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Table: Prada's High-Tech Treatment


The fashion set is used to royal treatment at Prada's clothing boutiques. But the Milan-based designer wanted its new store in New York to top its own high standards. The answer: $20 million in Web technology, starting in mid-March.

QUALITY TIME WITH CUSTOMERS

Challenge: If a dress isn't on display, salespeople dash to the stockroom to find it. That leaves customers stranded, risking a lost sale.

Solution: The Staff Device, a wireless computer that provides data on what's in stock.

Expected payoff: Salespeople spend less time saying, "Let me check that," and more time saying, "That looks fabulous on you--and we have matching shoes, too!"

DRESSING UP THE DRESSING ROOM

Challenge: Make the dressing room dazzling, which serves as a sales aid.

Solution: When entering the dressing room, a digital tag on every garment is scanned and the data stored. Customers can touch a screen for info about the garment and accessories.

Expected payoff: Clients spend more. When a customer likes a particular cotton blouse, she can learn it's available in silk, too.

WHITE-GLOVE WEB TREATMENT

Challenge: Extend the in-store shopping experience to the Web without undermining Prada's signature high-touch service.

Solution: Store customers can save dressing room sessions online. From home, they can review items they tried on.

Expected payoff: Customers can e-mail a salesperson, and get quick answers--helping close sales they couldn't commit to in the store.


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