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What you missed: Shopping on Instagram, the mobile web, Silicon Valley’s top retail VC

Shopping Instagram
Shopping is coming to Instagram

The big story on the web this week was of course about shopping coming to Instagram, but backing that idea even further comes the fact mobile browsing overtook desktop for the first time. That’s a huge deal for retailers.

Meanwhile also worth catching up on is an in-depth view on how Nike embraced sustainability, an exploration of what Gen Z and Millennials love and hate about social media, and an update on wearables from the world of Will.i.am. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass taking place on November 22.


TOP STORIES
  • Shopping is coming to Instagram [WWD]
  • Mobile web browsing overtakes desktop for the first time [Guardian]
  • How Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green crashed Silicon Valley’s boys’ club to become retail’s top VC [Forbes]
  • The downward spiral: Why Everlane, Mizzen+Main, and Lululemon don’t discount[LeanLuxe]
  • How mass retailers are traversing ‘big transparency’ [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Hermès joins luxury-goods makers reporting Chinese recovery [Bloomberg]
  • Bain: Chinese shoppers’ share of global luxury purchases drops to 30% [Jing Daily]
  • Karlie Kloss and David Lauren talk innovation [BoF]
  • Are the Black Friday sales worth it and are the deals real or a con? [The Telegraph]

SUSTAINABILITY
  • Just fix it: how Nike learned to embrace sustainability [BoF]
  • Kering launches free environmental calculator for fashion designers [Ecouterre]
  • One chart shows how fast fashion is reshaping the global apparel industry [Quartz]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Everlane tests social shopping on Snapchat with Sweet [Glossy]
  • Here’s what Gen Z and Millennials love and hate about Instagram and Snapchat [AdWeek]
  • Facebook’s WhatsApp is testing a feature like Snapchat Stories [Digital Trends]
  • Twitter takes on Facebook as it rolls out customer service chatbots within direct messages [The Drum]
  • YouTube is helping to sell a lot of make-up [Bloomberg]
  • Facebook shares Snapchat attack plan, including a new camera [AdAge]

ADVERTISING
  • Reformation’s founder on its ‘stigma-breaking’ new campaign starring trans model Andreja Pejic [Yahoo]
  • Miss Piggy stars in Kate Spade holiday ad campaign and collection [WWD]
  • Nordstrom gets in festive spirit with customer appreciation campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • H&M replace David Beckham with younger model The Weeknd after five years [International Business Times]
  • Harvey Nichols keeps up irreverent advertising tradition with “Britalia” [The Industry]

RETAIL
  • Simon Malls preps for holiday rush with interactive wayfinding directories [Luxury Daily]
  • John Lewis signs up to click and collect joint venture with Clipper Logistics [Internet Retailing]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Will.i.am moves wearables off the wrist with the help of Kendall Jenner and Apple [NY Times]
  • L’Oréal is using virtual reality to expand the “Matrix Academy” [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Introducing Floravere, the first direct-to-consumer, made-to-order wedding dress brand [Fashionista]

UPCOMING EVENTS
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data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: L’Oréal’s incubator, Bolt Threads teams with Patagonia, confessions of a social media exec

loreal-digital-600

There are lots of updates this past week on interesting textile developments – from the spider silk of Bolt Threads to Spiber, both of which have announced new deals with Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Also worth a read is the anonymous social media exec spilling secrets to Digiday, not to mention the idea that we will all indeed be buying our designer clothing in the future on Amazon. If that’s not enough, further fashion and tech news from the past fortnight spans Birchbox’s use of Facebook Live to a breakdown of how brands are using Snapchat. Read on for all…


  • L’Oréal invests in Founders Factory digital start-up incubator [BrandChannel]

  • Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia [TechCrunch]

  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them’ [Digiday]

  • People will eventually buy their designer clothing on Amazon, because they buy everything there [Quartz]

  • Everlane’s Shoe Park interactive pop-up offers self-guided shopping [Footwear News]

  • How Birchbox uses Facebook Live videos to engage consumers [Retail Dive]

  • How Frank + Oak built a modern loyalty program for men [Glossy]

  • Google DeepMind killed off a little-known fashion website [Business Insider]

  • SpaceX has hired a legendary costume designer to create their own spacesuits [Gizmodo]

  • The North Face to sell parka made out of synthetic spider silk by Japanese start-up Spiber [Bloomberg]

  • Thesis Couture is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe [The Atlantic]

  • The rise of robot tailors [Glossy]

  • L’Oréal created this training program to keep its marketers on the cutting edge [AdWeek]

