Customer Experience at Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group Clive Grinyer anticipates it being launched in one of John Lewis flagship outlets if the trial proves successful.

“The technology takes the drudgery out of searching for items and exposes people to a wider range of clothing,” he told Retail Gazette.

“It will be more efficient and provide the retailer with the chance to cross-sell brands and accessories, while at the same time improving levels of service.”

Still in the development stage, the virtual mirror is expected to use sensors to gauge the measurements of a customer and provide a search option capability that allows them to mix and match their outfits.

Grinyer noted that social media will be an important part of the solution, allowing people to secure opinions of friends and family prior to making a purchase, although there are a number of issues surrounding privacy that must still be considered.

According to Cisco, the traditional way of shopping for clothes is not being replaced by the computerised mirror; instead the two sit comfortably together.

“We don’t yet know if the mirror will be placed inside changing rooms,” he commented.

“It will be very complimentary to John Lewis’ current set-up, sitting between traditional changing facilities and the company’s fashion adviser service.”

Other fashion specialists are looking to incorporate similar technology and Retail Gazette understands that New Look is among the retailers in talks with Cisco.

It is expected that John Lewis will strongly align the product within its fast-growing multichannel operation, and Cisco predicts it will find favour with shoppers of all ages.

“There’s a wow factor, it’s easy to use and even die hard sceptics who try it end up with a smile on their face,” Grinyer argues.

“The quality and speed is refreshing and customers will be able to enjoy being able to see what looks good on them.”

Published on Thursday 28 July by Editorial Assistant

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