In preparation of recognizing the best of the fashion, luxury and beauty space, our sponsor EVRYTHNG chatted with Rebecca Minkoff, Best In-Store Tech finalist, about tech, retail innovation and experiential branding. Below, edited highlights of Rebecca Minkoff’s conversation with Niall Murphy, co-founder and CEO of EVRYTHNG.

Given the rise of e-commerce, how important is the brick-and-mortar retail experience to consumers?
Brick and mortar retail is still a very important part of the shopping experience. Yes, our customer loves to shop online, but seeing, touching and trying the product on is still a very primal part of the retail experience. When we opened our retail stores, we saw a significant increase in ready-to-wear sales, because the customer could actually see the clothes in person and try them on for fit.

How have you used your in-store technology to your advantage?
When we opened our retail stores, we wanted to ensure they blended an online shopping experience with a brick-and-mortar setting. Our smart fitting rooms not only provide an enhanced customer experience, but they also give us invaluable data that can help us better serve the customer. We can see trends, like how many times an item was taken into a dressing room and how many sales resulted in that experience. If an item was taken into the fitting room a high number of times but didn’t result in a high number of sales, we can then look at the item and see if we have a fit issue, and see how we can do that item better the next season.

How do you see technology contributing to new experiences and relationships between consumers and brands?
When we look at tech as a brand, we are continually asking how the tech can either remove a pain point in our customer’s life or how a stronger relationship can be forged between the brand and the consumer. When you walk into our retail stores, a connected wall enhances the experience by allowing the customer to shop my favorite picks. This experience alone builds a stronger connection to the customer and often leads them to trust my recommendations.

A number of major fashion houses have started to experiment with smart clothing. What value could smart clothing provide you and your customers?
I think beyond giving the brand data about what a customer likes and doesn’t like, it’s an opportunity to give the customer a deeper connection with the brand. If we can give a loyal customer an invaluable experience based on what we know about her, to me, that’s a connection that will only build a stronger relationship.