INTERVIEW & ARTICLES
How Can High Street Retailers Retain an Edge over Cheap E-Commerce Competitors?
A new generation of online-based retailers are nailing the ‘fast fashion’ market by making it even faster, and high street stalwarts are increasingly unable to keep up with their e-commerce competitors’ shrinking lead times and low prices. So how can ‘traditional’ high street retailers retain a competitive edge over fast fashion’s new guard?
24 Sèvres: LVMH Embraces Frenemy-Inflected E-Tailing
Katie Baron - Stylus
Operating loosely on the ‘frenemy’ associations described in Renegade Retail – where competitor brands buddy up for mutual benefit – luxury brand powerhouse LVMH is launching a multi-brand e-commerce platform called 24 Sèvres. The platform hopes to satisfy the appetites of increasingly brand-disloyal consumers, since it includes brands that sit outside the LVMH portfolio.
‘Second Life’ Retail Concepts: Repair, Resell, Recycle
Stefanie Dorfer - Stylus
Responding to a generation of consumers oversaturated with ‘stuff’, shrewd brands are tapping into the global growing desire for sustainable business practices and an upheaval of throwaway culture – with ‘loop-closing’ retail concepts anchored in repair, recycling and recommerce.
Visual Search Technology: The Next Big Thing in Fashion Retail?
We live in a visual-centric society. Words are commonly replaced with emojis, teenagers keep up with the news through Snapchat Discover channels, and our Facebook feeds are now cluttered with videos and Instagram embeds instead of lengthy status updates. It makes sense, then, that our online research habits are moving the same way. Visual search technology is on the rise, and it’s a particularly promising prospect for the image-focused fashion retail sector.
AlpStories: High-Tech Beauty Store
In order to communicate its innovative approach to beauty retail, Slovenian cosmetics brand AlpStories enlisted Croatian interior design studio Brigada to create a tech-enhanced concept for its new store in Zagreb, Croatia, including an on-site robot that mixes personalised skincare products.
How Can In-Store Tech Avoid Being Gimmicky?
This week has seen some of the UK’s most traditional retail institutions throw their hats into the in-store technology ring. At 131-year-old retailer Jaeger, CIO Cathy McCabe promised a front-to-back IT revolution in stores – including kitting out staff with iPads to enable them to take payments from customers anywhere on the shop floor. Meanwhile in Birmingham, John Lewis will be trialling a new lifestyle store concept called Found. It will curate lifestyle collections across fashion, homeware and technology – aiming to bring a younger, more stylish audience into stores with a targeted lifestyle ‘edit’.
Reformation: Fashion Recycling Made Simple
LA-based eco-fashion brand Reformation has just launched a clothing recycling scheme that aims to make the process both effortless and social.
The Uber Effect: Fashion Retail’s New Benchmark
With a proposed $50bn valuation around the corner and rides in London alone growing at 5x to 6x per year, Uber’s position as the benchmark for creating real-life convenience from mobile technology has been firmly cemented. As the taxi service continues to expand at mind-boggling speed, other industries are looking for ways to Uber their own offerings. How can fashion retailers capitalise on the growing opportunities of the new convenience economy? This is one of the questions that panellists will work towards answering for audience members at our New York Summit this October.
Warhol-Inspired Social Showroom
Brazilian custom furniture brand Tog has unveiled its first bricks-and-mortar showroom in Sao Paulo with a mixed-use space conceived as part showroom, part social hub to boost in-store dwell time and attract a wider creative following.
Miss Sixty x Powa Tag, Tap-to-Pay
In a bid to boost their e-commerce sales, Italian fashion brands Miss Sixty and Energie (both owned by Italian fashion distributor Sixty Distribution) have partnered with UK-based mobile payments company Powa Technologies to make mobile payments instantaneous.
Fan Votes Shape Topshop’s Archive Collection
British high-street fashion retailer Topshop is marking the launch of its new seasonal Archive Collection this month – a 33-piece capsule range based on its original designs from the 70s, 80s and 90s – with a social media campaign that invites fans to post photos of items they’d like to see revived in the future.
How Can Technology Help Fashion Brands Say Thanks?
