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business Campaigns e-commerce

Influencer strategy? Don’t forget traditional product placement

We all know that reality TV continues to bring in the big bucks – especially for those stars who front it. 

Love them, or hate them, one only need look at the continued success of the Kardashian/Jenners to see this in action – each of them developing their own business empires with the various ventures they’ve explored. Kylie alone now has a real-time net worth of £1bn, thanks in the main to her eponymous cosmetics line.

Then there’s the return of The Hills – another example of an enormous US show that made stars of, and fortunes for, its participants over its many years. 

But there’s also a lot to be said for the brands that have associated themselves alongside – a classic case of product placement with “real-life” influencers in order to drive sales. 

One of the new episodes of The Hills for instance sees L’Oréal placed front and center in a scene. As The Fashion Law reports, there is no specific disclosure as to how the items are there, despite them almost certainly being the result of a behind-the-scenes deal between the television network and the Paris-based beauty giant. 

We know this so-called native advertising has a positive effect on consumer demand, and that product placement leads to an increase in social media activity and website traffic for the brands that engage in it. It’s a traditional model, but it works for conversions. 

Which is why it’s interesting to pivot over to the UK and look at this week’s announcement that dating show Love Island, which has been a television network and advertiser’s dream, is intending to extend to two series in 2020 rather than one annual one as it has previously done. 

This year’s ITV2 show, which aired in June, pulled in a reported five million viewers a night, making it the most popular on television in the UK for the 16-34-year-old market. It made fast influencers out of its stars, and importantly out of its sponsors too. 

The episodes were sponsored by Uber Eats, which paid £5m for the privilege – more than double previous deals – while further commercial relationships were in place ranging from product placement to podcast sponsorship, brand licensing, exclusive product lines and merchandise. Love Island water bottles through to luggage sets are currently dotted throughout the UK market. According to reports, the broadcaster made an extra £8m on 2018 due to this boost. 

This isn’t just a TV phenomenon but a social obsession in this country. As The Guardian reported: “The reality show has managed to pull off the increasingly difficult trick of getting young audiences more used to an on-demand world to tune in to a show at a set time each night. It has also become a creature of social media, with an enormous following on Instagram and more than 3 million people downloading the programme’s app for updates.” 

One of the biggest success stories from the brand side within all this was I Saw It First – a fast fashion business from Boohoo co-founder Jamal Kamani. According to the Business of Fashion, the company spent between £1-2m to secure its spot as the show’s official fashion partner, replacing Missguided who has held the post in previous years. 

Seemingly, it paid off. I Saw It First had a 67% increase in sales month-on-month and a 254% increase in Instagram followers. Those are some solid numbers. 

We might be living in a world heavily pushing micro influencer strategy – which continues to have its merits – but there’s a lot to be said for this sort of spend big strategy on traditional media. More to come, one assumes, next year when Love Island will be aired just after Christmas and again in the summer.

How are you thinking about marketing? 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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business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: UK gov rejects sustainable recommendations, celebrating Karl, GenZ and TikTok

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

TOP STORIES
  • UK ministers reject plans for 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion [The Guardian]
  • ‘Karl for ever’: a joyful celebration of Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy [WWD]
  • Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too? [BoF]
  • How a £1 bikini revealed the changing shape of fast fashion [The Guardian]
TECHNOLOGY
  • The world is a mess. We need fully automated luxury communism [NY Times]
  • John Lewis to trial VR experience in shops [Fashion Network]
  • Amazon deploys ‘Pegasus’ robots in sortation centers [Retail Dive]
  • Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes [Technology Review]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • H&M called out on “illegal” sustainability marketing [Eco Textile]
  • Net-a-Porter has started telling customers which brands are sustainable [The Independent]
  • More than half of British and American consumers want a more sustainable fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • Prada sets goal to phase out virgin nylon by 2021 [BoF]
  • Ralph Lauren unveils new sustainability goals [WWD]
  • Banana Republic announces waterless dyed denim for 2020 [Fashion United]
  • Why we can’t relax about vegan leather [Vogue Business]
  • The North Face teams with National Geographic for upcycled plastic line [Fashion United]
  • Asos unveils ‘responsible edit’ [Drapers]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Verishop’s plan to be the Amazon of “affordable luxury” [Vogue Business]
  • Carrefour opens store with facial recognition and sensors [Retail Dive]
  • Pablo Isla defends ‘integrated model’ as a way to differentiate Inditex [Fashion Network]
  • Backstage and Story are very pretty. But, will they lure shoppers to Macy’s? [Retail Dive]
  • Gamification: the future of luxury retail in China [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The AI-driven social media network hailed as the next Tumblr [Dazed]
  • Mountain Hardwear launches AR app to bring outdoor gear to life [Retail Dive]
  • The future of marketing is bespoke everything [The Atlantic]
  • Mulberry bases new marketing campaign on British pub culture [Fashion Network]
  • MAC Cosmetics tries on YouTube’s newest AR ad formats [Retail Dive]
PRODUCT
  • Dolce & Gabbana becomes the first luxury fashion house to extend sizes [Fashion United]
  • Adidas and Ikea to develop products for home workouts [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Unilever acquires beauty brand Tatcha for a reported $500 million [AdWeek]
  • Chanel dispels rumors of sale after announcing a strong financial year [Fashion United]
  • Mulberry falls into the red [Drapers]
  • Kenzo parts ways with creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim [WWD]
  • Topshop owner’s fall is fastest in UK high street memory [Vogue Business]
  • Revenue jumps 39% at Boohoo Group [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Unilever boss warns of dangers of ‘woke-washing’ in ad industry [Sky News]
  • As drag goes mainstream, queer fashion designers reap business benefits [Fashionista]
  • It’s long overdue for fashion to think about people with disabilities [Hypebeast]
  • Streetwear’s big opportunity: women [BoF]

