JSE-listed Pepkor Group, which oversees well-known South African brands such as PEP, Ackermans, Refinery, Dunns, and Tekkie Town, announced on Wednesday that it has been working to augment its physical retail value chain with initiatives that support a digital value chain.

According to an announcement from the Group, technological innovation is changing retail value chains and channel experiences in exciting ways – we only need to consider the metaverse for a glimpse into the possibilities. For tech-savvy consumers who are demanding a 360-degree offering from brands, the lines between digital and in-store retail experiences are becoming increasingly blurred.

The COVID-19 pandemic influenced shopping habits and globally, people are now more at ease with going online. Insights from The Future Shopper 2021 Report support this fact, with 60% saying they are now more comfortable with technology, while 64% prefer to shop with brands offering both online and in-store services.

This means that retailers need to invest in skilled resources, partnerships, and leading technology to address this ever-evolving and the fast-paced digital landscape to answer to the needs of customers.

The group says one of its latest deliveries on this digital transformation is Refinery’s Future of Comfort-campaign, an innovative 3D technology that extends from product to marketing touchpoints.

3D technology has been used to improve the consistency and fit of the product and shorten lead times as well as reduce the cost of clothing sample production. These 3D assets also enable you to create realistic simulations of a garment in the physical world, for example, to showcase the movement of ultra-soft fabric with extreme stretch that enhances comfort and recovery.

Refinery’s Future of Comfort-campaign – what can customers expect?

Using 3D visual images in shop front windows and for innovative in-store marketing activations, customers will be able to scan a QR code on the Refinery garments and other marketing elements in the stores. Scanning the QR code will reveal a stretching and moving 3D avatar dressed in the campaign garments, giving a lifelike representation as to when worn.

Online customers visiting Refinery’s website or social media pages will also be able to experience the exact digital replica of the physical garment, as they would see it in stores.

“Who would have ever thought that one can create an exact digital twin version of the physical garment, long before it is manufactured? This is transformative and opens many opportunities for Refinery to enhance the experience for our customers,” says Shaun Hoddy, CEO of Refinery.

Pepkor investing in the future

Pepkor says it will continue investing in technology that seeks to transform the retail landscape.

“For the Pepkor group, a key objective was to create lifelike digital twins of garments through the use of 3D technology. There are numerous benefits in the digital and physical value chain. We’re excited to be one of the first retailers to bring this accessible omnichannel experience to our customers,” Michael Duffus, leading the initiative at Pepkor, says.

Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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