While innovation in the digital sphere has been the focus of the Internet age, much of retail’s static elements are ripe for change. One major recipient of that focus of late is the dressing room mirror.
At New York Fashion Week, Samsung will debut new mirror displays that combine digital signage with a reflective mirror. The mirrors, or ML55E as they are called, have been in testing and have been used for two months in South Korea, but this will be the first time they will make their major commercial debut.
Ron Gazzola, who is vice president of product marketing at Samsung Electronics America, said that with this technology, the comparably “static and dormant space” of the fitting room mirror now has the potential to become dynamic and engaging. Like a digital advertisement merged into a mirror, the 55-inch display of each screen can be customized to the retailer’s whims and include proximity sensors so that they can activate when a customer comes near.
Think, for example, of showing a makeup tutorial at a makeup counter or a sales or promotion in the dressing room. They do not have touchscreen capabilities, but there are touchscreen overlays that can be added to make it touchscreen-capable.
“If you think of how people are shopping, the mobile device has become the center of activity, particularly in retail, and the mirror display is a nice extension,” Gazzola said. “You can experience fashion and products differently, whether that’s showing alternative colors and accessories or a different experience for the consumer. It’s more engaging for the fashion folks.”
Samsung will show 10 screens at fashion week’s FTL Moda Shows Sept. 8 and 10, where designers will “upload” their fashion to the mirrors, and the mirrors will begin showing up in retail locations, although Gazzola declined to specify which ones will be adding them first.
So-called “smart mirrors” have gradually been cropping up in the retail environment. MemoMi has worked with retailers such as Uniqlo and Neiman Marcus on mirrors that, in addition to reflecting back the image of the shopper are able to record images and videos or alter the image to reflect different colors or styles.
A handful of Rebecca Minkoff stores have incorporated smart dressing room mirrors that can detect the items a shopper has brought into the room, and lets them request a different item from a sale associate or see coordinating pieces. Healey Cypher, who worked on the project while running an innovation lab at eBay Inc., has since gone solo to launch Oak Labs, which debuted an interactive fitting room with Polo Ralph Lauren last November.