Hawes & Curtis, House of Fraser and Bentalls install beacon-enabled mannequins

Hawes & Curtis, House of Fraser and Bentalls have installed beacon-enabled mannequins in their store windows - a first for the retail industry.

Created by Iconeme, a technology and design company, the VMBeacon mannequins enable customers to receive details via their smartphone about the clothes on display and let retailers engage directly with consumers who are shopping in, or passing by, a store.

To access the technology, customers need to download the free Iconeme app, which they can then use while shopping in one of the participating retailers.

When a customer with the app is within a 50m range of a VMBeacon-enabled mannequin, they will receive an automatic alert about the content they can access.

This includes details about the clothes and accessories displayed, such as price and links to purchase the items directly from the retailer’s website, or where they can be found within the store.

Shoppers can also see more detailed photos and descriptions of the products plus save looks for later, share with friends and access additional offers and rewards.

Edward Smith, b​rand m​anager of clothing retailer Hawes & Curtis, told The Drum that the decision to employ the technology at its Jermyn Street store in London was a “giant step” for the 101 year-old brand.

“It’s the first time in our history that we can get instant feedback from customers and instant sales 24 hours a day which is quite a step forward.

“I think it’s a game-changing invention and it’s something that’s quite nice: it’s actually an interaction between both your customer and your windows.”

Smith said he hopes the mannequins will both heighten consumer engagement as well as drive further sales at Hawes & Curtis, which will firstly use the technology to promote its recently overhauled suit department.

The technology allows Hawes & Curtis to choose what information is made available, plus also gives access to analytic reports to gain customer insight and help improve service and sales.

Smith said that as the brand begins to collect consumer data it may begin to experiment with tailoring offers it makes available through the mannequins.

“I think what we’ll do in the future is to actually run different offers in different windows and different looks in different windows and see what has the better take-up. That will obviously lead us to see what is more tailormade to a particular customer,” he added.

Shoppers using the app have the ability to choose which of their details are made available, via their own privacy settings.

House of Fraser will use the VMBeacon mannequins at its online store in Aberdeen where customers can view product ranges, collect their online purchases and shop the department store’s website via iPads and terminals.