US based fashion label Rebecca Minkoff started as an online only brand in 2005 and opened their first physical boutique in Tokyo in 2012.  Recently, they have partnered with eBay to launch their version of the ‘connected store' to showcase eBay’s latest technology for reinventing instore shopping. The SOHO flagship store has an interactive mirror which allows customers to create a 'try on’ wishlist and receive a notification when their selected items are waiting for them in the change room. It also identifies items as they are being tried on and makes matching product recommendations (functionality that is usually reserved for online retailers).

The technology doesn’t stop with the interactive mirror though. In addition, the store features a ‘connected wall’ display (a 122inch ultra high definition screen) which shows lookbooks and fashion runway footage. Infrared sensors mounted in the ceiling are used to monitor how users engage with the wall. Merchandise tags are equipped with RFID to track which items customers try on and provide real time inventory availability. Employees use iPads to take payment and handle instore customer requests, whilst customers are able to checkout with PayPal using the interactive mirrors.

This is another example of eBay’s strategy to become a venue for all commence - not purely online retail - which has seen it integrate with physical retail destinations, where the vast majority of retail transactions still take place.

These kinds of immersive digital experiences will continue to be expected by customers as mobile device usage becomes ubiquitous and technology such as RFID enables retailers to build captivating instore experiences. These tools also provide businesses with a richness of data as customers progress through the shopping ‘funnel’ and provide real time insights usually reserved for online stores.

Is this the return of retail theatre? See the store in action below.