Ever passed by a store window and wondered what was on the doll? Three retailers in the UK are testing out mannequins that will send that information automatically to passersby and window shoppers via a mobile app. Notifications will also come along with prices, where the items may be found in-store or online and perhaps even with further recommendations.
The must-have accessory for these mannequins is the VMBeacon, a creation of design company Iconeme. The beacons will sense when a shopper with an app-enabled phone walks within its 50-meter radius. It then transmits the notification programmed by the retailer through a secure portal. To receive these texts, customers must sign up and download the app which is available on both Android and iOS.
Online shopping without needing to be stuck at home
The mannequins transmit information 24 hours a day which is crazy automation – windows and its dolls are now selling the retailer’s products even during off-hours. Brilliant for customer and retailer both, as customers will be happy being able to hunt for the product in the window directly without searching the entire store and retailers will be happy moving products while they sleep! In a way, it will bring the benefits of online shopping to the brick and mortar stores.
As Jonathan Founder, co-founder of Iconeme explains: “The Internet of Things and beacon technology has been gaining momentum over the last few years but we are yet to see its practical and widespread use in retail outlets. Installing this technology in mannequins ensures it occupies a prime location and an ideal focus-point for shoppers, whether they are in the store itself or just passing by the window.”
These mannequins are currently tested at the House of Fraser’s Online Store in Aberdeen (it’s actually a brick and mortar store -- irony!), Hawe & Curtis in London and Bentalls Kingston beside the Thames river.