Concept: Alert Technologies was approached in 1990 by a large regional retailer with a simple question: “Is there a way our customers can ask for assistance from inside the Fitting Room?” That question became the driving force behind Alert Technologies. The The Smart Button™ Fitting Room Service System technology offers retailers a mobile paging system and an occupancy sensing system that tracks length of stay; number of visits, and transmits requests using any in-store communication channel.
The solution is largely focused on serving small to medium footprint specialty apparel retailers with a well-defined service strategy and a concern for customer experience. Houston-based Alert Technologies has found the most success with retailers looking to reverse missed conversion opportunities due to service failures in the fitting rooms, and for retailers looking for a tangible way to measure the impact of associate training on customer service.
Data is delivered from Alert Technologies either via a custom collection scheme or by daily email, retailer clients have total access to the information that reflects a true picture of the fitting room experience in their stores.
Team: CEO Marge Laney and VP of Engineering & Manufacturing Don McLane are the original members of the Alert Technologies team. McLane has a strong engineering background and has honed his skills in a wide range of environments including education, military, commercial, retail, and telecommunications technology. Laney also has military experience with a post- graduate career in the U.S. Army. Thereafter she engaged in large business equipment sales and later moved to the telecommunications realm where she teamed up with Don.
Market Relevance: The Alert Technologies system offers the retailers associates key sales opportunities. These opportunities are moments when a customer is in the motivated purchasing zone and ready to be wowed by a great service experience or influenced by a keen cross-sale presentation.
“The moment retail culture relegated the fitting and trial phase of apparel shopping to a small fluorescent box, the situation needed attention,” says CEO Marge Laney.
“Today’s shopping society is a culmination of all shopping channels,” Laney adds. “The margin for acceptable difference between the fast fashion service experience and the higher-end experience is narrowing. Yes, there will always be a difference, but that savvy retailer can jump miles ahead by offering their customer an on-brand, excellent, and responsive shopping experience.”
The dual-purpose solution is designed to ensure that the customer has a more connected and responsive service situation, while offering the retailer more control over a hectic fitting room and insightful data.
Delivery: The Alert Technology fitting room solution does not have an off-the-shelf system. All technologies are designed to address a retailer’s specific needs. The Smart Button™ Fitting Room Service System is based on a network of devices that communicate with each other and a central unit. The entire network is connected along a single wire network, simplifying installation. Retailers only need power and a phone line to support the system.
Mounting locations for the call and cancel buttons, as well as the occupancy and door sensors are prepared in each room. The wire pulls are brought to the mounting locations and terminated modularly. Each device is secured to, and within the wall with a focus on LP, providing zero tag hiding locations.
With a strong focus and commitment to branding, the solution offers each customer a complete custom system, including custom designed and manufactured buttons, fixtures, and outputs.
Proof Points: Customers who use a fitting room are 71% more likely to buy than those simply browsing the sales floor. And the customer who uses the fitting room will buy about twice what the browser buys, according to a study from London consultancy Envision Retail. The fitting room is a significant touchpoint for the customer, and retailers can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to upsell, particularly in the current economic state where customers are very value-focused.
Laney says the Alert Technologies team has found a failure rate of interface devices to be less than 3% of the total deployment per year for the fully installed customer-facing technology, achieved by a custom in house computer, robotic, and laser manufacturing techniques.
The Alert Technologies solution has been implemented by Gap, American Eagle, Aerie, Martin & Osa, Limited Stores, Victoria’s Secret and Pink, among other brands.