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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

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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business Campaigns Editor's pick product Retail social media technology

5 brands tapping virtual storefronts to drive engagement and push conversion.

Brands are using virtual experiences in physical locations to provide shoppers with the benefit of an interactive in-person experience without needing to carry inventory.

These “invisible” or virtual storefronts – usually in the form of augmented reality content visible via smartphones – are being used to drive sales, collect data and boost branding efforts. At a time when physical retail is struggling, such mobile initiatives aren’t just eye-catching, they’re more convenient by providing curated products that can then be delivered on demand. 

To date, we’ve seen brands doing everything from collaborating with artists and social media platforms to creating personalized assortments using such virtual setups. Shoppability is key. Here’s a highlight of some of the more recent success stories…

Havaianas
Havaianas’s boardwalk virtual store

Early this summer, footwear brand Havaianas launched a virtual storefront focused on driving sales for one day only. Located on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, shoppers passing by a colorful mural discovered it was actually a virtual pop-up store. Snapping a photo of the designs they liked directed them to a shoppable microsite at  StepIntoSummer.com, revealing a curated style guide with various tips on what to buy. 

The concept was powered by Google’s Cloud Vision AI platform, which helped Havaianas pair merchandise with colors from the mural – a big step up from QR codes. The brand collaborated with street artist Buff Monster on the mural and featured fashion tips from stylist Tara Swennen.

Lego
Lego’s augmented reality store

To promote its first limited-edition clothing line for adults, Lego opened a pop-up shop with a twist in February: the store was entirely empty. Shoppers in London’s Soho neighbourhood arrived to find a Snapcode (a QR code for Snapchat) displayed on a pedestal. Scanning the code with their phones then surrounded them with a virtual storefront in AR. 

Customers could choose between three different types of merchandise – sweatshirts, caps and t-shirts – and view them on a Lego character. The pieces then sold through an integrated “Shop Now” feature on Snapchat, which led shoppers through to a dedicated e-commerce page that displayed the products on a real-life model, enabling them to choose their size before completing purchase.

Macy’s
Macy’s Santa Monica Pier displays

Macy’s partnered with Pinterest to display scannable Pincodes at vibrant gathering spots in the US, such as Central Park in New York and the Santa Monica Pier in LA. Scanning a code took shoppers to a Pinterest board curated with ideal summer looks for their location with links to the online store. 

Unlike most immersive retail experiences that are fixed to a specific location, or indeed online only, this campaign was designed to inspire customers with virtual catalogs that meet them where they are. 

Nike
The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat

Nike is another that has been experimenting with the idea of using specific virtual spaces to release new products. In 2018 it also used Snapchat, this time to release its Air Jordan III “Tinker” for those in attendance at the NBA All-Star after-party only.

 Achieved via a partnership between Nike, Snap, Darkstore and Shopify, users could scan exclusive Snap codes to buy and receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night. All of them sold out within 23 minutes.

Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices augmented reality experience

Austin-based activewear brand Outdoor Voices launched an augmented reality app experience at SXSW in 2018 that encouraged fans to get outdoors to find particular virtual products in the middle of the park. Once discovered, users could explore them in 360-degrees, find out more information as well as click to purchase.

How are you thinking about new technology? 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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Campaigns Editor's pick Retail technology

5 brands using gamification to drive shopping

Nike Reactland

The global gaming market is experiencing rapid growth, with an estimated valuation of $180bn expected by 2021, according to Newzoo. 

It is currently dominated by titles such as Fortnite, a free multiplayer game with 250 million users and $2.5m in daily revenue. Streaming platform Twitch, which accounts for 54% of gaming video content revenue, has also been highly successful due to its interactive network of both players and spectators. 

Though relatively limited, fashion brands and retailers have been experimenting through collaborations or campaigns that nod to such popular references. Louis Vuitton had a campaign featuring Final Fantasy XIII’s character, Lightning, as the new face of its SS16 collection for instance. More recently, Moschino launched a new collection with Sims, featuring garments with Sims motifs. A virtual hoodie was also released so players could dress their avatars in designer clothing in the game itself. 

