Billabong claims digital first

Iconic surfwear brand Billabong has become the first fashion retailer in Australia to trial a new type of interactive self-service technology in-store.

The technology, developed by digital media company Yeapoint in partnership with online holiday service GoSea, allows customers to book and purchase last-minute surfing holidays and lessons while they shop via a touch screen application.

The GoSea touch screen application is currently being tested in Billabong's Manly outlet, and also marks the first time the technology has been used in Australia by a fashion brand, according to Yeahpoint chief executive officer John Anderson.

“Yeahpoint have already installed a number of touch screen solutions with other fashion brands in both Africa and Asia, but no other fashion brands are using the GoSea touch screen application in Australia, although we are in the process of speaking with a number of fashion retailers here about similar technology,” Anderson said.

“It is difficult to say exactly what this will mean for Billabong but they are definitely showing themselves to be a forward thinking company that isn’t afraid to use the latest technology to provide its customers with the best retail experience it possibly can. This device will also enhance Billabong’s core business as it provides a tangible value adding experience to its customers.

“Many people who frequent Manly are tourists looking to learn to surf and they often don’t know where to start looking to get started. Now, through this device, Billabong has the opportunity to own this space through actively engaging customers about lessons and holidays when they are looking to purchase surfing fashion and equipment.”

Anderson said the GoSea “kiosk” will remain in the Manly Billabong store for three months, with plans to “potentially roll it out to a wider selection of stores” nationally, depending on its success during the trial period.

“We are hoping to see some strong results as the application gains traction in the marketplace, with a focus on pushing the product in Manly for now, [but] installation is simple and literally can be done in a matter of hours once the kiosk is developed,” he said.

“Whether people are travelling to Billabong to book a holiday/lesson and then go on to purchase other goods or vice versa, there is a real opportunity here for Billabong to expand their service offering and own this part of the market.”

Yeahpoint was established in Australia in 2003 now has over 70 percent of its business in foreign markets with offices located in the UK, US and an ever growing presence in Europe, Africa and Asia. The company builds all of its applications via its own unique software platform, yeahWARE CORE9 to allow for easy adaptation to Smartphone and Tablets (Android and iPad) if requested by the client. Yeahpoint has been working with GoSea to develop the touch screen application since March 2011.

Gold-Coast based brand Billabong International was founded in Queensland in 1973 and sells a selection of surf and skate clothing and accessories.

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