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Future of pop-ups, preparing for holiday, Eileen Fisher and West Elm collaborate

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

TOP STORIES
  • Fashion’s new playground: Esports and gaming (Vogue Business)
  • Retail is ‘scrambling’ to keep up with accelerated disruption in the COVID-19 era (Retail Dive)
  • How to prepare for the toughest holiday season ever (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fashion is hurting biodiversity. New guidelines could help.  (Vogue Business)
  • Fashion Positive launches industry’s first circular materials guidelines (WWD)
  • Alexander McQueen launches MCQ, a blockchain-powered creative platform (HighSnobiety)
  • How mobile technology can encourage sustainability (Environment Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Is pre-sale the future of luxury retail? (WWD)
  • Popup power: why short-term stores are set to thrive (Vogue Business)
  • John Lewis launches virtual queuing system trial (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • The case for opening a new store right now (BoF)
  • Even as the pandemic persists, the future of retail is not locked down (WWD)
  • Tmall Luxury unveils new features to connect brands with Gen Z (Retail Dive)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TikTok unveils first shoppable livestream with Ntwrk (Retail Dive)
  • 4 post-COVID marketing tips that will save luxury brands in China (Jing Daily)
  • The “Gucci Model Challenge” is taking over TikTok (Teen Vogue)
  • How Summer Fridays pivoted its marketing due to Covid-19 (Glossy)
PRODUCT
  • Disney Store launches clothing recycled from Walt Disney World plastic bottles (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Eileen Fisher, West Elm launch sustainable home line using denim discards (WWD)
  • Reiss launches new “Luxe Leisure” collection to answer to the “new normal” (TheIndustry.Fashion)
BUSINESS
  • Walmart sells two more ecommerce brands in digital reshuffle (Bloomberg)
  • Ulta Beauty says makeup category ‘challenged’ amid coronavirus (WWD)
  • How Sephora prepped for an ecommerce onslaught (Retail Dive)
  • Why aren’t more Chinese department stores going bankrupt? (BoF)
  • Alibaba wants American brands. The same ones as Amazon (Vogue Business)
  • Amazon says forging ahead with luxury platform (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Why Gen Y & Z continue shopping despite crisis (Fashion United)
  • When controversy hits in China, luxury brands bank on short attention spans (Jing Daily)
  • How Yeti beat streetwear at the business of making things…cool (High Snobiety)

 

 

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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Selfridges sustainability program, Henkel’s digital strategy, Instagram launches QR codes

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

TOP STORIES
  • Clienteling takes fashion retailers directly to shoppers (WWD)
  • What it means to be a Gen Z beauty brand today (NYT)
  • How to salvage back-to-school season (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Who’s wearing vinyl pants in the quarantine? How the pandemic could kill fashion trends for good  (Fast Company)
  • Tiffany & Co. now offers a complete lens into diamonds’ origins (WWD)
  • Is sustainable loungewear the future of fashion? (Refinery29)
  • Selfridges launches Project Earth sustainability program (TheIndustry.Fashion)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Pre-orders are becoming a popular tool for fashion brands. But are they a good idea? (BoF)
  • Store innovations: which store tech makes business sense now? (Fashion United)
  • Here is the only good pricing strategy for luxury brands (Jing Daily)
  • How turning malls into fulfillment centers can reshape towns (Modern Retail)
  • Amazon, DIY and fitness rule in pandemic-related spending (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hoke One One opens virtual pop-up shop with Snapchat AR (Retail Dive)
  • Why growth marketing will help retailers stay afloat (WWD)
  • Instagram to launch QR code feature allowing shoppers to connect with retailers’ profiles (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Luxury faces up to US-China tech wars (Vogue Business)
PRODUCT
  • Burberry launches range of reusable and sustainable face masks in iconic checkprint (Independent)
  • Pat McGrath Labs announces Supreme collaboration (WWD)
  • Adidas collaborates with Noah NYC on recycled collection (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Inside the corporate responsibility strategies shaping PVH (BoF)
  • Payless relaunches online, with plans for hundreds of stores (Retail Dive)
  • When the mall owns the retailer (Retail Dive)
  • Inside Henkel’s digital ambitions (Glossy)
  • Walmart’s focus shifts to retention as ecommerce grows 97% (Modern Retail)
  • Sephora’s Jean-André Rougeot reveals is strategic vision (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Why counterfeit beauty products are booming amid Covid-19 (Vogue Business)
  • What China’s affluent consumers want post-COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • The pandemic changed the way people live. How can fashion adapt? (BoF)
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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Virtual showrooms, Kanye and Gap partner, TikTok for business

