- Aldo Shoes updated its mobile app with an in-store feature that lets customers scan a shoe's bar code to request a size, according to information on the app's Apple App Store page. Express Try-On hands off a customer's request to a salesperson who retrieves the shoe and brings it to the customer.
- Shoppers must have location services and Bluetooth enabled to be able to take advantage of Express Try-On. The app was updated late last year to improve bar code scanning.
- Aldo previously launched a system that notified shoppers entering stores to open the Aldo app on their smartphones. The app shows product images and descriptions, and lets people scan products for more information. The app also lets people share images on social media and a "wish list" feature to help find styles in the store or other options, per Marketing magazine.
While a number of retailers are testing out in-store technologies that supplement the shopping experience with mobile technology, what makes Aldo's Express Try-On interesting is how it links scanning a bar code to location services and bluetooth to enhance customer service.
The Express Try-on is the latest development for a company that has tried out various in-store technologies. Several years ago, Aldo trialed an "endless shelf" technology that put iPads in the hands of store employees to help show customers what to wear with its shoes, per Marketing Week.
Retailers looking to take advantage of how shoppers are already on their phones while in store are trialing their potential in a number of areas. For example, Nordstrom lets in-store shoppers reserve a fitting room with their phone and Lowe's shoppers can navigate their way around a store using augmented reality-enhanced maps. Smartphones have helped to educate consumers about products and to comparison shop, and they increasingly are being used to share images on social media before making a purchase, per a survey by HRC Retail Advisory.
When it comes to prioritizing which in-store technologies to invest in, HRC recommends free Wi-Fi as a good place to start. About 70% of Generation Z and 63% of millennials said in a survey that they want to share pictures and gather opinions from social media networks while shopping, especially before buying apparel. Shoppers also don't want to deal with intrusive salespeople, with 95% saying they want to be left alone in stores, and 85% saying they want to check prices at price scanners rather than asking a sales associate for information.
Retailers that invest in mobile apps that provide product and sales information are likely to benefit, given shoppers' dependence on their smartphones. HRC's survey found 29% of people ranked in-store apps that provide personal recommendations as an important store feature, compared with only 17% saying it's important to have a sales associate help choose products. About 34% of people surveyed said receiving promotional and sales information on a smartphone upon entering a store was important an important feature, HRC found.