by Eric Giguere, Director of Business Development & Valerie Pascal, Director of Retail Distribution
OMsignal worked with leading running specialty stores and sports retailers to develop a very unique and novel in-store retail display for its new line of smart bras – the OMbra.
I must say that in spite of our team's significant experience in the retail industry, launching a smart sports bra at retail in an entirely new category has required us to work through many fundamental questions:
-Will women discover or look for it in the bra section with the likes of Nike, UnderArmour and Moving Comfort sports bras or in the electronics and wearable tech section with the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, Polar and the Apple watch?
-Will our first retail consumers want to buy it in running specialty stores, in sporting goods stores, in department stores or in big box consumer electronic stores?
-If it is in the bra section, how will it be differentiated amidst a sea of normal bras? How will we make it stand out?
-If it is discovered in the electronics’ section, will it be located convenient enough to the changing room to try it on?
Including many more...
Ultimately, the OMbra is the first product at retail where tech meets apparel... or apparel meets tech...you can decide. Most of our retailers’ first question was…Is this apparel or is this high tech? The answer is BOTH! This is truly a game-changing product innovation and after numerous meetings with buyers, many had a hard time deciding on where the product should live on the retail floor. The tech buyers want it in their pods and the apparel buyers want it in theirs. We have been approached equally by running specialty stores, sporting goods stores, and electronic stores.
None of us has ever experienced a situation like with OMbra, where buyers are competing to have the product live in their respective categories as they can see that the new category potential. The display unit that we designed no doubt had to be entirely custom and unique.
Our display unit includes a bust to highlight the physical bra, a video screen, and headset to explain the core features (for in-store education), a special lighting system within the bust to convey as a metaphor the idea of listening to ones’ body through the signals that come from within.
We are launching this week in multiple retail locations and formats and are very excited to have women discover, learn about and purchase smart apparel at our retail partners. We have designed several different retail approaches, placement, and training that we will be testing with our various retail partners over the coming weeks. We will circle back with some of our findings soon.
Until then, we would love to hear from you on two key questions:
1 - Where would you like to buy OMbra in retail? at a sporting good store? at a running specialty store? at a department store? at an electronics big surface store? at your gym?
2 - Would you look for OMbra in electronics or in the sports bra section?