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

TOP STORIES
  • As fashion resets, its algorithms should too (Vogue Business)
  • Catwalks, trade fairs and fitting rooms: how the fashion industry is going digital (Fashion United)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fashion’s steep climb to sustainable viscose (Vogue Business)
  • Digitised and circular: the future of fashion buying (Fashion United)
  • Retailers need to get back to saving the earth  (Forbes)
  • L’Oreal set sustainability goals for 2030 (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Beauty brands adopt shoppable livestreaming in the US (Glossy)
  • Online resale appears to be pandemic proof (Fashionista)
  • See the future of online shopping. It looks nothing like Amazon (Fast Company)
  • At-home fit technology is helping some retailers survive the coronavirus (WWD)
  • As cities reopen, the DTC store strategy is changing (Digiday)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TikTok launches “TikTok for business” (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • How brands can fill the “experience void” while customers are stuck at home (Fast Company)
  • CRM gains new relevance in pandemic era (WWD)
  • Sephora launches on Instagram checkout with over 80 brands (Retail Dive)
PRODUCT
  • H&M’s new dress collection isn’t just pretty, it’s sustainable too (Marie Claire)
  • Rimowa branches out into eyewear (WWD)
  • Unilever dropping ‘skin-whitening’ products and ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand names (Fast Company)
BUSINESS
  • Kanye West and Gap strike 10-year deal for ‘Yeezy Gap’ apparel line (NYT)
  • Suited for safety: Suitsupply is braving new retail realities (Forbes)
  • Alibaba and JD.com handle a record $136.51 billion in sales during major Chinese shopping event (CNBC)
  • Kohl’s CEO says the store are changing faster than expected (Bloomberg)
  • Restoration Hardware CEO aims to make his company a luxury giant  (Forbes)
CULTURE
  • Mural, street-front shopping: retailers use ingenuity to welcome back customers (WWD)
  • Have Chinese beauty consumers changed after the COVID-19 outbreak? (Jing Daily)
  • Why luxury brands aren’t giving up on fashion month (BoF)
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business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

3D virtual fashion shows, CFDA addresses diversity, luxury faces revenge saving

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

TOP STORIES
  • Brick and mortar’s next chapter (Retail Dive)
  • Digital startups offer concrete solutions to fashion industry (WWD)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • CFDA launches plans to make fashion more racially balanced (WWD)
  • Fashion can’t afford to wait for customers to demand sustainability (Vogue Business)
  • Fashion’s philanthropy play (Vogue Business)
  • Can the furniture industry end waste by going circular? Ikea wants to find out (Fast Company)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Websites used to be secondary stores. That dynamic is shifting (Vogue Business)
  • How Williams Sonoma’s digital bets made it a coronavirus winner (Modern Retail)
  • Gucci’s new tech bet: personalized video shopping (Vogue Business)
  • Ecommerce giants up their livestreaming game for 618 shopping festival (Jing Daily)
  • How will resale sites respond to an expected flood of looted luxury goods? (The Fashion Law)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Prada backed AI-startup to create live streamed 3D virtual fashion show (Forbes)
  • Why UGC is exploding in popularity amongst brands during Covid-19 (The Drum)
  • Why luxury brands are betting on Bilibili (Vogue Business)
  • Pinterest adds a shop tab to lens visual search results (AdWeek)
PRODUCT
  • British Fashion Council launches sustainable designer face masks (Evening Standard)
  • Can CBD revive color cosmetics? (Glossy)
BUSINESS
  • The world’s largest jewelry maker commits to using 100% recycled silver and gold (Fast Company)
  • Puig confirms Charlotte Tilbury buy (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Coty in talks to collaborate with Kim Kardashion for cosmetics line (Reuters)
  • LVMH takes a new look at proposed $16.2B Tiffany merger (Retail Dive)
  • What are the legal risks and responsibilities for companies as businesses begin to reopen?  (The Fashion Law)
CULTURE
  • If window shopping is dead, then so is high street (The Daily Telegraph)
  • This is not the end of fashion (NYT)
  • Should luxury brands be worried about “revenge saving”? (Jing Daily)
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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

