A new line of Rebecca Minkoff handbags recently hit stores, and the bags aren't just pretty — they're smart too. Joining the growing Internet of Things (IoT) movement in retail, the brand's #alwayson bags have a code which, when scanned via smartphone, will let the bag owners receive product recommendations, exclusive offers, and video content from Rebecca Minkoff.
A spokesperson for Rebecca Minkoff said that, through the #alwayson bags, the brand will be able to create new and direct customer relationships, as well as insights. The technology will inform business and marketing decisions, the spokesperson continued, and encourage consumer engagement.
And one new report — led by a researcher at the University of Sheffield and a chartered psychologist from the British Psychological Society — confirmed these newly enabled "conversations" between brand and consumer will pay off.
The research was commissioned by IoT smart product platform Evrythng, and Avery Dennison, a company specializing in apparel and footwear branding, labeling, radio-frequency identification and digital solutions. (Rebecca Minkoff's #alwayson innovation is built utilizing Evrythng's smart products platform, and Avery Dennison's Janela solution.)
A breakfast briefing, panel discussion, and demonstration was held recently in New York to introduce the research, which has led to a new strategic framework called Digital Emotional Intelligence (DEQ).
According to Dr. Phillip Powell of the University of Sheffield — who identified the framework — DEQ can be used by brands to apply real-time data from smart products to better interact with customers, understand consumer emotions, associations, moods and more — and these factors, he noted, enable brands to form an emotional connection to the consumer and work toward boosting brand loyalty and sales.
Among panelists discussing DEQ and retail's shift to 'smart' products was Uri Minkoff, cofounder and chief executive officer of the Rebecca Minkoff brand. Prior to the panel, he noted that recent developments in technology have paved the way for new opportunities for the customer. "The customer experience and journey has so much more opportunity now enabled by technology," Minkoff said. "This is the beginning of a new way of thinking about things."