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6 brands driving consumer engagement through customization

The availability of data and an increased purchasing power has pushed retailers to create products and services beyond the standard selection. Whilst traditionally customization was seen as a luxury feature, the democratization of fashion has led to many high street retailers offering the service as another way to engage consumers.

In today’s digital era, the abundance of data has made it easier for retailers to personalize marketing content, but this is now going one step further to individual design and styling. Consumers want products tailored to their own specific needs and style, and by offering customization, retailers can increase their value and differentiate from the competition. 

From a business perspective, offering customization can be financially rewarding too, as 1 in 5 consumers will pay a 20% premium for personalized products or services. Customization can also be a sustainable method of production, as products are created to meet the exact demand, thus minimizing the risk of excess stock. 

Meanwhile, as manufacturing processes become more sophisticated and streamlined through features like 3D printing and automation, customization is something we will see more of in the future. As we continue to watch this trend develop, here are 6 brands driving engagement  through customization.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton custom Run Away sneaker

The sneaker industry is expected to be worth $95.14billion by 2025, and Louis Vuitton is another luxury brand hoping to tap into that booming market by offering consumers customized sneakers. Consumers will have the option to customize the Run Away sneaker by changing its colour, material and stripes and for an extra personal touch, get their initials printed or hot stamped on the shoe.

Fame & Partners
Fame & Partners bridemaids dresses

Fame and Partners is a contemporary womenswear brand based in LA trying to combat overproduction in the fashion industry by offering made-to-order garments. Through their Custom Clothing studio, consumers can customize any item by choosing the silhouette, sleeve length or neckline. The brand’s strategy eliminates the need for excess stock, helping to reduce waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill. 

Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty custom hair care

This DTC beauty brand has taken over social media with its Instagrammable hair care line that target Gen Z consumers who are seeking products unique to their needs. Consumers can go online and take a quiz to determine their hair profiles, selecting up to five hair goals, ranging from color protection to curl definition. They can also choose both the scent and color of their products, creating a customized product from design to function. Each bottle is then formulated using clean ingredients, which are cruelty-free and 100% vegan.

Rapha
Rapha custom collection

Cult British brand Rapha is disrupting the cycling market by partnering with Unmade to create a customizable team collection. Customers are given the opportunity to create their own unique jersey designs, including team logos, which are then manufactured into a bespoke product. Poor user experience and long lead times are usually a set back when it comes to customization, but Unmade’s print solution allows for quick bespoke manufacturing on a smaller scale.

Puma
Puma’s new NYC flagship

To enhance customer experience in store, Puma has created an exclusive customization studio at its new flagship store in New York. Customers can customize a range of footwear and apparel using paints, patchwork, embroidery, 3D knitting, laser printing and material upcycling. The studio also collaborates with new artists on a bi-weekly basis, with Sue Tsai, BWOOD and Maria Jahnkoy being the most recent.

Levi’s
Levi’s customization patches

Levi’s brand strategy has revolved around making products your own since the original blue jean was patented in 1873. These days, many Levi’s shops have a dedicated tailor shop that can customize and repair products, such as adding patches, studs, embroidery, stencilling and distressing, so consumers can have a one-of-a-kind product. To align with its sustainability initiatives, the brand also offers a full repair service which does anything from fixing rips and holes to color fading, helping well-worn jeans gain a new lease of life.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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

Zara introduces denim customization service

Zara is launching a pop up customization service at three global stores where customers will be able to embroider words on a selection of the brand’s denim products.

Launching on March 27, the service, titled Zara Edited, will be available at specific stores in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Milan. Customers will be able to choose from 13 different denim pieces, from shorts to jackets, and embroider them with letters from a selection of fonts and colors. Meanwhile those shopping in Italy, Britain, Holland and Spain will be able to order personalized items online.

In-store personalization services have become an effective way to engage with consumers who are seeking products that allow them to express their individuality. Brands across the spectrum – from Coach to Levi’s and GAP – have deployed it for years. Zara’s sheer size as a fast fashion brand, however, coupled with the service also being available online, speaks to the potential experiences like this may have as on-demand technologies mature.

The Spanish brand is increasingly focusing on add-on services and technologies to enhance the in-store experience. Last year, it hosted a tech-enabled pop up at London’s Westfield mall ahead of the opening of its first new concept in the same location months later; meanwhile also in 2018, it introduced an interactive AR experience to over 100 stores worldwide.

How are you thinking about product customization? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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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Retail technology

MAC targets Chinese Gen Z with interactive store concept

 

MAC Cosmetics is targeting Gen Z consumers in Shanghai, China with the Experience Center, an interactive store that aims to bridge the gap between physical and digital with a host of interactive experiences.