Why Nike is betting on an Amazon-free future

Last month, Nike announced it would be pulling all of its products from Amazon in a bid to refocus its distribution strategy and “elevate consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships”. 

Leaving one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms after a two-year pilot is a bold move. So what does the divorce mean for the sportswear giant?

In leaving Amazon, the company is joining a roster of others, from IKEA to Birkenstock, who have tried and failed to make it work on the platform. Amazon has developed a poor reputation when it comes to how it treats its sellers – and it’s doing very little to change it. But as retailers depart the platform to deliver a more personal customer experience – while keeping a tight leash on their product offerings – the e-commerce giant needs to start thinking damage control.

Selling on Amazon comes with an ever-changing set of challenges. While it has been busy expanding its fashion offering, the website is still designed for the convenience shopper, and not the one looking to be wowed or to discover a new favorite brand. Search ranking results can be confusing – for example, searching for sports shoes will not necessarily bring up the Nike sneakers immediately at the top of the page, even though it is a market leader. It is also often hard to find out whether you are buying the item directly from the brand, or a third-party seller.

Then there is the big elephant in the room: counterfeiting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the website “increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market.” For the US site, it is now attracting Chinese sellers to post their goods directly to consumers, rather than through North American middlemen. This means a proliferation of sold goods that are deemed either counterfeit, or banned or unsafe for consumption, which are virtually impossible to keep track of.

But Nike’s exit is coming from a privileged position. It has built a community outside the retailer’s website, and will exist just fine without it. For brands of its caliber, this is a good chance to take a leaf out of the direct-to-consumer rulebook and create a distribution approach that not only gives it more say, but enables more direct conversations. 

Nike is now working on strengthening its relationship with other smaller retailers. At Foot Locker’s new NYC flagship, for example, NikePlus app users can reserve shoes in advance and pick them up from dedicated lockers.

On a direct-to-consumer level, it is launching services like the Nike Adventure Club, a sneaker subscription for kids aged 2-10 where for a monthly fee, they receive a certain number of sneakers a year. The brand is targeting time-strapped parents who live in areas that perhaps don’t have a shoe store nearby. Instead of restoring to the convenience of Amazon when their child has moved up a shoe size, Nike is hoping these parents will choose a box service with a trusted brand instead.

This is also a chance for the brand to test out the subscription model, and potentially apply it to other consumer groups in the future, says David Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.  “We’re starting to think about what other athletes have problems that could be very easily solved by a subscription,” he said. “This is the beginning of something pretty exciting for Nike.”

For all of the sales volume that Nike will be losing by exiting Amazon, the sports brand is hard at work building a tight strategy where convenience meets personalization, which will likely pay off in the near future. 

This is perhaps where Amazon continues to falter – both in the eyes of its vendors and consumers. Next day delivery and low prices come at the price of the user experience, which still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discoverability and bringing up (relevant) recommendations. 

Consumers may currently be fully onboard with the endless hamster wheel of speed and low value, but only time will tell if that will be enough to fulfill their more nuanced needs, such as creating emotional connections. Nike is betting on the latter.

How are you thinking about experience? 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.

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business Campaigns e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail

The rise of livestream shopping: From Kim Kardashian to hypebeasts

In the build up to this year’s Singles’ Day event in China (Nov 11), Kim Kardashian West took to TMall to co-host a live streaming shopping session with one of the country’s top-selling influencers, Viya Huang. The event drew in 13 million viewers and helped Kim K sell her entire stock of 15,000 bottles of KKW perfume in just a few minutes.

Broadcasting shopping events have long been a success in Asia, a region that often leapfrogs the West when it comes to responding to its audience’s want-it-now behaviors with digital tools. In 2018, the genre generated $4.4bn in sales in China alone. 

