Imagine if there was a way to take away shopping hassles such as long lines, searching for products, and cart traffic jams. What sounds like a dream is actually a current reality. A new trend popping up in big US cities, this may be the future for the ultimate shopper experience. Whether it be shopping for groceries or looking for the perfect outfit, shoppable windows are here to stay with many benefits for shoppers and businesses. Check out the perks of being a virtual window shopper.
1. What Businesses are Actually Offering
The sole purpose of a shoppable window is to bridge the gap between brick and mortar stores and online shopping, creating the best of both worlds. The appearance of shoppable windows vary from store to store, ranging from kiosks to lit up billboards. Through these virtual stores, the consumer is able to experience online shopping in a 3D setting at their convenience, ridding the shopper of any frustrating ordeals typical to in-store shopping. With this new technology, shoppers are offered a better and more convenient environment to make purchases.
2. Hands Free Shopping in a Timely Manner
One major difference for shoppable windows is how the consumer receives the product. Unlike a vending machine where you pay for it and get it right then and there, products are ordered then home delivered later in the day. The benefit of home delivery is that it takes away the arduous chore of lugging around a full cart of groceries from store to home in a timely manner. Depending on store policy, it’s even possible to receive merchandise within hours after purchase. Take the Kate Spade shoppable window launched by ebay which has their products “shipped to the customer within an hour by courier” (http://techcrunch.com). The combination of hands free shopping and timely delivery bridges the issues of waiting days for online store deliveries and the stress of carrying heavy products from in-store purchases. It’s the perfect solution for consumers who want their products right away and wish to shop weightlessly.
3. For Those of Us Who Don’t Have Any Time
Shoppable windows have been creeping up in subways and city store fronts with reason. The idea is to catch the already busy consumer during the rare free time that they do have, and what better time to catch them than when they missed the subway and have to wait twenty more minutes for the next one? Take what online grocery company Peapod did with the Philadelphia transit system: Peapod created a virtual storefront that consists “of photographs of grocery items plastered onto advertising boards on station platforms. Each of the product photos has an associated QR (Quick Response) code that can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet,” you just have to have the app (The Sydney Morning Herald). Shoppable windows are perfect for the busy consumer because with their rarely allotted downtime, they can shop quickly and efficiently without being weighed down by purchased goods, going on their way once the next subway car rolls around.
4. Shopping After Hours
What happens if a consumer is in the mood or need for some late night shopping? Luckily shoppable windows run by themselves and can be accessed 24/7. So even when shops are closed, like the Kate Spade store, consumers have access to purchasing the product and are able to get it sooner than they would if purchased online. By using virtual storefronts, businesses are also able to offer more products, like 3D catalogs, and save on costs for space in stores and hiring workers. This combination benefits both buyers and sellers because it means more products to chose from for consumers, and more products to sell for businesses. Sounds like a win-win doesn’t it?
5. How to Bridge the Shopping Gap Even Further
Shoppable windows are an innovative trend that betters the shopping experience, but there are a few concerns for the consumer, especially in the fashion department. Trying on clothes and finding the right fit has always been a digital shopper setback, but what if it doesn’t have to be. Bloomingdales in New York uses a size machine, the Me-Ality, which finds the perfect fit so the consumer no longer has to try on clothes. Though shoppable windows are just in its infancy, imagine a world where your webcam could virtually fit you in the comfort of your home, and best of all, the items arrive that day. Let’s just say our bank accounts would be dwindling. 😉