byAMFI – the experimental retail classroom

A new school year has started, and so have new projects at byAMFI. Store Manager Rosiane Kuijper presents two new retail opportunities, Google Cardboard and Beacons, and shares how byAMFI is staying ahead of the curve through technology.

Google Cardboard at byAMFI

The Google Cardboard can be worn like a pair of glasses, and makes you part of virtual reality.

Rosiane: ‘As byAMFI is an experimental lab for students and teachers, we strive to make the store as innovative and relevant as possible, always keeping our core values in mind. In collaboration with lector Harry van Vliet and the HvA Cross-media research group, we will introduce byAMFI on the Google Cardboard app. Although it’s not the first place to become part of virtual reality, the store is the first fashion-oriented space within this app.’

‘With Google Cardboard, you are able to enter the store from anywhere in the world with just your smartphone’ explains Rosiane. ‘The phone will be put in a cardboard-holder which can be used just like a pair of glasses. If you look to the right, virtual reality will move with you, and there’s a voice over which tells you more about what you’re seeing. Tests will hopefully give us more insights to how this app will influence the retail experience and consumer behaviour.’

Rosiane byAMFI

Rosiane in the current INDIVIDUALS Wednesday store concept, which will be available in virtual reality.

Another experiment is the introduction of Beacons to the store, also in collaboration with the Cross-media research group. These are little devices placed in the store that make a connection to your smartphone via Bluetooth to deliver personalised marketing messages. Rosiane: ‘With this project we want to find out how people shop, and if Beacons will help convince the consumer to buy something.’

Right now, the app for the Beacons is only available for Android devices, but byAMFI will have a tablet available to allow Apple users to try it too. Future visitors will have the opportunity to get to know every brand in the store a little better, as the Beacons can tell the story of a concept or product the moment the user walks through the door. ‘The beacons will also offer more information about the work of the students’, says Rosiane. The upcoming Fashion & Visual Culture concept opening next week will be part of the first experiments.

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A beacon can offer something extra in retail – a personalised experience.

Rosiane: ‘Although retail is certainly changing, I don’t believe that online shopping will ever fully replace the offline experience. However, retailers must realise that consumers expect more and more of a shop and they have to live up to these expectations in order to survive. This is exactly why I think this collaboration with Harry van Vliet and his team is so valuable. These projects both add something to our experience, and give AMFI students an opportunity to learn about these new technologies in an early stage.’

Interested in the Beacons? byAMFI will host the official presentation of this new project on the 2nd of December at 18:00. Feel free to stop by and be part of the experiment yourself.

Text by Laura Meijnen, second-year International Fashion & Branding student.

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