You can admit it, it’s alright… if you haven’t done it, then you’ve thought about it. Sending a quick “selfie” to a confidante from a dressing room.
Now there is Stylinity — a brilliant in-store shopping tool that bridges brick & mortar retailers, social media and e-commerce with the help of mobile devices to enhance the experience of physical shopping. The first release from Stylinity was the “Style Stage”, a physical in-store space with improved lighting and camera angles for the best possible picture… and a built-in interface that encourages the user to share the image with their social media contacts. The big innovation from the Style Stage is the identification and tagging of every item the customer is trying on, allowing this information to be shared along with the image. As these images make their way through social media, the items can be viewed, liked, shared and (to the benefit of the retailer) purchased.
Stylinity references a slightly different definition of “augmented reality”; data is still overlaid onto an image of the real world, it is just utilized in a different way. Instead of streaming the data to a heads-up display or headset, real-world information is gathered and presented to the users (the original user’s contacts or the businesses that purchase the “big data”). The seductive nature of the social media “selfie” from each Stylinity station creates data and customer feedback that is incredibly valuable to the local merchants, the brands, local commercial real estate and more.
All of the content created on the Stylinity platform benefits the retailers and brands — but it is created by, and (more importantly) controlled by, the user. The implied endorsement of the brands shown in Style Stage images is incredibly important both for its pure advertising value and potential viral “lift”.
Augmented retail can be realized through the Stylinity app — the in-store experience becomes engaged through social media, even when the others involved are far removed from the physical location or not even participating at the same time. Remote users can help the customer make more informed decisions, purchase items more quickly and easily share with their own friends so others may view and purchase the products.
The next developments from Stylinity could do much more than bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar shopping and e-commerce… it might change the way that retail behaves entirely, not by making the consumer choose one method or the other, but by forcing them together.