Archive | March, 2011

BrandAlley video aims to visualise impact of digital on the fashion industry

31 Mar

UK designer discount site BrandAlley has created a short film designed to demonstrate how etail and mobile commerce are transforming the way people shop.

The “Fashion iWall”, as it’s called, shows a model stood behind a giant collage of 16 iPads and iPhones through which you see her outfits rapidly change.

It was shot using the RedMX camera by Ryan Dean, founder of production agency The Big RD.

“Over the last 10 years the internet and digital media have made a huge impact on the fashion industry and this video goes some way to visualising its effectiveness. Essentially it is showing consumers how using the medium of technology can enable you to have anything and everything you desire,” said Dean.

The video ties in with the launch of the new BrandAlley iPhone app, and follows on from the site’s FlashWalk video which received 170,000 hits on YouTube and led to a 15% growth in sales.

Tweet mirror hits Westfield shopping centre

31 Mar

The tweet mirror

Westfield London has unveiled a “tweet mirror” as part of its Big Fashion Wardrobe event this week.

Designed by Dutch retail services company Nedap, the mirror aims to connect shoppers to their friends in real time in order to help with their purchasing decisions.

An in-built high-definition camera enables users to take pictures of themselves from various angles in their chosen outfits, and then share via email or text, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Feedback follows to the individual’s phone.

The Evening Standard calls it “an invaluable resource for the solo shopper”.

What’s more, if the user opts not to buy the item, the picture is sent to their email address alongside a link to the brand’s website.

The tweet mirror is part of the Go Virtual area of the shopping centre’s event, which is running from March 29 – April 3.

Tweet mirror hits Westfield shopping centre

 

 

Westfield London has unveiled a “tweet mirror” as part of its Big Fashion Wardrobe event this week.

 

Designed by Dutch retail services company Nedap, the mirror aims to connect shoppers to their friends in real time to help with their purchasing decisions.

 

An in-built high-definition camera enables users to take pictures of themselves from various angles in their chosen outfits, and then share via email or text, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Feedback follows to the individual’s phone.

 

The Evening Standard calls it “an invaluable resource for the solo shopper”.

 

What’s more, if the shopper opts not to buy the item, the picture can be saved for later, whereby a link to the brand’s website will also come attached.

 

The tweet mirror is part of the Go Virtual area of the shopping centre’s event, which is running from March 29 – April 3.

#smwf: New Look’s closed community policy aims to encourage engagement

30 Mar

Amid a wealth of discussion on online community building at the second day of the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) in London today, it was particularly interesting to hear of the strategy being run by UK high street retailer New Look.

Oliver Lucas, head of consumer insight and CRM, explained how despite being a mass market store, New Look operates a “closed community”, called myLook (launched 2009), whereby fans have to apply to be a member.

Doing so, he said, enables the company to get the most from its ‘fans’. Creating this barrier to entry makes consumers feel like there’s something special behind those doors, therefore they become more eager to be there and more willing to actively participate when they are, he explained.

Accordingly, the official spiel on the myLook intro site reads: “At New Look we believe that fashion should be enjoyed by everyone and to help us ensure that everything we do is designed for you, we are inviting those who think they have a real passion for fashion to apply to be a member of this very special community of likeminded people.”

It continues: “Inside you will be able to share your views, suggest improvements, connect directly with New Look and the community and tell us what’s right and wrong in the world of fashion and have a genuine visible effect on the high street.”

That latter part,the “geniune visible effect”, Lucas also picked up on, saying the idea of maintaining a closed community is to make those involved feel more empowered. “If there’s 150,000 members, could I really make a difference?” he asked. Opting for a smaller number instead, he said, encourages engagement.

Participants are selected based on two criteria – whether they fit into the segmentation the retailer is trying to fulfill, and whether they respond to the (open) questions on application in a manner that suggests they will bring something valuable, interesting or even frequent to the equation. One word responses to the questionnaire won’t quite cut the mustard here then.

“So are they the right type of customer and how likely are they to contribute is what we consider,” Lucas explained. Roughly one in every four gets in.

We’re not trying to be exclusive, just very specific in our purpose,” he added – (you get a polite email of decline if you don’t match up).

He went on to express that despite these entry requirements, the intention of the ‘club’ is to make people feel comfortable. “Fashion can feel quite exclusive and therefore intimidating,” he said. “New Look is not about that and therefore our community is not either.”

Unfortunately, they don’t allow in journalists…

#smwf offers coffee shop analogy for retailers, repeats control vs presence argument

29 Mar

Social media can be likened to the coffee shop opposite your store, according to JC Mighty, e-commerce communications manager at Aurora Fashions, which owns UK high street brands Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse.

