After two years of development and testing, fashion chain Bonprix has launched a new ‘Fashion Connect’ pilot store in Hamburg. The app-assisted retail concept was developed alongside ‘brand architects‘ from dan pearlman.
Fashion Connect fuses the ‘experiential’ nature of physical retail with the convenience of online shopping. The store is aimed at style-savvy women aged 30+ and features popular pieces from Bonprix’s younger, more on-trend brands, Bodyflirt and Rainbow.
The concept does away with many of the weaknesses of traditional retail, such as untidy shelves, cluttered floor areas, dingy fitting rooms and long queues at the checkout. The accompanying app acts as a personal shopping assistant, guiding the customer through their visit.
After checking in, they can scan products and select the correct size. Items are then added to a virtual shopping bag so they can be picked and hung in a fitting room ready to try on later. Meanwhile, shoppers can unwind with a refreshing drink at one of two in-store fashion bars.
If a different size is needed, the customer can order it directly to their fitting room at the touch of a button. Payment is made either via PayPal in the app, or debit card, credit card or cash at a checkout. Likewise, customers are not required to wait to have any security tags removed either.
However, shoppers needn’t worry about a lack of human interaction during the process. Assistants are also on hand to assist newbies in using the app, and offer help and advice in the fitting room area.
By presenting only one of each item on the shelves and clothing rails, the store also benefits from a generous showroom character where customers can browse the latest looks in a relaxed atmosphere. Likewise, the fitting rooms are larger than usual.
“We’ve revolutionised shopping so it’s a choice, not a chore,” says the company’s managing director and head of purchasing, marketing and retail, Rien Jansen. “We know what appeals to our customers and this way we can present them with the latest trends in a comfortable and inspiring environment.”
Next generation offline retail
“The shopping experience and face-to-face advice are still the USPs of traditional retail,” says Sven Seidel of Bonprix owner, the Otto Group. “However, to remain profitable in the future it’s essential we harness the opportunities that digitalisation offers so we can integrate more digital, consumer-oriented services into offline retail. The experimental strategy Bonprix is pursuing with Fashion Connect is one of our most innovative.”
The pilot store in Hamburg opened on February 14 and was fitted out by retail specialists from Vizona. The enhanced Bonprix app used as part of the experience was developed by Apploft, and works in tandem with a RFID technology supplied by Mieloo & Alexander. POS (point-of-sale) software was provided by GK Software.
Shoppers and other interested parties wanting to experience the Fashion Connect concept for themselves can do so on the German city’s popular Mönckebergstrasse from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 8pm.
Headquarted in Berlin, the dan pearlman group creates shared experiences that are emotional, relevant and economically successful. In addition to various brand experiences these include many zoo projects and leisure destinations.