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.
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.”
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.
This week’s news is of course dominated by the Black Friday weekend results. Online sales reached new highs in the US on Black Friday itself, up 21.6% year-on-year to $3.34bn. Unsurprisingly, mobile was a significant part of that growth, generating 36% of total digital sales, in a 33% rise from 2015, and 55% of all mobile shopping visits, according to Adobe. It was a similar story for Cyber Monday, with mobile generating 53% of online visits and 35% of sales.
In the UK, meanwhile, over 57% of traffic came from mobile devices on Black Friday rising to 75% at certain times of day. Overall online sales were only up 6.7% year-on-year however, yet footfall in stores was also up 2.8%, despite an expected 5% drop. “This demonstrates the fact that customers want a balance. Between online and physical shopping experiences, the high street isn’t as obsolete as some might think,” said Rupal Karia, managing director for retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland, at Fujitsu.
We’ve otherwise rounded up some of the best stories to read summarising everything that happened below. Also worth checking out from this week past is a deep-dive on Zara’s recipe for success, further updates on everything Instagram versus Snapchat, and an ultimate guide to chatbots.
BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY UPDATE
Cyber Monday sales surge to record $3.45bn in the US [Retail Dive]
The US winners and losers of Black Friday 2016 [Retail Dive]
Black Friday online sales growth falls short in the UK but shop visits rise [Sky]
About 10 million more Americans shopped online than in stores over Black Friday weekend [Fortune]
How did Manhattan’s luxury stores fare on Black Friday? [Bloomberg]
Patagonia donated 100% of Black Friday sales to eco-causes [Ecouterre]
We might look back on 2016 as the year Black Friday hit an inflection point [LeanLuxe]
OTHER TOP STORIES
Zara’s recipe for success: more data, fewer bosses [Yahoo!]
Gap’s CEO missed the brand’s biggest problem when he called creative directors “false messiahs” [Quartz]
Email outpacing social media in e-commerce, stoking innovation [WWD]
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group to launch in the Middle East [Fashionista]
Matchesfashion.com launches 90-minute delivery service in London [WWD]
Is e-commerce really better for the environment than traditional retail? [BoF]
Is Snapchat the next Facebook, or the next Twitter? [WWD]
Instagram is now letting users stream Live videos that disappear as soon as they end [Wired]
How this quirky clothing brand uses Snapchat to sell more shorts [Venture Beat]
Spyder using NFC to connect with customers through social media [WWD]
Missguided unveils first standalone store in Westfield Stratford [The Industry]
The ultimate guide to Chatbots: Why they’re disrupting UX and best practices for building [Medium]
Uniqlo is experimenting with MindMeld’s ‘smarter bots’ on Facebook [Engadget]
These new adidas shoes are made from lab-grown spider silk [Motherboard]
Scientists have created a solar-powered fabric that would let you charge your phone with your jacket [Quartz]
Soon you can scan a garment’s label to find out how sustainable it is [NY Observer]
How Stitch Fix blends AI and human expertise [HBR]
The holiday season has become a big opportunity for retailers and brands to create a deeper emotional connection with their customers at a pivotal time of year for spend. 2016 continues much in the same way, powered by big launches including a message of female empowerment from M&S with Mrs Claus, another iconic nod from John Lewis with Buster the Boxer, and a big cinematic piece from Burberry.
Whether the intention is to encourage happy tears or just have your audience laugh, brands are stepping up to the challenge of showing a strong sense of self, and conveying a powerful message in the process, all in a bid, of course, to drive some of that all-important Q4 revenue in their direction.
Read on for our pick of the best campaigns across the fashion and retail space in Europe and US this year (beyond those already mentioned), as well as a bevvy of further ones to know about below…
Mulberry: It’s What’s Inside That Counts
Mulberry tugs at the heartstrings for the holiday season with an endearing story of love and acceptance played by child actors pretending to be grown-ups. The two-part film, which was shot in the British countryside in Surrey, tells the story of a traditional Christmas where three siblings return to their childhood home to spend the holidays with their difficult mother. As the story unravels, secrets and problems come to light. At the end of Part I, in an act of generosity, one sibling gifts her sister her much loved new Bayswater bag, in a realisation that “it’s what’s inside that counts”.
Directed by Albert Moya and written by Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel), it explores a deeper meaning of accepting each other for who they are. As Johnny Coca, the label’s creative director, explains: “When I was a kid, all that I wanted to do was to be grown up so I could be like my dad. Now that I am an adult, I just want to be a kid again! Christmas brings out the kid in all of us, and this is what I love about using children to tell our story this year.” The second and final version, which shows the family coming to terms with each others’ faults and weaknesses, premieres later this month.
