SAP officially opened its S.Fashion Experience Lab last month with an exclusive event for journalists at the SAP Experience Center on the 48th floor of its Hudson Yards offices. Based in Walldorf, Germany, SAP has 20 labs in 17 countries. They are located in high-tech regions and focused on diverse industries and field to cultivate thought leadership globally and in local ecosystems. A market leader in the development of software to manage business operations and customer relations, SAP devised the NYC event to showcase how its front and back-office technologies are shaping fashion retail while also making innovation tangible for those present. “Many customers don’t even know they are using SAP technology,” said Andre Bechtold, Head of Solution & Innovation Experience. The system is often thought of as only “back office,” out of sight and out of mind.
But with customer behavior more volatile than ever and with 40 percent of the global population under the age of 25 and therefor the ones who will decide the success of a business, Bechtold argues that it’s crucial to really know how they are changing. In alignment with Gen Z’’s commitment to sustainability, Bechtold began by emphasizing the reliability of SAP data to help companies communicate successfully their ESG achievements. Guests learned how companies can deliver best in class omnichannel experiences, optimize logistics and spend, and how technology shapes the value chain from customer centric merchandising over procurement and supply chain to in-store sales and services.
The experience of using SAP technology as a customer or retailer
The Experience Center offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the retail fashion store of tomorrow with a ready-to-use approach to business. The aim is to bridge the online and real world experience with plenty of opportunity to explore and play from both the customer’s point of view and that of the retailer’s. For example, the garment you’re trying doesn’t fit, engage with the fitting room’s interactive mirror and further sizes will be brought to you. Or provide some input and a personalized style profile will be created allowing the system to recommend other items that you might like. Retailers, unclear on how detailed your company’s supply chain transparency must be? Follow the step by step journey of a garment from fiber to store using SAP technology. Or for a more in-depth understanding of customers’ browsing behaviors, test out the Entera product which allows you to see which shelves are getting the most activity while maintaining customer anonymity using Faceless AI technology, both trademarked products by C2RO, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, a global hub for Artificial Intelligence. Retailers can also receive insight into how product placement, store layout and staff allocations affect sales and conversation rates. And if a brand encounters problems with keeping merchandise in stock due to limited space or staff shortage, step into the warehouse staffed by robots./
The launch also offered guests the opportunity to take home AI created personalized perfume from Dutch company EveryHuman, an algorithmic perfumery which started as an art project 5 years ago between artist-technologist Frederik Duerinck and scent designer Anahita Mekanik but which is now ready to be installed in specific retail locations. After the visitor completed a detailed survey of their tastes, preferred activities and passtimes as well as scents they are drawn to, the data is fed into the system and 3 one-of-a-kind scents are produced in a matter of minutes.
The event concluded with a runway show featuring creations by up-and-coming designer Kinley Lingenfelter, a 4-time scholarship recipient of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and Danish brand Copenhagen Cartel, whose founder Katrine Lee Larsen had been interviewed earlier about her experiences using SAP software in a smaller brand, and who has been making headlines for her use of sustainability-friendly materials from fishing nets to seaweed.