That Mannequin’s No Dummy
Remember the 1987 movie “Mannequin” where a figure in a store window comes to life? Fast forward to 2014 and the world is rocketing ever closer to that fantasy. United Kingdom start-up Iconeme uses a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon system that enables the figures to send information about the clothes on display directly to shoppers’ smartphones as they browse.
A device called a VMBeacon is installed in each mannequin or visual merchandising product and transmits information that has been programmed by the retailer via a secure web-portal. When a customer with an enabled smartphone app is within a 100-meter range of the VMBeacon, she will receive an automatic alert about the content she can access — including details about the clothes and accessories displayed, pricing and even links to purchase the items directly from the retailer’s website.
The VMBeacon is always on, which allows retailers to engage with customers even if an outlet is closed; the shop window becomes a constant interactive selling point. The retailer can choose what information is made available, and also has access to analytic reports to gain customer insight and help increase sales.
“Installing this technology in mannequins ensures it occupies a prime location and an ideal focus-point for shoppers,” Iconeme Co-founder Jonathan Berlin said, “whether they are in the store itself or just passing by the window.”