Innovation Awards profile: Gesaky - smart-tech retail mirror
Gesaky Smart retail mirror
Imagine walking up to a mirror in a shop carrying an item of clothing and having the mirror recognise what you are holding and displaying further information about it in terms of alternative sizes and colours as well as offering advice on the accessories to match it which the shop has in stock.
It may sound a wee bit far-fetched but that’s precisely what the Gesaky Mirror does.
According to Gesaky founder and inventor of the mirror Alan Kearney, the initial idea for the product came about as a result of both experience and necessity.
“I have three daughters so I know a little bit about shopping,” he says.
“I’m also an engineer and my background is in utilising wireless technology to make buildings more energy efficient. When the downturn in the building sector came in 2008 I looked around at some other ideas and came up with the mirror in 2010.”
With support from the Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up programme he set about developing the technology and in April 2013 Gesaky was selected by Intel’s research and development team to work with their next generation i7 processor chip and was showcased at Intel’s Global solutions Summit in the Convention Centre, Dublin.
The mirror itself was launched in the US in July of 2013 and is already in use by a number of retailers.
“In the US people are early adopters of new technology so we brought it over there first and it has taken off,” says Kearney.
“We also have an agreement in place with RYU, Respect Your Universe, a US sportswear brand which is currently rolling out stores through the US, Europe and Asia over the next 18 months. The Gesaky Mirror is central to their store roll out and brand strategy.”
Kearney continues: “For the consumer it is an information device and for the retailer it is a cross-selling and upselling aid.
“It is effectively an additional sales assistant. When a customer interacts with the mirror the cross-selling element kicks in – the mirror provides the additional customer service support by matching products and giving stock and product information.
“This element also addresses busy times when there is more demand for customer service and not enough staff to support them. Research has shown that one in five consumers do not buy because they cannot get served in store.”
The mirror also earns its keep at less busy times as well.
According to Kearney: “During quiet times it operates as an advertising platform, allowing brands to showcase adverts, new stock or sale items. It also operates as a training platform for shop assistants so they can quickly understand outfit combinations and other sales training that can be remotely provided.”
The mirror’s possibilities also extend to e-commerce and product trialling.
“It can bring bricks and clicks retailing together,” says Kearney. “If a shop in a chain doesn’t have the accessory, such as shoes in stock at the time, the shopper can simply click on a touchscreen device attached to the mirror to order it online and have it delivered to their home the next day.
“Also, a retailer might want to just trial a new line in a few stores and the mirror can be used to judge customer reaction before launching it across the whole chain.
“Analytics are very important as well, as the mirror can tell the retailer when customers don’t buy as well as when they do.”
Versions two, three, four and five of the mirror are already in development.
According to Kearney: “We are developing it into a fully functioning point of sale device so that customers can just walk up to it and use their phone to buy an item. We are also looking at integrating it with social media to allow people to ask their friends if they should go ahead with a purchase.”
It may not tell you how big a part of your anatomy looks in something but it certainly has the potential to make shopping a very different experience.