According to the Estée Lauder-owned brand, the store is a result of six months of consumer behavior research into the MAC consumer, including cognitive walkthroughs, focus groups and exit interviews with customers. Results then helped shape the design and experience of the store, including all tech elements that give visitors a more personalized experience.

For example at the store’s entrance, stationary digital screens invite customers to scan their phones to check into MAC’s WeChat mini-program. The program then triggers a variety of functions during the experience, such as instant checkout and product pick up.

Meanwhile in the lipstick section, a smart mirror enables customers to virtually try on 18 different shades in under 30 seconds through augmented reality. Customers can also choose from six eye shadow palettes and customize it to their tastes through the WeChat platform, which is then 3D printed for them. Lastly, an infrared touchscreen interface can scan a shopper’s face and recommend a foundation shade.

Beauty companies are leading the conversation in creating retail concepts where tech plays a major role in allowing consumers an increasingly personalized experience. Last year, brands from Bourjois to CoverGirl unveiled concepts where the try-on experience was further enhanced by tech fixtures, while Sephora often experiments with such features in its many store concepts across the globe.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global 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 technology

L’Oréal introduces AI skin diagnosis tool deploying user selfies

L’Oréal has unveiled an AI-enabled digital skin diagnosis tool that uses selfies to assess the user’s skin in order to make skincare recommendations tailored to the individual.

The Skinconsult tool deploys AI technology developed by virtual try-on beauty company Modiface combined with L’Oréal’s own research, which includes 6,000 clinical images of men and women across countries such as France, India and China, as well as 4,000 user selfies in different lighting conditions.

“Our mission is beauty for all,” said Lubomira Rochet, chief digital director of the French group, speaking at a press conference for WWD. Rochet added that she believes services will be the new way for users to discover their brands and products, and that this particular system is promoting the “democratization” of skin diagnosis, since all a potential user needs is a smartphone to snap a selfie.

To use the tool, the customer must upload a selfie onto a website, which is then analyzed in terms of areas of strength and improvement using seven different aging variables: under-eye wrinkles, lack of firmness, fine lines, lack of radiance, dark spots, deep wrinkles and pores. The result is a bespoke skincare regime that aims to meet their individual needs.

According to the group’s executives, a typical analysis under this system resulted in the same skin diagnosis as an average of 12 dermatologists. The bespoke result, however, still encourages users to see a specialist regularly.

The new tool was first introduced in January in Canada under L’Oréal’s Vichy brand, and there are plans to further expand it across the brand’s websites worldwide in the future.

The launch is the latest of a series of new services and products that L’Oréal has piloted over the last couple of years as it flexes its muscles as a leader in the beauty tech scene. Its acquisition of Canadian startup Modiface in 2018 has so far also resulted in a long-term AR push that includes virtual beauty consultations through Facebook, while other tech launches include its growing My Skin Track UV sensor range for La Roche Posay, and on-demand personalized serums under skincare brand Skinceuticals.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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 data e-commerce product technology

Levi’s partners with Pinterest on personal styling tool

Levi’s has partnered with Pinterest on a personal styling tool that generates a custom inspiration board depending on the user’s taste. 

Called “Styled by Levi’s”, the feature exists on a microsite, where users can select the gender they would like to shop in, and five product images that they relate to the most. Next, they are prompted to log into their Pinterest accounts to receive personalized, shoppable boards. 

Apart from editorial campaigns and product images, boards also refer customers to its customization service and chatbot feature, which the brand launched in 2017.

The feature works both when the user is logged in to their Pinterest accounts or not. However, users that are logged in will be served a more relevant experience as the platform also uses data from their past browsing behavior. 

Over the past couple of years, Pinterest has pushed to monetize the behavior of its audience of 250 million with a series of brand partnerships that feature an e-commerce element. For this holiday season, it is introducing Gift Globes, a gift-finding solution where consumers can enter information to receive customised gift guides. Participating brands include Macy’s, Lowe’s and Kohl’s.

How are you thinking about digital 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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e-commerce social media

Design your own high heels: Sergio Rossi showcases WeChat mini-program

Sergio Rossi on WeChat
Sergio Rossi on WeChat

Personalization previously only existed in a high-end couture world for private clients. Now, Italian luxury shoe brand Sergio Rossi grants a similar sense of privilege to a wider range of consumers and delivers it right to the fingertips of Chinese customers with a new WeChat campaign that showcases the brand’s ambitions to court digital-savvy Chinese consumers. 

Launched on September 10, customers can access the personalization service through Sergio Rossi’s WeChat mini-program. The homepage includes an English-language video, demonstrating how consumers can design a shoe. They can experiment with a wide variety of elements to create their very own Sergio Rossi shoe – from the material, color and length of the heel to plate and customized letters. And the vehicle, the WeChat mini-program, empowers a one-stop shopping experience, from design and payment to social media sharing. 

