Google’s latest foray into the fashion space comes in the form of live shoppable experiences though the Google+ Hangouts on Air app.
Through a new partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, designers and retailers will be able to broadcast a multi-person video chat while offering viewers the ability to simultaneously browse and purchase products alongside. That functionality is seen in a right hand bar featuring key products, which it is assumed would line up to the content being discussed.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg (also CFDA president) will launch the feature on October 3 at 8pm EST. Using the tool as a form of personal styling, she will talk about three current trends with five of the brand’s biggest fans – selected especially for the occasion.
Lorraine Twohill, VP of global marketing at Google referred to the initiative as a “one of a kind shopping experience”.
Of course shoppable video at large is something that’s yet to be nailed by the industry, with reasons ranging from the technology that’s enabled it to happen, to the disconnect that is seen through the lean-back nature of video compared to lean-in side of shopping. On that basis however, there’s a lot to be said for engaging the consumer when they’re already thinking about the product (in this instance often the very reason they’re tuning in), and providing the easy ability for them to convert.
The experience marries up to Topshop’s Customise the Catwalk initiative in terms of being able to order straight from the runway through the live video being shown. The difference in this case of course is that the discussion surrounds current season. Rather than encouraging pre-orders, brands and retailers can offer live product; therefore capturing intent and delivering on it immediately.
Other brands set to participate shortly include rag & bone, Rebecca Minkoff, and Rachel Zoe. Google is particularly pushing the app’s relevance for the holiday period – retail’s most lucrative time of year, representing up to 40% of annual sales in 2012. It is calling for retailers to use it to “engage with consumers directly around key items or trends they want to highlight”.