What’s becoming more interesting however, is the number of brands turning to “gamification” rather. This refers to “the integration of game mechanics into an internal business process, website, or marketing campaign”. It’s a market that was valued at $6.8bn in 2018 and is estimated to rise to $40bn by 2024, according to market research firm Reportlinker. 

Its growth has been driven by increased demand for new customer experiences, as well as broader access to smartphone devices. And its success has meant brands and retailers are increasingly jumping in on the action in a bid to use ‘play’ as a way to encourage shopping. 

From driving discovery and engagement, to building brand advocacy and loyalty, here are five examples of those using gamification as part of the shopping journey. 

Kenzo: Building exclusivity through gaming

Kenzo Shopping League game
Kenzo Shopping League game

French luxury brand Kenzo launched a gamified e-shopping experience last year to promote the release of its new Sonic sneaker. Restricted to just a limited number of players, the aim of the initiative was to highlight the exclusiveness of the product. Getting a turn at playing was not only difficult in the first instance, but once in the game, users had to virtually defeat other opponents in an effort to then get access to buy one of the 100 exclusive pairs of sneakers. The campaign challenged consumers and added excitement to the shopping journey for those lucky enough to even get the chance to hit the purchase stage. 

Nike: Enabling user-testing through role play

Nike Reactland game
Nike Reactland game

Nike released a virtual environment called Reactland in Shanghai last year for the launch of its ‘React’ shoe. The game allowed users to test the shoe’s new sole cushioning technology in a unique digital environment. Customers could wear the shoes and run on a treadmill that was connected to a digital character on screen. This enabled them to thoroughly test the product’s durability by virtually climbing buildings and running through simulated streets. The game fueled consumer confidence in the product, leading to 48% of the players purchasing it.

Coca-Cola: Driving sales via virtual incentives

Coca-Cola incentive game
Coca-Cola incentive game

Coca-Cola created a supermarket game in Beijing and Singapore to catch consumers’ attention at the point of purchase in-store. Shoppers could connect to their mobile to the drag-and-shoot game, which involved successfully throwing virtual ice cubes into a glass of coke. Successful completion of the game resulted in prizes such as Coca-Cola discounts or loyalty points. The brand successfully targeted consumers at the moment of intent, and influenced them to pick Coca-Cola over competitors. 

Repeller: Bringing play to e-commerce

Repeller 'Play' website
Repeller ‘Play’ website

Popular fashion blog, Man Repeller, recently launched a new e-commerce website called ‘Repeller’, which utilizes gamification in order to enable consumers to shop in a discoverable way. The website is divided into two sections: a normal shopping site and a play side. The play side is an amalgamation of aesthetic imagery and quirky videos, reminiscent of video gaming user interfaces, but this time embedded with directly shoppable products, including handbags, earrings and sunglasses. The somewhat wacky website is being pushed as an opportunity to drive discovery and encourage users to spend more dwell time on the site.

Lancôme: Pushing awareness through scavenger hunts

Lancôme pop-up store
Lancôme pop-up store

Beauty brand Lancôme teamed up with Alibaba to create an augmented reality game in Hong Kong, along with a pop-up store, to celebrate Chinese New Year this year. The app featured an AR scavenger hunt where consumers could win limited edition products and gifts by finding and scanning Lancome’s signature beauty product, Genifiques. If they captured three pictures on the hunt, they were then able to wish for any Lancôme product they desired through the app, and be in with a chance of winning it. The game successfully drove awareness of the brand through consumer generated content and brought excitement during a key time of year in the region.

How are you thinking about retail 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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Campaigns Editor's pick Retail

Tiffany & Co. dips NYC in its iconic shade of blue with experiential campaign

Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co

To celebrate Paper Flowers, the first jewelry collection under new chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff, Tiffany & Co is color-dipping a variety of New York City icons in its well-recognized “robin’s-egg blue“.

For both fans and unsuspecting city dwellers, Krakoff hopes this campaign will offer a sense of “unexpected discovery and joy”.

