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Apparel retailers combat e-commerce with hi-tech stores
Mar '13
With increasing competition from e-commerce, several clothing retailers are adopting high-end technologies to attract customers and to compete with online retailers. 
Seattle, US-based Hointer is an example of high-tech clothing retailer which enables shoppers to experience the ease of online shopping at retail shop coupled with the facility to try and buy garments.
The Hointer store is comprised of a showroom and a fast micro-warehouse with self-control facilities. The customers have to download an easy-to use app in their smart phones or tablets in order to put the control of the store behind a simple set of Application Programming Interfaces (API). 
Speaking to fibre2fashion, CEO and founder of Hointer, Ms. Nadia Shouraboura said, “Shoppers can walk around our showroom and discover, touch and feel apparels. They can scan their favorite items through their smart phones or tablets.”
“When a customer makes a request, apparels are transported from the warehouse to the fitting room in under 30 seconds and in fitting room customers can request additional sizes to try on. They can also chuck items they do not like down the chute and the system will immediately remove those items from the customer’s shopping cart,” she informs.
The new way of shopping enables customers to try on many items fast and effortlessly as well as discover the perfect fit, she asserts.
“We think that fashion apparel deserves to be in the spotlight. Our apparel is flying in the air, allowing customers to instantaneously see every stitch, every button, every detail,” says Ms. Shouraboura.
When asked about the challenges faced by the garment retailers, she says, “Cost structure is a big challenge for bricks and mortar apparel retailers, especially too much inventory combined with high costs per square foot and labor. Many apparel retailers are amazing at the art of apparel, but they need to improve their cost structure to beat online prices.”
“Our store is an ugly duckling, but our technology is very powerful at bringing the costs down, reducing inventory levels, shrinking the footprint and eliminating the wasted labor,” she concludes.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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