Categories
business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Buy, build or partner: A new model of working with startups

Earlier this summer Nike announced it was acquiring AI startup, Celect, in order to “beef up its predictive analytics strengths”. It’s a smart move. A data move. Like all things artificial intelligence, this solution needs a lot of consumer or retail data to get smarter. And Nike, with its $36.4 billion in revenue last year, has a lot of data. 

A tech acquisition is a complicated beast that comes with as many challenges as it does advantages. And it should not be seen as an innovation silver bullet by most corporates. 

Take augmented reality by comparison for instance, an area where we’ve seen multiple acquisitions over the past couple of years. This space is changing so rapidly, the tech you buy is almost immediately obsolete. There is higher image quality every day, new capabilities in what it can read – like skin diagnostics and not just makeup in beauty for instance – and constant challenges to stay ahead in the market as a result. 

For a company that has pulled such startups in-house, there needs to be serious commitment to advance the technology. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that a lot of the potential development work gets lost. A startup on the outside, by comparison, has to keep evolving in an aggressive way in order to survive. But how can an acquired startup remain competitive if they can’t seek out your competitors as clients? 

Another approach to innovation is building, where brands create solutions in-house, or with agency partners, from the get go. More often than not, this sort of work comes under the experiential header: a tech solution based on the creative. What we frequently see as a result, is big investments (six figures and above) for little return due to the fact the technology just doesn’t rise to the task. 

Not that there aren’t successes within all this – there are many examples of building solutions internally, especially foundational or backend tech – that do make sense. But in our experience with the companies we work with and have gotten to know, it often doesn’t work. Even for basic technology needs, building in-house can frequently be met with many of the same challenges as an acquisition does, namely the fact progress and development gets caught up in the politics and daily grind of everyday business. 

It doesn’t matter what size of organization you are in this case either. We work with large public companies that are leaders in the industry – and we see the same challenges time and again. Things don’t evolve quickly enough and objectives are not met. Eventually, no one is watching that investment any more and innovation gets a bad rep. 

So we believe in a third option. 

With the challenges presented by buying and building, not to mention a lack of progress in internal culture making room for innovation to be successful, we decided to create a platform for partnerships. This middle step is known as open innovation. 

Very simply, this is about setting objectives internally, creating a blueprint of what you want, and then searching exhaustively for the best external partners that fulfil that brief. 

One of the benefits of this tends to lie in the quality of output you receive. When working with an outside partner – particularly at the startup level – a new large corporate client could become the centrepiece to the startup’s growth. This often means the team will continue to update the product and guard its integration after launch. It becomes part of their story. Having the chance to work with an established brand or retailer is almost sacred to an entrepreneur, which is a very different mindset to what you may find in an employee. 

But startups struggle to deliver work ethic with a full understanding of execution needs, deadlines and ability to navigate the red tape in corporations that could hold back the project. That’s why we believe open innovation is most successful when it comes with an assigned partnership manager. Our ultimate role is about providing the framework that can lead to success. 

What we’re increasingly being asked for more recently however, and thus now offering, is essentially a hybrid model – one that is all about partnerships, but unique ones that more closely align with the optimal version of building. This is where we start talking about having your cake and eating it too. 

Many companies have figured out that working with curated top startups is the most cost-effective and efficient option. But then last year, we started to see a new conversation emerging around the fact that often what retail executives look for just doesn’t exist as yet. The kind of solution you have in mind is not what is being pitched to you. You look at all the possible startups in the space and all of them are missing that one thing. You don’t want an incomplete approach. You want the full package.

How are you thinking about new innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

What you missed: Snapchat’s spectacles, driving see-now buy-now sales, Cartier’s sponsored content

Snapchat spectacles
Snapchat spectacles

It might have been Milan Fashion Week, but the majority of musing worth knowing about in the digital space this past week surrounds the launch of Snapchat’s (now Snap Inc’s) new camera glasses. On top of that has been everything from whether see-now, buy-now fashion week shows are actually driving sales, the fact McQueen and Chanel top a new CoolBrands list, and why LVMH’s digital drive is taking time despite its big Apple hire. Read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know…