To further put in perspective the success of the feature on TMall, Huang, who joined Kardashian West on-screen during the broadcast, previously broke a record on the platform in October when she sold almost $50m in one day. 

In this case, the benefits of the partnership were twofold: while for Kardashian West it meant tapping into a mature audience and expanding her already huge visibility in Asia, for TMall, this served as a testing ground for its Global Influencer Ecosystem, a program that aims to train and support 2,000 influencers around the world.

Kim Kardashian’s TMall livestream

Live streaming has its origins beyond retail, and is part of a much wider voyeuristic nature the internet helped incubate – from watching people play video games on sites like Twitch, to the huge popularity of unboxing videos on YouTube. 

Brands following suit feels only natural as a result. Sprinkle in some influencer dust, and you’ve got a recipe for success. 

But this fairly new behavior is also an offshoot of a much wider trend for immediacy, or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tactics that retailers have long deployed with flash sales and limited edition products.

You only need to look at the long-standing popularity of shopping channels like QVC and HSN, which combined brought in $3.1bn in sales during Q1 2019, to find the winning strategy: a charismatic host who sells a single product with a masterful sense of urgency, either focusing on its price or exclusivity, urging viewers to call in. But how do you refresh that model to suit the younger generation whose mobile-first behaviors mean they don’t watch live television, or even pick up the phone?

Enter platforms like NTWRK, a self-described QVC for Gen Z and Millennials, whose second round of funding included the likes of Foot Locker, Live Nation and rapper Drake. The app broadcasts live sessions where hosts, who are often celebrities or musicians, will sell limited edition goods – from sneakers to concert tickets – only available for the duration of the show. This, according to the platform, is “shopping at the speed of culture.” 

NTWRK could also represent the next step in hypebeast – or urban streetwear – culture, adding an extra level of exclusivity now that queueing outside stores has become a secondary market in itself.

Meanwhile H&M’s young brand Monki recently hosted an experience on its own e-commerce site where its fashion editor and a buyer discussed fashion trends and their favorite products of the season, while viewers could shop the products and even replay the video once it had ended.

Monki’s livestream

The popularity of these platforms and one-off events show that appetite is definitely there, much like in Asia. But in order to create a seamless shopping experience and keep customers coming back, brands and tech platforms still have a few kinks to resolve. 

Firstly, there is the issue of internet connection, which will undoubtedly improve once 5G has hit the masses. Then, there is creating a user experience that enables viewers to shop while never having to leave the stream to add their payment information or check out. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it will be up to brands and retailers creating these streams to enlist hosts and create experiences that will grab and keep the attention of a notoriously fickle demographic.

It will be interesting to watch this space mature. A trend that is so clearly influenced by a tried-and-tested retail format – TV shopping networks – highlights how innovation is often about evolution, and not reinvention. Finding what works, and updating it to the digitally-led generation.

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.

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Vivienne Westwood calls to ban land ownership, Shiseido acquires Drunk Elephant, Hong Kong protests hit luxury

