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Browns Fashion: Enhancing customer experience through tech

The only way to embed technology in the store is to think about it in a meaningful way focused on what will benefit the customer, says Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns Fashion, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

On top of that, it’s been about how it can help connect the physical and digital spaces together. “We want to be able to bring the online and offline together. Because I think that’s actually fundamentally where we’re all going from a retail standpoint. Because people give you their time, physically, a little bit less than they used to, so it needs to be very engaging when you do get their time,” Rogers explains. 

The British luxury retailer, which sits within the Farfetch stable of businesses these days, has been experimenting with the e-commerce company’s Store of the Future strategy since it was first announced in 2017. News here has been relatively quiet in terms of what all has been included as well as how well it is or isn’t working, but Rogers reveals the main thing it has focused on has been around how to use technology in a way that is enhancing to the sales associates. 

Browns has fully focused on this strategy through its Browns East store in London’s Shoreditch, but also has big plans for its upcoming new space on Brook Street in Mayfair. 

Co-founder and chief innovation officer of Current Global, Rachel Arthur, with CEO of Browns Fashion, Holli Rogers

One thing that’s clear across the industry is that brick and mortar stores aren’t as cut and dry as they used to be – there’s no more of the simple “build them and they will come” philosophy. But it’s also not just about going all in on tech or all in on bells and whistles experiences. Somewhere in the middle is this little thing called the customer, which is where Browns says it is concentrating. 

During this episode we also talk about the forgotten virtue of product, Holli’s experience being one of the first employees at Net-a-Porter and what out of the box thinking she’s also applying to the brand’s sustainability strategy.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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business e-commerce product Retail sustainability Uncategorized

Vince launches retail subscription service, Unfold

Vince AW18 Campaign
Vince Fall 18 Campaign

Vince is launching a clothing subscription service, titled “Unfold”, which will include priority delivery, returns, laundry costs and insurance for a flat monthly fee of $160. In doing so, the US-based brand will be the first contemporary fashion label to offer this type of subscription service.

“Vince Unfold is an innovative new subscription service that will tap our existing product assortment to drive incremental revenue while further advancing awareness of the Vince brand,” Brendan Hoffman, CEO of Vince, tells WWD. “We believe that subscription services will play a much greater role in consumer shopping patterns in the future.”

Every month, customers will be able to rent up to four pieces from the retailer. If the customer wishes to keep the piece they rent, they can purchase it at a discount of 20-60%, depending on the seasonality of the merchandise.

According to Hoffman, rental platforms are becoming increasingly relevant in the fashion industry. For example Rent the Runway, which pioneered the subscription model in fashion when it launched in 2009, has just announced its expansion into 15 WeWork office buildings across the US, where customers can drop off return items for the retailer. In another example of retailers embracing the sharing economy, earlier this year London-based department store Browns teamed up with luxury rental service Armarium to offer its customers high-end fashion for rental for two weeks in the summer.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Retail Startups

Browns partners with luxury rental service Armarium

Browns x Armarium
Browns x Armarium

London-based multi-brand store Browns has teamed up with luxury rental service Armarium, to offer its customers high-end fashions for loan for two weeks this summer.

Shoppers at the South Molton Street flagship, will have access to the US-based platform’s inventory, as well as some of Browns’ own stock that has been added especially, via a dedicated in-store pop-up space.

They will also be able to continue renting certain designer pieces from Browns online at Armarium after the pop-up has ended.

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns, said: “Great styles are truly seasonless however the
customer chooses to engage with them. Armarium’s bought/ borrowed approach speaks to the topic of sustainability, therefore as a retailer we can extend the lifecycle of our products giving the client access to great pieces regardless of time, closet or pocketbook limitations.”

The notion of this so-called “shared economy”, has been picking up steam in the fashion industry, thanks to big players such as Rent the Runway. It remains relatively novel at the true luxury end of the market however, especially with in-season stock.

Trisha Gregory, founder of Armarium, told us: “There is a shift in the fashion retail landscape and a new generation of spending with a shared economy mindset. With a quest to deliver an elevated level of service, Armarium both protects brand integrity and ignites new clientele allowing brands to reach both traditional clients and new consumers.”

Added Ida Petersson, womenswear buying director at Browns: “We are excited to explore life beyond mark downs for the beautiful product that our teams have bought season on season. Sustainability and inclusiveness are two subjects we feel very strongly about, and with Armarium we are making a first step towards extending the lifecycle of our stock as well as offering the Browns experience to a wider audience.”

