I remember walking down Fifth Avenue with my mom, a young teenager just starting to get a sense of my own style, and seeing for the first time The flagship Ralph Lauren Polo store. Elegant and sophisticated, it represented everything stylish and sleek in my young eyes – quite simply, it was the home of fashion. Now I understand this home is closing its doors on April 15. Struggling with declining sales, Ralph Lauren Corporation will close this flagship store on Fifth Avenue, revamp its e-commerce operations, and cut jobs.
I am sad knowing that it will be gone; it will take with it memories of myself at a younger age and times daydreaming with my mother about New York, and fashion, and style.
WWD; Photo by Thomas Iannaccone
News via WWD: The Oak Fitting Room was unveiled yesterday at Polo Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Created by tech startup Oak Labs, this “integrated commerce” experience (as described by Oak Labs) will give the customer an enhanced shopping experience. Upon entering the fitting room with their selected items (all recognized via RFID chip), customers will be given the choice of three lighting settings: Fifth Avenue Daylight, East Hampton Sunset and Evening at The Polo Bar. They will see a touchscreen interactive mirror and can tap on the mirror to request a different size, corresponding items, or to seek assistance from an associate. At the end of the fitting room experience customers have the option of pressing the “I’m ready to check out” button on the screen and an associate would come with a mobile point of sale to complete the purchase.
Says David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Ralph Lauren: “Both technology and the human touch are equal elements of Polo’s personality, and our customers should experience them seamlessly whether they are in the stores or shopping online.” Can this be done, I wonder? Bring the ease of online, e-commerce shopping into the stores for a complete yet personal shopping experience for the customer? To be able to gather the information and data that one can pick up online and still have the touch-and-feel experience of being in the store is a huge opportunity for Polo Ralph Lauren. If technology can indeed match the human element in the shopping experience, perhaps so.