  • How fashion and retail brands are using Snapchat [Fashionista]

  • Will the ‘sharing economy’ work for fashion? [BoF]

  • Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service [TechCrunch]

  • Condé Nast is launching a beauty network [Racked]

  • How a data scientist (who studied astrophysics) ended up in fashion [Fashionista]

  • Infographic: here’s how Gen Z girls prefer to shop and socialise online [AdWeek]

  • What is going on with fashion and zines? [Racked]

  • How online shopping is cannabilising mall stores [Associated Press]

  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ Black Friday campaign wins award [AdAge]
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e-commerce

Christmas shopping set for four-day take-off in the UK

christmasshopping

Britons are going to go on a spending binge in the next four days that will blow the Black Friday long weekend’s spending out of the water. And online will benefit as well as physical stores, despite the delivery drawbridge getting precariously close to being pulled up.

Who says so? The analysts at MasterCard SpendingPulse who are measuring both card and cash sales and who think the festive shopping season is finally set for take-off.

They’re predicting a four-day spend starting Saturday (December 19) that will hit £5.9bn. That easily beats the Black Friday long weekend’s £5.74bn. And while those amounts may not look massively different from each when written in billions, in numbers it’s actually £160,000,000.

MasterCard’s Mark Barnett said: “The shift to shopping online is undeniable, but high streets and shopping malls still dominate with four out of five pounds spent offline. Last year, consumers left their shopping late, and we are expecting many to do the same this year. As we get closer to Christmas grocery shopping starts to dominate sales, but gifts of clothing and electronics can expect to see strong growth also.”

He also said that even with the short delivery window for online shopping, e-commerce growth on last year will still be an impressive 24% over the four days.

Apparently that’s a reflection of the fact that shoppers have a lot of confidence in retailers’ ability to deliver on time… Hmmm, good luck with that!

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday. Image via Vintag.es.

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data e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

Cyber Monday, Black Friday: Big numbers and bigger questions

dollar-bills

The intense focus on numbers at this time of year can be rather wearing, not to say confusing. Every day it seems we hear about percentage sales that have gone up or down and billions of dollars or pounds spent in stores, online or via smartphones.

However, what matters as much as the numbers themselves is the story behind them and what it all means for understanding the evolving consumer, for quarterly profits and for future strategy.

Take Adobe Digital Index’s final Cyber Monday tally, which includes some really big numbers. US shoppers, it seems spent 16% more this Cyber Monday than last and sales hit $3.07bn, the first time the day broke through the $3bn barrier in the US.

Discounts, smartphones and stock problems

What drove those numbers? Deeper-than-ever discounts, according to Adobe. Whether that’s good news or bad will become clear when November same-store sales reports and Q4 earnings reports are released. For a fashion industry trying to get consumers used to paying full price, discount-driven higher sales could be a double-edged sword that boosts revenue but also slices through margins. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Smartphones also helped make the numbers bigger. A lot of browsing was done via mobile and Adobe said 26% of actual transactions were via mobile devices.

But one factor that didn’t drive sales was the huge out-of-stock problem. I’ve already reported news that 15 out of every 100 products returned ‘unavailable’ messages on Monday. That’s no surprise given that, at 17%, US online sales between Thursday and Sunday outpaced Cyber Monday’s 16%. Americans spent around $8.03bn on those four days with the average order worth over $135 leaving many virtual shelves empty by end-of-play on Sunday.

Physical stores

OK, we know online sales exploded. How did that affect trips to physical stores? Store visits in the US were, unsurprisingly, down 10.4% on Cyber Monday, ShopperTrak said, falling to (an albeit huge) $20.43bn.

And a shift in the balance towards online was a key a characteristic of the whole shopping weekend. Over 103m people in the US shopped online over the four-day weekend but under 102m shopped in-store, the National Retail Federation said.

Obviously, lots of people are still shopping in physical stores but with the numbers going down, we could see some major rethinks in retailer initiatives next year.

What did they buy?

Back with that $3.07bn Cyber Monday number, key product categories were dominated by electronics and toys, aided by average discounts a little over 20%. Fashion certainly wasn’t the top priority and I’ve seen some contradictory reports about how the category performed Thursday-through-Monday either in stores or online. But there were some interesting stats released this morning.

We’ve already highlighted figures from Lyst on this site showing that where people were buying clothes and accessories, the big success story wasn’t partywear as might be expected, but loungewear. Consumers snapped up those comfortable pieces that they could buy any time of year but that came with hefty discounts attached. Not convinced? Lyst data showed 13% more purchases of slippers than stilettos, 43% more sweatpants than miniskirts, and three hoodies bought for every blouse.