Speaking as part of a panel on social shopping at the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) today, he said: “Our website is like our store, email is the window of the store, and social is the coffee shop across the road from the store.”

In so doing, he aimed to banish the notion fashion brands should fear “losing control” through the social space – (it’s somewhat astounding this is still raised as a discussion point, but it proved, as on many other occasions, a key question to the panel this afternoon).

Mighty explained while in this online world, much like its offline counterpart, you can’t control what consumers are saying, if you go into the “cafe” you can at least engage with them there.

“The customer exists in that space, talks in that space… it’s not control we need to regain, but presence we need to establish,” he said.

At some point, I hope we manage to stop repeating that very fact, the having to define what social is in order to encourage retailers on board. It would seem, perhaps surprisingly however, we’re not yet there.

Marc Jacobs intern hacks company Twitter feed

28 Mar

@MarcJacobsIntl

Beware the disgruntled employee, or so someone should have warned Marc Jacobs after an intern tasked with tweeting for the brand went on a rant over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, the @MarcJacobsIntl feed was updated via iPhone at midnight (EST) on Friday night with a series of aggressive posts aimed at CEO Robert Duffy.

“You guys and gals have no idea how difficult Robert is. I am only an intern. My last day is tomorrow. I wouldn’t be tweeting this if not!” the first one read.

Referring to the fact the company is using Twitter to search for a new intern, so followed: “Good luck! I pray for you all. If you get the job! I’m out of here. See ya! Son’t want to be ya! Roberts a tyrant! Seriously! He is tough!”

He continued: “I can call him out! I’m out! Won’t work in this town again! I know that! Learned a lot. But, I don’t have the energy for what is expected!”

And to finish: “Yea, walk in my MJ shoes! Don’t judge me! I’m alone in this office having to try and entertain you all. This isn’t easy. I have tried. Done!”

The posts were subsequently deleted, and a follow up post from the company added that read: “All is well here at MJ. Twitter is a crazy place. Protect your passwords.”

A lesson learned.

Some thoughts on Web 3.0

25 Mar

I recently attended the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in La Quinta, California, where the key focus of conversation was on the increasingly personal web – also referred to as “Web 3.0” or “Ecosystem 3.0”.

It’s a controversial subject given the privacy concerns that come attached, but the industry is trying to convert such connotations of data to reflect instead feelings of opportunity and ultimately value for both the consumer and the brand involved.

Here are some choice thoughts from the event:

  • Web 3.0 is being facilitated by consumers becoming increasingly used to sharing their information, according to Doc Searls, senior editor of Linux Journal, a fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto.
  • Handling privacy worries comes down to showing consumers they can be in charge of their own data, he said, introducing his theory of vendor relationship management (VRM).
  • It’s about consumers getting to a point where they’re more willing to enter into something because they know and understand what’s happening to their data when they do.
  • Omar Tawakol, CEO of online data exchange company Bluekai said we need to simplify things so people can visually understand what happens to their data.
  • According to Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group, it should no longer be about people versus data, but instead people and their data. “If we continue to see data as privacy rather than property, we will continue to postpone the opportunity that presents itself here,” he explained.
  • Tawakol said transparency is what will facilitate a move away from the conversation of privacy as one of fear, towards the notion of sharing as beneficial to the user. It’s in having a complete picture of consumers that we will be able to achieve more trust and stronger bonds, resulting in better value for everyone involved, he said.

It was interesting to also read The  Business of Fashion’s post on Web 3.0 this week.

This next phase of the internet, it says, will create an exciting opportunity for fashion retailers.

“In a world where people constantly share personal information, it’s becoming increasingly possible for retailers to analyse this information to better understand the specific context of the individual — her interests, personal style and other parameters — and deliver content and products that are personalised to her needs and desires. Simply put, “Web 3.0” will enable personalised experiences built on the data created by Web 2.0.”

An interview with Silicon Valley strategy consultant, author and entrepreneur Sramana Mitra follows. In it, she says the fashion industry could become more financially successful by utilising personal data: analysing it and designing and merchandising accordingly.

Read the rest, here: The Long View | Sramana Mitra on Web 3.0 and the Science of Personalised Shopping

Lanvin launches European e-store

24 Mar

Lanvin has launched its new European e-commerce site at www.lanvin.com/e-lanvin/UK-FR.

Designed to offer customers a “unique new experience in an intimate and welcoming environment that replicates the ambience of its famous boutiques”, it offers products from across a broad range of categories split up into comprehensive divisions.

Women incorporates ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, accessories, ballerinas or jewellery, and men, ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, sneakers and accessories.

Each product featured is zoom-able to full screen.

