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Hointer adds NFC to next generation store concept

“I think that it is very important for us, as retailers around the world, to reinvent the way customers shop in store,” says the CEO of fashion retailer Hointer, which uses NFC, QR codes and self-checkout to replace traditional shop assistants. “It has lost its edge and has fallen behind online shopping and what it needs is an infusion of sorts; an infusion of technology that I found in NFC.”

Hointer's NFC tag in action

CEO: “I thought I would try to bridge that gap between online shopping and the physical store.” Click to enlarge.

Hointer, a Seattle-based fashion retailer that uses next generation technologies to replace traditional shop assistants and to enhance the customer experience, has added support for NFC to its service.

Customers visiting the store can now tap a tag or scan a QR code on an item they wish to try on and then pick their size using the Hointer application on their smartphone. They then wait for their selection to automatically drop into a chute in the changing room from a robot-operated stockroom in under thirty seconds.

Nadia Shouraboura, CEO and founder of Hointer told NFC World: “I just love technology and what it allows us to do and I think that NFC is amazing. It is quickly becoming an integral part of our phones as more and more customers these days have NFC-enabled phones.

“NFC is so much faster than the QR code system”

“NFC is so much faster than the QR code system, although that works very well and there are no problems with it at all. But the customers that I see coming into the store who are using NFC look like they are having a lot of fun and it is very convenient for customers.

“We had been thinking about introducing NFC into our store for a while and the timing was perfect. The customers are not the only ones who use the technology; it is also being used by the store to control the inventory and find out what each item is. It also allows us to know where items are.

“I think that it is very important for us, as retailers around the world, to reinvent the way customers shop in store. It has lost its edge and has fallen behind online shopping and what it needs is an infusion of sorts; an infusion of technology that I found in NFC.

“It is so much better to shop in a physical store, but I didn’t like the traditional store where you had to deal with piles of clothes everywhere just to find the right size. Online it’s easy, you use technology, one click and you’re done.

“I thought I would try to bridge that gap between online shopping and the physical store and that’s what we have created in Hointer — it’s really fun and exciting!”

Hointer has continued to develop their unique shopping experience by adding free next-day alterations and the introduction of a colour-coded system helps customers quickly find their category of clothes.

Real-time data and user ratings provide instant feedback on what’s hot and what’s not and the magnetic clothes hangers provide a sleek way of searching through their range.

Shouraboura continued: “We have grown since we opened last November, and from initially only selling men’s jeans, we have now launched a women’s collection, because women are great with technology too!

“We are working on opening new stores in Seattle and California and are working with other retailers and hope to expand to the United Kingdom this year.

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