TOP STORIES
  • Why Snapchat’s spectacles can succeed where Google Glass failed [AdAge]
  • Are ‘see now, buy now’ shows driving sales? [BoF]
  • Neiman Marcus is encouraging brands to adopt ‘see-now, buy-now’ strategy [Fashionista]
  • Alexander McQueen and Chanel make top 20 global CoolBrands list [The Industry]
  • Inside Cartier’s sponsored content strategy [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • LVMH’s digital drive takes time despite Apple hire [Reuters]
  • Adidas and Under Armour are challenging Nike like never before [Business Insider]
  • Tiffany proposes growth through engagement in the digital age [BrandChannel]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • YSL Beauté reveals first ever UK Snapchat lens [The Industry]
  • Adidas claims retention on Snapchat is ‘insane’ compared to YouTube [The Drum]
  • Teens talk Instagram beauty influencers and what makes them buy [Racked]
  • Here’s how much engagement brands got from back-to-school social posts [AdWeek]
  • Google launches messaging app with chatbot [Campaign]
  • Branded emojis coming to messaging apps [WSJ]

MARKETING
  • Gap teams up with Mr Black to raise awareness for denim care [Fashion United]
  • Bobbi Brown initiates mobile makeovers with Uber [WWD]

RETAIL
  • How designer Rebecca Minkoff uses technology to create a better shopping experience [The Street]
  • BHS to launch online a month after last store closed [Guardian]
  • Zara fashions an expanded online growth strategy [BrandChannel]

TECHNOLOGY
  • The secret lab where Nike invented the power-lacing shoe of our dreams [Wired]
  • No. 21 Sends shoes that glow in the dark down the Milan Fashion Week runway [Footwear News]

START-UPS
  • Carmen Busquets, fashion e-commerce’s fairy godmother [NY Times]
  • Where is the Uber of fashion? [Forbes]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product social media technology

Digital snippets: Mid-tier blogger power, the robotics opportunity, Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting feud

midtierbloggers

After a week refreshing the mind and the soul at Futuro in Ibiza (an awe-inspiring experience), we’re back with a round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past fortnight or so. Read on for highlights from mid-tier bloggers and robots to Alibaba, Victoria’s Secret, Levi’s, WeChat and more…


  • The power of the mid-tier blogger [Racked]

  • How robots can help fashion companies drive business efficiencies [BoF]

  • Inside Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting feud [Associated Press]

  • Why Victoria’s Secret won’t be mailing out any more catalogues [AdWeek]

  • Aerie refused to Photoshop its ads for two years and sales spiked [Mashable]

  • Project Jacquard: Google and Levi’s launch the first ‘smart’ jean jacket for urban cyclists [Forbes]

  • Fashion shake-ups go beyond designers to the C-suite [NY Times]

  • Fashion industry faces disruption from outside — and from within [FT]

  • Why lux brands love Line [Glossy]

  • With 92% of luxury brands on WeChat, here’s how they can step up their game [Jing Daily]

  • How four creative directors are using Snapchat [Glossy]

  • How Instagram’s new feed will impact brands and influencers [BoF]

  • With subscription beauty boxes, rules of e-commerce don’t apply [WSJ]

  • Why buy buttons on Pinterest and Instagram haven’t taken off for retailers [Digiday]

  • Brands want to predict your behaviour by mining your face from YouTube videos [Motherboard]

  • Chatbots won’t solve everything [BoF]

  • For the first time, Google is bringing retail ads to image search [AdWeek]

  • Shoptalk: Pondering the store’s future in an age of web buying [Associated Press]

  • Keep calm and keep shopping – how elections impact retail sales [The Conversation]

  • Why dynamic pricing just doesn’t work for fashion retailers [LinkedIn]

  • I tested Rent The Runway’s new Unlimited service. My satisfaction was… limited [Pando]

  • What does ‘innovation’ in retail look like? 8 leaders weigh in [Retail Dive]

  • Online retailers should care more about the post-purchase experience [HBR]

  • Does Kendall and Kylie’s game actually sell clothes? [Racked]

  • EasyJet’s new smart shoes guide travellers as they wander through new cities [JWT Intelligence]

  • MIT researchers create 3D-printed fur, opening up “a new design space” [Dezeen]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Asos launches podcast, Burberry’s success on Periscope, Jet hits $1m in first-day sales

