An introduction to…the smart-hanger

Essential Retail was recently contacted by an entrepreneur from New Zealand, who has developed a technology idea for a ‘smart-hanger’ that he believes can play a part in the fast-moving omnichannel retail industry. Comparing it to a smartphone inside a coat hanger, Rory Larsen describes the concept below:

My name is Rory Larsen and I am a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Auckland, New Zealand. I have patented (with international patents pending) and conceptualised a multi-media-coat-hanger and operating system which could very well revolutionise the in-store shopping experience for consumers around the world by creating a new in-store advertising platform for fashion and sports brands.

The multi-media-coat-hanger is kind of like a smartphone inside a coat-hanger, which is why I have often referred to it as a ‘smart-hanger’. This ‘smart-hanger’ has WiFi, Bluetooth and a touch screen capabilities which enable consumers to interact with a fashion brand’s content, in-store.

The device is designed to automatically play brand/garment related video/image content when it is picked up from the clothing rack, by a consumer. The content could be something entertaining or practical to immerse the consumer into the brand and/or garment. For example, a surf brand can play highlights of a recent surfing event that was recently sponsored by the brand.

The smart-hanger can help brands better gauge and understand their audience. It does this by capturing and reporting many types of data back to the brand; data such as number of views, or partial views and the time of day these views took place. And with big data being a complex issue, the smart-hanger collects brand and garment specific data which is a lot easier for the brand to understand and interpret.

The smart-hanger device & concept will solve a common problem among retail stores: the means of seamlessly connecting consumers to brand content, in-store. Retail stores too often do not have the finances required to adopt and manage many of the existing retail solutions. Using the smart-hanger concept, brands could purchase and manage the smart-hangers and their content, while the retail stores ‘host’ the smart-hangers within their store throughout the season.

Smart-hangers are a great way for brands and stores to offer a accurate and consistent message to customers. This may also be an opportunity to alleviate or minimise the role of sales assistants in-store.

If the smart-hangers are owned and managed by brands (managed via the devices WiFi connectivity to a cloud server) this will alleviate retailers from the burden of juggling with brand content among the everyday duties of operating the store. The retailer can instead stock the best brands/garments that they feel will provide the right type of content for their customer-base.

Retail stores could show their support for the concept by ensuring the brand-owned smart-hangers stay recharged throughout the season. They could achieve this by investing in wireless recharge racks for the recharging the smart-hangers.

Smart-hanger concept is an ‘omni-industry’ platform which brings brands and retail stores closer together to form a unique relationship. The result of this relationship is a revolutionary, modernised shopping experience which can better relate to the ‘new age consumer’.

Rory Larsen


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