Between May 1-4 passersby walking along Prince Street up to Seventh Avenue will be able to glimpse the paper flowers that have been hand-crafted by Tiffany’s creative team, or see one of the many yellow cabs now dipped in the iconic shade. While this takes care of spaces at street-level, Krakoff also made sure to lighten-up the commute for anyone travelling on the subway by immersing select staircases and MetroCards in the uplifting color.

Krakoff told Vogue that when creating the concept of the city-wide installation, he was inspired by what Audrey Hepburn’s character embodied in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “The juxtaposition of wearing a floor length gown and a tiara while holding a paper bag with coffee and a pastry,” he said. “The idea that luxury doesn’t have to be formal.”

To make it easier for anyone eager to seek out the colorful makeovers, Tiffany has provided a custom Google map that points to the precise locations.

Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co

This is not the first time the newly-appointed creative has made headlines with his innovative engagement strategy. In November 2017, Krakoff opened the very first Tiffany café, located on the fourth floor of its Fifth Avenue flagship. Dedicated entirely to the cult Tiffany blue as well, it enables customers to experience the brand in a whole new way; completely engrossing them in the Tiffany lifestyle.

With retail stores increasingly struggling to persuade shoppers to visit their stores, the experiential approach ensures that Tiffany is fully in control of the customer experience. By leveraging the iconic shade of blue that has been adorning the packaging and marketing materials from its inception, Tiffany ensures that customers will instantly draw the connection between the color and the unique heritage of its brand.

UPDATE: As part of the launch, the brand also debuted a short film starring its campaign spokesperson, actress Elle Fanning, to the soundtrack of a remixed version of ‘Moon River’. The short shows Fanning walking and dancing the streets of New York, paying homage to Audrey Hepburn’s famous scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where the character sings the now iconic track.

The 2018 version receives a rap interlude by A$AP Ferg and sees Fanning donning a hoodie while showcasing Tiffany & Co. jewellery, a creative direction that is undoubtedly aiming to give the brand a fresher look while presenting it to a younger audience. The remixed track can now also be found separately in Spotify.

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data social media

Melissa Shoes launches interactive in-store social hubs to gain customer insights

The M-ND Matter display at Melissa Shoes in Orlando
The M-ND Matter display at Melissa Shoes in Orlando

Brazilian footwear brand Melissa Shoes is launching interactive experiences in two of its US locations in a bid to drive engagement and gain customer insights.

Teaming up with social experiential technology company, M-ND, the retailer will introduce digital displays in both Orlando and Miami, this week. The M-ND Matter displays allow shoppers to explore and share seasonal lookbooks, upload and print branded social media photos, and access special deals, giveaways and loyalty rewards.

“We’re always exploring new innovations that extend the in-store experience to digital channels,” said Michele Levy CEO of Ilhabela Holdings, the exclusive distributor of Melissa Shoes in the US.

“M-ND is unique in that it introduces a new interactive element to the in-store shopping experience – encouraging customers to engage with our digital lookbooks and tell the world about the shoes they love over social media – while simultaneously generating widespread word of mouth. Our goal is to learn from the insights we’ll gain about customer preferences, and put those to use to continually improve our loyal customers’ experiences.”

The M-ND Matter display at Melissa Shoes in Miami
The M-ND Matter display at Melissa Shoes in Miami

The aim is to then use that data around in-store customer preferences, social media influence and behaviour (the displays provide the brand with direct access to profile data, based on customer permission). The team suggests that such a steady stream of engagement analytics will help inform current and future business planning around styles. They will also use this data for remarketing.

The initiative is attached to social media otherwise with the hashtag #melissashoesusa and a geotag of the store’s location. By printing any pictures taken, the user gets access to discount coupons and Melissa Shoes tote bags. They also get entered into a contest to win free membership to the exclusive Melissa Plus Club loyalty program for VIP customers, which usually costs $50.