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

Top Stories
  • The ‘only way to save the world’ is to ban land ownership, says Vivienne Westwood (Dezeen)
  • Why Shiseido bought Drunk Elephant for $845million (BoF)
  • Hong Kong protests could hit Burberry sales by up to £100million (Quartz)
Technology
  • Adidas 1st to sell shoes via Snapchat game (Mobile Marketer)
  • 5G smartphone sales will top 1B by 2025 (Mobile Marketer)
  • Unicef now accepting donations through bitcoin and ether (The Guardian)
  • 3D-printed smart textiles consume less energy, water & chemicals (Sourcing Journal)
  • GOAT showcases world’s rarest sneakers with AR try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • Personal stylists are using data to strengthen relationships (Vogue Business)
  • O2 launches ‘worlds first live ad’ powered by 5G (Campaign)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • California bans animal fur products (Drapers)
  • Kat von D launches vegan footwear line from apple ‘leather’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Farfetch partners with Thrift+, a second hand donation platform (Retail Gazette)
  • Chloe forges three-year partnership with UNICEF (WWD)
  • Forget carbon neutral, Patagonia wants to be ‘carbon positive’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Little Mistress launches sustainable packaging (Fashion United)
  • John Lewis launches sustainable ‘buyback’ trial (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Stance opens Carnaby Street flagship store (Retail Gazette)
  • Morphe launches in-store Youtube studios to drive foot traffic (Glossy)
  • H&M outlet brand Afound shifts focus towards online (BoF)
  • Rental service HURR Collective to stage pop-up shop (The Industry)
  • Vans brings new boutique concept to Covent Garden (Fashion United)
  • Givenchy unveils US e-commerce site (WWD)
  • HMV launches Europe’s largest music store (Retail Week)
Business
  • Ganni’s guerrilla approach to global growth (BoF)
  • New CEO at Stella McCartney (Drapers)
  • Race to buy Barneys heats up (WWD)
  • Toys R Us relaunches website amid Target partnership (Charged Retail)
  • Victoria’s Secret store exec departs (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH luxury venture fund invests in streetwear brand Madhappy (Fashion Law)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram launches Threads, a close friend chat app with auto-status (TechCrunch)
  • The next generation of menswear designers might be on Youtube (Fashionista)
  • Teens choose Youtube over Netflix for the first time (CNBC)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister launch Instagram checkout (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Mens beauty grooming retailer Beast Inks deal for U.K rollout (WWD)
  • SprezzaBox and Esquire team up to launch subscription box (Fashion United)
  • Everlane launches ReCashmere sweater collection (Dezeen)
Culture
  • Adidas teams up with Universal Standard for a truly size-inclusive collaboration (Adweek)
  • Why 5,000-year-old fashion is making a comeback (BoF)
  • Lululemon partners with United Nations Foundation (Fashion United)
  • Kellogg’s autism-sensitive packaging for kids (Stylus)
  • Victoria’s Secret hires first plus-size model (Fashion United)
  • Havas and CALM team up to create self-care labelling for Topshop and Topman (Campaign)
  • The business of casting queer models (BoF)

How are you thinking about 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. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail technology

4 technologies aiding in-store navigation

Big box retailers including Walmart’s Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target are using a variety of interesting wayfinding technologies to improve customer navigation inside the physical store.

The result is designed to enable efficiency in the customer journey. This is in response to the fact that as online sales growth surpasses brick-and-mortar, customers are expecting more than just easy access to online products in physical stores, they also want to find them faster.

Cue solutions ranging from robots to augmented reality mapping. Read on for some of the strongest examples in the market to date…

Augmented Reality
Legoland Denmark augmented reality app

Home store Lowe’s was one of the first retailers to introduce an app with augmented reality indoor mapping. Instead of a 2-D image, this mobile service projects navigation signs and price specials on top of the user’s field of view – meaning they can see which direction to go in projected through their smartphones straight onto the floor or space in front of them. 

Outside of the retail space, Legoland in Denmark has recently experimented with an AR wayfinding app that helps visitors navigate around the park via a mini Lego avatar. They can also then receive real-time information on wait times ahead of them.

Voice Search
Sam’s Club Scan & Go app

Sam’s Club Now in Dallas, Walmart’s test store for technology, is also focusing on a mobile-first shopping experience. Its Scan & Go app helps customers easily access products with an integrated system using voice search for navigation. When a shopper tells the app what they need, a map directs them to the item on the shopfloor. 

Home Depot’s version meanwhile, allows users to use voice or visual search to find a specific item and then be shown exactly where it’s located within the store. Macy’s launched something similar back in 2016 with IBM Watson, which enabled users to ask question as to where specific products, departments, and brands were located, as well as what services and facilities could be found in a particular store.

Robotics
The LoweBot

From voice technology then comes robotics. Lowe’s was also one of the first to make it easier for customers to find help on the shop floor by deploying robot attendants. The “LoweBot” responds to voice commands, guiding customers through the aisles with smart laser sensors.

For Kyle Nel, executive director at Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the LoweBot resolves a common problem: “When I walk into a store and I want to know where something is I want to know right then — I don’t want to have to download an app — a robot can really help with that.”