Participating customers can see how each customization option alters the price of their shoes in real time. Of course, design decisions need to be made carefully, as there is no refund or return option for the customized footwear once it is ordered. Thankfully, the mini-program provides a 360-degree digital preview, which can help customers gauge the look and feel of their personalized footwear.  

Sergio Rossi on WeChat
Sergio Rossi on WeChat

Sergio Rossi is trying to harness the direct-to-consumer luxury trend in China. Such personalized experiences not only allow the company to better cater their productsto consumers, but it also represents a valuable marketing opportunity for the company.

According to CuriosityChina – A Farfetch Company, who helped conceptualize and launch the campaign, the mini-program has already garnered substantial traction in China.

This WeChat mini-program campaign debuted after Sergio Rossi announced its partnership with brand management and distribution company Luxba Group earlier this year.

By Ruonan Zheng

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a content partner of TheCurrentDaily: Design your own high heels: Sergio Rossi showcases WeChat mini-program 

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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business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Inside Target’s test store, algorithms threatening jobs, L’Occitane’s AI personalization

Target
Target

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Target’s top secret test store [Co.Design]
  • How algorithms are threatening fashion’s white-collar jobs [BoF]
  • L’Occitane boosts mobile conversions by 159% with AI-powered personalization [Mobile Marketing]
TECHNOLOGY
  • What blockchain can’t do [HBR]
  • Think you know how disruptive artificial intelligence is? Think again [Forbes]
  • Top Japan fashion site bets big on custom-fit fast fashion [BoF]
  • Baidu’s self-driving buses will hit Japan’s streets next year [TNW]
  • How SK-II disrupted the beauty industry in Japan with emerging technology [TheDrum]
  • Watch MIT’s blind robot run, jump, and climb stairs [TNW]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Factory Tour: Eileen Fisher helps make the eco-fashion dream of circularity come true [Fashionista]
  • Wrangler and MyFarms talk ‘field-level’ sustainability in new report [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 27% of apparel sales are now online [RetailDive]
  • Why virtual reality won’t revolutionize retail, but scan-and-go will [RetailDive]
  • Sophia Webster puts her spin on experiential retail with second London boutique [WWD]
  • Reporter’s notebook: A quest for experiential retail [RetailDive]
  • Walmart.com launches 3-D virtual reality tour [WWD]
  • Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx. So why is it introducing tons of its own Amazon delivery vans? [Recode]
  • Samsung brand experience opens its doors in the heart of Paris [BrandChannel]
  • Kirsten Green’s survival guide for the ‘retail reckoning’ [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside Instagram’s social shopping masterclass [BoF]
  • Hilfiger’s next TommyNow runway show to touch down in Shanghai [WWD]
  • Are influencers really worth the money? [BoF]
  • Roger Federer signs $300 million sponsorship deal with Uniqlo [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • These people with disabilities have ideas for making shopping more accessible [TeenVogue]
  • Tiffany & Co. will now let you personalize with custom symbols and monograms [Town & Country]
  • What FDA approval of CBD could mean for the beauty industry [Racked]
  • Walmart pulls “Impeach 45” t-shirts after Trump supporters threaten boycott [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Paris Fashion Week’s front rows speak to fashion’s complicated stance on #MeToo [TheFashionLaw]
  • Chanel’s digital strategy takes shape amid executive shuffle [BoF]
  • Subscription box market fights fatigue [AdAge]
  • How Revolve has built a billion-dollar fashion company for millennial women [Inc]
  • Fans of ModCloth and Bonobos were aghast when Walmart bought the brands. But they’re still shopping [Quartzy]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Fashion’s sustainability pulse, Gucci customization, is blockchain a bad move?

Gucci
Gucci

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

TOP STORIES
  • Sustainability in fashion is growing, but ‘systemic’ change a ways off [WWD]
  • Blockchain is crappy technology and a bad vision for the future [TNW]
  • Gucci introduces new ‘do it yourself’ customization program [WWD]
  • Nike patent imagines shoes with tiny treadmills built into the soles [Gizmodo]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple, Amazon and more vie for us drone pilot program [Reuters]
  • Facebook is launching a new team dedicated to the blockchain [Recode]
  • We were promised mind-blowing personal tech. What’s the hold-up? [WSJ]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain [Reuters]
  • Amazon’s new codes on boxes encourage re-use [RetailDive]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon reportedly could grab 10% of retail sales by 2020 [RetailDive]
  • Walmart’s head of e-commerce on the future of retail [Cheddar]
  • Aldo updates app to streamline trying on shoes in store [RetailDive]
  • Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar mall heralds new growth strategy [Nikkei]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ikea ‘bullied’ a potted plant while encouraging another, then showed schoolkids the impact [AdWeek]
  • The world’s most popular iPhone app isn’t Facebook or WhatsApp [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • How product customization is driving a new business strategy at Tapestry [Glossy]
  • Ikea and Savile Row tailor William Hunt partner up to create three-piece suits [FashionUnited]
  • $12,350 for a pair of adidas? [BoF]
  • Alexander Wang designs cooler bag with Magnum [FashionUnited
BUSINESS
  • Hudson’s Bay seeks to revive Lord & Taylor’s fortunes [CNBC]
  • Here’s why nobody wants to buy Birchbox, even after VCs spent $90m [FastCompany]
  • Apple’s retail boss will be joining Ralph Lauren’s board of directors [BusinessInsider]
  • YNAP shareholders say yes to Richemont purchase offer [WWD]
Categories
business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Fashion embracing AI, how Apple is using AR, breaking down Gucci’s innovation model

