SoHo, New York: Fashion hotspot. Shopping capital. Technology hub?
Rebecca Minkoff's new flagship store -- opening on Saturday at 96 Greene St. -- combines the New York designer's collection with technology in an unprecedented way.
Walk into the minimalist shop and a touchscreen mirror lets shoppers browse a lookbook, choose a complimentary beverage (coffee, green tea or bubbly), and even have a dressing room stocked with their prefered items. A text notification alerts shoppers to when their beverage and room are ready and the fun only begins from there.
Of course, customers are free to browse the collection hanging on racks and displayed on shelves like any other boutique, but for online shopping afficionados, the touchscreen is at their fingertips.
Each piece in the shop is recognized by the dressing room mirrors, so as shoppers try on items, they can see how to best accessorize a white sweater or perhaps opt for a similar style. A stylist can be surreptitiously summoned at the press of a button, bringing new sizes, colors or just a hint of advice.
"Every woman hates walking out of a dressing room half-naked in search of a sales associate for another size or style, which is why I’m so excited about the magic mirrors in our dressing rooms," said Minkoff.
As seen in other SoHo dressing rooms (Kiki de Montparnasse, C. Wonder) the light in each private area is adjustable to see how an outfit would look in the sunshine of the High Line or the dim light of a Meatpacking club.
When shoppers are ready to purchase their items, they need only sign in with PayPal, as the dressing room computer adds the total and a sales associate comes by with a sleek shopping bag to package the purchased items. Removing a credit card from a wallet is obsolete with online payment systems, making spontaneous purchases all the easier (for better or for worse). Indecisive shoppers can add items to an online basket for later purchase, while frequent buyers will have their identity remembered by the store for future shopping experiences.
Last year, Rebecca Minkoff partnered with eBay, following a similar model used by Kate Spade New York starting in 2013, combining shopping with e-commerce to enrich a traditional shopping experience with all the options and convenience online shopping provides.
In an era when many are content to shop via laptop from the comfort of your own sofa, the combination of technology and shopping seems vital. Rebecca Minkoff, with her smiling associates, complimentary hot beverages and trendy clothing, is right on track.
But beware: Shopping this easy could be dangerous for your wallet -- err, PayPal account.