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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
social media

Who won NYFW’s social media war?

social media Michael Kors
Michael Kors had the highest social media engagement this NYFW, according to ListenFirst

It used to be that coming out on top during fashion week meant getting the best review from the doyennes of international fashion journalism. Not so much when digital engagements from millions of users are the new measure of success.

So who won the social media war during NYFW? Michael Kors, it seems. The designer’s 9.6m digital engagements (according to ListenFirst) between September 7 and 15, were all about the presence of the social supermodels in his show.

ListenFirst’s Digital Engagement Ratings measured customer engagement with runway fashion labels across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia, and the company said that star names really helped.

“Kors’ #AllAccessKors campaign, launched September 11, dominated social all week and the women’s collection, shown September 14, was widely praised by consumers and the press. Having Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid in the show also helped boost engagement,” it said.

So who was next on the list? Step forward Victoria Beckham. Now of course, this particular fashion designer has an in-built advantage given her personal celebrity status, her husband and her kids and so doesn’t need to rely on anyone surnamed Jenner or Hadid to get attention. She garnered 4.3m engagements.

Surprisingly, evening wear label Sherri Hill came third with 3.2m engagements and managed to beat Tommy Hilfiger into fourth place with ‘only’ 2.4m engagements, despite Gigi Hadid being Hilfiger’s trump card. Hilfiger got a lot of attention on the day of his show – becoming number one fashion label for engagements on September 9 with a 36% year-on-year rise to 411,000.

Banana Republic was joint fourth with 2.4m too, perhaps a surprise given how much owner Gap is struggling to encourage interest in actually buying the brand’s products these days.

Marc Jacobs, Carolinna Herrera, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren came next, hovering between 1m and 1.5m, with Desigual bringing up the rear in the top 10 with just shy of 1m.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday.

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Comment Editor's pick social media technology Uncategorized

From the archive: Digital do’s and don’ts for fashion weeks

cara__BurberrySS16

Fashion weeks may be undergoing a period of significant change at present, but for now, the same fundamental rules for marketers during New York, London, Milan and Paris, exist. How do you showcase your new collection to a digital audience in a way that stands out from the noise and resonates with relevant customers at the same time? And how do you keep their interest long enough that one day, they might actually go out and buy what they see?

Here then, is a look back at a piece that first appeared from us in Campaign US a year ago: a list of 11 do’s and don’ts to help you:

Don’t post weak visuals. This is rule No. 1 for fashion week, a time when Instagram and Twitter are overwhelmed with blurry photos and videos of models as they walk past the front row. No one cares about mere proof that you were there; but they do care about Fashion Week more broadly, so give them something they can’t otherwise see. If you want engagement, think more like Dolce & Gabbana instead: a brand that consistently delivers beautiful still and motion imagery, real time or otherwise. With today’s devices, there’s no excuse for anything but. The more candid, docu-style assets belong (and work) on SnapChat, so put them there.

dolcegabbana_aw13

Do think beyond the “like.” What are you actually trying to achieve during Fashion Week? This is one of the noisiest times of the year in this industry, so be prepared to put the legwork in to be able to get the sort of numbers you want out. Your first challenge, therefore, is figuring out exactly what your objectives are, and accepting the fact they may be different from what you usually push for. Are you looking to build awareness? Drive traffic? Increase brand affinity? Or actually influence conversions? Apply your answer to the channels you use.

Do determine the channels most suited to your brand. Just because it’s a noisy time of year, don’t feel like you have to jump on every channel because you can, and whatever you do don’t just blind spray the same content across them all. Facebook needs to be different from Pinterest, which needs to be different from Instagram, and as already mentioned, really different again from Snapchat. And you’ll need to consider video, too. If resources are limited, use them wisely by prioritising which of the big platforms are right for your consumers. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they? It’s worth remembering much of the online Fashion Week crowd won’t be your current customers, but they could be your future ones; targeting them could be quite a different move, so think through how best to capture their attention.