Macy’s: The #SantaProject
The tagline for Macy’s holiday campaigns has long been about the idea of “Believe”. For 2016, they’ve turned that into an exploration of whether children today do indeed believe in Santa Claus. Cue a series of seriously cute clips featuring young kids sharing their thoughts on the miracle of Christmas, before a reminder message of the sort of realities they’re faced with when turning to the internet to search out the truth instead. It’s a positive note revolving really around kindness with what we post online, which let’s face it, can be applied to all parts of life, especially after this rocky year.
Rebecca Minkoff: Holiday My Way With @arielle
Rebecca Minkoff teams up with Vine star Arielle Vandenberg to tell the story of an independent woman trying to navigate the holidays by herself as she decides to stay in the city for the first time, and not go home to see her family. Each video, or chapter, focuses on a different achievement as the main character stumbles into adulthood, from decorating the apartment, to hosting a Friendsgiving, alluding to Thanksgiving as well.
Rebecca Minkoff, the designer herself, makes a cameo as a friend disappointed with the (clumsily wrapped) gift she receives from the main character. On other platforms, the #holidaymyway hashtag is being used to promote a Christmas gift guide and additional marketing content.
Harrods: A Very British Bear Tale
Seemingly inspired by Disney’s Frozen, Harrods tells an animated tale of a young teddy bear serving as the only (snuggly) survivor when an ice storm takes over the palace thanks to a mischievous elf. Hugh, as he’s called, comes to the rescue by climbing to the rooftop in order to signal help from Father Christmas in the North Pole. As the narrated story continues, the spell is broken and Hugh ends up crowned a prince thanks to his courage.
In addition from Harrods this season, is A Very British Fairy Tale in partnership with Burberry; a stop motion short made from paper cutouts.
Coach: A Holiday Film Starring #RexyTheCoachDino
Coach continues its good-humoured approach to luxury with a holiday film starring its now beloved mascot, Rexy the Coach Dino. The film shows what happens at the label’s New York City workshop after hours, when one rogue Rexy leather dinosaur comes to life. Aiming to wreak havoc, the dinosaur runs free pushing over boxes, breaking baubles and generally creating a mess, all while dancing – by herself – to the soundtrack of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, as sung by The Donnas. As the sun rises, Rexy spots an open window and sets herself free, roaming the streets of the city independently.
Kate Spade: Make Magic Happen
Kate Spade’s short but sweet spot, starring model Jourdan Dunn and stylist Catherine Baba, features a small cameo by the iconic Miss Piggy. Shouting over the spot in a possessive manner, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”, the fabulous Muppets’ character attempts to keep all handbags to herself. The campaign also promotes the designer’s latest collaboration, with Miss Piggy herself. The holiday line includes wallets, phone cases, and accessories with the character’s “Who, moi?” catchphrase.
Speaking to WWD, Miss Piggy talked of her excitement to join the great group of women associated with the brand: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”
Target: The Toycracker
Target is betting big on its holiday campaign with an eight-minute musical titled The Toycracker, a cheeky take on the Nutcracker classic that reimagines the Tchaikovsky soundtrack as a modern hip hop track. Developed by ad agency 72AndSunny, the spot stars singer John Legend as the Rat King, his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, as the Nutcracker and Isabella Russo (The School of Rock) as Clara. This year’s popular toys, such as Trolls and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, have replaced classic characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy and toy soldiers, while the play’s famous sword fight scene will be told as a rap battle.
The full musical will air in two four-minute spots during ABC’s network premiere of the film Frozen on December 11 in the US. Meanwhile, the brand has launched behind-the-scenes footage of the night of the musical in the shape of a trailer, starring the Bullseye dog and a young girl, Marisol, as well as toys that have come to life to work on the production. The campaign will be supported by further marketing activity that includes a Snapchat filter and a “10 Days of Deals” promotion.
Farfetch: The Holiday Remix
For this Christmas season, Farfetch is presenting a remix of all things festive with a shoppable video that takes on a modern twist of the Nutcracker story. The e-tailer worked with choreographer Dana Foglia, of Beyonce’s Formation fame, to create a modern-day version of Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, with dancers donning this season’s best partywear.
When watched on Farfetch.com, the video allows customers to shop by displaying circles over certain garments, thanks to a partnership with touchable video platform Cinematique. Clicking the circles will showcase more information about the outfit, and allow users to add to a basket and checkout at the end.
Warehouse continues its ‘Resolutely British’ reinvention, under the helm of newly appointed creative director Emma Cook, with a video campaign that celebrates what happens in the girl’s room, or the ladies’ room at public spaces, from nightclubs to bars. The short video shows women touching up their make-up, socialising and generally letting their guard down, in a space where “strangers become allies, the compliments are free and the drama is left on the dancefloor”.
