Drapers takes a tour around Farfetch’s ambitious Store of the Future to find out how tech could revolutionise store experience
Jose neves farfetchos
After almost two years’ work, Farfetch was finally ready to unveil its Store of the Future project to the world yesterday. The luxury ecommerce platform chose the sleek surroundings of London’s Design Museum to reveal the suite of technologies, which seeks to bring online and offline together into one seamless experience. Founder José Neves believes stores will continue to play a starring role in the future of luxury shopping, but he is looking to revolutionise everything from how data is used in physical retail to how customers and staff interact.
“Store of the Future is the continuation of the Farfetch strategy that José has had since day one, which is how do you enable bricks and mortar retail to access the global audience that the internet allows,” Farfetch’s chief strategy officer Stephanie Phair tells Drapers. “Online, you get a lot of information about the customer - you know what they’re browsing, what’s on their wish list, what they’re buying, what they didn’t buy. You don’t get that same information in stores, and so because we’re an online partner to these boutiques, we’re asking how we can bring this online expertise to the boutique world and how do we join up the dots, so we know customers as much offline as we do online.”
Farfetchos 12.04.17 hi res
The tech on display in the Store of the Future, which will be launched in Browns in London and Thom Brown in New York later this year, is impressive. Customers can check in with a universal log in when they arrive at the store, which allows staff to find out more about their previous shopping behaviour, including whether they like to be left to browse quietly or prefer a more hands-on approach. An RFID clothing rail carefully monitors which items customers are picking up when browsing, automatically populating their online wish list. The idea, Farfetch’s director of product development Gavin Williams explains, is that customers can then easily review what they were looking at in store at a later date.
A sleek digital mirror allows customers to request different sizes or items as well as view their wish list and, for those in a hurry, pay. The mirror can also show customers suggested items and can be adjusted for different lighting, giving customers the chance to see how their items would look in different situations.
Farfetch has also worked to streamline payments, doing away with bulky tills and processing payments through mobile.
One of the most interesting elements of the store is how Farfetch sees the relationship between staff and customers changing. After the mobile payment, customers have the option of adding the staff member they’ve been interacting with to their WhatsApp contact list. Farfetch sees customers and staff extending their relationship outside of the store, offering further assistance if needed or recommending other products.
The Store of the Future technologies have clear benefits for retailers, closing the loop between the amount of customer data collected online and the amount collected in store. Whether customers will embrace the new technologies has still yet to be proved, although Williams uses taxi app Uber as an example of consumer’s readiness to embrace change.