- Tommy Hilfiger started renting out virtual-reality headsets at its Fifth Avenue store in New York this week, granting shoppers a three-dimensional, front-row view of its fall fashion show earlier this year, The New York Times reported.
Samsung Gear VR headsets allow shoppers who might never go to a fashion show to watch — and shop — the brand’s runway styles.
The headsets will be installed at the designer’s biggest flagship stores in the U.S. and Europe.
The technology is one facet of Tommy Hilfiger’s strategy to bring "retailtainment" to its stores, a growing push by brick-and-mortar merchants staring down the unrelenting growth of online shopping.
"These days, you can’t just wait for people to come into the store and try on your jackets, You have to provide entertainment,” Daniel Grieder, Tommy Hilfiger’s chief executive officer, told the New York Times. “It’s not about turnover by square foot anymore. It’s about surprise by square foot, or newness.”
Apparel retailers in particular, are feeling the pressure: Clothing sales have languished of late as shoppers divert spending to home furnishings, for one, as the housing market rebounds.
Hilfiger’s headsets are designed to make consumers feel like a fashion insider, creating the illusion that they scored front-row, Anna Wintour-worthy seats at Hilfiger’s Park Avenue Armory Show in New York.
If the viewer wearing the headsets looks to the right, for example, she will see guests at the show as though they are seated next to and behind her. The headshow also offers glimpses backstage, while another vantage point shows the moment models step onto the runway.
Beyond the headsets, Hilfiger is betting big on digital to deliver shoppers unprecedented, immersive experiences in its stores.
The retailer launched a digital showroom last year, emboldened by the belief that digital “is the new normal, and it will be implemented in all aspects of our business,” Geiger told Women’s Wear Daily. ““The days of ‘hello, how are you’ and ‘how can I help you’ are gone.”