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

asos

  • Asos launches weekly podcast in customer engagement push [Retail Week]
  • Burberry’s Snapchat and Periscope campaigns deliver a record 100m impressions [The Drum]
  • Jet, the new Amazon competitor, hits $1 million in sales on launch day [re/code]
  • Forever 21 launches Instagram-powered thread screen [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Nordstrom is making it simple to buy via text message [NRF]
  • Birchbox’s monthly deliveries will give virtual reality a fascinating test run [AdWeek]
  • Katy Perry, Coty launch perfume line with Twitter pop-up shop [AdAge]
  • Victoria’s Secret chatting app ensures instantaneous customer satisfaction [PSFK]
  • LVMH to launch Apple Watch rival [Reuters]
  • Amazon will be the number one US clothing retailer very soon [Bloomberg]
  • Old Navy follows viral hit with another back-to-school music video [AdAge]
  • Rakuten buys virtual fitting room start-up Fits.Me in a fashion commerce play [TechCrunch]
  • E-commerce start-up Tinker Tailor shuts down operations [Fashion Times]
  • Personal shopping app Scratch launches with $3.6 million in funding [Fashionista]
  • Battle of the buy buttons: What does the social commerce hybrid mean for retail brands? [The Drum]
  • The surprising way smartphones are changing the way we shop [The Washington Post]
  • Malte Huffmann of Dafiti on cracking fashion e-commerce in Latin America [BoF]
  • Fashion’s biological future is now [Huffington Post]
  • Programmable clothes are going commercial [Co.design]
  • Apple Watch sales: what we know (and don’t know) [WSJ]
  • Pebble boss: ‘one day, people will not be able to live without their smartwatch’ [The Guardian]
  • Does Ringly have a place in an Apple Watch world? [TechCrunch]
  • Vogue launches Alexa Chung fashion documentary series, crowdsources questions [Vogue]
  • 10 retailer blogs that are genuinely worth reading [Econsultancy]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Richemont invites LVMH as e-commerce partner, Google and Levi’s on Project Jacquard, JLab’s final 21 start-ups

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

Project-Jacquard

  • Richemont invites LVMH to join site to compete with Amazon [BoF]
  • Google is partnering with Levi’s for its Project Jacquard smart fabric (as pictured) [TNW]
  • The 21 tech start-ups getting John Lewis excited in 2015 [The Drum]
  • Marc Jacobs gets Periscope, follows in footsteps of fashion brands Burberry, DKNY & Rebecca Minkoff [WGSN.com/blogs]
  • Macy’s embraces a ‘digical’ world [AdAge]
  • Why Nordstrom is the Amazon of department stores [Fortune]
  • How an Instagram “like” from artist Alice Lancaster unspired Calvin Klein 2016 resort collection [Vogue]
  • Forever 21 drives sales through consumer-generated outfit gallery [Mobile Commerce Daily]
  • Why adidas created content that no one will ever see [Marketing Magazine]
  • Candie’s focuses campaign on Instagram [Media Post]
  • Wayfair gains three times more revenue from YouTube’s shoppable ads [AdAge]
  • MikMak is the smartphone-based reinvention of the infomercial [TechCrunch]
  • Hey retailers, Pinterest just got a whole lot more shoppable – ‘buy it’ button unveiled [AdWeek]
  • Instagram is introducing new shoppable ads [Yahoo! Style]
  • Buy buy buy: Why all of your favorite social networks want you to shop now [Mashable]
  • From startups to mass retailers, it’s a tough time for fashion [Fashionista]
  • Retailers have mishandled mobile payments for years. It’s time to surrender to tech [Quartz]
  • Can Silicon Valley fix women’s fashion? [Buzzfeed]
  • Fashion films: what works and what doesn’t [Fashionista]
  • At Silicon Valley’s very first fashion week, flying pants seem totally normal [The Verge]
  • Coming soon to your smart watch: ads targeting captive eyeballs [Bloomberg]
  • Bolt Threads raises $32 million to make gene-engineered fabric grown in fermentation vats [Forbes]
  • Why we still don’t have cheap, customisable 3D-printed shoes for all [Fast.Co Design]
  • How bloggers make money on Instagram [Harper’s Bazaar]
  • The Kendall Jenner effect: how social media is changing modelling [MTV]
Categories
data digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

