Fashion rental company Rent the Runway has announced it will be using iOS-based interactive kiosks from Aila Technologies to improve customer experience and speed up the process of picking up, dropping off and exchanging orders at its retail stores, according to an Aila press release.
The retailer will showcase the self-service kiosk scanners and its new in-store experience next week at the NRF Big Show.
The kiosks will be used at Rent the Runway's flagship New York City store, as well as stores in Chicago, San Francisco, Topanga, California and Washington, DC.
The apparel sector is undergoing a lot of changes, driven by the emergence of Amazon as a contender, the flood of new subscription services, and other factors. Rent the Runway has actually been one of the disrupters, with evolutions in its rental model driving retailers like Ann Taylor into the rental subscription market.
But, that doesn't mean Rent the Runway can rest on its reputation as a game-changer. Hampton Catlin, senior director of engineering at Rent the Runway, said the company hopes to move customers in and out of stores more efficiently with the new kiosks, which "ensures our stylists and customer experience associates have more time to spend helping shoppers," Catlin said.
Allowing customers to self-scan merchandise is already looking like a major trend for 2018. Walmart just announced a big expansion of Scan & Go to 100 stores, and Kroger expanded the Scan Bag Go offering to 400 stores. And, of course, Amazon is working on the same.
As more retailers turn to self-scanning, it will be interesting to see how the technology choices shake out, and how those choices affect the early success of these offerings. Going with an iOS-based device could be more appealing and user-friendly for customers than something more specialized.