With consumers spending 89% of their time on media through mobile apps (source: Nielsen), the potential of mobile commerce has not been lost on fashion brands. The move towards shoppable Instagram posts and Pinterest pins, as well as commerce-capable social networks like Net-A-Porter’s The Net Set, are all recent examples of brands getting on board with mobile. But is the incentive to gain profit being pursued at the expense of other ways of earning customer loyalty? In these fast-moving times, certain start-ups and retailers have realised that just saying “thank you” can be as valuable to fashion fans as giving them easier ways to shop.
Beauty Boom on YouTube
A new study by video marketing company Pixability reveals how consumer views of beauty videos and beauty marketing on platforms such as YouTube are growing at an unprecedented rate – highlighting significant shifts that beauty brands and marketers should be aware of.
In Couture Week, Brand Experience Goes Big
The value of couture in the digital age has been much debated – it works, after all, at a polar opposite pace to the rest of luxury fashion, which has become so sped up as to see its seasons increasingly merge. But in a fast-paced industry subject to near-constant fashion weeks and the rise of the mid-season collection, Paris Haute Couture Week has retained its sense of occasion.
Pocket Personal Shopper: Mona App
Seattle-based tech firm Mona – founded by former employees of Amazon – has released an eponymous app which aims to create the ultimate personalised mobile e-tail experience through data intelligence and personal assistance.
The Old-School Department Stores that Offer the Best of Both Worlds
People only buy expensive things once they’ve done their research online, right? Well according to new findings from research and advisory firm the Luxury Institute, wealthy shoppers still want their shopping experience to be firmly ensconced in the physical world.
YouTube’s new channel Newswire keeps viewers up to date on breaking news with a verified and curated stream of eyewitness videos. YouTube’s parent organisation Google has partnered with Storyful, a social news agency that verifies social content, to launch the project.
Luxury Retail’s Café Culture: Ralph Lauren’s Hybrid Flagship
American luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren is set to open an appointment-only concept store in Milan that will bring hospitality and retail under one roof – solidifying its stance as a full lifestyle brand. The store was conceived as a more immersive brand experience for its most premium shoppers.
All Eyes On the Boys: The Social Media Stories that Made Menswear
There’s no doubt that menswear is booming at home and away: the UK men’s clothing market has seen sales rise by 22% in the past five years to reach £13.5bn in 2014, growing at a faster rate than womenswear, according to global marketing intelligence agency Mintel. As Mintel also revealed at the opening reception for London Collections: Men (LC:M), young men are equally as fashion conscious as young women, with 50% of both males and females in the UK aged 16-24 purchasing clothes in the last three months of 2014.
What Can Tech Companies Do For The Traditional Trade Show?
Bread & Butter – that’s B&B, without the ‘Air’ – is the leading trade show for everyday and streetwear clothing. Established in 2001, it has long been a forerunner of cool for the traditional trade show format – in 2011, the New York Times dubbed the fashion fair a “uniquely Berlin experience” that has played a key part in transforming a “fashion dead zone” into a burgeoning fashion capital.
Fabric Futures: 3D Printing
A Kickstarter project is seeking funding to create the world’s first 3D fabric printer. Electroloom’s fundraising page states: “Design and create seamless, ready-to-wear garments based on custom 3D geometries. All from your desktop. No sewing required.”
The Social Sell: Pinterest Reveals Buyable Pins
San Francisco-based Pinterest, the online social scrapbooking and discovery platform, has unveiled plans to incorporate commerce into its website and apps. Rolling out over the next few weeks in partnership with US retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, “buyable pins” will allow users to purchase from an initial selection of two million products within the social network via a ‘Buy It’ button that will appear within pinned items.
Social Networks that Want You to Shop
In 2015, the gap between social networks and e-commerce is narrowing. Not content with likes, retweets and pins, some of the biggest social media players announced trials of ‘Buy It’ and ‘Shop Now’ buttons as part of the architecture of their platforms this week. Aiming to monetise your clicks with more immediacy than ever, Pinterest and Instagram are the first social networking platforms to put their money where their mouths are. Over at Google, according to Mashable, senior vice-president Omid Kordeastani has confirmed plans to introduce a “buy” button sometime in the future. So why are all your favourite social media platforms so keen to get you shopping – and why now?
