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business Campaigns e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail

The rise of livestream shopping: From Kim Kardashian to hypebeasts

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

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

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

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

Kim Kardashian’s TMall livestream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monki’s livestream

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

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

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

How are you thinking about new Innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns Editor's pick mobile product Retail technology

WeWork and LIKEtoKNOW.it introduce influencer shopping to office spaces

Co-working company WeWork is partnering with influencer shopping platform LIKEtoKNOW.it to host a pop-up space at a London location where all decor is shoppable.

Located at Aviation House, WeWork’s newest office location in London, the space will be open for the month of January and is decorated with influencers and social media sharing in mind, featuring goods from brands such as Urban Outfitters, Amazon, Matalan and Debenhams. All products are then available to shop directly through the LIKEtoKNOW.it app.

“At WeWork, we’re focused on creating a working environment that fosters collaboration as well as productivity, and this LIKEtoKNOW.it pop-up will only increase the opportunities for our members to connect,” said Mathieu Proust, general manager of WeWork UK and Ireland.

The activation also has a customer acquisition angle as WeWork is offering people who are not members of its network the chance to sign up online and visit the pop-up space for a day, as well as use all other facilities in the office space.

WeWork has been working hard on expanding its retail capabilities over the past year. This is the second time it collaborates with the shopping platform on a retail experience, having hosted a similar space in a Miami location last year where all products were sourced from Walmart. Over the summer, it also launched WeMRKT, which sells products made by its members. Lastly in October 2018, it introduced designated Rent the Runway drop-off spots in six major US cities, including New York, Chicago and Miami, in order to facilitate returns to members of both services.

To support the continued expansion of its business ventures, WeWork rebranded as The We Company earlier this week.

How are you thinking about interactive retail experiences? 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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Retail social media

Revolve to launch branded suite and store at Vegas hotel

Revolve at Palms Casino Resort
Revolve at Palms Casino Resort

Online retailer Revolve has announced it will open a branded suite and retail store at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas next year.

In the past, Revolve has done similar hospitality takeovers during Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, where it rebranded existing hotel properties into the Hotel Revolve and invited VIP guests to stay throughout the duration of the music festival. The permanent branded suite, however, aims to withstand time, versus “a moment in time”, co-CEO and co-founder Michael Mente told WWD.

The suite will become a way for the company’s roster of influencers, as well as the general public, to further experience the brand’s universe whenever in town.

Moreover the 1,000-square-foot store, which is only the second physical store by Revolve after its invite-only Social Club flagship in Los Angeles, will have merchandise that reflects the ritual of getting glammed up to go out in the city. Additionally it will also be an opportunity to grow the retailer’s booming swimwear category.

“Those are segments where we feel our brand really resonates with that female Millennial so I think that’s a perfect location,” Mente added. “Every aspect of the fun life that you would live in Vegas, Revolve is very strong in and has the right merchandising mix for the consumer.”

Since launching in 2012, Revolves strategy has centered around supporting the lifestyle of young women who travel and experience life to its fullest. Consequently, the brand’s approach to influencers, as well as popping up in timely events such as Coachella, has become an increasingly important tool for engagement.

“We think that with the Palms it’s the perfect partnership and perfect location for us because the clientele they are seeking to attract and develop and the clientele that the brand attracts are similar,” adds Mente. “That alignment on the same focus and the same consumer was a natural fit.”

Revolve will be joining Palms Casino Resort as it undergoes a $620m renovation, which includes the opening of many new retail and food establishments. For the hotel, the brand’s presence represents an opportunity to further tap into a new audience, and attract more of its top clientele, which hails from Los Angeles.

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

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Campaigns

Juicy Couture’s latest campaign pokes fun at influencers

@charlenealmarvez for Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture’s newly launched campaign for fall 2018 nods to influencer behaviour on social media by satirizing sponsored posts.

