July 31, 2013, 10:50 AM

The iPad mirror on the wall broadcasts a bride’s photo to her friends

Wedding gown brand Alfred Angelo deploys a mobile app with “magic mirrors."

Lead Photo

A bride trys out the magic mirror at an Alfred Angelo location.

Wedding gown retailer and manufacturer Alfred Angelo has launched a new mobile app that lets brides share images of the gowns they’ve tried on and the items they browsed in stores with their wedding parties. The app features what it calls “magic mirrors” that sync up to a bride’s smartphone so that she can send friends a photo or video of her modeling a dress. So far, the mirrors are in two of Alfred Angelo’s U.S. stores, says vice president of marketing Denise Wash.

“We know the way brides are shopping is a shared experience,” Wash says. “They want to share with the people closest to them who can’t always be shopping with them.”

The magic mirror has an iPad attached to the back of it, with the screen appearing semi-transparent through the mirror’s surface and the camera unobstructed thanks to a small hole. The iPad displays a code that the bride can enter into her smartphone app to sync up the two devices. Then she can tell the mirror to take a video or photo of her in a gown. The image pushes to her smartphone automatically and she can share it privately via text, e-mail or in the app, or more publicly on Facebook or Twitter, Wash says. She can also save the file for later use. Alfred Angelo is looking into adding more social media channels, like Instagram and Pinterest, too, she says.

Location-based technology provider Pickn’Tell built the app and the mirror, which are customizable for any retailer or client. In Alfred Angelo’s case, the app includes the retailer’s full catalog so that users can browse all available styles in all colors and find which stores have a desired item in stock in order to shop.

Brides may also scan bar codes on Alfred Angelo items in stores and save shopping lists to share with their wedding parties. Because Alfred Angelo sells in about 1,000 stores in the United States, that helps bridesmaids, for example, to view the product details of the dresses the bride has chosen, pick their top choices and find the nearest stores that carry them, Wash says.

The app also comes with a content management system that tracks all the bar codes users scan and how the mirrors are used, she says. Then the retailer can send alerts to a bride’s smartphone that tell her about related sales or events in nearby stores, with the messages personalized to what she’s tried on, Wash says. When the bride taps on the alerts, she is taken back into the Alfred Angelo app.

Alfred Angelo, which doesn’t sell online, launched an iPhone version of the app last week and this week added Android, Wash says. More than 550 consumers downloaded the iPhone version in the first week, she says. They have thus far saved 4.5 images each on average, and those who use the magic mirror try on more styles than those who do not, Wash says.

The retailer is encouraging brides to use the app by rewarding them with points for using it to complete certain activities, for example, sharing product information or completing surveys, Wash says.  Those points go towards discount coupons, like $50 off a bridal gown purchase. For the launch, Alfred Angelo is also running a sweepstakes to win a $500 gift card by earning the most points by the end of August, she says.

Pickn’Tell is still finalizing the pricing for the app, but says it will charge retailers on a monthly or annual basis, along with taking a small percentage of the price of mobile purchases. A full magic mirror costs about $220 per month, while retailers that buy their own tablets and just need the app may pay about $1,000 annually, it says.

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