How This Veteran Fashion Exec Is Tackling the Future of E-Commerce

The future of fashion is here — and Neil Cole is ready for business.

The Iconix Brand Group Inc. founder is introducing an immersive virtual shopping experience with the help of NextRev Commerce, an incubated venture of Cole’s retail tech brainchild, Next Retail Concepts.

Incorporating brands’ physical stores into a digital landscape, the innovative store of the future will allow consumers to shop real-world offerings through augmented reality — as if navigating a brick-and-mortar store via one’s smartphone.

The technology, which will live on the brands’ e-commerce sites, will start with SoCal-based Fred Segal and storied designer label Oscar de la Renta as soon as next week. (NextRev intends to open 10 to 15 immersive stores next year across fashion, home and accessories divisions.)

“By incorporating tools such as 3-D, AI and personal shopper, we will be able to improve the shopping experience for footwear and fashion in general,” Cole told FN. “These are some of the features we will be building into our immersive stores and a critical component that will ultimately enrich the overall shopping experience.”

Rendered from thousands of images of their actual stores, the brands’ virtual experience will allow customers to explore their physical locations through their web or mobile browsers with a simple swipe and click.

Additionally, shoppers will be able to access a variety of features — including videos of the products as seen on the runway — that don’t already exist in the brands’ brick-and-mortar stores. (Oscar de la Renta’s online space, for instance, will offer a kids’ section.)

Customers who select an item will be taken to the checkout process, created in partnership with MasterCard.

“We are anticipating the evolution of e-commerce,” Cole said. “E-commerce hasn’t significantly changed since Amazon first launched books over 20 years ago. We are bringing a new technology that is dynamic, interactive and a better vehicle for brands to communicate their story.”

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