Digital snippets: Bloomingdale’s, Banana Republic, Liberty London, Chanel, Brandy Melville

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

instagram

  • Bloomingdale’s launches interactive, shoppable Instagram gift guides [Luxury Daily]
  • Shyp partners with Banana Republic to help procrastinating shoppers [TechCrunch]
  • Liberty London turns Instagram likes into loyalty perks [PSFK]
  • Watch Cara Delevingne and Pharrell sing in Chanel’s latest short film [Fashionista]
  • Brandy Melville: Instagram’s first retail success [Business Week]
  • Very.co.uk leverages real-time OOH for Christmas advent calendar campaign [The Drum]
  • Luxottica and Intel take the fashion/tech hookup to a whole new level [NY Times]
  • Lady Gaga is a 1940s diva in showstopper for H&M [Creativity Online]
  • Van Cleef & Arpels creates interactive microsite for winter [Luxury Daily]
  • J.Crew goes back to Instagram for design inspiration – meet Mayhem, age 4 [BrandChannel]
  • Inspiration meets social media [NY Times]
  • How fashion retailers are using data to deliver personalised customer experiences [BoF]
  • Google want to launch a ‘Buy’ button to hurt Amazon [Business Insider]
  • How a fashion e-retailer uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to reach shoppers in Brazil [Internet Retailer]
  • ‘Bionic Bra’ could revolutionise the brassiere as we know it [Mashable]
  • Infographic: Here’s how sizing varies at different retailers [Business Insider]
  • Selfies are huge in Asia, and brands are having fun with them [AdAge]
  • WeChat reigns as top social influencer for China’s luxury shoppers [Jing Daily]
  • What is holding back fashion on YouTube? [L2 The Daily]
Categories
data e-commerce Editor's pick

Lyst data shows Mansur Gavriel bucket bags, classic Burberry trenches to trend in Black Friday fashion sales

Mansur Gavriel Leather Bucket Bag 1

Fashion marketplace Lyst is predicting what will be a top seller during the sales period this Thanksgiving weekend off the back of consumer behaviour witnessed on its platform.

It places bucket bags and luxe backpacks like the Mansur Gavriel styles, as well as luxury lingerie from Myla, Agent Provocateur and Calvin Klein as among the big items. Others include fluffy coats from contemporary labels like Sandro, Maje and Zara, and classic styles like the trench coat, peacoat and robe coats in luxury fabrications from the likes of Burberry and Maxmara.

Brands including J Cew, Alexander Wang, Acne and APC will see uptake across basic sweats, t-shirts and fine knits in navy, grey and black, while statement shoes will play out through Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, Steve Madden and Sophia Webster choices.

Lyst’s data scientists have pulled information from what’s currently trending on its site, as well as what people are adding to their feeds to receive sales alerts on.

Burberry-Holiday-2014

The top 10 most searched-for designers on Lyst right now are: Prada, Givenchy, Gucci, Burberry, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Zara, Kenzo, Balmain and Topshop.

Lyst is expecting to have two million visitors to its site over the four days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday inclusively, and will be generating approximately 500,000 product updates every hour to help customers know immediately when the piece they have been lusting after go on sale, at the best price.

It will also launch The Holiday Shop on November 28, a virtual pop-up area on the site showcasing the hottest offers from the world of fashion in a bid to help facilitate consumers with their shopping. It will likewise provide real-time stock and price updates, this time all in one place across a broad variety of brands.

Lyst - The Holiday Shop

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Apple Pay, Macy’s, Rakuten, John Lewis, Old Navy, social media ads

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

ApplePay

  • The complete guide to Apple Pay, including what’s the point? [Quartz]
  • Macy’s links with Google to show mobile users what’s in stock nearby [AdAge]
  • Japan’s Rakuten e-commerce giant launches in America with fashion site [BrandChannel]
  • John Lewis eyeing Oculus Rift opportunities to unite VR and in-store experiences [The Drum]
  • Old Navy gets in on the #selfie machine [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Top 10 fashion films of the season [BoF]
  • Fashion brands push social media ads [WWD]
  • Inside Pinterest: the coming ad colossus that could dwarf Twitter and Facebook [Forbes]
  • Twitter to roll out its Buy button to general public in early 2015 [VentureBeat]
  • Does Oculus Rift have a future in retail? [WGSN/blogs]
  • Wonderluk’s made-to-order, 3D-printed accessories rival mass production [PSFK]
Categories
Blocks business data e-commerce

Data helped Clinique win with ‘spotted eggs’ campaign

clinique

This is an incredibly simple but effective demonstration of data being used to inform a media and marketing buy.