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Farfetch on the store of the future

Rosanna Falconer and Sandrine Deveaux
Rosanna Falconer and Sandrine Deveaux

The store of the future is about solving the problems of today in an innovative and meaningful way for the customer, says Sandrine Deveaux of Farfetch, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

Speaking to guest host, Rosanna Falconer, at a live FashMash Pioneers event in London, the managing director of the e-commerce company’s store of the future division, explains that her focus in not just on new technology for the sake of it, but on creating better shopping experiences driven by personalization.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Following the announcement of Farfetch’s Store of the Future concept in April 2017, Deveaux has been building a series of beta tests in place in Browns East in London, Thom Browne in New York and Chanel in Paris. But the result doesn’t mean big flashy screens or variations on augmented reality, as she is so often asked about.

Instead, it’s about better servicing the customer; understanding what they want when they walk into stores thanks to data, but also making things like the payment experience a much more seamless one.

She says the store of the future is really about offering the experience of Apple, but the convenience of Amazon, so as to keep in line with increasing consumer expectations.

And so the end goal,for her team, she says, is to provide brands and boutiques with full visibility around customer behavior and customer intent, mirroring what’s possible online in the offline space.

“85% of customers, we don’t know anything about them. So that’s what the store of the future is really getting to – it’s about how we leverage the platform we have with Farfetch, and try to really look at online behavior and take that online behavior into an in-store context,” she explains. This is something Farfetch calls “enabling the offline cookie”.

On this episode, Deveaux also talks to driving disruptive innovation through healthy internal tension, how she’s changing the way luxury brands think, and why the ultimate sales associate for the store of the future might just be a unicorn.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Browns’ new tech store, Gucci’s millennial advisors, Amazon’s fashion gap

The new Browns concept store in east London
The new Browns concept store in east London

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Browns opens a nomadic concept (tech) store in London’s Shoreditch [Wallpaper]
  • Gucci has a “shadow committee” of millennial advisors [QZ]
  • Amazon ‘still has a long way to go’ in conquering fashion market, says report [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s 11.11 shopping festival is ready for its biggest global event [BrandChannel]
  • Opinion: What’s wrong with fashion’s sustainability strategy [Glossy]
  • ‘Terry Richardson is just the tip of the iceberg’ [NY Times]

BUSINESS
  • Hilfiger says making clothes in America remains unrealistic [Bloomberg]
  • H&M denies burning good, unsold product [Racked]
  • Greenpeace on why fashion is at a crossroads [FashionUnited]
  • Vogue and Vice are starting a new website together [Jezebel]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • You can now PayPal friends in Messenger and get help via chat [TechCrunch]
  • WeChat is becoming a sales tool for luxury brand sales associates [Jing Daily]
  • Snap’s misfire on Spectacles [The Information]

MARKETING
  • Sephora cast its own store employees for its most diverse campaign yet [Racked]
  • Selena Gomez is party-ready in Coach’s glitzy holiday ad campaign [Fashionista]
  • Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter unveil “Party with the Porters” holiday campaign [TheIndustry]
  • The land of Fenty: The Rihanna masterclass in brand-building [BrandChannel]
  • Why visceral storytelling is the next brand-building territory [LeanLuxe]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Take a look at Apple’s first ‘Town Square,’ its most beautiful retail store yet [TechCrunch]
  • Now Amazon wants to leave a package inside your house [Marketplace]
  • The most successful e-commerce brands build for mainstream America, not Silicon Valley [Recode]
  • Hudson’s Bay to sell Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue store to WeWork [RetailDive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Target.com rolls out augmented reality experience for smartphones [StarTribune]
  • The Under Armour ArmourBox: Subscription gear handpicked by an AI [BrandChannel]
  • Walmart’s Store No. 8 showcases the future of VR [RetailDive]
  • Nike’s focus on robotics threatens Asia’s low-cost workforce [CNBC]
  • Wal-Mart’s new robots scan shelves to restock items faster [Reuters]

START-UPS
  • How Stitch Fix’s data-driven styling could boost its IPO value [Bloomberg]
  • Harvey Nichols partners with Bink on “Payment Linked Loyalty” [TheIndustry]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

What you missed: Amazon as the most innovative company, Canada Goose IPO, AI versus fraud

Jeff Bezos' Amazon has been named the world’s most innovative company of 2017 - retail fashion tech
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has been named the world’s most innovative company of 2017

It’s been a pretty quiet season as far as technology goes during New York and London fashion weeks – live content is playing its part, as is politics, but there’s little in the way of the big innovations we’ve seen in the past. There’s lots to be said about that, so look out for some commentary around it in the coming weeks as we cycle into Milan and Paris. In the meantime, one of the highlights there has been is the Fashion Innovation Agency’s return to mixed reality with designer Sabinna.

Elsewhere, news to catch-up on this week spans Amazon as the world’s most innovative company, the digital printing technology taking us closer to fully customisable clothing, the fact Canada Goose has filed for its IPO, and how artificial intelligence is becoming the newest weapon in the fraud fight.


