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ICYMI: Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods, the UN’s fashion climate charter, ASOS profit warning

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods: Why sneaker resale is becoming big business [Forbes]
  • Milestone fashion industry charter for climate action launched [UN]
  • ASOS issues profit warning as Christmas sales falter [The Industry]
TECHNOLOGY
  • China’s retailers turn to real-world surveillance to track big spenders [Wired]
  • Alexa wants you to answer questions [Cognition X]
  • Is the face-swapping robot with multiple ‘personalities’ cool or just plain creepy? [Mashable]
  • Racist, sexist AI could be a bigger problem than lost jobs [Forbes]
  • Is tech too easy to use? [New York Times]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Kering launches first ‘regenerative sourcing’ standard for fashion suppliers [Edie
  • Francisco Costa is back—with the chicest sustainable beauty brand you’ve ever seen [Vogue]
  • The first “plastic-free” supermarket aisle [BBC]
  • Lacoste joins list of brands banning mohair  [Fashion United]
  • Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding. [Vox]
  • Is online shopping better or worse for the environment? [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Here’s how Nike, Alibaba and Walmart are reinventing retail [Wired]
  • The future of fashion is made-to-order, according to Farfetch CEO José Neves [Fast Company]
  • Amazon Go eyes London’s West End for first UK store [Retail Gazette]
  • Why Starbucks is experimenting with experience-based retail [Digiday]
  • E-commerce is thriving in Africa despite hurdles to the “last mile” [Quartz]
  • ‘It’s a big data game’: Startups compete to reinvent the convenience store [Digiday]
  • Lululemon expands test for 1st loyalty program [Retail Dive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • You can try on the latest Adidas sneaker drop on Snapchat [Engadget]
  • Mall of America debuts holiday AR scavenger hunt [Mobile Marketer]
  • Mr Porter launches gift assistant with Facebook Messenger [Fashion Network]
  • Lululemon and Strava team up to launch a series of virtual races [Runners World]
  • Calvin Klein kills print ads — will other fashion brands follow suit? [Footwear News]
PRODUCT
  • H&M teams up with cult brand Eytys for unisex collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • Millennial consumers rule the luxury market – how are brands coping? [SCMP]
  • Samsung’s Supreme collaboration in China is with a “counterfeit organization,” Supreme says [Quartz]
  • LVMH expands portfolio with $2.6B Belmond travel deal [Retail Dive]
  • H&M says full year sales increased by 5 percent [Fashion United]
  • Alberta Ferretti under investigation by Italy’s antitrust authority [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Self-Portrait is growing in the age of streetwear — without flashy logos or sneakers [Fashionista]
  • Prada pulls monkey designs following outcry over racist imagery [Complex]
  • Diversity on magazine covers increased by a record double-digit percentage in 2018 [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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Campaigns Events Retail social media Uncategorized

Customers chase confetti in Topshop’s snow globe activation

Topshop has installed a larger-than-life snow globe in its Oxford Circus, London, flagship and it is encouraging shoppers to enter and play for the chance win prizes. 

Any customer who feels up to the challenge can enter the installation, which will then be filled with a whirlwind of flying confetti. The more confetti the customer collects, the better prize they win. 

The installation is also meant to be a shareable experience: a camera by the entrance of the globe will be capturing the chase in a boomerang-like effect.

Everyone who takes part in the experience is a winner, says the brand, with prizes ranging from discounts to a £1,000 shopping spree in-store.

Topshop often uses its Oxford Street windows, arguably the brand’s most visible retail spot in the world, to promote launches and interactive experiences. In the summer of 2017, it introduced a virtual reality water-slide experience. In October of the same year, it celebrated the release of the second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things and a dedicated merchandise collection by transforming the entire store into scenes from the series. This time, the window became the show’s Hawkins lab where customers could test whether they also had telekinetic powers, much like the show’s protagonist, Eleven.

The Snow Globe activation will remain in-store until this Thursday (December 20).

How are you thinking about interactive retail experiences? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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Campaigns Editor's pick Retail social media technology Uncategorized

The digital retail activations winning this holiday season

Retailers are connecting online and offline more than ever this holiday season, with everything from virtual stores to partnerships with social networks designed to help shoppers find the perfect gifts.