The report also cited a focus on luxe loungewear with cashmere socks, luxury pyjama styles, high-end onesies and blanket scarves all popular. Apparently, Acne’s oversized Canada scarf sold out in minutes across all of Lyst’s global retail partners.

What does this mean for partywear? With many prices now back to ‘normal’ levels after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday frenzy, stores must be hoping that shoppers won’t delay their party purchases too long or panic discounting could hit closer to Christmas.

Future focus

Analysts at the moment don’t seem to be worried about the high level of discounting with NPD’s Marshal Cohen saying “businesses fared better this year because they planned it out better.”

But there’s no denying that for November/December 2016, they’ll need to up their game again and plan even better still. What are the factors to take into account?

  • Sales via smartphone are going through the roof but with sales of tablets at both ends of the price scale (iPad minis and Amazon Fire) surging over the four-day weekend, shopping apps still need to be tablet-friendly.
  • Laptop and desktop shopping has stayed popular and was key for higher value transactions.
  • Consumers are increasingly happy to shop at unsociable hours and this should be encouraged given the amount of website outages at busier times later in the day. Thanksgiving evening and midnight to 07:00 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are key.
  • In Britain, Black Friday is not seen as a must-do-it day to shop in-store but Saturday is. All the special events retailers lay on won’t necessarily encourage Brits to take the day off when they can head down to the mall for the same bargains just 24 hours later.
  • In-store sales are falling on both sides of the Atlantic but are still high. Retailers need to lay on special events but timing is crucial as such initiatives alone won’t lure people to stores (see point above).
  • E-tailers need to do just what they thought they’d done after last year – work harder to ensure websites don’t crash.
  • They also need to manage inventory more carefully so that fewer goods are out of stock on Cyber Monday.
  • We need answers to the question of how long the Black Friday/Cyber Monday ‘season’ really is. We’ve heard talk of Black Friday Fortnight and Cyber Week. Planning how far in advance to kick off discounts and how long to continue them is crucial.
  • And of course, retailers must get to grips with the problem of maximising full price sales. Eternal discounting may work for some retail giants but for most businesses, margin protection is what’s key.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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data e-commerce Editor's pick

Netflix and chill? Forget partywear, Cyber Weekend sales were all about lounge gear says Lyst

Lyst_loungewear

Given we’re headfirst into party season, with every retailer online and offline focusing their efforts accordingly on occasionwear, you’d be forgiven for thinking sales over this past weekend would have reflected similar thought.

But that’s where you’d be wrong…

During the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, it was out with the party dresses and high heels, and in with luxury loungewear fit for curling up on the couch in, according to Lyst.

The e-commerce platform said it saw 13% more purchases of slippers than stilettos, 43% more sweatpants sold than mini skirts, and three hoodies bought for every blouse.

It also saw cashmere socks trending, and shoppers choosing traditional, cosy pyjama styles over ‘sexier’ lingerie pieces; full-length, long sleeve sets by Calvin Klein and DKNY out-sold more delicate lace and silk nightwear. There was also a big uptick in searches for luxury onesies and blanket scarves, with Acne’s oversized Canada scarf selling out in minutes across Lyst’s global retail partners.

It’s a Christmas for cosy, comfortable styles made in feel-good fabrications, said the site in a statement.

That insight comes from Lyst’s analysis of search, sales and active browsing data across its 11,000 partner retailers and brands, and shoppers in 180 countries. In any given hour, Lyst analyses over 4.5 million points of fashion data. Check out its tongue-in-cheek debut campaign displaying some of the search terms it sees its users focus on.

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data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Ralph Lauren’s connected fitting room, IBM Watson predicts holiday shopping, Burberry customers can star in new campaign

