Is Iconeme’s new Notting Hill project the connected high street model of the future?

You don’t need us to tell you that the internet has changed the way we shop. Combine that with the super powerful smartphone in your pocket and that change comes to the high street. Only it’s not so helpful when customers can buy everything from clothes to kitchens wherever they are. Especially if they happen to be in your store using their phone to price-check and research and not to buy from you.

Think this isn’t happening to you? A recent Google report says that 84% of shoppers use their device to help them shop when in a store. To help them shop. That doesn’t mean to help them buy from you.

There is an upside though to everyone having a smart device in their pocket – if your store can take advantage of it. Enter tech and design company Iconeme’s new high street takeover project. Working with retailers across London’s Notting Hill including Melissa Odabash, Hari’s, Melt, Derek Rose, Petit Bateau, Toast and Dinny Hall, the company is using its VMBeacon technology to bring digital innovation to the high street.

So how does it work? The VMBeacon can be added inside a store mannequin, visual merchandising display or even a stand-alone item. Basically, anywhere you want really. The devices transmit information about products, such as what the mannequin is wearing, to customers’ smartphones. Retailers can programme what information is shared from price to links to buy online to the product’s location in the store.

Imagine seeing an outfit you love on a mannequin, being able to whip out your phone and know instantly where to go to grab it for yourself. No more trying to find a store assistant and hoping they know. No more questions about how much it costs. And if it’s not in stock, well you can just press a button and buy it online. What’s not to like?

The VMBeacon automatically activates to push information about the product when a customer using a partner app on their smartphone gets within range of it. This app could be a retailer’s own app, a white label app or Iconeme’s app, depending on what the retailer wants. The 30 metre+ range means that it can also work with store window displays to help entice customers into the space. Or to help them buy outside of the store’s opening hours if they see something they like. Imagine if your shop window could be making you sales every hour of the day.

What we like is that the tech enables retailers to really enhance their in-store merchandising. Why not programme in customer reviews for the product so shoppers can see what others think of it? Or video of a model wearing the outfit? Or styling suggestions? Or a discount voucher or multi-buy offer?

These are all things that customers are already accessing on their smartphones when in stores. You can’t sell to customers anymore so why not help them to buy by bringing all this information to them automatically?

That’s where the connected high street could be magic – combining the best bits of physical shopping, like getting to try on or touch a product in the flesh, and the enhanced information of online shopping. That might be a perfect model.

How else could you make the most out of your retail stores? The ShopShop model demonstrates a brilliant quick win you could explore today. Want to go straight to the hottest retail technologies, latest disruptive thinking and simplest new ways to lower costs and boost sales? Transform your team’s thinking using Insider Trends’ little black book. Find out how here.