How are you thinking about 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. 

Categories
digital snippets Events sustainability technology

ICYMI: Met Gala, sustainability progress has slowed, fashion’s love affair with podcasts

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

TOP STORIES
  • Capitalising on the Met Gala moment is harder than it looks [BoF]
  • Progress in sustainable fashion has slowed by a third in the past year [Forbes]
  • What’s driving fashion’s love affair with podcasts [Vogue Business]
  • Fashion’s diversity problem has real costs [Vogue Business]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How augmented reality put five Madonnas on stage at once [Engadget]
  • Professor: Total surveillance is the only way to save humanity [Futurism]
  • Delivery robots will soon be allowed on Washington sidewalks [Engadget]
  • Your phone isn’t really spying on your conversations—the truth might be even creepier [Quartz]
  • Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future [Wired]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • After weeks of protests, UK becomes first country to declare ‘climate emergency’ [ABC]
  • It’s time we ended the ridiculous millennial trend of constantly buying new clothes [Independent]
  • ‘The consumer is pushing them’: How fast-fashion brands are responding to sustainability [Glossy]
  • Indonesia could be the first country to move its capital because of climate change [Global Citizen]
  • Why fashion doesn’t pay fair [BoF]
  • A.P.C. now allows you to exchange old A.P.C. pieces for credit [Highsnobiety]
  • Shunning bad luck, Hong Kong buys into ‘pre-loved’ fashion [Reuters]
  • Forever 21 ‘steals’ anti-fast-fashion art [BBC]
  • H&M stops the presses, shreds its print catalog after 39 years [Sourcing Journal]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba gets creative with three new Tmall genie speakers [Alizila.com]
  • Why the expansion of Nordstrom Local is important [Forbes]
  • Macys.com tops list of most trafficked retail apparel sites [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram will now let creators and influencers sell items directly [TechCrunch]
  • How fashion brands are tapping into the exclusive Reddit community [Glossy]
  • Will the future of shopping be livestreamed? [Mobile Marketer]
  • How Instagram transformed the fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • ‘This is for Men’ – L’Oreal Paris unveils clever ads calling for more women in leadership [The Drum]
  • Gucci and Snapchat offer taste of MET Gala [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Puma is working on a shoe featuring living microbes [Puma]
  • Allbirds moves away from sneakers with new launch [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • The future of Chanel [BoF]
  • Gucci on track to hit €10 billion in 2020 [Vogue Business]
  • Sonia Rykiel enters receivership [WWD]
  • High-end slipper brand Mahabis goes into administration [Independent]
  • Zalando still loss-making but sales and site traffic surge [Fashion Network]
  • Adidas profits climb 17.1% in Q1 [WWD]
  • Jason Wu acquired by Chinese firm Green Harbor [Fashion Network]
  • Valentino is luxury fashion’s fastest-growing company [Vogue Business]
CULTURE
  • The age of political correctness will kill great fashion [Highsnobiety]
  • Maria Grazia Chiuri on her inclusive vision for Christian Dior [Fashion Network]
  • Virgil Abloh is in the midst of backlash for lack of diversity on his Off-White staff [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about 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 product sustainability

57% of H&M Group’s material mix is now sustainably sourced or recycled

57% of all materials used by the H&M Group now come from either recycled or sustainable sources, according to its annual Sustainability Report released yesterday.