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

A Polo Ralph Lauren associate trying out the interactive fitting

  • Ralph Lauren and Oak Labs debut interactive fitting rooms [WWD]
  • IBM Watson trend app predicts hot holiday shopping items [AdAge]
  • Burberry makes customers the star of their own fashion campaign [Brand Republic]
  • Sephora’s new retail stores will take cues from YouTube [Digiday]
  • New Balance will sell 3D-printed shoes in Boston starting next year [Beta Boston]
  • Target’s big digital holiday campaign combines Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram [AdWeek]
  • J Crew and American Girl embrace social commerce ads for the holidays [AdWeek]
  • Andy Dunn’s plans to build a digital native brand empire with Bonobos [Redef]
  • Burberry receives top ranking in L2 digital index [Yahoo]
  • Macy’s imagines the shop of the future in time for Black Friday [PSFK]
  • What’s behind the exodus from Rent the Runway? [Fortune]
  • Amazon touts new drone prototype [WSJ]
  • Brooklyn’s Catbird prioritises digital over brick-and-mortar expansion [Fashionista]
  • Is there still hope for fashion crowdfunding? [BoF]
  • Can artificial intelligence sell shoes? [WSJ]
  • Three ways data is transforming fashion retail [WGSN]
  • Instant messaging will change the way brands talk to customers, says Tictail [Wired]
  • The potential of geolocation for revolutionising retail [HBR]
  • Retail enters third phase of digital evolution [FT]
  • Will social selling work in fashion? [BoF]
  • Hands-on with Facebook’s haphazard shopping feed [TechCrunch]
  • The future of shopping is… Second Life on acid? Imagining a virual reality mega mall [Co.Design]
  • Stitch Fix creates an army of brand advocates, one social share at a time [The Future of Commerce]
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e-commerce Editor's pick

Black Friday: Best day ever says John Lewis as wearables & key brands surge

John Jewis Christmas Ad 2015

John Lewis celebrated 150 years of successful trading last year. But that was nothing compared to the celebrations today as the company revealed its biggest trading day – ever – on Black Friday. Just think about it. In the roughly 35,000 days that John Lewis has traded on this planet – last Friday saw it taking more money than any other single day in its history, even adjusted for inflation.

John Lewis took in 11.9% more revenue than the same day last year and some of that money was mine (one vacuum cleaner, two metres of silk and an anti-moth spray). But it wasn’t people like me shopping in-store who drove the rise. It was johnlewis.com that raked in the cash.

The stores, meanwhile, were busier at the weekend with sales on Saturday up 9.3%. All of which was different to last year when the novelty of Black Friday itself generated an in-store rush.

On Black Friday, johnlewis.com saw sales peaking between 09:00 and 10:00 when the site was taking 4.9 orders per second. The firm’s distribution teams processed 18% more parcels across Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared to last year, and processed five units per second during its peak hour.

Not that it was all plain sailing as the site was one of those that crashed on Friday due to the weight of demand. But it obviously didn’t affect business for too long.

So what were the standout successes on the product front? Wearable tech rose 932% with Fitbits up over 1,329%. Barbour products rose 61% online and Ted Baker was up 66%. GHD hair stylers were up 83% and Dyson vacuum cleaners rose 208% (helped along by me, of course).

Retail director Mark Lewis said the move from online to in-store between Friday and Saturday showed “that more than ever customers like to mix and match channels to shop in the most convenient way for them.”

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday sales in the US were on track to smash all records yesterday, but they were also causing headaches with websites crashing or, at best, slowing down.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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e-commerce Editor's pick

Cyber Monday keeps top e-shopping title

nordstrom-cyber-monday

Another day, another special retail event. It’s Cyber Monday (as if you didn’t know) and the question is: will it retain its status in the US as the biggest online shopping day?

Some thought it wouldn’t as Black Friday’s online migration has picked up pace and shoppers no longer need to wait until they get back to work to take advantage of fast internet connections.

But, as Mark Twain would say, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, fewer people plan to shop online today but they’re still going to be online in greater numbers than last Friday. Perhaps that’s inevitable given that they had the luxury of shopping in-store when they were off work on Friday but haven’t today.

Anyway, the National Retail Federation’s Cyber Monday Expectations Survey (conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics over the weekend), showed 121m shoppers (49.5%) plan to shop online today, down from the 126.9m a year ago. The NRF said 103m people shopped online over the weekend.

Why today? It’s all down to the deals. “Unlike 10 years ago, we live in a world in which you can shop anywhere at any time,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “It’s no longer about one day, but a season of digital deals, and savvy online shoppers are ready to see what exclusive promotions retailers have in store for Cyber Monday. Shoppers have seen promotions roll out for the past several weeks, but if the price is right on Cyber Monday, they’ll definitely show up ready to spend.”

What else does the survey show us?

