— -- Some brick-and-mortar stores are doing all they can to offer high-tech in-store shopping and mimic an online shopping experience to draw more customers in.
Today kicks off the last weekend before Christmas and may actually be the biggest shopping day of the year. Roughly 93 percent of Americans haven’t finished their Christmas shopping by this point, and shopping online may be risky if you hope to get it in time, according to experts.
“There are so many variables,” said Mark Ellwood, author of “Bargain Fever.” “Last year, presents arrived late after Christmas and all you got was an apology.”
But those procrastinators will take heart in the brick-and-mortar stores that are taking inspiration from the ease of online shopping and bringing it to their customers who walk through the door.
For example, Rebecca Minkoff’s new boutique in New York City offers interactive walls equipped with giant touchscreens where shoppers can browse items they want to try on, see complete outfits, look at what people are posting on Instagram about the brand, send items to a dressing room to try on later – even order a drink.
Minkoff and her brother Uri founded the company together, and decided to make their new NYC store state-of-the-art. Even the dressing rooms are equipped with touchscreens where customers can request new sizes, instead of asking a sales associate directly, and even adjust the lighting.
“You’re probably looking for a holiday cocktail dress or something like that but this lighting is not the best for it so we want to give you lighting options,” Uri Minkoff said.
Rebecca Minkoff is just one of dozens of stores incorporating the latest technology. Hointer Demin store and Lab in Seattle allows customers to scan what they see on the floor and have it automatically delivered to a dressing room. Lowes Home Improvement stores are experimenting with robot salespeople.
“The retail landscape is so competitive and the way to stand out is to use technology like everywhere else,” Ellwood said. “Brick-and-mortar retail stores are really taking inspiration from online stores, which know a lot about our shopping habits and the brick-and-mortar guys say hang on a second, we can know that too.”