No doubt you've herded your best friends into the dressing room for their guidance on how your latest favorite fashion faves actually fit, or on a solo shopping trip relied on strangers as they posed in front of the three-way mirror. Now another option lets you share with family and friends from a distance. Last October's launch of Stylinity in New York City's Limelight Marketplace offers shoppers the opportunity to try on outfits and share them online for instant feedback.
Talk about paradox. The Limelight Marketplace is a hip shopping stop located in a converted church. The outside still looks prayer-ready, but inside consumers can gather at the high-tech Stylinity Style Stage, which fuses the online and offline shopping experience by taking high-resolution photos of shoppers from all angles simultaneously, which they can send via Stylinity.com or other social media networks to friends and family to gather feedback and advice.
The Style Stage looks not unlike a traditional photo booth from the outside, but inside shoppers find portrait-quality lights in each corner, a touchscreen and display screen. The Style Stage provides simple instructions for striking a "runway" pose. From there, shoppers can review photos, enter email addresses, and transfer photos online immediately for instant feedback.
Additionally, Stylinity.com uses RFID to allow shoppers to search photographs that others have shared. Each article of clothing is tagged with RFID which is read by an RFID reader located inside the Style Stage. "Whenever someone tries something on in a store and steps onto the Style Stage, everything they're wearing will be automatically tagged and that info will be included with the images, so when other people search for clothing through Stylinity.com, they can find items worn by other people," says Jennifer Capriola, chief marketing officer.
Stylinity.com allows for advanced search options, such as size, style and color. A customer who uploads her images to Stylinity.com and allows them to be shared and publicly searched can now serve as a guide for another customer who searches on the same criteria.
"Let's say a customer tries on a red dress at Nordstrom that is tagged with RFID, has her photos taken on the Style Stage, uploaded to Stylinity.com, and opts-in for sharing and searching her images. If you search on Stylinity.com for a red dress using the same criteria, her images will come up in your search, you can read all about the item of clothing and click a button that will take you directly to the Nordstrom site where it can be purchased online," says Capriola. "You, the consumer, can now search real clothes worn by real people that are similar to your size and style so you'll be a more informed shopper and know better whether the item of clothing will look good on you because you can see it on people with similar body types to your own."
Also a plus for retailers, the Style Stage and Stylinity should reduce returns and also enable retailers to better understand the shopping trends of their in-store customers. Retailers will be able to track how many times a particular article of apparel was worn on the Style Stage and how often it was purchased. "It will help them better understand the shopping trends of different demographics and help them better stock inventory based on demand. It also helps increase in-store traffic and unites the in-store and online shopping experience," says Capriola.
Jordan K. Speer is editor in chief of Apparel.