The Best Quotes and Advice from the London Summit
On May 20-21, the world’s most forward-looking innovators, disruptors and brands – all of whom are connecting the dots between fashion and technology – descended on Kings Cross in London for Decoded Fashion’s annual Summit. Couldn’t make it? No fear – we’ve revisited the panels, roundtables, tweets and conversations to compile some of the best nuggets of advice and surprising facts from the event.
Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: The Lowdown
ICYMI, Silicon Valley has its own fashion week now. Hosted by Betabrand, the ‘week’ took place over three consecutive nights earlier this month, calling itself the ‘Wackiest Show in Town’ and promising drones, robots and ‘mad inventions.’ And maybe some clothes, too. Confused? Here’s our lowdown on the event that brought some of fashion tech’s brightest thinkers out of the conference hall and onto the catwalk.
The Fashion Futures Awards: the Winners
Last Thursday we rounded off our two-day London Summit with the inaugural Fashion Futures Awards. Hosted by Decoded Fashion in partnership with the British Fashion Council, the awards celebrated the visionaries, disruptors and innovators who are breaking the mould in fashion and retail through technological ideas. The winners brought together the fashion designers, tech start-ups and e-tail trailblazers who are joining forces like never before in 2015. Here are the highlights – and you can see the full list of winners below.
Decoded Fashion London Summit: Hussein Chalayan
Speaking candidly on day one of the 2015 Decoded Fashion London Summit, Hussein Chalayan explored technology’s ability to connect brands with consumers in more meaningful ways, the effect of FOMO (fear of missing out) on fashion consumption, and the growth of slow fashion.
Sam Lowe Speaker Q+A
Sam Lowe is the Chief Technology Officer and head of technology at MatchesFashion.com, one of the most exciting and fastest-growing e-commerce destinations globally. At our London Summit, Sam will be talking through the tech journey of the company, offering insight into how business model innovation and improved customer experience can be achieved through digital technology. Before catching him speak on the 21 May, we caught up with Sam for a preview – and asked him why he thinks MatchesFashion.com stands out from the crowd.
Speaker Q+As: Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology at the Guardian
Jemima Kiss is the Guardian’s Head of Technology, heading up their team covering tech trends, gadgets, gaming and start-ups – but, as she tells us, human beings are always the focus. She will be moderating a conversation at our London Summit on 21 May, that will see Daniel Murray (Grabble) and Christian Drehkopf (Zalando) discuss whether mobile is fashion’s game changer. We caught up with Jemima ahead of the summit to talk wearables, ethical clothing and why improving tech literacy is important for all our futures.
Style.com’s e-commerce transformation: the lowdown
All industry eyes have been on Condé Nast this year, as we waited for details of the global powerhouse’s long-anticipated e-commerce revolution. This week, the world’s best-known media company finally gave us an answer: Style.com, the company’s fashion news and runway website, will be transformed into a global e-commerce destination sometime in the autumn. Announced in a Business of Fashion exclusive on Monday, the company did not disclose a specific date for the shift, but it is sure to be an industry gamechanger: set to bridge Condé Nast’s satellite titles around the world like never before. The move represents a turning point for traditional print, as the publishing company pegs its ambitions on the $1.5 trillion e-commerce market in the face of declining advertising sales.
Speaker Q+As: Liz Crawford, CTO at Birchbox
Liz Crawford is CTO of Birchbox, the subscription service delivering luxe beauty and lifestyle samples to hundreds of thousands of doors every month. Ahead of her appearance at our London summit on May 20th – she’ll be speaking at our panel discussion exploring the ‘Now’ & Next’ of Tech – she told us a little bit about how she got to where she is today and why she finds technology so exciting.
Why an Apple Watch App Means ASOS Is Thinking out of the Box
The biggest wearable tech launch of the year starts delivering – to those keen enough to have put in their pre-orders already – from tomorrow. One brand that will be hoping for some fashion lovers among those lucky few owners is ASOS, who this week announced more details of their app release on the watch.
Can Followers Equal Sales on Social Media?
In our post-Zoella times, it’s a fact commonly understood that brand strategy ought to incorporate social media across all possible channels: whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or even newer platforms like live streaming services Periscope and Meerkat. But how can fashion retailers go about their social media strategy in the right way to achieve omni-channel success? And how can engaging content still provide the call to action to get consumers beyond imaginary browsing and past the checkout stage?