Deloitte estimates that e-commerce sales are set to increase between 17-22% for holiday 2018, as consumers seek convenience and speed in their shopping experiences, meaning retailers are doing all in their wheelhouse to gain some of that market share. To add to that, 42% of US consumers say they will use smartphones or tablets to shop, according to Citi Retail Services, making the mobile experience more important than ever.

Also front and center are a number of chatbots, augmented reality initiatives for discovery and virtual try-on, and more. Here we highlight some of the best activations to know about for 2018:

Digital gift-giving
Instagram #InstaGiftGuide

Digital gift guides continue apace this year, with the social media networks heading the pack. Instagram created its first ever gift guide by pairing products with hashtags, for instance. The #InstaGiftGuide is divided into six of the most popular hashtag trends of 2018: #CatsOfInstagram, #Tutting, #OddlySatisfying, #FingerBoarding, #Vaporwave and #ISeeFaces.

Dedicated videos then act as guides, featuring more than 30 brands. #FingerBoarding, for example, is all about jewelry for hands, while #OddlySatisfying shows everything from a highlighter from Milk Makeup being cut, to a hand feeling the soft texture of a Levi’s fake fur.

Meanwhile Pinterest has partnered with brands on gift-finding tools for the holidays, with Macy’s, Lowe’s and Kohl’s using it to personalize the shopping experience. Customers can enter who they are shopping for, and “Gift Globes” will deliver a list of suggestions from participating retailers. In order to drive shoppers to the experience, brands are leveraging the site’s Promoted Videos at maximum width as well as the Promoted Pins feature.

Chatbots otherwise remain a strong currency for brands enabling decision-making on social media. Ray-Ban has released one on Facebook Messenger that helps customers shop for loved ones by recommending items, and allowing customers to purchase directly within the Facebook Messenger app. After answering questions like “Who are you shopping for?” and “Which of these faces is the best fit: round, square, oval, triangle?”, the bot gives options of frames that would be a perfect match.

Also playing in this space is Mall of America, which is the largest shopping complex in the US. It launched an interactive hologram called “Ellie the Elf” that acts as a concierge to advise customers on gift buying. 

Tapping into play
Fred Segal’s online boutique

The idea of play and fun has also been given a digital spin this year. The Walmart Toy Lab is a digital playground where kids can use their computer or tablet to preview 20 of the toys on the retailer’s Top Rated by Kids list. For each product, an online “funtroller” gives kids the option to control the action. They can see visual reviews or watch other children playing, as well as share their lists of favorites with their parents. There is even a ‘troll’ button that makes fun of the video’s host.

Over in Singapore, the  313@Somerset retail complex has created a virtual reality sleigh experience where shoppers can immerse themselves in a virtual Christmas-themed land and collect presents to help Santa Claus with his deliveries. Fun gameplay and an immersive winter wonderland environment proved a hit, with the installation receiving heavy traffic.

Mall of America is also deploying augmented reality this season by taking consumers on a scavenger hunt with an app that brings to life the oversized toys displayed across its 5.6m-square-foot mall. The engagement aims to tell a holiday story, and enable shoppers to enter for the chance to win a shopping experience.

Virtual shopping
Target “See It in Your Space” 

We’re also seeing augmented and virtual reality being used to drive shopping. Target’s “See It in Your Space” AR feature in its mobile app has received an upgrade for the holidays so shoppers can visualize Christmas trees in their homes. The retailer also added other items, such as furniture and rugs, to the tree-shopping experience.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Fred Segal teamed up with Mastercard to create an online 3D version of its physical store. The virtual flagship is similar to Google’s Street View, with an additional shoppable feature where customers can buy whatever they see. Through a web browser, they can navigate categories like men, women, kids, and gifts. The concept helps customers see how the merchandise is displayed in-store, leading them to  discover things they wouldn’t have seen online otherwise. 

How are you thinking about digital 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 technology

Mall of America launches elf hologram concierge to help guide gifting

Mall of America has launched an interactive hologram called “Ellie the Elf”,  which acts as a concierge and helps advise customers on which gifts to buy their loved ones this holiday season.

Activated via voice command, customers can interact with the hologram, which lives on a screen in the shopping center, by standing next to a small control board, and speaking into a microphone. 

