Retail therapy has become a tad more high-tech in the UK. A group of British high street retailers is trying out mannequins enabled with a wireless technology called VMBeacon, that expands the shopping experience with digital technology. Developed by Iconeme, the wireless mannequins send customers information about clothes on display, giving retailers an extra channel of contact with shoppers and passers-by.
In order to use the technology, customers need to download the Iconeme free app (Android and iOS). When they come within a 50-m (164-ft) range of an enabled mannequin, they receive an alert about which products they can get more information about, including prices, in-store location and even links to purchase the items directly from the retailer’s e-commerce platform.
To add an element of social media to the experience, customers can save the combinations of clothes they make with the app, and share them on their social media profiles. By using the app, they also get access to additional offers and rewards.
The smart mannequins send out the information via a secure web portal. The retailer curates the data they want to display. Similar to EyeSee mannequins, the system gives retailers another tool to profile their customers with details on age, gender, location and the products they view. Users also can configure, through their privacy settings, which of their details will be made available.
The three retailers where VMBeacon technology is being trialed are House of Fraser (Aberdeen), Hawes & Curtis (London) and Bentalls (Kingston upon Thames). Iconeme says the technology will be implemented in other retail partners soon, both in the UK and the US.
The video below illustrates the use of the technology.