Clothing retailer Zara offers AR screens in its stores to attract millennials

Zara follows other companies such as Sephora in an effort to retain customers in physical stores.

Build a slideshow, pitch or presentation? Here are the big points to remember:

  • Clothing chain Zara will offer augmented reality displays in 120 stores in April, with the aim of drawing millennial shoppers to its brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Traditional retailers like Zara are increasingly looking to integrate emerging technologies into their physical stores to compete with Amazon and other online retailers.

Clothing retailer Zara plans to introduce augmented reality (AR) displays in 120 stores from April, Reuters reported Tuesday – the latest effort for a brick-and-mortar retailer to use technology to attract millennial shoppers and compete with online retail giants like Amazon.

Zara’s AR displays will allow customers to hold a smartphone in front of a sensor in the store or store window, to see selected outfits from its clothing lines displayed on a model. Then the customer can click to buy the clothes, according to Reuters.

Customers will also be able to use their phones to see designs appear on packages of their online purchases once delivered, showing more outfits they can purchase.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

Zara’s parent company, Inditex, is known to bring the latest fashion trends to retail stores in days, rather than months, Reuters noted. It was also able to compete relatively well with online retailers, according to analysts cited in the report.

“It is now very rare in the brick-and-mortar-based part of the retail industry to find businesses that are not disrupted by selling online,” Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow told Reuters. “However, Inditex is a rare example of a company that should do relatively well.”

Zara is far from the only company exploring emerging technologies like AR in its stores. Makeup giant Sephora offers its customers a number of technology options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to foundation through artificial intelligence (AI) and by sampling a scent via a touch screen and scented air. .

Many companies in non-technical fields are becoming digital aware and proficient, according to Brian Solis, analyst at Altimeter. However, most go very slowly.

Whatever digital project a company chooses to lead, the needs of the customer must be considered first, said Solis. “I strongly recommend that businesses understand how consumer behaviors, preferences, expectations and values ​​change as digital impacts their lives and work,” he added. “I also recommend tapping into technology and societal trends to understand what is possible and impacting in practice.”

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Image: iStockphoto / Marek SLUSARCZYK

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Anne G. Cash