Clinique ran a campaign a few years ago for its Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, and used eggshells with spots on them as a point of comparison for what happens to the skin over time.

Unsurprisingly, it bought search terms against it relevant to the product and its properties, one of which was ‘hyperpigmentation’.

What it swiftly recognised however, was that a lot of the traffic it was receiving from Google came instead via words like ‘spotted eggs’ and ‘freckles’.

“Needless to say that wasn’t in our media buy,” said Emily Culp, former VP of digital/consumer marketing and media at Clinique, now SVP of e-commerce and omnichannel marketing at Rebecca Minkoff. Speaking at the Shop.org Summit in Seattle this week, she added: “Our key term was hyperpigmentation, which is marketing speak. Few people would know that was what it was called, so didn’t know to search for it. We needed to think more like the consumer, so we started bidding against egg farmers.”

“The volume and velocity of data today is mind numbing. It can be incredibly overwhelming. But sometimes, if you’re creative with your data sources, it can actually be very simple,” she explained.

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Social commerce proves key digital trend for S/S 15 fashion weeks

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

burberry
Burberry S/S 15

Fashion week season might traditionally be about what the next trends in apparel and accessories are set to be, but increasingly it’s becoming just as much of a hotbed for lighting up new opportunities in digital and social media.

During New York and London there were familiar themes like utilising influencers (Tommy Hilfiger and Topshop) or democratising the fashion show by providing more access behind-the-scenes and into the design process than ever before (Michael Kors and Rebecca Minkoff).

For many, however, it was about pushing commerce much more than it was purely communications. Brands including Burberry, BCBG Max Azria, Oscar de la Renta and more, all introduced some kind of shoppable feature to their social media, upping the game of the “buy now runway” feature far more than we’ve seen in the past.

Burberry partnered with Twitter to trial its new ‘buy now’ button. Users in the US could instantly click to purchase the brand’s S/S 15 nail polish, ticking the box for a sense of instant gratification attached to a live stream show. The move was a smart one for a brand looking to capture digitally-savvy fans who can’t perhaps afford the main catwalk collection, but are increasingly in tune with beauty and fragrance offerings being heavily pushed via social these days.

burberry_nails
Burberry’s S/S 15 nail colours

BCBG Max Azria meanwhile, teamed up with RewardStyle’s LiketoKnow:It application, which aims to make Instagram shoppable. Looks posted by influencers on their Instagram accounts during the show were available for purchase to those signed up to LiketoKnow:It service – it’s a little bit clunky, but doing so enables users to like an image to instantly have an email sent to them with details about the items featured, then click to purchase from there. Vogue and Nordstrom have also used this service previously.

Another new app called Spring also played a part in providing a sense of shopability to this fashion week season in New York. This mobile marketplace, as it refers to itself, saw brands including Oscar de la Renta, Zac Posen and Libertine offering exclusive items available for purchase straight after their catwalk shows.

For Oscar that was in the form of an embroidered peep-toe sandal. For Libertine it was limited edition t-shirts, while for Zac Posen it was his first eyewear collection.

It’s early days on all these social commerce fronts, with lots of clunky kinks still to be ironed out. But seemingly the idea for limited edition or exclusive access to certain product – in numerous instances the more affordable stuff no less – available on platforms that users are already engaging on, feels like a fresh and sensible move for an industry up against increasing pressure to deliver goods in real-time.

While fully shoppable looks at the likes of Versus by Versace, Topshop and Moschino continued on e-commerce sites and in stores too, expect more of this social commerce to follow. Gone are the days of merely trying to make our Facebook feeds transactional (and failing at that); we’re in a whole new era of third party apps and in-stream features that might just start to work.

Oscar-de-la-Renta-Shoe
Oscar de la Renta’s S/S 15 embroidered peep-toe sandal