Imagine a store where shoppers can see and summon all their size, style, and color options on shelves and in stock without ever leaving a fitting room; where managers know what’s selling and what’s on shelves right now, and associates can learn while working on their own.
This store isn’t a fantasy. It’s in Beverly Hills, Calif., where retail tech at the COS smart store is already elevating the customer experience, optimizing omnichannel opportunities, enabling operational efficiencies, empowering staff, and evolving retailing whether in-store, online, or hybrid.
COS is a division of H&M Group which stands for Collection of Style, with 271 stores globally. The brand, offering reinvented wardrobe classics and essentials, is leveraging gStore, a mobile-first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application by GreyOrange. The app helps its staff combine the ideal aspects of e-commerce and in-store shopping to provide unique and personalized experiences that customers want but can only get in person.
“We are developing and imaging how COS retail spaces can inspire our customers, both now and for the future,” says COS Managing Director Lea Rytz Goldman. “Our ambition is to pilot new technologies that allow us to meet and exceed our customers’ in-store shopping expectations. With COS Beverly Hills, we have seen first-hand how our customer experience can be elevated with tech enhancements.”
Indeed, retail tech unlocks what the Huffington Post calls “omni-personal” experiences, allowing retailers to truly differentiate themselves by serving customers in personalized, relevant ways through all store touchpoints: in-store, mobile, online, and fulfillment. The Beverly Hills COS store is just the start.
“Throughout 2022, we will test a new frictionless and personalized shopping experience – from the fitting room to checkout,” says H&M Group Chief Technology Officer Alan Boehme. “This initiative is a natural next step in H&M Group’s long history of innovation, where we use technology to discover new ways of enjoying fashion.”
Solutions COS is unleashing through retail tech include:
Creating enhanced in-store customer experiences. Touch-screen smart mirrors in fitting rooms use item-level radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to automatically recognize the products and sizes customers have already picked out. Behind the scenes, AI technology enables the mirrors to also offer in-stock options for colors, sizes, styles, and complementary accessories that shoppers can request associates to bring to them. (While all retailers may not yet have implemented RFID in their stores, there are still opportunities to leverage existing tech-enabled tagging like bar code reading.)
Soon, COS will expand this feature to allow shoppers to “try and buy” right from the fitting rooms. An extra tap of a smart mirror will complete the purchase and direct associates to bag items for handoffs to departing customers, who never have to line up at a sales counter.
Not only do these features draw shoppers to a store, but they can get them to come back. According to Capgemini, 46% of consumers who have a positive experience with in-store automation would shift their purchases from digitally focused retailers online to retailers with in-store automation technology.
Unlocking real-time data & insights managers can use now.
Up to now, COS’s Beverly Hills managers printed out weekly email updates on top-selling products and shared them with staff. Through the gStore app, they see RFID data on a tablet, letting them know in real-time what’s selling and what isn’t and making corresponding decisions to act on shifting consumer trends quickly. That keeps hot items out front while they’re hot.
That’s just one opportunity opened up by the gStore app. Managers
can drive real-time inventory replenishment by monitoring which shelves need resupply and managing related tasks. Plus, managers have a complete overview of the status of online orders to ensure better CX for omnichannel shoppers.
Enabling online order fulfillment efficiency. The app allows COS to provide buy-online, ship-from-store service of in-store products to remote customers, turning the store into a
mini-fulfillment center and optimizing speed, cost, and supply. It can also maximize customer convenience by coordinating curbside pickups either at the Beverly Hills location or a sister store, whichever is closer to the customer and has the item in stock. Retailers can get customers what they want, where and how they want it.
Self-training associates as they work. The gStore mobile app offers continuous interactive work-and-train learning for associates, sharing best practices, retail trends, and shopper needs via smartphones that help them seamlessly curate exceptional customer experiences with minimal prior training. Associates can also upstream shopper insights they’re gleaning from the sales floor through associate polls. The result? Employees get a self-managed path to excel at their jobs – and delight their customers.
By using retail tech, COS gives customers a reason to shop in-store by offering convenience and service worthy of their time. And gStore’s in-store technology assists COS in providing a shopping journey that clients simply can’t get from behind a keyboard at home.