Unzip The New Way to Shop

A ground-breaking new technology at Churchill Square is set to alter the way people shop and Daniel White caught up with Kaye Walker to find out what to expect

The way you shop is changing.

Much like the shift that was seen when customers traded in high streets and shopping centres for the comfort of online orders at the end of the 20th century, a transformation has begun once again.

Brighton’s Churchill Square shopping centre has introduced a ground breaking technology that will allow customers to see the spring/summer fashion show brought to life in front of their very eyes.

Forget about clambering to get the best view at the catwalk this spring, a visit to Churchill Square will allow you to view the Zap it, Unzip It! fashion show live on your smart phone.

Kaye Walker, the head of retail marketing at Jones Lang LaSalle; Churchill Square’s real estate firm, is excited about the first fashion show of its kind to be created by a UK shopping centre.

“The main driver behind the whole initiative was that we wanted to do something different,” she explains. “Shopping centres have done fashion shows for years and Churchill Square always likes to do things a little different and I think it reflects the personality of Brighton as well.”

Through a simple scan of one of the Zap codes placed throughout Churchill Square, Absolute Magazine, online and various outdoor sites, the user is not only able to view the fashion show come to life through their smart phone but is also able to access information about the models’ clothing.

Walker says: “There’s going to be codes externally and around the centre that will all link through to our website where people can see the different outfits, where they can buy them from and then there will also be exclusive offers and discounts available.”

The collaboration with Zappar, the Augmented Reality specialists, is expected to see more members of the public flock to the city centre’s shopping hub than in recent times and Walker is looking to provide more than just a shopping space for those visitors.

“It’s all been about delivering more of an experience for our shoppers, giving them something extra,” she enthusiastically describes. “So with the Zappar fashion show we can showcase different trends, we can showcase things for different age groups, we can get more males and females in than we’ve ever historically been able to do, so it works on lots of levels for our customers but also our retailers as well.”

While digital technology is likely to direct the future of shopping, this equipment is not only drawing people to their phones but also to the street shops.

Walker says: “We’re seeing click and collect changing an awful lot in terms of people ordering online and then coming in, I also think it influences a lot of people’s decision making so I think things will change massively.”

Although many have said online shopping would see the end of high street and shopping centre popularity, Walker is convinced that, with enough effort from shops, they can both be encompassed in the future of shopping.

“The biggest thing we all have to do in retail to survive is to embrace digital because it’s there,” she warns. “Our mobile phones will become our purses and our wallets; we won’t need credit cards and debit cards, so it’s connecting the digital world with the shopping environment.”

Zappar not only enables customers to have access to an easier way of buying their favourite clothing with sites like influence fashion but it also tracks the number of times a code has been zapped, offering information that may be invaluable to retailers and advertisers without issues over privacy safety.

“It allows advertising to be tracked and I think that’s what people like,” she explains. “So we would be able to say the centre promo court has been zapped 10,000 times and the one in Absolute has been done 20,000 times but we don’t get any information about them but we can tell how many times they’ve zapped it which is quite interesting.”

While the current Zap It, Unzip It! fashion show will be available for the month, following its launch on March 28th, its future is bright for this special technology.

Walker says: “We have an urban fashion show planned for autumn/winter, so we’re doing something completely different but also our digital strategy is set to continue so there’ll be lots more coming, so watch this space!”