TOP STORIES
  • Why Amazon is the world’s most innovative company of 2017 [Fast Company]
  • Canada Goose IPO: Its smartest business move was expanding beyond Canada [Quartz]
  • How digital printing technology is taking us closer to fully customisable clothing [Forbes]

BUSINESS
  • British Fashion industry steels itself for Brexit [BoF]
  • The all-new Hermès: Taking its cues from… Michael Kors? [LeanLuxe]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snap lowers valuation expectations in highly awaited IPO [Reuters]
  • Emma Watson launches eco-fashion Instagram [WWD]

MARKETING
  • Browns kicks off year-long #cooltobekind campaign ahead of LFW [The Industry]
  • River Island on navigating the divide between brand marketing and culture [The Drum]
  • A$AP Rocky stars in Zalando’s new spring campaign [The Industry]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 3 trends shaping retail cybersecurity in 2017 [Retail Dive]
  • Why Indochino is opening new stores in shopping malls [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Samsung goes for a new look in virtual reality at New York Fashion Week [Fortune]
  • Rise of the learning machines: How AI is becoming the newest weapon in the fraud fight [Retail Dive]
  • ‘Smart mirrors’ come to the fitting room [Bloomberg]

START-UPS
  • VC Cheryl Cheng: ‘Fashion has not shown it can be disrupted’ [Glossy]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

What you missed: What Trump means for retail, Alibaba’s $17bn Singles’ Day, Snapchat’s Snapbots

Trump America election retail
Analysts are weighing in on what a Trump presidency means for retail and for fashion

With the world reeling from the news of the US election over this past week, analysts have been trying to wrap their head around exactly what a Trump government will mean for retail. There are several good reads listed below.

Also hitting the headlines has of course been the mindblowing success and growth of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day – this year a $17bn affair, up from ‘just’ $14bn in 2015.

Meanwhile, some lighter bits to absorb: a wealth of new campaigns launched for the holiday season. John Lewis vs Marks & Spencer has got us excited, but also below is everyone from Gap to Macy’s, Debenhams and Kohl’s.

ps. Don’t forget to sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass – we’re currently offering 20% for our readers using code “community”.


TOP STORIES: US ELECTION & ALIBABA’S SINGLES’ DAY
  • What President Trump means for retailers [Retail Dive]
  • Fashion industry reacts to ‘devastating’ Trump victory [BoF]
  • Is fashion’s love affair with Washington over? [NY Times]
  • New Balance customers revolt after company welcomes Trump [Campaign]
  • $17 billion in one day: How Alibaba turned China’s Singles’ Day into a shopping bonanza [Digiday]
  • Virtual reality lets Chinese customers shop Macy’s New York store on the world’s biggest shopping day [Quartz]
  • Why luxury fashion brands are showing up for Singles’ Day [Glossy]
  • Michael Kors dished out discount codes with a casino-themed game on WeChat for Singles’ Day [AdWeek]
  • Five takeaways from Alibaba’s gigantic $17.8 billion shopping festival [AdAge]

BUSINESS
  • Nasty Gal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [Retail Dive]
  • Burberry profit falls 40% as costs rise [WSJ]
  • Kenneth Cole to shut down almost all its brick-and-mortar stores [Bloomberg]
  • Luxury coatmaker Canada Goose said to line up banks for IPO [Bloomberg]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snap Inc.’s Spectacles are dropping in these crazy cool vending machines called Snapbots [AdWeek]

ADVERTISING
  • Luxury brands are failing in their storytelling [The Guardian]
  • Gap harnesses optimism in holiday ads [MediaPost]
  • Macy’s bets on power of Santa belief this holiday [AdAge]
  • Jennifer Saunders and Ewan McGregor sign up for Debenhams Christmas campaign [The Drum]
  • Kohl’s ramps up giving message in holiday campaign [AdAge]
  • Browns unveils new look, new website and innovative window campaign [The Industry]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Farfetch acquires Browns, Net-a-Porter launches social network, Warby Parker raises $100m

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

thenetset

  • Browns acquired by Farfetch as part of omnichannel growth strategy [BoF]
  • Fashion retailer Net-a-Porter’s new social network wants to combine your photo-sharing and shopping in one app (as pictured) [Quartz]
  • Warby Parker raises $100m to expand store network, technology [Fashionista]
  • The Rodarte designers are making a movie [The Cut]
  • Toms wants you to Instagram your bare feet for charity [Fashionista]
  • The future of retail looks like Macy’s, not Amazon [L2]
  • Infographic: wearable tech at the intersection of function and fashion [AdWeek]
  • How 3-D printing is saving the Italian artisan [Bloomberg]
  • Could 3-D body scanners help you find the perfect pair of jeans? [AdWeek]
  • Launching a fashion Kickstarter? Consider this [Medium]
  • V-Files relaunches as trendy start-up determined to become the shoppable Instagram [Business Insider]
  • With big names and money flowing in, tech start-ups in India heat up [NY Times]