The experience operates much like a chatbot, going down the route of a decision tree to get to suggestions for users. When users ask “Ellie, I’m looking for a gift for my mom”, for instance, it then responds by asking further questions to determine the perfect gift.

The aim of the experience, which was created in partnership with VNTANA, is to both ease the shopping journey for customers, and create a fun interaction.

“At our core, Mall of America is an experiential retail destination,” said Sarah Townes, VP of marketing at the company. “VNTANA’s hologram technology is a great way to capitalize on our multi-channel chatbot we launched last year and provides yet another interaction for guests to experience that not only offers a fun interaction but also assistance to those searching for gift ideas this holiday season.”

When approaching the hologram, customers are also invited to find gifts via different categories of suggestions. These are broken down into women, men, teens, kids and babies, for instance, after which new categories emerge such as “tech” or “experience”. 

The concierge can then also show customers where they can find the specific items they are looking for, by explaining on which level and area of the mall they are located.

How are you thinking about interactive retail experiences? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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 digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Brand activism, Adidas on evolving dark social, the role of augmented reality this holiday


TOP STORIES
  • The thorny business of brand activism [BoF]
  • How Adidas is evolving dark social to stay ahead of the game [Marketing Week]
  • Target’s Christmas tree sales aided by augmented-reality feature [Bloomberg
TECHNOLOGY
  • DeepMind’s AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical ‘turning point’ for AI [Telegraph]
  • Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is about to launch drone deliveries in Finland [Technology Review]
  • Robot janitors are coming to mop floors at a Walmart near you [Bloomberg]
  • Athlete’s Foot announces new 3D tech [Retailbiz]
  • eBay will now authenticate luxury jewelry items [TechCrunch]
  • YNAP supports Hour of Code with fashion hackathon for London children [The Industry
  • 70% of consumers still want human interaction versus bots [Retail Dive]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • UN climate change chatbot makes saving the world personal [CNET]
  • Stella McCartney is on a quest to save you from the fashion industry [Wired]
  • Kering partners with Savory Institute for regenerative sourcing plan [WWD]
  • United Wardrobe launches program for brands to sell unsold stock [Fashion Network]
  • Why Chanel’s exotic skins ban is wrong [BoF]
  • Can transparency solve the consumer trust deficit? [BoF]
  • Stella McCartney, Burberry among fashion brands uniting against climate change [CNN]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Go cashierless stores are coming to airports [Venture Beat]
  • Alibaba signs agreement with Belgium for e-commerce trade hub [Fashion Network]
  • Why luxury shopping via WhatsApp, WeChat may be the future [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Under Armour is running a YouTube series on IGTV [Digiday]
  • Love Magazine bringing video issue to YouTube [WWD
  • Coty unveils Google Assistant tool for Clairol [WWD]
  • Swiss hotel chain offers a ‘social media sitter’ to handle your Instagram while you relax [TheNext Web]
PRODUCT
  • Marc Jacobs set to launch affordable ‘The Marc Jacobs’ line [FashionNetwork]
  • Heineken launches capsule collection with Union [FashionUnited]
BUSINESS
  • Just 20 fashion companies are making almost all of the industry’s profits [Quartz]
  • Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin to take leave of absence [TheGuardian]
  • Calvin Klein is facing the fact that it’s a jeans-and-undies company now[Quartzy]
  • L’Oréal launches VC fund [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Virgil Abloh on the power of being creative without limits [Dazed]
  • K-pop’s popularity is starting to shape fashion worldwide [Vox]
  • The $4 trillion reason so many companies are rebranding for wellness [Quartzy]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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Campaigns Events Retail technology

Swarovski celebrates the holidays with sparkle-themed activations

Swarovski's "Sparkling Box
Swarovski’s “Sparkling Box” in Covent Garden

Swarovski is launching a host of interactive experiences in the UK, hoping to spread delight in the run-up to Christmas.

The “Sparkling Box” activation, which popped up at London’s Covent Garden area last week, features a giant box where each façade offers a different digitally-enabled experience for passersby. It includes a GIF photobooth encouraging customers to take a photo and share on social media;  an interactive wall featuring a virtual snowscape that showers visitors in digital snowflakes; a video showing the jewelry brand’s Christmas advert; and a guide for Swarovski’s must-have gifts for the festive season.