Don’t be scared to experiment. As much as it’s sensible to have a strong base strategy going into Fashion Week, it’s also a time ripe for experimentation. Take risks by trying out new channels and thinking about what you could do on some of the more niche ones. In the past, Fashion Week has seen some great campaign work on the likes of Spotify by Zac Posen, Skype by Victoria Beckham, and WeChat by Burberry. Expect Snapchat to continue as the platform making the greatest splash this season. But if something just doesn’t work for you, step away from it. The beauty of digital is being forgiven and forgotten very quickly — so cut your losses and refocus your efforts elsewhere.

VictoriaBeckham_skype

Do think about what will stand out. Snapchat will of course only get you so far. If brand awareness is your goal, then press coverage is key. If you’ve got the resources, go big by considering true innovation. Sometimes it might be seen as a gimmick, but it works. Fendi is a strong example. In February 2014 it introduced drones flying above its Milan Fashion Week show, recording the models as they walked out and beaming that footage back in real time to fans watching at home. The quality was terrible, but every major press outlet reported on it.

Do take advantage of organic content about your brand. If you’re directly involved with Fashion Week, it’s quite likely a lot of content will be generated on your behalf. Use it! Chanel has frequently been one of the most hashtagged fashion brands on Instagram, which helped it generate an enormous 2.4 million followers via @chanelofficial before it even posted any of its of its own content on there. (It finally did for the first time in October 2014.) Retweet or regram your influencers, integrate their posts into your own digital assets, and strive to push that advocacy further.

Don’t forget to interact with your fans. Social media is not a one-way channel, but it’s still very much considered so by many designer brands. Fashion Week is an ideal time to break that code and interact more regularly with existing and aspiring consumers. Rebecca Minkoff is a great brand to look at for inspiration. It took the idea of direct engagement a step further in 2014 by involving Instagram fans in a critical decision related to the show: which of two looks would walk the runway. It was an incredibly simple post featuring two shots side by side with the opportunity for followers to vote. It worked.

RebeccaMinkoff_vote

Do partner with influencers. Beyond the reposts and the interactions, think about setting up more strategic relationships with influencers in the space. They don’t have to be bloggers; perhaps they’re Instagram artists or Pinterest stars. Tommy Hilfiger in September 2014 introduced what it referred to as its “First Timers” campaign, giving access to a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry. Experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture were all invited. This season, it’s introduing an “Instapit” for Instagram users. Tumblr also runs a scheme every season that sees up-and-coming artists and photographers on its channel, taken on tour throughout Fashion Week; they hit some of the big shows, meet the designers and enhance their own networks. Open up your space to influential outsiders.

Do back all of this with budget. Free only goes so far these days. Partnerships take money. Content takes money. Most important: If you really want to target specific sets of customers, boosting your presence with real media spend is what makes all the difference. Think about doing so in real time, reacting to what is working and getting behind it to push it further.

Do think beyond the moment. It’s easy to get carried away during Fashion Week in a bid to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The amount of incredible visual assets at your disposal certainly helps, but don’t forget about what that means for your digital profile the rest of the year. Brands that enjoy the best engagement are the ones that maintain the quality, volume and velocity of Fashion Week long after the live stream. Look to Victoria’s Secret for inspiration: Its annual show has become an entertainment property in its own right, and the content it surrounds it with is equally commendable.

Or maybe… Don’t bother. If you’re not already an integral part of Fashion Week — set up with a scheduled slot for your show or presentation — consider how necessary it is to bid for relevance. Yes, there are opportunities for digital engagement, but it’s even easier to just get lost in the noise entirely. If you have something to launch, truly consider a different time of year before you use up valuable resource — not only might your consumers pay more attention, but so will others in the industry.

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business Comment e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Comment counts: Rewarding engagement over purchases

Brands and retailers need to reward consumers who not only spend the most money, but spend the most time with them, says Bia Bezamat of GDR Creative Intelligence.

Sooruz04_web

Rewarding those who buy the most is easy. Brands and retailers have spent years studying and tailoring purchase and behavioural data to a point of individual personalisation, launching initiatives off the back of such insights like British supermarket Waitrose’s best-in-class rewards scheme that allows customers to pick which items they want to receive discounts on.

