Italy’s OVS opens a fashion-forward new store featuring interactive technology
“This store marks a turning point for OVS. The new concept is completely focused on our men’s and women’s collections, because we wanted to provide maximum visibility to the modern approach of our brand and its fashionable styling, without including childrenswear, even though that is the classic symbol of our low-cost line,” explained Stefano Beraldo, CEO of Gruppo Coin, the Italian department store company, at Wednesday’s opening of OVS’s new Milan flagship.
Close to 3 million euros went into this new project, located in the center of Milan on the Via Dante, in the pedestrian zone linking the Cathedral Duomo to the Sforzesco Castle. The three-story 900 square meter space was redesigned by architect Vincenzo de Cotiis in a minimalist style both elegant and light-filled. The novelty in the design is the unique digital shopping experience offered by the store, thanks to a partnership with Google Enterprise, the technology solutions division of the giant American company.
Of special interest are the virtual fitting rooms equipped to show the client how an item looks on her, front and back, and enabling her take and send a photo to a friend via social media to get instant feedback – all without leaving the fitting room. A simple click from the fitting room will also call a sales person to bring the correct size. In the store, touch screens enable clients to search for a specific item in the desired size and color, as well as to determine its availability, including at other OVS stores.
“These last few years, we have expanded our online presence through social media and e-commerce, which was launched last year. We’ve noticed that a quarter of the visitors to our online store pay a visit within the next few days to one of our brick-and-mortar stores. With our flagship we want to further bolster the dialogue with our clients via the technological applications that are useful to them,” emphasized OVS general manager Francesco Sama.
“This new concept store, located on a major commercial artery of Milan, and especially well-situated considering Expo 2015, marks an important step for OVS. In addition to digital innovation, it lets us showcase the fashion content of our men’s and women’s collections, all the while showing that, even if we have stayed true to our values with low prices, we are positioning ourselves from now on as a true contemporary fashion brand,” he added.
OVS has radically evolved since creating the position of “fashion coordinator” two years ago and choosing Caterina Salvador for the post. Ms. Salvador, who previously worked for Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, was the principal architect of this transformation. Going forward, she will be assisted by fashion director Marco Mazzoran (formerly with Armani and Calvin Klein Jeans), who was recently hired by the company to beef up the menswear and junior segments.
“In just a few seasons, we have managed to revolutionize the OVS selection thanks to hard work on our product lines and intense research into fabrics, as well as real coordination with our suppliers. We’ve reversed the momentum with them. Now, we’re the ones giving them a push. In addition, we have freed up the product mix by no longer insisting on a particular style, but by offering different pieces that give the client a variety of possibilities,” she explained. The head of style for the company is moving ahead simultaneously with a new project designed for the “curvy” woman.
At the top in Italy, with a 4.8% market share that places it far ahead of competitors Zara, H&M, Benetton and others, OVS is “currently the most modern, broadly appealing, open and democratic brand in the Italian market,” according to general manager Francesco Sama. Its new concept stores will be rolled out as opportunities arise, “in locations ideally situated on pedestrian-friendly streets, with large spaces,” he concluded.
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