Diebold Nixdorf maps out route for self-service in fashion retail

Self-service in fashion retail was the focus of an event in London between 6-7 November, hosted by Diebold Nixdorf in association with an array of key industry partners.

Financial and retail technology vendor Diebold Nixdorf hosted an event for fashion retail in London between 6-7 November, highlighting how self-service in fashion retail is set to become a key area of development over the coming years.

Taking over the ground-floor of Hogarth House in Holborn was a mock-up, pop-up shop showcasing the multiple new potential customer journeys in fashion retail thanks to the recent evolution of technology.

Dubbed ‘Tech Style’, the faux store highlighted several new ways technology can support stores’ efforts to transform customer experiences through the deployment of tills for self-service in fashion retail, tech solutions to deal with the growing number of returned items, and other devices and platforms to engage shoppers.

“Self-service in fashion retail is perhaps where grocery was around ten years ago,” explained John Regan, retail IT consultant at Diebold Nixdorf, who was showcasing his company’s new technology comprising a desk of four self-service fashion tills which can be manned by one retail associate.

“There’s a journey fashion retailers have to go on [for self-service to become more mainstream].”

Zara is one of the first fashion players to operate self-service in the UK, with its Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford City stores in London deploying the retailer’s own version of the ttechnology as part of an array of innovative customer-facing touch points. But there are expectations more retailers will follow suit.

Regan explained that Diebold Nixdorf’s version of self-service in fashion retail can help reduce staff costs, limit queuing, and offer customers what he described as interchangeability between “self-serve” and “assisted serve”.

He added the idea of self-service for fashion retail has been a topic of conversation with businesses for two to three years, but it is only now that the suitable design, look and feel is being put forward. It’s effectively a grocery self-service technology kit repackaged for a fashion world, where aesthetics are deemed to be more important, Regan said.

Other technology, solutions and software on display at the Tech Style pop-up came from Tyco Retail Solutions, ZebraEcrebo, Pyramid, Detego and Doddle, with the store showcasing a more RFID-enabled future, and changing room experiences containing touchscreens that alert staff when assistance is required.

Doddle’s returns pod was an example of straightforward-to-use self-service technology, but the company also explained how it aids retailers’ in the reverse-logistics process – with items placed in the pod finding their way back into a company’s supply chain, courtesy of Doddle’s third-party logistics partnerships, within three days.

What was on display showed the art of the possible, and there are multiple examples in today’s retail world where several of these technology companies are working together to combine solutions and deliver connected customer experiences. The whole package showcased in the pop-up store is some way from being a reality, but it was clear how fashion retailers could take various components and build them into their shops.

Following Zara UK’s move into self-service in fashion retail earlier in 2018, its competitors could well follow, especially as retailers look to find ways to balance the growing cost of wages and digitise their stores to link up online and physical retail customer interactions.

Pablo Isla, chairman and CEO of Zara parent company Inditex, put into context what many retailers are trying to achieve when he spoke at the opening of Zara’s digitally-influenced Westfield Stratford City store earlier this year.

“We are in a unique position as we enjoy a global sales platform that fully integrates stores and online,” he said.

“In recent years we have invested in both the most advanced technology and optimised our stores for this aim. Our business model combines stores and digital seamlessly, and we are ready for the opportunities that this brings with current and new customers.”

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