As brick-and-mortar retailers add digital tricks to lure in online-prone shoppers, it’s interesting to see a fashion tech start-up go the other way, taking the plunge into physical retail — and succeeding. One of our favorite customization sites, Australia’s Shoes of Prey, introduced a salon at Sydney department store David Jones in January, with sales already exceeding estimates.
With a number of iPads on hand, the in-store boutique relies on the same online 3D technology used by the brand’s Web site, to allow customers to customize their own shoes. But they also have all 170 available material swatches to check out in person, along with examples of the shoes themselves (at this point in time, there are 16 basic styles from which to choose). They even show all the sizes, which run an insane gamut of women’s sizes 2.5 to 15.
Customers design their shoes, pay, and receive the finished product four to six weeks later. It’s quite a lot like online glasses trailblazers Warby Parker’s current limited in-store experience (you can try their products in person at their New York office or the occasional pop-up shop). Both e-commerce venues have successfully offered physical retail experiences, which says two things: first, there’s hope for brick-and-mortar shopping yet, and second, bridging the technological gap in-store is definitely now more necessary than ever.