But we are now seeing that as these systems refine and mature, brands are starting to look beyond individual sales and develop ways to invest in those customers who make the most effort to connect with them. Realising that consumers buy into the lifestyle of a brand as much as they often do the product (Apple devices spring to mind), this shift can only help in the long run; encouraging invested customers to always go that extra mile to consume the brand.

Ensuring interaction and engagement however, can often be tricky unless there is a clear mutual benefit, from discounts to perks. French skate and extreme sports brand Sooruz is one example of a company that is thinking outside the box in this regard. It has devised a clever permanent way to be a part of their customers’ lives by introducing The List, an app that rewards fans with discounts the more they perform skate tricks.

Skaters can attach their phones to the bottom of their boards using a free Sooruz-branded case, while the app’s pedometer registers flips and turns. The better the person performs, the more points they tally, which can be redeemed against discounts at the online store. A social element adds participants to a leaderboard, with the best skater earning full sponsorship. What better way to reach teenagers, who will dutifully save up to buy new skating gear, than to make it about bettering their skills?

Brands are slowly cottoning on to the fact that touching a competitive nerve and gamifying interactions can not only generate positive results, but exposure that no advertising budget can buy. Similarly, Czech sports retailer Intersport, asked customers to download its app and run in the shape of its logo (an “I” and an “S”) in exchange for in-store discounts. For every kilometre run, fans earned 1% off their next purchase. To put it simply, the more effort they made, the bigger the discount.

UK loungewear label OnePiece meanwhile, reduced the price of its onesie by one penny every time someone tweeted the #HackthePrice hashtag. But it was only those who went through the effort to tweet that could reap the benefits of the reward.

hack_the_price_web

Marks & Spencer’s recently launched Sparks scheme is another great example of putting behaviour above spending. Customers are able to tailor their rewards, and receive points for doing things such as leaving online reviews. Most importantly, participating in the retailer’s ‘schwopping’ scheme, by recycling unwanted clothes, earns more reward points than simply purchasing an item in-store. This way, the store is encouraging good deeds while reinforcing its green ethos – a win-win situation.

An invested and engaged customer, who participates, gives feedback and shares, is one in a million, and acknowledging that is key. “Loyalty is the wrong word to use, it’s about a new relationship with customers – recognition, relevance, tailored, and a conversation,” commented Suzanna Broer, M&S insights and loyalty director, in an interview with Retail Week. “We want to go beyond generic discounts.”

This is not to say that it is the end for traditional points-based loyalty schemes. Ignoring valuable purchase and online search history data would be an unthinkable idea. But having the long-term mentality that in order to get people to buy from you, you must first get them to like and want to interact with you, is a no-brainer. Dangling the proverbial carrot in front of the paying customer, who is already in a state of ‘yes’, is no longer enough. It is time to recognise those who are willing to invest time and effort – they’re a hot ticket for conversion and your biggest future advocates.

Bia Bezamat is an innovation consultant at retail trends consultancy GDR Creative Intelligence.

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mobile technology

Gillette promotes Fusion ProGlide razor with mobile game

Gilette

Gillette has launched a game that invites mobile users to imitate the movement enabled by the brand’s latest Fusion ProGlide Flexball to win points.

Integrated into the Gameloft Advertising Solutions suite of games, the initiative gives players 30 seconds to move the Flexball to fire balls and smash as many bricks as possible. Available in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia only, the campaign also airs the brand’s latest video ad.

“Gillette is a brand that prides itself on innovation in keeping up with consumers’ ever demanding needs and lifestyle. This absolutely includes our marketing strategies such as making use of highly engaging media and being at the forefront of the latest technologies on mobile advertising. Our collaboration with Gameloft is a great match in creating an innovative way of engaging today’s consumer,” said Stephanie Chan, brand manager at Gillette Southeast Asia.

François Munck, director of business development at Gameloft refers to the mini game as a “fun way to discover the brand”. And discover they will: Gameloft has a monthly global audience of more than 173m active players and an inventory of more than 10bn mobile impressions across the world.