This is a considerable increase from last year, in which recycled or sustainably-sourced materials made up 35% of the company’s material mix – thus inching it closer to its ambitious circularity goals for 2030.

“Big change requires bold actions and the courage to aim high. At the same time, we have to be humble to the challenges our planet is facing,” said Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at the H&M Group.”So if we want to make a real change, we have to be brave, push the boundaries and not be afraid to fail.”

At present, 55.2% of the Group’s material mix is sourced from sustainable origins that are verified by third-party bodies. For example, 95% of is cotton comes from certified sources such as organic cotton (14.6%) or sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative (79.9%).

The remaining 1.4% of the mix comes from recycled sources, a small percentage that the report highlights is due to the “lack of viable recycling solutions [which] either do not exist or are not commercially available at scale.”

Other highlights include a reduction of 11% in CO2 emissions in its operations, moving it closer to its target of becoming climate-positive by 2040; a new commitment to making all of its packaging designed to be reusable, recyclable and compostable by 2025; reducing water usage in production by 25% by 2022, supported by WWF; and the announcement that 655 factories and 930,000 garment workers are now covered by the Group’s key programmes for workplace dialogue and wage management system.

Technology is also playing a major role, with artificial intelligence being deployed to ensure production and demand are more aligned from a sustainability perspective. This follows an announcement in late 2018 that Christopher Wylie, of Cambridge Analytica fame, is joining as a consultant on all things AI.

From the consumer side, its Take Care initiative, which offers customers guidance, repair services and products to care for their garments in order to extend their lifespan, has now moved into further four markets; and in June 2018, the company launched of Afound, a new brand giving unsold products a new life.

Additional reporting by Camilla Rydzek.

How are you thinking about your sustainable strategy? 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 digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: The rise of watchdog culture, new zero-waste platform, Under Armour’s spacewear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Diet Prada, Estée Laundry and the rise of watchdog culture: harmful or helpful? [BoF]
  • A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform [Fast Company]
  • Under Armour to create ‘spacewear’ for Virgin Galactic astronauts [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s new robot delivers packages to rich people [Quartz]
  • Marks & Spencer launches AI-powered photo search on mobile site [The Industry]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fast fashion exploits everyone it touches [Quartz]
  • The world’s largest packaged food company will ditch single-use plastic [Fast Company]
  • Exploitation ‘rife’ in UK textile industry [BBC]
  • The Kate Spade brand is donating $1 million to mental health organizations [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Body Shop to turn its stores into ‘activist hubs’ to combat the high street [Marketing Week]
  • A look inside Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton pop-up in Miami [Hypebae]
  • Net-a-porter, Mr Porter enhance personal shopping services [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Avon apologizes for anti-cellulite ad after being accused of ‘shaming women’ [The Guardian]
  • Amazon knows what you buy. And it’s building a big ad business from it. [NYT]
  • Brand purpose advertising will be the making – or breaking – of Stylist [The Drum]
  • Celebrities and social media influencers sign transparency pact [The Industry]
  • CVS unveils initiative to label retouched images [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • Is 2019 the year men’s make-up goes mainstream? [Vogue]
  • Asos to launch its first own-brand homeware collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • How serious is luxury’s China crisis? [BoF]
  • Burberry upbeat despite Q3 sales dip, monthly drops are strong [Fashion Network]
  • The RealReal in talks with banks for IPO [BoF]
  • Avery Baker stepping down at Tommy Hilfiger [WWD]
  • Karl Lagerfeld was a no-show at both Chanel couture shows [Reuters]
CULTURE
  • Dolce & Gabbana advert completely ruined my career, says Chinese model Zuo Ye as she breaks her silence over race row [SCMP]
  • How bots ruined buying sneakers [Complex]
  • This is what the future of sneaker reselling looks like [Highsnobiety]

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. 

Categories
data Editor's pick sustainability technology

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower joins H&M to lead AI research

Christopher Wiley
Christopher Wylie

Christopher Wylie, the man known as the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, has joined H&M as its director of research, where he will work on using data and analytics to drive sustainability.

Speaking on stage at the Business of Fashion’s VOICES conference in the UK this week, he said artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to reduce waste in the industry and drive efficiency through the supply chain.

“A lot of fashion companies look at the supply chain and the mechanics from production to distribution, but actually understanding consumers will help you optimize the supply chain because you will better understand what it is they want to buy or they don’t want to buy,” he explained.