Topshop: The Anti-Cliché Christmas
Topshop appeals to its young and trendy demographic with a call to express individuality. The spot showcases models of all different styles, from modern sportswear to grungy, walking as cuts outs in front of backgrounds including cityscapes and the beachside, emphasising the idea of party dressing “without the one-size-fits-all approach” in order to represent an anti-cliché sort of Christmas.
To celebrate the sentiment, Topshop has also launched its still image campaign presenting its next generation of rising fashion stars, which are models Stella Maxwell, Londone Myers, Cami Morrone, Jing Wen, Kiki Willems, Marjan Jonkman, Damaris Goddrie, Caitie Green and Lottie Moss, Kate Moss’ youngest sister. Explaining the campaign, Kate Phelan, the retailer’s creative director, says: “This season is about the individual spirit of a woman – she no longer wants to be part of a tribe, she has her own style.”
House of Fraser: Christmas is Coming for You
British retailer House of Fraser is aiming to convey the excitement and anticipation that precedes the season with a modern dance spot, in the same vein as Farfetch. Teaming up with choreographer Suzette Brissett, the spot showcases dancers going through a whirlwind of settings, including an opulent dining table and a forest where trees are filled with presents. The upbeat soundtrack is courtesy of British songstress Laura Mvula, who reinterprets The Fugees’ classic Ready or Not track.
Additional ones to check out below include Cartier, Very.co.uk, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Harvey Nichols, Jack Wills, Boohoo.com, Debenhams, New Look, Tiffany & Co, Gap and Banana Republic. As a bonus: also tugging our heart strings outside the fashion space, is Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift.
Britons are going to go on a spending binge in the next four days that will blow the Black Friday long weekend’s spending out of the water. And online will benefit as well as physical stores, despite the delivery drawbridge getting precariously close to being pulled up.
Who says so? The analysts at MasterCard SpendingPulse who are measuring both card and cash sales and who think the festive shopping season is finally set for take-off.
They’re predicting a four-day spend starting Saturday (December 19) that will hit £5.9bn. That easily beats the Black Friday long weekend’s £5.74bn. And while those amounts may not look massively different from each when written in billions, in numbers it’s actually £160,000,000.
MasterCard’s Mark Barnett said: “The shift to shopping online is undeniable, but high streets and shopping malls still dominate with four out of five pounds spent offline. Last year, consumers left their shopping late, and we are expecting many to do the same this year. As we get closer to Christmas grocery shopping starts to dominate sales, but gifts of clothing and electronics can expect to see strong growth also.”
He also said that even with the short delivery window for online shopping, e-commerce growth on last year will still be an impressive 24% over the four days.
Apparently that’s a reflection of the fact that shoppers have a lot of confidence in retailers’ ability to deliver on time… Hmmm, good luck with that!
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday. Image via Vintag.es.
Macy’s has achieved the title of most-viewed Christmas ad in the US with its heartwarming tale of a young girl spreading festive spirit and granting wishes wherever she goes.
“The Wish Writer”, as it’s called, nods to the idea of giving to others over the holiday season, and dutifully sees such warm thoughts and good deeds returned to the main protagonist for her generosity. It’s thoughtful, emotional, and a nice example of a retailer embracing the idea of storytelling.
Spanish fashion giant Mango had big news Thursday announcing its move from a fast fashion business model to an even faster fashion one and an increased focus on the digital channel. The company said today that it’s going to offer new product every two weeks as part of a business transformation that it’s calling a “major revolution”.
Along with the new, 26-drops-a-year model, it will no longer print 22m catalogues each year and will make online (currently accounting for just 10% of turnover) its biggest focus.
So, that means from February – when the SS16 offer starts to drop in-store – we’ll see faster, fortnightly response to the strongest trends. They’ll be backed up by a new ad campaign every month “featuring the latest trend and represented by the face that best defines it”. Digital will be key for these campaigns and the company will also publish new trends content every fortnight via its digital channels.
All this change makes the decision to axe its print catalogues pretty logical as they would struggle to keep up with the pace of new trend development.
It also raises a few questions: How will its rivals respond? I can’t wait to find out the answer to that one. Also, where does it leave the traditional two-seasons-a-year trends model? That’s an even tougher one but it’s a question that the entire industry will have to answer some time soon.
The question was first asked back in the late 90s when the ‘fast fashion’ became the business model to follow. Back then it was all about retailers being in the driving seat and getting manufacturers to race to make faster deliveries of the trends those retailers had identified after long and careful research. But the spring/summer and autumn/winter concept still just-about-worked.
But in a world where online, social media, and peer ‘likes’ are what count, fast fashion has morphed into a scenario where the consumer is more in control and the retailers are racing to keep up. With this move Mango is making sure it’s ahead of the game but also saying two mega seasons a year just don’t work. Welcome to the world of the micro season…
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday
Kickstarting officially in London on April 24, the retailer is introducing a campaign called #canthelpmyselfie, inviting shoppers to snap pictures of themselves to create a live display of its seasonal collection in store windows.