The box is set to tour the UK over the coming weeks, appearing in Manchester next, followed by Glasgow and Birmingham.

In keeping with the sparkle theme, Swarovski is also set to launch “Sparkle Street” at London’s Westfield White City mall location, which will feature a Christmas tree accompanied by digital advertising, creating a festive landscape for visitors to take pictures in front of that will then be shown on a large screen opposite the installation.

Lastly, the brand is also teaming up with a team of black cab drivers in the city, who will be handing out Swarovski gifts to lucky passengers throughout December. 

Brands are increasingly diversifying the way they celebrate special events throughout the year with activations that aim to surprise & delight unassuming shoppers. Last week, Harvey Nichols visited London offices with a very special musical performance, while allowing consumers to buy the festive clothes the choir was wearing on the day directly on Instagram.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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Harvey Nichols introduces shoppable choir visits via Instagram

Harvey Nichols' Harvey's Angels
Harvey Nichols’ Harvey’s Angels

Ahead of the holiday season, British department store Harvey Nichols has introduced a charitable shopping experience discoverable via a real-life choir whose looks are available via Instagram.

The initiative benefits women going into the job’s market through the Smart Works charity.

The Harvey’s Angels, as the choir is called, were sent to offices across London – from Google to Estée Lauder – last week, donning partywear available to shop from the retailer, by designers such as Roland Mouret and Peter Pilotto. All looks could be purchased directly through its Instagram account via shoppable posts.

Additionally over four days, 10% of all purchases made at Harvey Nichols’ Knightsbridge location or online using the code “HNAngels” went to Smart Works.

“At Smart Works we are lucky enough to witness every day the impact that great clothes and good advice can have on a women’s life. We believe that fashion can be used as a force for good, and that is why we are thrilled to be working with Harvey Nichols on this exciting Christmas shopping experience,” says Kate Stephens, CEO of Smart Works. “Every shopper at Harvey Nichols who uses the dedicated code HNangels online or in store over the next three days will be helping a women to be her best.” The charity gives women across the country the tools to enter the job’s market, including clothing and self-belief and practical tools required to succeed.

For Harvey Nichols, the campaign ties to the company’s history as well as its continuous support of women in the workplace – at present, seven out of nine people of the company’s board are women.

“Our partnership with Smart Works is a natural extension of our values. Christmas is the fashion season, because it’s also party season. But we know that our customers are rushed off their feet,” said Deb Bee, group marketing and creative director at Harvey Nichols. “So we have partnered with Smart Works to raise awareness of this partnership and help busy women in London find a party outfit even if they can’t take time out of work. This will be delivered in the most Christmassy way we know; with a fun, glamorous, party-song-singing, shoppable Christmas choir.”

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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Editor's pick Retail technology

Macy’s celebrates the holidays with plethora of interactive experiences

Macy's new holiday campaign, Space Station
Macy’s new holiday campaign, Space Station

Macy’s is deploying technology and personalization to celebrate the holiday season, allowing consumers to find their perfect gifts through online tools and offline experiences.

On Instagram, the American department store is creating personalized gift guides in the form of Instagram carousels targeting specific recipients, such as a user’s friend or family member. To join they will have to answer questions about their interests and price range, for the Instant Gift Guide to generate a list they can swipe through, with the final frame being shoppable.

Meanwhile on Pinterest, Macy’s is creating a 360-degree tool that allows users to experience being inside a miniature snow globe that alludes to an element of its holiday commercial, Space Station. The globe will be filled with colorful holiday decor and enable users to pan around to find gifts and inspiration hidden within the scene. Customers will be able to shop their finds as well as share wish lists and send items to themselves.

The use of technology will expand online, as the retailer promotes new ways to trial beauty and visualize furniture. In approximately 50 stores nationwide, the beauty department will introduce an augmented reality mirror for instant try-ons, which will also showcase more than 250 beauty products. The mirror experience will be triggered when the consumer looks into a camera, allowing them to try on different shades from eye shadow to lipstick.

