TODAY

TODAY   |  April 25, 2013

High-tech shop hopes to change future of retail

Former Amazon executive Nadia Shouraboura is merging online convenience with the in-store shopping experience at her store, Hointer, where shoppers use a special app to make shopping faster and simpler. NBC’s Amna Nawaz reports.

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>>> let's face it, even if you love to shop, it can be a hassle sorting through all those racks to find the right size, hoping what you order online actually fits once it arrives. a former amazon executive has designed a new way to do it that she says could change the way we shop forever.

>> welcome to hointer, a seattle store that claims to be changing the game by merging the in store experience with online convenience.

>> it doesn't take away anything good about shopping, but it gets rid --

>> no piles of products, no mannequins and merchandise, this is it. and here, customers control the goods with their phone. using a special app, you scan the product code. the system asks your size, assigns you a dressing room , and within 30 seconds, your choices appear. the store was designed with male shoppers in mind.

>> it just was easy and i kept, i want to try those, i want to see more come down the chute.

>> even those who think they're hard to fit.

>> i'm built kind of differently, so they had my size, but didn't --

>> what does that mean? differently than what?

>> reporter: but the concept has women coming in too.

>> once people see what it is, this store will appeal to any person who wears clothes.

>> for mother and hairdresser ivory anderson, the appeal is not just what she finds in the store, but also what she doesn't.

>> crazy shopkeepers.

>> reporter: trying to sell you things?

>> right. for a 17-year-old with their first job who is a size zero who doesn't understand, you know.

>> reporter: in fact, in the privacy of your dressing room , you can try on as much as you'd like.

>> i can't be sure, but i might need a belt.

>> need a different size? use your phone to order more and drop any unwanted items down the return chute, the system updates on your phone. whereas in most stores they keep all the inventory out in the store where you can see it. here, everything is hidden behind this wall. thousands of jeans packed into a microwarehouse along with a super secret delivery system that we're not even allowed to see.

>> it's kind of our own secret sauce .

>> reporter: she says that top secret super fast system is what helps her to keep costs down and customers happy. a few large retailers are now interested in buying it. but is this really the future of shopping? experts say maybe not for everyone.

>> it won't work for huge chains, at least at first because if you have to put the technology into 900 stores, going to be a very spendy proposition.

>> reporter: she invested $10 million to build her delivery system and launch this pilot store. three more stores will open soon.

>> i love these.

>> reporter: but for some shoppers, the proof is already in the product.

>> when is the last time you found a pair of jeans you loved?

>> um --

>> that long, huh?

>> reporter: for "today," nbc news, seattle.