Create a Digital Showroom for £150 or Less
Digital showrooms in fashion are commonplace among brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss and the message is loud and clear: digital showrooms ares highly efficient and highly effective. In this updated article, we share our advice for creating an immersive digital showroom experience and look at the Tommy Hilfiger digital showroom.
The Tommy Hilfiger Digital Showroom
Firstly I warmly congratulate Daniel Grieder, chief executive of Tommy Hilfiger (TH), and his in-house team on the stunning quality of the first Tommy Hilfiger digital showroom. The message from Grieder is simple: digital show-rooming is more efficient and more effective; buyers and sales people like it; it’s not the future, it is the now.
TH have done this well, who wouldn’t want to sit in their luxurious leather chairs as you glide through the digital range presentation with fabric swatches on hand to feel the product quality. TH may well be leading the way by creating digital showrooms in the fashion sector but they aren’t the first apparel company to do this.
Adidas have been using 3D digital product imagery and interactive touch screen technology to create a digital immersive showroom for quite a few years which we featured in more detail in our Future Digital Showroom post. Why? Because it saves them a lot of money in sample costs and makes for an easier and quicker sales/buying process. The ROI is almost instant.
Creating a Digital Showroom
The main reason for this opinion piece however is to tell you how to do this yourself.
I know that the technology bit is easy (when you know how): what is really needed is the vision and willingness to do it – which is why I genuinely admire the Tommy Hilfiger digital showroom and recommend the case study to you as a lesson in vision, planning and committed implementation.
The TH route took two years of an internal team building their solution, and we might assume a fair chunk of their time was spent creating the software, which looks fantastic.
If you don’t want to build your own bespoke software then our aWorkbook will fulfil all of the same functions plus a few more. And while the TH budget is undisclosed, the annual licence cost for one aWorkbook is under £2000 and gives unlimited numbers of sales people and retailers’ access to your full collection story. For a small fee (from £4000) our data service team do all the preparation work for you and from receipt of data and product images we can have you live within a month.
The Tommy Hilfiger press release talks about the centrepiece of the solution – an interactive system to blend collection information, sales tools and brand content in one seamless touchscreen interface. That’s what the aWorkbook software does for you, and it’s what we have been building for brands like Timberland for the past eight years. But even without a system like ours, or the one TH have built, you can use PDFs and just plain product images connected up to a big screen with a cheap connecting cable.
If you have an iPad or any apple laptop then for £150 you can buy an Apple TV box and, using a simple Wi-Fi network connection, mirror your small screen on the big TV.
The Benefits of a Digital Showroom
Here at Hark we spend a lot of our time supporting companies in implementing digital assortment planning and sales solutions strategies similar to the Tommy Hilfiger one. The sales people we talk to who are using our software would echo what Grieder is saying and you can watch them on our own YouTube channel.
These kinds of solutions support directed selling, the segmentation of the range to suit that individual buyer; it allows them to close the sale more easily and quickly, and is simply a better way to do business. The alternative old way is a meeting that goes on hours longer than it needs to. Delight your customer and let them buy from you in half the time.
So in my opinion, and when you know how, the technology is easy, it’s cables and screens, software and data; what is not always so easy is defining the vision, getting behind it and finding the willingness to do it – often in the face of inertia, ignorance or opposition.
And this is why I genuinely admire the Tommy Hilfiger digital showroom. What they have created is technically easy to achieve, and they have done it with style. I recommend it to you, not because it’s gimmicky and new, but because it is part of the bigger picture which Daniel Grieder states in the video “without a strong digital component in your business there is no future”.
Tablet computers are of course the most portable touch screen devices and it’s easy to see how for a minimal investment you too can take a step on the path to digitising your sales presentation experience. And if you really want to know I can tell you how to make sure that anyone else in the room who has an iPad could see only what you select on your screen, thereby “receiving” your presentation on their own device. In technical jargon it’s a master/slave thing.