US retailer Hointer uses robots to deliver your selections to the fitting room
Located in Seattle, Washington, the Hointer Beta Store is a revolutionary apparel store targeting men. Founder & former Amazon executive, Nadia Shouraboura is banking on the “old” theory that “men don’t like to shop.” The result is a store that allows men to shop quickly with the help of their smartphone. This newest men’s clothing store saves on labor costs associated with shelf replenishment, rather it is powered by robots and the stores’ mobile app.
By downloading the Hointer’s app on the shopper’s android or iPhone, the shopper can try on clothes and place them in a virtual shopping cart. The shopper has a wide selection of apparel to choose from. About 150 styles of jeans from 23 designers are suspended from steel cables within the store. Hointer also sells shirts and belts, each of which has a tag with a QR code.
The most interesting part of this store is that the clothes in your shopping cart arrive in the dressing room within 30 seconds. A specific dressing room number on the app directs the shopper to his clothes. If the clothes don’t fit, the shopper can place the clothes in a particular section and request a different pair on their phone. The clothes that don’t fit are simultaneously removed from the shoppers’ virtual shopping cart. The apparel can be purchased while the shopper is still in the fitting room by swiping a credit/debit card on the tablet kiosk’s attached card reader. There is also a similar tablet within the store.
This innovative store format presents a new perspective on integrated retail within a brick and mortar store. Hointer’s also tracks real-time shoppers’ activity in the store and permits customers to rate the apparel on their smartphone. Hointer’s gives brands access to the data on the retailer’s portal. With this data, brands can see which pair of jeans, shirts, and belts sell well within the beta store.
Since launch, Hointer has continued to reimagine the shopping experience by adding tailoring of purchases with free, next-day custom alterations. A color-coded system has been introduced to help customers quickly find their category of clothes (such as big & tall, relaxed, classic, or slim fit). Real-time data and user ratings provide instant feedback on which styles are hot and which need to be pulled. Clothing tags are now NFC-enabled, so phones with NFC technology only need a simple swipe to pull up the desired style. Shirts and belts have also been added to the inventory, and magnetic clothes hangers provide a sleek and convenient way to look through the clothes on display.
The founder and CEO of Hointer is Dr. Nadia Shouraboura, former head of Supply Chain and Fulfillment Technologies for Amazon. In addition to her previous work with startups, her experience with the technology in action within Amazon’s warehouse system undoubtedly helped her oversee the sophisticated Hointer system aimed squarely at making shopping effortless. In face, the name Hointer comes from “hunter” and that’s exactly what all the technology lets customers do.