AI in fashion - artificial intellgence
AI in fashion

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

TOP STORIES
  • How fashion should (and shouldn’t) embrace artificial intelligence [BoF]
  • How Apple will use AR to reinvent the human-computer interface [Fast Company]
  • Breaking down the Gucci-inspired ‘innovation model’ that’s taking over Kering [Glossy]
  • In fashion’s hype-driven era, Hermès is doing its own thing [Dazed]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Blockchain, Internet of Things and AI: What the newest luxury startup accelerators are investing in [Glossy]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • What really goes into a fashion sustainability ranking & how brands game the system [TheFashionLaw]
  • Millennials say they care about sustainability. So, why don’t they shop this way? [BoF]
  • Report: Levi’s is ‘all talk and no action’ on sustainability [Glossy]
  • Beauty brands are finding innovative ways to reduce packaging waste [Fashionista]
  • The young designers pioneering a sustainable fashion revolution [Vogue]
  • TheRealReal, Stella McCartney flaunt high-fashion recycling [MediaPost]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Is video the future of online shopping? [BoF]
  • Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car [TheVerge]
  • Fast fashion’s biggest threat is faster fashion [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Outdoor Voices uses AR to launch OV Trail Shop running collection [FashionNetwork]
  • Oakley forgives you (even if others don’t) in this lovely ode to athletic obsession [AdWeek]
  • Adidas Originals traded pieces from Alexander Wang’s new collection to get to Coachella [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • Disney made a jacket to simulate physical experiences, like a snake slithering across your body [TheVerge]
  • Adidas is testing how to mass-produce custom shoes like those it makes for elite athletes [Quartz]
BUSINESS
  • Balenciaga issues second apology after claims of discrimination against Chinese shoppers [Reuters]
  • Sephora’s lawsuit with obsessive compulsive cosmetics is a staggering case study in how beauty products are sold [Racked]
Categories
product Retail technology

SoulCycle teams up with Ultracor to create personalized leggings

SoulCycle x Ultracor
SoulCycle x Ultracor

Fitness brand SoulCycle is working with performance wear line Ultracor to give customers the opportunity to personalize their own pair of leggings in minutes.

A continuation of the duo’s collaboration in the summer of 2017, the partnership sees new Ultracor kiosks set up in select SoulCycle studios that allow indoor cycling guests, or “riders” as they’re known, to design and personalize their individual styles.

The kiosks are launching with five different legging designs; each one using next generation digital printing, patented built-in shapewear and breathable fabric.

The result means riders are able to customize their leggings in a number of ways to make them a perfect fit. By including height in the design process, the Ultracor kiosk is able to ensure that the knee break and waistband heights of the leggings are in a comfortable position for the wearer.

Customers can also select the exact shades they’d like to use for parts of their pants from a full color scale, rather than a few options. The designs can then be further personalized with the addition of up to 10 characters of text that are added to the back right side.

Soulcycle x Ultracor
Soulcycle x Ultracor

Each design is priced at circa $200 and new styles will be added to the kiosks every couple of weeks. The leggings are delivered to the customer within three business days.

The initiative is an interesting example of SoulCycle thinking beyond the idea of being a fitness studio and instead considering its role as a lifestyle brand; thinking about the retail side of things to drive consumer engagement and new revenue streams.

Brand collaboration has been long been a feature of SoulCycle’s strategy. It recently partnered with luxury fragrance company Le Labo to update its locker room amenities, for instance.

It has also partnered with a number of fashion brands to create capsule collections, and in a surprising twist, New York bakery Milk Bar, to create a protein post-workout cookie.

At SXSW this year, the company’s CEO Melanie Whelan joined Milk Bar’s Christina Tossi in a panel to discuss the importance of collaboration as part of a cult brand’s DNA. “Introducing new moments to surprise and delight consumers is key,” Whelan said.