The launch of Farfetch's Store of the Future / COURTESY OF FARFETCH
Last week at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, Farfetch founder José Neves spoke about his vision for a future retail experience, where advancements in technology (including virtual reality) would start to free up time and can help make the consumer experience more human. This morning, the retail entrepreneur revealed that he is putting plans into motion, unveiling Farfetch's Store of the Future - an augmented retail solution that "links the online and offline worlds, using data to enhance the retail experience".
"Physical retail accounts for 93 per cent of sales today, and even with online growing at fast speed, it will account for 80 per cent by 2025," Neves explained today. "Retailers need a way to collect information about their customers while they are browsing in-store, just as they collect data from online searches. The Store of the Future aims at providing the in-store experience of the future by giving visibility to retailers on what is happening in the store. It’s the offline cookie that closes the loop, between a great online presence and a complete omni-channel offering and, finally, in-store technology which augments the experience of customers in store and overall."
Farfetch founder Jose Neves / REX
At the CNI Conference, Neves said that employing new technology - including virtual reality, emotion-scanning software, and innovative payment options - can "be a positive force for fashion as it can be transformative in a very informative way”. Today, he reiterated those words.
"The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer centric," he said. "Farfetch is at the crossroads of luxury and technology and is well placed to understand its needs and deliver a tailored solution."
José Neves, Morin Oluwole and Yasmin Sewell discuss luxury and technology with Sophie Hackford. / INDIGITAL
The tailored solution element is crucial for Farfetch. Being a multi-brand platform, the brand is intent on making sure that the Store of the Future technologies will be able to create bespoke experiences for each brand in each city and each store. "Whatever in-store digital tools, technology or services each brand or store uses, the key value is in the data that will drive personalised meaningful customer experiences, and on the business side a significant competitive advantage." read a press release this morning.
COURTESY OF REX
The first fashion businesses that will see the Store of the Future technologies deployed will be Browns, which Farfetch bought in 2015, and Thom Browne.
“As we open stores in key capitals around the world and develop a strong direct-to-consumer, omni-channel business, we believe the connected store to be a great opportunity to enhance our in-store customer experience," said the American fashion house's CEO, Rodrigo Bazan. We are very excited to have been chosen by Farfetch, and look forward to starting the global roll out of this new service from the New York store.”
For Farfetch-owned Browns, the introduction of the technology chimes with its plan "to re-establish Browns as the coolest boutique in the world", according to CEO Holli Rogers.
"One of the most important factors in making this happen is to stay completely in tune with the ever changing lifestyle needs of our customers and to keep pushing our product assortment and innovating," said Rogers. "Deploying the digital innovations that make up Store of the Future facilitates us to take big steps towards this longer term vision. Implementing these innovations within our stores will fundamentally allow our customers to enjoy a bespoke and effortless experience that harmonises the best parts of boutique shopping with the speed and convenience of e-tail. We’ve had a lot of fun working through the integration of this approach and we anticipate that our customer will experience a new sense of discovery within the retail landscape of Browns.”