Under “Hot Picks”, there are must-haves for the season across bags, shoes and jewellery. So too is there then a page for brides, one for gifts – complete with the brand’s famous porcelain dolls as well as cards decorated with Alber Elbaz’s sketches – and another featuring exclusives.

Lanvin launches European e-store

Lanvin has launched its new European e-commerce site at www.lanvin.com/e-lanvin/UK-FR.

Designed to offer customers a “unique new experience in an intimate and welcoming environment that replicates the ambience of its famous boutiques”, it offers products from across a broad range of categories split up into comprehensive divisions.

Women incorporates ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, accessories, ballerinas or jewellery, and men, ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, sneakers and accessories.

Each product featured is zoom-able to full screen.

Under “Hot Picks”, there are must-haves for the season across bags, shoes and jewellery. So too is there then a page for brides, one for gifts – complete with the brand’s famous porcelain dolls as well as cards decorated with Alber Elbaz’s sketches – and another featuring exclusives.

 

 

McQ posts SS11 campaign to Tumblr

24 Mar

The spring/summer 2011 McQ campaign is being unveiled through a series of entries on the brand’s Tumblr site.

A partnership between the contemporary line from Alexander McQueen and London-based photographer Niall O’Brien, the images were shot during a road trip across the American Northwest.

“When we stopped, it was usually at rivers and small towns where we’d end up hanging out with kids and locals, drinking beers, swimming, exploring and having fun,” said O’Brien.

A spokesperson told Vogue.com: “These spring/summer 2011 images are a creative collaboration with Niall, where he captured the spirit of youth and adventure so intrinsic to the McQ brand. We have decided to share this journey through a series of posts built on the www.m-c-q.com Tumblr site to allow followers to share and interact with us.”

The site was launched late last year with digital creative agency Wednesday. Jonathan Akeroyd, president and CEO of Alexander McQueen told the Business of Fashion: “Because McQ is a new, fresh and energetic collection, we want to talk to its fans through the media they use. McQ will forge links with its customers through social media platforms to create a more direct relationship with them.”

Why retailers should know Jack Dorsey

23 Mar

I’ve just read the profile of Jack Dorsey, the man credited with creating Twitter, in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair.

It’s inspiring. At 34, Dorsey’s life has been insanely productive – everything from program writing to botanical illustration student, alongside a brief flirtation with fashion design in between.

Now, still chairman of Twitter and second majority shareholder, he’s also the CEO (and co-founder) of Square, a service that allows anyone to easily accept credit card payments via their smartphone by attaching a small square-shaped device. As author David Kirkpatrick writes: “Square can make anyone a merchant.”

For retail at every level, this is undeniably something to watch. The surge of m-commerce and the role of mobile payments are in heavy discussion at present; no one has nailed it on the head just yet, which is exactly why it makes for such good debate.

Dorsey’s plans for Square are big. Where Twitter became the new communications tool, this, he says, is the future payments network.

Sean Parker, of Facebook fame, comments: ““Maybe Square can become for Craigslist what PayPal is for eBay.” A big shout, but if Dorsey’s past experience is anything to go by, no doubt an achieveable one.

Dorsey’s ambition is to make life easier for people, the article explains; something he’s seemingly facilitating one invention at a time.

Add to that his devotion to design – the result of a childhood obsession with maps – and commitment to echoing this throughout his company, and I for one am sold.

I urge you to read it: Twitter Was Act One

The RL Gang – cute and clever

22 Mar

Ralph Lauren Childrenswear’s shoppable online storybook is not only adorable, but it ticks the boxes for winning ideas in digital retail at present.

Interactive, check. Entertaining, check. Integrated with commerce, check.

The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure, as it’s called, provides users with the ability to both interact with the content through exploration, and shop directly from it, all the while bundled up with a creative narrative from award-winning actress Uma Thurman.

The second in its series, it showcases 17 new looks from the brand’s spring/summer 2011 collection. Each character featured can then be clicked on, leading through to a “virtual closet” of similar looks for discovery.

“Click to purchase” capabilities then allow consumers to purchase pieces directly from Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdales and The Bay websites.

David Lauren, executive vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, said the aim was to be engaging, informative and entertaining.

“The experience was really [conceived] as a shoppable story book, but we didn’t want them to just shop by template. Beyond being able to shop the video while the story is going on, you can also go into the closet of any character,” he said.

“I love the concept of the gang. I love the friendship and spirit, the diversity of the clothing, the eclecticness of Ralph Lauren style. It shows that boys and girls can dress up or down, they can be sporty or elegant.”

The initiative follows in the footsteps of the brand’s other digital launches including its 4D sensory experience last November. Read more here: The ultimate collision

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