The beauty department at Macy’s most icon store, at Herald Square in New York, is also getting a makeover with the Instagram consumer in mind: the retailer has launched a 270-square-foot space that allows shoppers to discover brands in new ways and snap and share. The space is anchored around revolving themes, with the current one, titled “Beauty on Display”, being set up as a luxury boudoir where visitors can snap photos near a claw foot bathtub as well as shop for products.

As for furniture, Macy’s is following many home goods retailers and deploying virtual reality to enable store visitors to visualize furniture in their homes. The “See Your Space IRL” experience, available in select stores, lets shoppers virtually design their living spaces and place Macy’s furniture within it. Through VR headsets, they can then step into the virtual spaces to help them make more informed decisions.

Small business showcase by Facebook and Macy's
Small business showcase by Facebook and Macy’s

Lastly, the updated Macy’s app will serve as a connected hub so customers can get their goods seamlessly. For instance, it will allow shoppers to scan items while they shop and check out through self-serve machines, thus avoiding the holiday crowds.

The retailer is also diversifying its merchandise offering in order to tap into a broader and more connected consumer. For example at its now year-old The Market @ Macy’s space at selected stores, it is teaming up with Facebook to provide small businesses and e-commerce brands the opportunity to sell in real life during the holidays.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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 Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Topshop buzz score drops, advanced analytics for apparel, analyzing the streetwear bubble

The streetwear bubble
The streetwear bubble

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Topshop “Buzz Score” drops after Green allegations [The Industry]
  • Geek meets chic: Four actions to jump-start advanced analytics in apparel [McKinsey]
  • Is the streetwear bubble about to burst? [Highsnobiety]
  • How open-source innovation may transform fashion [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Menswear retailer Jacamo launches voice shopping [Drapers]
  • Tencent is launching its own version of Snap Spectacles [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Plastic waste elimination pledge by 2025 attracts more big firms [BBC]
  • Is fashion’s eco-consciousness more than a label yet? [BoF]
  • These gorgeous colors come from dye made by bacteria, not chemicals [FastCompany]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • If we built the retail model from scratch, what would it be? [BoF]
  • Goop opens first permanent store in New York City [Glossy]
  • Singapore’s frictionless grocery store and dining concept [LS:N Global]
  • Digging into drop culture: Evolving a roaring retail ritual [Forbes]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior aims to lure new audiences with digital influencer Noonouri [Vrroom.buzz]
  • Barbour Christmas campaign celebrates 40 years of iconic festive film [The Scotsman]
  • H&M launches holiday 2018 campaign starring Aubrey Plaza [Highsnobiety]
  • Designing people’s Instagram Stories is now a million-dollar business [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Revolve’s blend of data and fashion supports case for IPO [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Why voting is in fashion [New York Times]
  • How Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty is changing the lingerie game [Vogue]
  • What can luxury brands learn from Gucci about millennials? [Forbes]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and 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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product Retail social media Uncategorized

JCPenney unveils Instagram-inspired private label

JCPenny’s Peyton and Parker

JCPenney has announced it will launch a private label at the end of October inspired by and dedicated to picturesque Instagram moments.

Peyton and Parker, as it’s called, is specifically targeted at women who take on the responsibility of dressing not only themselves, but also their families and their home, according to the retailer.

“We were inspired to create a line that made it easy for mom to dress her family and decorate her home, creating a picture-perfect moment for all of her social media channels,” says Val Harris, senior vice president of product development and design for JCPenney.

She adds: “The holidays are a critical shopping period and by introducing new brands, such as Peyton and Parker, we will drive traffic and invite new and loyal customers to discover what JCPenney has to offer this season.”

Fittingly, the company will launch a social media campaign on Instagram featuring “savvy mom influencers” to promote the launch of the label. Given the struggles JCPenney has been facing, the hope, inevitably, is that customers will similarly share their own looks back through the same channel.

JCPenny

JCPennyThe merchandise will be released in limited-edition capsule collections available seasonally, with the first set for October 19 for the holiday period. The collection will focus on matching apparel, accessories, shoes, as well as home items.

Prices will be in-line with the retailer’s budget-friendly merchandising approach, with a $30 price tag for a women’s top and $11 for a cable-knit stocking.

This move comes as Instagram is becoming an ever more important distribution channel for the fashion industry, recently expanding its focus to include more vendor-friendly outlets with a dedicated shopping “Discover” channel and shopping tags in its Stories.

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.