So, it’s 6pm and I’m heading into the Bondi Junction store of the General Pants co. This famous Aussie youth retailer has always been dear to my heart due to the way they are constantly innovating and searching the Northern Hemisphere for new and exciting ways to feed their loyal customers.
Greeted with smiling faces, I get a kick out of my initial thoughts of ‘hang on, retail should make you feel neglected’…but not here. Bouncing Gen Y’s are almost taking me by the arm to help me through the exciting new process – but first, it’s, ‘Hi, what’s your name? – Can I get you a drink? – how was your day?”.
I look perplexed. Then shake myself out of it as I see the champagne.
So to the point, I say.
Retailers in Australia are being hit with a tsunami of famous international brands that are now gulping up the market share. H&M, Zara, TopShop, William Sonoma are all here.
Many youth who have had the chance to travel know of these brands and how they deliver on their promise with on-trend products at a fraction of the price that the Australian retailers have been charging for so long. Retail has definitely changed in this country.
In knowing the volatile landscape, Craig King, CEO of the Group, (above) made a brave decision to move into the sphere that has gained incredible confidence in terms buying power. Social media. Advertising does not have the power as it did 10 years ago, nor do events, artist collaborations or marketing gimmicks. But what has the power is the chic Gen Y’er on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
The project has been a year in the making and involved about half a million dollars in investment, so King is hopeful it won’t be duplicated too quickly. The retailer will continue to iterate the project, depending on which functions prove to be most popular.
Displayed on Apple iPads, the General Pants interactive Kiosks fuse music, fashion, social media and cross the divide between in-store and online shopping to create an experience that guides, informs and entertains consumers. The “kiosks” are tables with six, four or two iPads on a spinnable mount, loaded with custom-built software. Customers can browse products, explore fashion trends, select music to play in the store and take photos to get an instant opinion from staff and customers at one of the other 320 kiosks around the country. At any point the customer can ring a bell to get a sales assistant to find them an item, send a picture to their phone, or order online for next-day delivery.
Our picks features the latest curated trends in clothing and accessories which consumers can choose to browse, purchase in-store, email to themselves or order from the Kiosk and have their items shipped directly to the their home.
Consumers can photograph themselves in an item or hold an item up in front of the camera they’re considering purchasing and submit that photo in real-time for feedback from other Kiosk users, approximately 300 devices across the country.
…will curate user-generated photographs from General Pants Staff and the Customer – featuring their self-created General Pants looks that have been shared across Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram.
The Kiosk user selects the track that they would like to hear which then goes into a queue to be broadcast through the speakers across the whole General Pants store. The ‘What’s Playing’ function is powered by Spotify, and if you want more tracks added to the kiosk all you have to do is #GPRequests on twitter and your tracks will be added to the playlist for next time you come in and shop.
Featuring all the latest clothing and accessories that have just arrived at General Pants, sorted alphabetically by brand for ease and updated on a daily basis. Again when a customer zeros in on something they like they have the option of assistance, sending the product to their phone our purchasing it on the spot for delivery to their home.
General Pants thrives on being a creative hub both in stores as well as the head office. ‘What’s Happening’ is a curation of the GP marketing, buying team and the store crew contributing to what is happening in the business.
A version of the General Pants e-commerce site where consumers can browse through all clothing and accessories. If consumers have seen something online at home but can’t find it in store this can also use as a tool to show the crew what they have seen.
As soon as the help button is pressed the in-store music dips down, a chime rings out and a General Pants staff member promptly approaches the customer for assistance.
About General Pants Group
General Pants Co combines basic and diverse influences from fashion, music, art and various urban subcultures and to create truly unique shopping experience. Since our humble beginnings as a specialty denim store in Sydney over 30 years ago, we’ve always made it our mission to be anchored in denim. Today General Pants Co proudly stocks the best in denim sourced both locally and globally, including Ksubi (Australia), Nudie Jeans Co (Sweden), Lee (USA), ST&ARD (Australia), Dr Denim (Sweden), Wrangler (USA), Cheap Monday (Sweden), Insight (Australia) and PRPS (USA) and many more. Add to this our complete fashion offering, from brands like Stussy, Vision Street Wear, One Teaspoon, BBAM, We Rob Banks, Vans, Westbourne Rovers, Insight, Arvust, Subtitled, Vanishing Elephant, Zoo York, Converse, Don’t Ask Amanda, Alice in the Eve, Agent Ninetynine and more. This year has also seen GP also collaborate with high profile Australian identities and designers, including Dan Single, ‘Bambi’ Northwood-Blyth, Lil and Anna from Anna and Boy and Candice Lake. General Pants has over 47 stores nationally and an online business that ships globally.
Louise Edmonds is the Style Director of Menstylepower.com – she write on events, latest trends and collections submitted to the site as well as what’s taking the world’s interest in latest menswear releases. She’s traveled extensively in search of new and innovative retail with trend forecasters, Echochamber, and has worked for leaders in the Australian retail market from value retailers to couture. Louise has a love for all things ‘ka-pow’ from fabric to man-caves to dashing menswear textiles. But most of all, she loves seeing Gentlemen harness a new found confidence from reading MenStylePower and taking advice on how to curate their personal style.