Digital Video: Interactive Mirrors and the future of fashionby Stuart Clark
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I look in the Aqua Circle-Print Tube Dress? Oh it’s nice…but it’s not quite right…have you got it in red…and maybe one size up? Oh yes…that’s perfect. Now let me send this to my friends…girls look at me…what do you think? OMG they love it – I’ll take it…”
Coming soon to a high-street fitting room near you…welcome to the exciting world of Interactive Mirrors.
An Interactive Mirror is – as its name suggests – a mirror you can interact with. Basically, simply looking at your reflection is like so last year. Now you can actually manipulate it, using the mirror’s touch-screen surface to do everything from trying out new clothes and hairstyles, to giving yourself a tan.
These gadgets are almost certainly going to revolutionise the way we shop for fashion forever. But more on that in a bit. Firstly…
How does it work?
Essentially, it’s a pane of mirrored glass displaying rear-projected content. When you stand in front of it, you can see your own reflection AND the projected content at the same time. In-built sensors register when you reach out to a “hot spot,” allowing you to interact with the content by touching the screen.
Throw in some full motion video and graphics, a dash of flash animation, still photography and dynamic type, plus some responsive sound – and voila! Your Interactive Mirror is complete.
Where can I find one?
Where else but the home of the vanity industry…America. Interactive Mirrors first came to prominence around March 2007 when one popped up in Bloomingdales in New York, but they’ve also made an appearance in Diesel Tokyo. Have a look…
They do all sorts of neat stuff, like taking 360 degree photos of you while you’re trying on clothes. No more “does my bum look big in this?” and all that. With an Interactive Mirror you can check yourself out from every angle. And you can “try-on” different outfits too. Simply select the different styles you want to try from the on-screen menu and give them a whirl. Want a different colour or size? No problem.
And here’s the really clever bit.
When you stand in front of the mirror, a camera relays live video images of you to a website. Get your mates to log on and they’ll see you in your potential new outfit. They can then send you instant feedback, which pops up on the side of the mirror as you’re standing there. They can even suggest other items they reckon you should try on, with their recommendations appearing in front of you instantly as you dress.
So why is this so exciting?
It’s about taking the experience of shopping in person and turning it into a virtual experience. Shoppers, particularly those in their teens and twenties are greatly influenced by the opinions of their mates. That’s why when you visit shopping centres, you always see girls shopping in pairs or larger groups.
Interactive mirrors translate the concept of shopping with your buddies into the realm of social networking sites like MySpace, Friendster, Twitter and Facebook. Of course, this in itself is nothing new. Topshop’s Daily Fashion Fix already has thousands of fans and followers who exchange reviews and feedback online. But what’s cool about Interactive Mirrors is that they offer a bridge between online shoppers and the physical high-street store.
Think about it. Just as you have a profile on Facebook, Myspace et al, you could also have one at Top Shop, Urban Outfitters, All Saints – wherever. Every time you pay a visit to their interactively-mirrored fitting room, you’ll be able to log in, check stock and try on all manner of exciting new products. The store could even store your details – bodyshape and size etc – and then target you with personalised offers and even fashion advice. Talk about adding value!
The high-street brands could dabble in a bit of Collaborative Marketing too, hooking up with their neighbouring lingerie store or footwear specialist and cross-sell to each other’s customers. The possibilities are endless.
Beyond the high-street and into the home
Looking even further into the future, imagine if you had an Interactive Mirror in your own home. It’s not as fanciful as it sounds. Philips has already designed one for bathrooms. The idea is you can receive the weather forecast, headlines (and a whole heap of marketing messages, no doubt) on the bathroom wall, as you conduct your ablutions.
Just think what the in-home Interactive Mirror could do for home shopping brands too. There would certainly be no need for expensive paper catalogues anymore. And their websites would become so much more attractive to the consumer. Forget worrying about free delivery and free returns, you could just go online and look at all their latest merchandise, actually on you in your mirror. Gone would be the frustration of trying to guess whether something fits / suits you, only to send it back disappointed later.
Customer service could become an interactive experience too. Rather than the old-fashioned call-centre approach of “can I take your order,” you could have sales staff offering real advice: “this would complement you shape better” or “try this jacket with your dress.” Again, the possibilities are endless.
Ultimately, Interactive Mirrors could enhance brands in any way imaginable. The nature of the technology means any environment you’d expect to find a mirror is ideal for exploitation by marketers. For example, you could hang one in the toilet of a bar and have some slick cheese-meister try and flatter you into buying a new brand of cocktail, like this…
Well, maybe not. But you get the idea. If you’d like to find out more about Digital Video and Interactive Mirrors or consumer fashion marketing, give Red C a call on 0161 872 1361 or click here