That comes off the back of the fact that H&M reported it had a stockpile of $4 billion in unsold clothing earlier this year. Meanwhile, Burberry also came under fire over the summer for news it burnt $37.8 million in excess inventory last year.

But Wylie argued that turning to data is not only good for the environment, but also good for business.

“Investing in AI will allow you to not only better match your units of clothing to your customers, and therefore make more money, but be able to make more money with less units of clothing. So there’s an argument in profit and profitability to invest in AI, and also an argument in sustainability to invest in AI.” That means that being more sustainable is not only an environmental decision, but a business one, he noted.

Wiley will join the H&M Group on December 1 to bring these insights to the fast fashion giant, where he will work alongside Arti Zeighami, the company’s head of AI and advanced analytics.

“If we put this data on top of what we have, then we can be more precise. It means you can stop guessing what you can calculate. It helps you be [sharper] with decision-making,” Zeighami added.

“Tech is cool. There are amazing things you can do with data, it doesn’t have to be evil,” said Wylie.

That followed a keynote he gave earlier in the day in which he outlined the way in which Cambridge Analytica used data from fashion brands as a weapon to help elect President Trump in the US in 2016. Facebook ‘likes’ from brands including Wrangler and LL Bean were used as a primary input for the algorithms that then targeted people with pro-Trump messaging. He referred to this as repurposing technology originally designed for cyber warfare to influence politics.

Earlier this year, Wylie also gave an exclusive interview to Vogue Italia in which he spoke further about why the similarities between fashion and politics are stronger than people think.

How are you thinking about AI for sustainable innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Podcast social media

Missguided on the relevance of reality TV

Missguided's Jonathan Wall
Missguided’s Jonathan Wall

UK hit reality TV show, Love Island, is all about meeting the customer where she lives, says Missguided’s chief digital officer, Jonathan Wall, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent.

“Love Island for our sector, it’s kind of like the annual peak, or the annual Christmas, of [other retailers]. It’s our nirvana. You could not find anything else that’s absolutely spot on to our bullseye customer,” he comments.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

The fast fashion multi-channel retailer saw its sales spike 40% during the show this summer, which all came down to reigniting and re-energizing lapsed customers of more than six months, he notes. Product placement, which is essentially what this was, isn’t new in strategy – but it’s effective when it’s done right, he explains. In this instance, his team designed looks and dressed all of the stars in the show.

Wall’s strategy is focused primarily on relevancy to the shopper, much of which comes from the fact his team internally are those individuals themselves.

“One of the big big advantages we’ve got as a business, is that our customers are actually our team… Our average age in our business is 25, and guess what, our average customer age is also 25. You cannot overemphasize the advantages you get when every single day you are walking amongst your customers. It’s a tremendous advantage.”

Missguided x Love Island
Missguided x Love Island

It’s that laser-sharp focus on who they’re targeting that also let’s Missguided play with partnerships, he adds. The brand launched a collaboration with Playboy this summer that was met with a heavy dose of debate, but ultimately succeeded because of how relevant it was to the shopper it was intended. “It again hit the nail on the head for our customer,” Wall explains.

In conversation with Rosanna Falconer at a FashMash event in Missguided’s hometown of Manchester in the north of England, Wall also shares his views on what’s coming next in influencer marketing, which of the big social channels he’s focused on, and just why he likes to court a little controversy along the way.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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 Retail technology

Forever 21 introduces AI visual search to online shopping

Forever 21
Forever 21

Forever 21 has introduced an AI-enabled feature that will allow consumers to engage with visual search when browsing online.

The feature, titled “Discover your style”, allows shoppers to search for items by clicking on icons that represent features that they want in an outfit – such as length or fit of a skirt, or the neckline and color of a shirt. For this launch, the fast fashion retailer worked with visual search experts Donde Search, whose recommendation algorithm aims to mimic how shoppers think about products.

“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it—using visuals, not words,” says Alex Ok, president of Forever 21. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the e-commerce space in recent years.”

The functionality debuted in the Forever 21 iOS app in May and was initially available for the dresses and tops categories. However, within the first month of launching the feature, the brand saw a 20% increase in average purchase value for the two test categories, as well as an increase in sales conversions.

Forever 21's "Discover your style" feature
Forever 21’s “Discover your style” feature

“As e-commerce’s share of retail sales continues to grow, it’s more important than ever that retailers use a universal language that both shoppers and merchandisers can understand,” says Liat Zakay, CEO and founder of Donde Search.

