Has Fabletics bridged the digital/physical divide with its omnicart tech?
Connecting shoppers’ in-store habits with their online behavior without appearing invasive has proven to be tough for retailers. But activewear brand Fabletics’ omnichannel fitting room could provide a lesson in how to turn in-store showrooming into online purchasing.
Fabletics’ tool, called omnicart, has been in place for about 10 months according to Digital Commerce 360. When a member of Fabletics’ loyalty program visits a store and tries on articles of clothing, the items are first scanned by a store associate to place them in the customer’s online shopping cart. After trying on items, the customer gives feedback on each piece. If the customer buys an item in-store or reports not liking it, it is removed from the cart. Otherwise, the item remains in the online cart for the customer to consider purchasing later. Fabletics has not indicated how many missed in-store purchases are completed later online.
In addition to pushing conversions, the omnicart tool may offer a solution to the difficult problem of attributing online sales to an individual store or store associate for the purposes of commission.
Treating the physical location as an extension of the online experience seems like a natural move for Fabletics, given that the chain only recently made the leap from pure-play e-tail to brick-and-mortar. Last year Fabletics opened its first few physical locations, with aspirations of opening 100 within three to five years.
Other e-tailers that have pursued expansion into physical retail have pioneered creative connections between their virtual and physical presences. Amazon Books, for instance, uses data from Amazon.com’s vast repository of reviews to determine the stock that should appear in-store.
With advantages for customers that are difficult to replicate off-site, fitting rooms have become popular places for apparel retailers to explore interactive tech enhancements. Hointer introduced a touch screen fitting room solution that was later piloted by Macy’s. Nordstrom has piloted the use of “smart mirrors,” which become active touch screens when a product barcode is scanned. Shoppers can browse available in-store stock via the screen and communicate back and forth with associates.
- Fabletics links the in-store fitting room to the online shopping cart – Digital Commerce 360
- Kate Hudson’s fame grows into an activewear chain – RetailWire
- Amazon Books is better than Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble – RetailWire
- Macy’s gets Pointers from Hointer on Fighting Amazon – RetailWire
- Nordstrom tests smart fitting rooms – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think that omnicart could meaningfully increase Fabletics’ sales by tying together in-store and online activities? Could a similar solution be useful for encouraging online purchases by in-store shoppers in spaces outside of apparel?