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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]
Categories
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.