Fans are invited to book an appointment via the website for a variety of stores around the country (starting in Regent Street this week before touring to five other cities including Manchester and Newcastle through May) – once there they will select their favourite pieces from the line to wear, indulge in a mini makeover session and then jump into an interactive selfie booth to snap their photo for the whole high street to see.
Jon Carney, creative partner at digital agency Somewhat, which collaborated on the project, said: “Mobile and social channels are an essential part of how millennial consumers interact with brands, and especially how they can experience fashion brands. As consumers’ physical and digital worlds are increasingly converging and colliding, brands need to respond with campaigns that bridge both worlds seamlessly.”
The real-time “phy-gital” initiative, as its being referred to, simultaneously employs live engagement with passersby by inviting them to ‘vote’ for their favourite look by placing their hand in front of sensors in the windows. The best selfies selected will be in with a chance of winning a £1,000 shopping spree.
Topshop has launched a new festival-themed campaign fronted by actress Kate Bosworth that combines product, content and entertainment.
Inspired by “the attitude and energy of British festivals”, the initiative is anchored by an interactive film directed by Bosworth’s fiancé Michael Polish, who also shot her in the brand’s Winter Wonderland ad for Christmas 2012. It sees her on her journey to this year’s Coachella music festival in the Californian desert, wearing items from the new collection (16 pieces of which were based on her personal style).
Each item is “clickable, shareable and shoppable” via a custom-built player on Topshop.com, while the soundtrack is also downloadable on iTunes.
“This is about entertaining the customer and immersing them in our world, we want them to spend more time with the brand, share things with their friends. If they do that it will lead to a longer relationship rather than trying to get any short-term gains,” says Topshop’s CMO, Justin Cooke.
He also explains how many of the shots in the film (a selection of which are shown below), purposely lend themselves to social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. “[They] are landscapes, architecture and not just clothing, so it will appeal to people beyond fashion which is something we always look to do,” he explains. His team has also been working with Pinterest to optimise all images so they can be pinned directly from the experience yet link straight back to the specific product pages on Topshop.com for the first time. The Pin It button will become a permanent fixture on the Topshop homepage in the future too.
The campaign will also see “Secret pop-up gigs” from new artists and established acts hosted worldwide, with invitations given at random to shoppers on mobile, on tablets or in-store, as well as made available through a variety of online competitions.
The concept continues in Topshop stores where the music playlists can be scanned using the Shazam app to gain access to content including an interactive festival guide on Topshop.com of the best festivals around the world.
Shoppers can also use the Topshop app to scan the barcode of products in the collection while in-store to unlock further hidden tracks and extra content related to artists playing at key festivals in their cities.
A number of designers and retailers are reaching out to teens through a variety of online initiatives in the build-up to the forthcoming prom season.
Alice + Olivia is one such example; utilising social media to do so. The brand’s designer and founder Stacey Bendet is hosting a live Twitter chat on Tuesday, April 2 at 3pm EST. She will be answering questions and giving styling tips to help shoppers achieve the “perfect prom look”.
Users can submit questions via the hashtag #askstace.
Topshop is also looking to prom with a series of store events held in specific cities during March (three in the US and five in the UK), and a collection of dresses, accessories and shoes inspired by a touch of Kurt Cobain grunge.
All of that is tied together with online content including the below film from director Sean Frank. Referred to as a “vintage-inspired ride in getting prom perfect”, the clip is cast with a filtered light as the model is seen getting ready for the evening, dancing under a disco ball and ending up jumping in the swimming pool.
The British-based high street retailer has slowly been upping its focus on more holiday-based marketing – pushing out relevant collections around the likes of Halloween, holiday and Chinese New Year with dedicated campaigns. Doing so is of course further cementing its presence in the US market especially. Expect more to follow.
River Island has partnered with augmented reality company Blippar to offer shoppers interactive content around its new Rihanna collection.
The initiative sees A5 flyers in store loaded with rich media content including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, latest news from River Island and access to the website to buy the collection itself. Consumers can activate the content by using the Blippar app on their smartphones; pointing their camera at the images.
They can also share their favourite items from the collection on Facebook and Twitter, as well as save them to their image library.
Stephen Shaw, opportunities director at Blippar said: “The most eye-catching and successful Blippar campaigns always feature the most engaging content – and the Blippar team have been excited to work with such amazing electric photography and exclusive video content; when you add superstar models such as Jourdan Dunn into the mix we’re confident River Island customers will be blown-away by the whole campaign.”
As Retail Week pointed out however, River Island’s lack of a mobile-optimised website leads to a poor user experience for those directed, somewhat belittling the benefits of such an initiative.