There are many benefits to introducing visual search alongside more traditional text, but according to the brand, the functionality also helps retailers remove any local language barriers associated with the latter.

Allowing consumers to search visually also enables them to manifest more subtle likes and dislikes when searching for garments, which is something major brands and retailers have been experimenting with for years. Last year, for instance, ASOS introduced a visual search functionality that allows people to upload images to display similar items for sale on the site.

How are you thinking about visual search? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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

ICYMI: Farfetch’s IPO, everything to know about CGI influencers, Bitcoin hairspray

Farfetch IPO
Farfetch IPO

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

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch files for IPO, testing investors’ appetite for luxury [BoF]
  • The numerous questions around the rise of CGI models and influencers [Vogue]
  • You can buy hairspray with Bitcoin now [TheCut]
  • Yuval Noah Harari on what the year 2050 has in store for humankind [Wired]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon is losing its smart speaker dominance [AdWeek]
  • Microsoft’s HoloLens mall demos bring early AR glasses to the masses [VentureBeat]
  • Los Angeles subway to become first in the US to use body scanners [DigitalTrends]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fur: A reality check [BoF]
  • Is clothing rental the secret to making fashion sustainable? [Independent]
  • Fashion for Good launches toolkit on how to develop Cradle to Cradle denim [FashionUnited]
  • Why Instagram’s ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag is bad for fashion – and bad for the soul [TheGuardian]
  • German outdoor brand Vaude starts upcycling community [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • McDonald’s unveils new Apple store-like Chicago flagship location [HypeBeast]
  • Superga, Cos, Rains and Fred Perry join Coal Drops Yard lineup [Retail Gazette]
  • 5 reasons why LA is the place to be for retailers [FootwearNews]
  • Consumers opt for marketplaces, fast retail, personalization [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Neutrogena, Sonos beta test use of video in Amazon search campaigns [MobileMarketer]
  • Alibaba’s to host first fashion show in China [JingDaily]
  • Rebecca Minkoff to present new brand identity during NYFW [WWD]
  • It’s never been easier to buy a pair of Yeezys [GQ]
  • Counterfeiting make-up is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
PRODUCT
  • Everlane is launching ‘clean silk’ in a move toward greater sustainability [Fashionista]
  • This digitally-knitted sportswear is like 3D-printed clothing [Wired]
  • River Island launches homeware [Drapers]
BUSINESS
  • Why the gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike is so significant [Vox]
  • Mulberry hit by House of Fraser collapse [FT]
  • $500 million in counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel Goods seized in one of the largest busts to date [TheFashionLaw]
  • Bringing affordable fast fashion to Africa [WWD]
CULTURE
  • How make-up swatches became a political battleground [Dazed]
  • In hype beast homes, Supreme accessories are the hot decor [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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mobile Retail technology

Target has a secret app for customer feedback

Target, Studio Connect, App, Customer, Review, Feedback, fast-fashion
Studio Connect

Target has developed a secret app with an interface that closely resembles that of Instagram to gather insights into the minds of its customers.

According to the retailer, the app’s main purpose is to gather feedback on product development, with an aim to drive better product selection and faster turnaround of stock to give the company a competitive advantage in the fast-paced retail space. Users can like and comment on pictures, much like a social media feed.

A designer asking for possible mothers-day catchphrases on a t-shirt, receives an average of 40-50 user responses in 24 hours. Furthermore, after an average of 10 hours the design team can already gather common themes and start to incorporate the feedback into its product development, reportedly.

Studio Connect, as the app is called, was first developed back in 2016, but is only accessible through a direct invitation by Target. It never has more than 600 members. Participants are selected by Target through evaluating online survey answers and check out feedback forms, after which they are then categorized into relevant marketing segments (such as if they having children in the household or not). This information is then also used to help the retailer analyze consumer patterns and understand more about its customers’ behavior. 

Target offers no monetary awards, although users can gather points that can be used for discounts and special offers.

Studio Connect, Target, Instagram, Retail, App, Reviews, Feedback, Customers, Fast-fashion
Studio Connect

The app has also been used as a crowdsourcing tool, with children encouraged to take part in a design contest and upload drawings of designs. Target’s creative team then found that many children were drawing a similar color pattern, which they then printed on a pair of leggings.

It has also helped the retailer to offer more inclusive clothing by gathering feedback by parents with disabled children, which resulted in the launch of a completely new clothing line.

Studio Connect is just one of numerous innovations by the retailer, which also recently invested in its beauty section by introducing augmented reality and text-to-chat robot.