Nordstrom Partners with Ebay Tech to Build Dressing Room of the Future

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Nordstrom Inc. is adding interactive mirrors that provide shoppers with product recommendations and access to in-store inventory information as they try clothes on.

How it works

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A shopper enters the fitting room and using a bar code scanner mounted on the wall, she—or the sales associate assisting her—scans the tags on the clothes she’s brought in. This engages the mirror, and the shopper sees consumer reviews of those items, product inventory and product recommendations related to those items as selected by Nordstrom’s stylists.

Using the mirror, the shopper can request items be brought to her in the fitting room, or request assistance from the sales associates.

“The way customers shop for clothes has evolved,” Jamie Nordstrom, the retailer’s head of stores and former leader of its Nordstrom Direct digital business, told Fortune.

How do we take all the information that’s available to customers while they’re sitting on the couch at home browsing and add that to the dressing rooms, so it’s the best of both worlds?

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Retailers including Kate Spade have recently worked with eBay’s software to implement interactive storefronts at four Manhattan stores that allowed customers standing on the street to pick merchandise, and place an order. Rebecca Minkoff stores have the ability to remember what a customer tried on during a previous visit, a capability Nordstrom won’t have right out of the gate.

The digital mirror test is the latest in a series of efforts by Nordstrom to bring technology and web features into its stores. This summer it began showing items from its Wanelo product feed on screens in its BP department (what Nordstrom calls its junior’s department) in more than 100 stores. Wanelo, a social shopping network, is popular with teens and young adults shoppers. Nordstrom, which has 1.4 million consumers following its Wanelo shopping feed, displays on the screens products that are proving popular with Wanelo users and that are currently available on the rack in that department.

Nordstrom, widely considered a technology leader among brick and mortar retailers, plans between this year and 2018 to have spent $1.2 billion on tech, including e-commerce, fulfillment centers, and in-store service enhancements, such as these connected fitting rooms. Last quarter, comparable sales at its department stores were unchanged, showing how important it is to keep pushing to get more out of each shopper’s visit to the stores.

The mirrors will debut Dec. 5 in fitting rooms in some departments at the Nordstrom Seattle Southcenter location and later in December at the Nordstrom Valley Fair location in San Jose, CA. The software powering the connected mirrors is from eBay Inc.

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