Using the hashtag #JUICYAD, all photos feature the headline “Paid Partnership with Juicy Couture”, which is also the exact phrase that appears on influencers’ branded posts on Instagram. The campaign also stars influencers themselves, who chose to be in on the joke and create commentary around increasingly stricter social media standards.

As for casting, the brand worked with Winston, a proprietary influencer software, developed by ABG, the owner of Juicy Couture. The software identifies, recruits and manages influencer campaigns and connections such as this ad.

The cast includes seven social media influencers recruited from different parts of the globe, with the aim to express individuality. They include Devon Carlson (@devonleecarlson), Tanya Kizko (@tanyakizko), Issa Lish (@issalien) and Charlene Almarvez (@charlenealmarvez).  Each influencer worked with stylist Daniel Packar to showcase the pieces in a way that corresponds to their personal styles.

To further amplify the collection, Juicy Couture will activate the #JUICYAD hashtag throughout the season, as well as launch a content series on social media. #COUTURECHRONICLES will highlight specific influencer’s lifestyles and how the brand impacts their lives.

Juicy Couture has been undergoing a major revamp over the past few years. A growing nostalgia for 00s fashion and pop culture has given the brand a much needed boost. In 2017, it released a version of its iconic velour tracksuits with what was then the buzziest brand in the industry, Vetements. This year, it held its first ever New York Fashion Week show for the Fall 2018 season in February.

@nissapouncey for Juicy Couture

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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 social media Uncategorized

Olay celebrates unique personality traits with real women

Face Anything, Olay, Female Empowerment
Olay’s “Face Anything”

Skin care brand Olay has launched “Face Anything”, a campaign that encourages female empowerment by celebrating unique personality traits.

The campaign, launched across print and video, features nine inspiring women sharing personal stories of how they face criticism for being ‘too much’ of something, such as too emotional, or too confident, and how they embrace their uniqueness.

The cast includes Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, comedian and YouTube star Lilly Singh and fashion model Jillian Mercado, who suffers from spastic muscular dystrophy and has become a voice for diversity in the industry.

The campaign is powered by a dedicated microsite that further highlights their cast’s individualities, as well as an influencer campaign that will run on Instagram for 28 days. For the social media element, a cast of influencers have been tasked with documenting themselves using a curated collection of Olay products for the campaign period.

At the end of the programme, the influencers will be invited to join some of the cast on a New York Fashion Week runway. To underscore the authenticity principle of the brand, the influencers will not be wearing any make-up.

The campaign was developed after Olay commissioned a survey that revealed that 54% of women prefer a “natural look”, while 84% said that social media images pressure them into conforming to beauty standards.

Olay is not the first cosmetic company to embrace authenticity, with body care giant Dove, for instance, having championed this mindset throughout its communications for over ten years – such as most recently introducing a tool to identify any image that is digitally enhanced.

The fact that increasingly beauty and skin care brands are choosing to feature real women – flaws and all – to speak to their customer base is a huge indication that this is no longer a trend, but rather a shift in mentality that has been a long time coming.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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 Editor's pick film

ASOS launches influencer video series exploring identity through beauty

ASOS
ASOS

ASOS has launched a YouTube mini series exploring gender and identity through the lens of beauty, hosted by its influencer network, known as Insiders.

The series aims to further promote diversity and self-exploration to its Gen Z audience, continuing the message first established when it launched the Face + Body category in September 2017.

The first video, which explores “gender, identity and performance”, begins with all five Insider hosts introducing the viewer to the “challenge” that one of the Insiders, in this instance Joel, has to complete.

As viewers find out, Joel is tasked to find his drag alter ego with the help of performer Dinah Lux. Meanwhile the remaining Insiders set out to explore what the topic means by interviewing peers that transform themselves into different characters through performance art.

The second instalment of the series, released yesterday (July 30), explores biodegradable glitter and body confidence and sees Insider Alice create a full body look using nothing but glitter.

