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Aldo’s bricks-and-mortar connected store experience laces up mobile-inspired sales

Footwear and accessories retailer Aldo is the latest brand to integrate mobile with the bricks-and-mortar landscape, enabling shoppers at its new Westfield World Trade Center location to use its application and self-serve tablets to enjoy a more personalized shopping experience.

Aldo’s connected store opened its doors at the Westfield World Trade Center in New York this week. Shoppers can leverage the brand’s mobile app to unlock various features, such as product wish lists, and purchase items that may not be physically present in a desired size or style, showcasing how retailers can use smartphone-led technology to expand consumer-facing inventory and revamp traditional bricks-and-mortar browsing experiences.

“The enhanced personalized features driven by mobile apps and more meaningful interactions between the customer and sales associate will help customer find and buy the right products based on customer context,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “With customer context, retailers can guide the shopping journey based on what a customer has in her closet, what she previously purchased, what she browsed on the Web site and abandoned in her online cart, when she is near your store and even exactly what she is browsing and where within the store.

“In addition to customer insights, customer context considers environmental conditions such as current and forecasted weather, time of day, time of year, media, social media, traffic, holidays, events, and other conditions that impact a consumer’s purchase decision,” he said.

“The main reason customers leave empty-handed is because they are not helped by an associate or can’t find what they are looking for. The new features of Aldo’s new connected store, which leverages customer context, will help eliminate this problem.”

Evolving retail landscapes
Aldo’s new landmark location lets customers connect with the brand both physically and virtually, thanks to mobile technology.

As bricks-and-mortar retailers brainstorm ways to revamp traditional shopping experiences and inject more personalization and interactivity into their stores, Aldo is reimagining consumers’ path to purchase journeys by employing a heavy digital angle.

Shoppers who enter its store in the Westfield World Trade Center, located in lower Manhattan, will be greeted with a push notification inviting them to download the Aldo mobile app. This can be accessed via individuals’ iPhones or on iPads stationed around the store.

Once downloaded, the Aldo app will immediately link the user with the connected store, granting him or her access to social media sharing features, high-resolution imagery and product descriptions.

Customers can also use the app to check inventory, leverage a try-on request tool and scan a desired product for more information.

Aldo fans can take advantage of the wish list feature, which lets them easily find selected styles and receive suggestions for similar items available in the connected store.

Additionally, the connected store features an endless shelf, which doubles as a digital portal where shoppers can browse Aldo’s entire collection by silhouette, color or size. It also contains self-service features that enable consumers to submit try-on requests for items of interest.

Customers looking for outfit inspiration can interact with the endless shelf by viewing lifestyle content and styled imagery that may help them visualize how various pieces can be integrated into their existing wardrobes.

Personalized interactions
The connected store experience was designed in a way that would allow store associates to foster more meaningful interactions with shoppers. While the in-store technology will complement consumers’ shopping experiences and potentially give them new tidbits of purchase inspiration, associates will still be present to respond to specific questions and assist individuals in crafting fashionable looks.

The mobile-enabled technology will also free up store associates’ time, enabling them to spend more one-on-one time with shoppers needing assistance instead of spending several minutes looking up product inventory or information.

Aldo is not the first marketer to introduce a connected store.

Last November, Sephora also rolled out a bricks-and-mortar connected boutique that creates a disruptive shopping experience via interactive in-store tablets, phone-charging stations and a selfie mirror (see story).

Meanwhile, Dick’s Sporting Goods is doubling down on integrating the mobile experience with its stores via an app update that introduces a new Stores section and an in-store mode pilot in select locations (see story).

As the bricks-and-mortar retail model continues to evolve, other major brands will likely launch connected store experiences as well.

“The mobile device is the cash register of the future, the sales associate of the future and the wallet of the future – or rather the now,” Mr. Morris said. “The opportunities for mobile to influence retail sales – via direct sales through a mobile Web site or app or through in-store possibilities to influence sales – clearly represent the new frontier transforming retailers’ operations.

“The cloud is the future of in-store retail and the Amazon-like experience in the store will be driven by lower costs and increased sales.”