Real-time Beacons
Target

Target is heavily investing in beacon technology for the sake of navigation also. It renewed its stores to use energy-efficient LED lighting with built-in Bluetooth beacons, which enable the store’s app to show customers their real-time location on the shop floor in a similar experience to that of Google Maps. They also help notify customers when they walk by one of Target’s “Cartwheel” deals.

Gatwick Airport has also invested in beacon technology as part of its £2.5bn transformation. Here, 2,000 indoor navigation beacons have been installed to help customers easily navigate around the terminals and reduce the amount of missed flights. Augmented reality plays a part here too, with a blue line mapped through the smartphone for users to show them which direction to go in.

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. Get in touch to learn more. 

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data e-commerce product Retail

VF teams up with Tmall to bolster product offering in Chinese market

VF Corporation has partnered with Tmall’s Innovation Center (TMIC) to up its offering in the Chinese market through the use of consumer insights and analytics.

The collaboration is aiming to give the retail group behind brands including The North Face, Vans and Timberland, access to Alibaba-owned Tmall’s 654 million-strong customer database.

The goal is to identify customer trends faster, build customer data profiles, track products to judge how well they’re selling and design new lines tailored specifically to Chinese consumers.

Other brands within VF, including Kipling and Dickies, have already made use of the insights. Kipling launched a new backpack following consumer testing, which resulted in it becoming a top-seller among all items debuted by the brand this year.

Dickies meanwhile is making use of chatrooms within the Tmall app to conduct focus group discussions and have users share photos of how they style their items. The results are helping the brand design a new clothing line appealing to Chinese street style.

Any product that launches out of TMIC will be sold exclusively on Alibaba for a period of time.

Alibaba is using Tmall’s Innovation Center to lure western brands interested in the Chinese market. With no private-label products (like Amazon’s), brands don’t need to worry about Alibaba’s customer database being used to undercut their sales on the platform in the same way.

VF is the first fashion company to collaborate with TMIC, but other brands like L’Oréal, Unilever, and Mattel have also worked with the company on product development. Last fall, Alibaba partnered with 10 global market research powerhouses such as Nielsen, Euromonitor International, Ipsos, AdMaster and GFK, to broaden TMIC’s reach.

How are you thinking about product 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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e-commerce Editor's pick Retail technology

Westfield to launch AI-powered pop-up stocking trending items

Westfield London is set to launch a pop-up powered by data based on what is trending online, as determined by an artificial intelligence (AI) system.

Every morning, Westfield staff will stock the brick-and-mortar space with 100 items from throughout the mall – across menswear, womenswear and accessories – that the AI has determined to be most popular online that day.

“We know that the UK is shopping online, but we’re also seeing and hearing from consumers that they crave the human factor that shopping in person provides – the ability to touch, feel, try and seek advice, to ensure the products are right for you,” says Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer for Westfield. “The Trending Store provides the best of both worlds via a unique shopping experience, one that we believe represents the way we will all be shopping in the future.”

The pop-up, dubbed The Trending Store, will open from July 3-7. The AI system, which was developed by NextAtlas, a company focused on using the tech to determine emerging trends, chose merchandise for it by tracking 400,000 of the hottest influencers, which the platform refers to as “trend innovators”. The platform then analyzed what these influencers were wearing, filtering out the 100 items that it deems to be most trending on that given day.

The data gathered by NextAtlas is then communicated to the in-house stylist team at Westfield London. The finished range includes pieces from across the price spectrum, from entry-level to premium.

The pop-up also supports Westfield’s humanitarian mission, helping to raise funds to support its long-established charity partner, Save The Children.

The Trending Store pop-up reflects the need for big retailers to adapt to a changing consumer that shops both online and offline. Activations such as this one are potentially effective ways of attracting customers to the store, as the physical retail channel has suffered from falling footfall in recent years.

British department Harvey Nichols, is another example of this. At the end of 2018, it created an installation that also combined online, offline and philanthropic elements in the spirit of the Christmas season. For the experience, a real-life choir assembled in the store whose looks were available to shop via Instagram, with proceeds supporting the Smart Works charity.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion 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 hear more.