Retail Innovations

Hointer and the Future of Shopping

Wallingford's newest men's store aims to take the hassle—and staff—out of shopping.

By Amanda Zurita December 28, 2012

Imagine a world where shops are staffed by German robots and items appear in your dressing room as if by magic. Then stop imagining and head over to Hointer to see the future of retail for yourself.

The new Wallingford men's shop is the brainchild of Amazon's former head of supply chain and fulfillment technologies Dr. Nadia Shouraboura. She set out to make shopping easier and more efficient by eliminating traditional retail hassles, particularly for men who tend to consider buying a new pair of pants on par with getting a root canal.

Still in its beta stage, the store currently carries only high-quality men's jeans and a few tops. One of each item is displayed hanging across the shop on cables, allowing customers to get up close to the product and see it from all angles without worrying about unfolding and refolding.

Once you find a piece you're interested in trying, simply scan the code on the item's tag using Hointer's smartphone app. Then, when all your selections have been added to your virtual cart, hit "try on" from your phone: The app will direct you to one of the dressing rooms, and your items will appear like magic within 30 seconds.

Not interested in an item? Toss it in the in-room bin and woosh, it disappears from your cart. Need a different size? Request a new one from the app and it will come directly to you.

When you're ready to check out, scan your credit card on a tablet outside the dressing room, bag up your items, and go. All without ever interacting with a real person. 

This pragmatic shopping experience might not be for everyone, or even for every guy—some of our best shopping buddies are men—but we do see the appeal. After years of mindlessly chanting "yes, I am finding everything okay" and "no, I don't need any assistance at the moment," an employeeless retail experience seems refreshing and simple. There are no lines, no piles to sort through, no overly zealous sales-people.

It's like online shopping with the added benefit of trying everything on.

Taking it up a notch, Hointer also offers free one-day jean alterations (with real tailors, not robots). Pick up the adjusted pair the next day, or have it shipped overnight.

Shouraboura hopes to open more stores in Bellevue, San Francisco, and possibly overseas in places like London and Tokyo. She also intends to add women's clothing to the mix. Hointress, anyone?

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