  • Mobile is key but not dominant. While 29.6m (24.4%) consumers said they will use their mobile device to shop on Cyber Monday, eight in 10 (80%) said they will use their home computers to shop online, despite heavy retailer investment in optimising their mobile websites
  • That’s interesting as data has also shown that online shopping from traditional computers rose nearly 10% on Black Friday
  • As many as 42.4% of Cyber Monday shoppers plan to shop online in the early morning, while a third (33%) will shop in the late morning
  • Many will wait until lunchtime to shop (16.6%) and over a quarter will take a more leisurely approach, waiting until early afternoon (29.5%)

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

M-commerce: Shopping’s brave new world is just two days away

boohoo-black-friday2

M-commerce rules! Yes really. It’s not just the heir apparent of retail shopping channels, it’s about to be crowned king.

An IBM Watson study says that this Black Friday shopping week more US shoppers will browse online using their smartphones than traditional computers. It’s the first time that’s happened. Significantly, more people will use smartphones to browse than laptops/desktops AND tablets combined.

While tablets usually get lumped in with phones given the fact that they’re technically mobile, their larger size (just look at the new iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface) mean they’re now seen as being more like computers.

Browsing v Buying

Laptops, desktops and tablets, with their ability to do so much more than smartphones, have always had a lead in e-shopping. But the increasing number of mobile-friendly websites and shopping-friendly (ie larger, faster) smartphones has been rapidly closing the gap.

IBM says ‘mobile’ (ie smartphone) traffic over the five-day Black Friday week should rise from 48.5% of traffic to shopping sites a year ago to 56.9%.

Of course, browsing doesn’t mean buying… yet. Bigger screens still win out when it comes to hitting the checkout button. But the figures are changing in mobile’s favour there too. Last year, actual sales through mobile were 27%. This year they should reach 36.1%.

And chances are that growth in this area should accelerate partly because younger shoppers are more likely to go mobile. As more of those younger shoppers graduate into big spenders each year, the move to mobile will gather pace.

In fact, another survey, from Retale, shows that a huge number (88%) of millennials who are shopping on Black Friday will use their phones. And that will include those who actually visit stores as well as sat at home. They’ll be using them to hunt down deals, compare prices, research products, make lists, find out where stores are, and do a whole load of social networking in the process.

And the existence of mobile-only special offers, from retailers such as Amazon and Target, will just add to the mobile migration.

The future of shopping, it seems, starts this Friday.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Comment e-commerce

Comment counts: Are you prepared for Black Friday UK’s £1bn shopping day?

With Black Friday on the horizon, retailers should have completed their final stages of preparation, ready to capitalise on the sales potential of the day and beyond. John Beechen of Salmon, outlines a final checklist.

blackfriday

This year it has been predicted that Black Friday will lead to the UK’s first £1bn online shopping day. In order to ensure success, retailers need to take learnings from 2014 to prepare for the increased level of activity. While a spike on the peak trading days was anticipated last year, it was clear many were not ready. As bargain hunters searched online for deals, some websites went offline for long periods of time, while others were slower at processing orders due to customer overloads, resulting in frustration from customers.

As an annual event, everyone knows it’s coming this week, but the scale of consumer demand at any given time can be unpredictable. Retailers need to have addressed their online operations in a bid to prevent anything that could damage the customer experience and result in lost sales. Those who are as prepared as possible, from front-end to back-end, will be the ones who triumph.

Here are five key things retailers need to have done ahead of the UK’s biggest retail event of the year:

1. Staggered marketing activities

Although a surge on Black Friday is inevitable, feeding customer deals gradually in the time leading up to and beyond the big day will have kept consumers shopping throughout the peak and on Cyber Monday, while reducing strain on infrastructure and fulfilment teams.

2. Briefed the business

Retailers need to have ensured every department is au fait with the plan for peak trading on 27 November – not just in silo but across the entire business. Being aligned will ensure all online trading and operations teams can anticipate surges and be ready.

3. Run an incident test

Ideally, the majority – if not all – performance checks will have already been completed across all online platforms. Simulating a major incident to understand how watertight your contingency plan is, will enable retailers to understand how they will cope with a “dam burst” scenario if faced with an unexpected influx of traffic on the day.

4. Created a back-up plan

If you are completely unprepared it’s not too late to put some basic functionality in place. For example, adding a queuing system whereby customers are placed in a waiting line to access the website will help to control the surge and reduce the chances of the site crashing. This is also a good contingency plan for retailers on the day, should they suffer unexpected problems, implementing a queuing system can relieve strain on back end operations whilst the problem is fixed.

5. Ensured staffing plans are set

Your staffing plans and shifts should be set, with everyone involved in peak operations (including your vendors) aware of their role and responsibility during the period. Shifts should be in place for both Black Friday and the weekend, and contact details published.

John Beechen is head of managed services at global commerce service provider, Salmon.

Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com.