After unveiling its take on the future of fashion retail in New York earlier this year, tech giant SAP is now bringing the proposition to N4XT’s L.A. Fashion Week, along with some of the buzzworthiest tech around.
Its newly opened LAFW pop-up store picks up the thread from its S.Fashion Experience Lab opened in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards in February to introduce New Yorkers to its so-called fashion store of tomorrow. As one of 20 in more than a dozen markets, the lab was kitted out with interactive mirrors, smart shelves and other features that bring personalization into brick-and-mortar locations. It was a high-powered flex to showcase what data-driven retail can do.
The SAP Retail Experience pop-up at LAFW aims to strut its stuff for designers, brands and consumers at NYA Studios in Hollywood. Visitors can experience augmented reality mirrors for virtual try-ons, select product customization options and robotics, among other things, with featured designers that include Advisry, Tombogo, Kim Shui, BruceGlen and No Sesso. Several will make their fresh-off-the-runway wares available immediately for purchase.
Offering consumer-facing experiences is a notable move for SAP, a multinational, Germany-based maker of enterprise applications that typically operate behind the scenes to manage logistics, supply chains and customer experiences for retail, manufacturing, energy, pharmaceuticals and other verticals, including fashion.
The fashion industry’s interest in green and circular economies is a perfect match for SAP, said Andre Bechtold, the tech company’s senior vice president and head of solution and innovation experience. “Sustainability is part of our vision and mission,” he said, “and we want to support designers, the whole fashion industry, with our portfolio [of offerings].” The connection makes sense: Data-based tools can drive efficiencies and connect dots between online and real-world shopping. The resulting boost in personalization and customer experience could mitigate rates of return, waste and over-runs.
SAP’s approach amounts to a souped-up version of omnichannel retail, dressed with plenty of buzzworthy tech. “Whatever customers are able to experience in the physical store is [driven] by a combination of the data we know from the e-commerce process,” Bechtold explained. The heavily tech-laden LAFW pop-up offers a taste of that.
Another dimension comes from SAP’s incubator program, SAP.io, which is bringing two female-led, virtual platforms, Obsess and Bigthinx, to the shows.