Ellynne Bridal’s Magic Mirror Steamlines Dress Shopping

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Nanonation is helping Ellynne Bridal reinvent the bridal shopping experience through the Magic Mirror, a digitally enabled mirror that captures images of a bride as she tries on styles. A unique implementation, which utilizes a through-the-glass HD camera, the Magic Mirror allows brides to easily compare their favorites. The results have been tremendous, reducing the number of appointments per bride and shortening the time to decision, both key metrics that affect a bridal store’s bottom line.

Nominating Company: Nanonation, Lincoln, Nebraska
Venue: Ellynne Bridal, Lincoln, Nebraska
Project: Ellynne Bridal Magic Mirror
Category: Retail Environments

BACKGROUND
Ellynne Bridal, one of Nebraska’s top bridal retailers, was seeking to both enhance the bridal shopping experience as well as find a way to help their customers make a purchase decision sooner. Traditionally, a bride narrows it down to a few favorites during their initial appointment and may require two or more additional visits to finalize the decision or involve all of her influencers. With each appointment lasting an hour and a half and requiring a consultant be assigned to the bride during that time, the number of customers who can be served on a busy weekend is limited. Reducing the number of return visits has a direct impact on sales through the ability to see more new customers. Helping the customer compare gowns more easily and make a decision they are more satisfied with also helps increase customer satisfaction with their experience.

CHALLENGES
This project presented several unique challenges. Mirrors used at Ellynne Bridal are very large (over 6 feet tall). Not wanting to minimize that part of the experience by going with a smaller mirror, the size made placing a camera in the frame a problem. When tested, the angle was too extreme to give the customer a proper view of themselves in their gown. This meant that the camera would need to live behind the glass of the mirror. In researching, we found no other examples of this ever being done with an interactive mirror. Most interactive mirrors are touchscreens, but looking at how the customer experience flowed in the bridal store, brides would be too far from the mirror to interact with it effectively. Lastly, the technology had to be simple to use for the retail store associates and never get in the way of their core job of serving customers.

SOLUTIONS
nanonation_apexawards_retail_ellynnebridalmagicmirror_2Overcoming the challenge presented by the size of the mirror required several rounds of testing with different types of mirror glass, and ultimately, a custom 3D-printed camera housing to get the right combination of a clear photo and a seamless high-quality mirror. The result is a camera you can’t see but takes the perfect angle image.

Because this interactive mirror would be too large and too far away from the user for touch to work, and because there would always be a consultant working with the customer, we developed a custom interface that allowed the consultants to use iPads, something they already used as part of the appointment, to control the mirror. From the iPad, the consultant can create a folder for each customer, take pictures, choose which ones show on the mirror, and email or text those pictures to the customer or friends and family who can’t be there.

RESULTS
Management, store associates, customer feedback and the data all agree; the Magic Mirror is having a direct impact on sales and customer satisfaction. Following the installation of the Magic Mirror, the average number of appointments to purchase has decreased from 1.47 to 1.37. The number of brides who purchase on their first visit increased from 43 percent to 51 percent. The closing ratio (gowns sold / total # of appointments) increased from 31 percent to 38 percent. The average transaction value has also increased by 4 percent since installation. Just as important as the numbers, the store reports numerous positive online and social media customer reviews that mention the Magic Mirror, and the store associates say the mirror helps them better guide their customers to find the perfect gown.

Ellynne Bridal Magic Mirror won a DSE 2019 APEX Award in the Retail Environments category.

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