Below each video, ASOS prompts viewers to further explore the topic and shop their Insiders’ looks through dedicated pages on ASOS.com.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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 film social media

CoverGirl credits 1,000 women with inclusive foundation film

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

CoverGirl has launched an online video that celebrates the women who have inspired its new TrueBlend foundation, which boasts over 40 shades.

To truly do so, the brand has created a credits section to the spot that rolls for a full 13 minutes and 40 seconds, thanking all of the 1,000 women involved.

Alongside those featured in the spot, the brand has also enlisted brand ambassadors such as HBO series Insecure’s star, Issa Rae, 70-year-old model Maye Musk, and motorcycle racer Shelina Moreda, further emphasizing the diversity of both the shades of foundation and the women who will wear it.

The short film was directed by Australian director Kim Gehrig and features an array of beautiful women of all ethnicities and skin colors dancing on and off the screen in a whirlwind, with the last few seconds bringing all of them together in a staircase frame.

Written over this powerful image are the words “A foundation inspired by the infinite, made for you.”

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna arguably kickstarted the 40-shade foundation hype and led beauty giants such as L’Oreal, Coverfix, and MakeUpForever to launch or expand into new shades. CoverGirl emphasizes however that its TrueBlend foundation was not created as a reaction to a trend, but rather inspired by listening to the needs of its consumers and developing the shades and formula through their feedback.

The spot is part of CoverGirl’s overarching new approach titled “I Am What I Make Up”, which officially substituted its famous “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tagline in 2017. The brand has since invested in a series of campaigns where it hopes to show a more mature and inclusive identity.

Highlights of this new approach include enlisting Amy Deanna as a spokesperson, who became the brand’s first model with vitiligo.  In May this year, fitness trainer and influencer Massy Arias also showcased the brand’s mascara while doing a workout, in a message of the importance of making time for one’s self.

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

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Campaigns Editor's pick social media

Adidas Originals speaks to influencers via personalized billboards

adidas Originals influencer marketing billboard campaign
adidas Originals campaign

Adidas Originals’ latest offline campaign speaks to a group of influencers individually through a series of personalized billboards in Los Angeles and New York, promoting the launch of the P.O.D. shoe.

The brand worked with Clear Channel Outdoor to create 16 out of home ads calling out each influencer, including Tony Mui, who works at Complex magazine and hosts a YouTube channel; Kalysse Anthony, model and stylist; and Scott Reyes, an LA-based photographer.

Each billboard references the influencer’s social media handle and a message directly related to their personal lives that they have shared on social media, with a call to action to head to the nearest Adidas store to pick up the new sneakers. User Jacques Slade (@kustoo), for instance, was told to grab a pair for his next unboxing episode, while Tyler Glickman (@t_glick) was congratulated for recently getting married.

Adidas has been increasingly experimenting with personalized marketing to engage with an audience that is highly distracted by their digital behaviours. During 2018’s Boston Marathon, the sportswear brand created 30,000 personalized videos, one for each runner participating, by using data generated by the RFID-enabled running bibs. That data, combined with footage from seven different cameras stretched throughout the course, generated individual videos available to watch and share online after the race.

At the same time, out of home advertising is experiencing somewhat of a reawakening as marketers tap into the young consumer’s need for creating content. At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Glossier president and COO. Henry Davis, explained that billboards are a great strategy for the cult beauty brand because they are just the beginning of the conversation – as consumers spot the billboard, they feel compelled to photograph it and create and share (digital) content themselves, thus taking ownership of that conversation with the brand.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Amazon’s big data ambitions and on-demand textiles, Facebook’s VR, a sustainability deep dive

Amazon's Echo Look
Amazon’s Echo Look

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon’s big data fuelled fashion ambitions [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon wins patent for on-demand textile manufacturing [Retail Dive]
  • Facebook launches VR project Facebook Spaces [The Drum]
  • Tech tackles the fitting room [Racked]

BUSINESS
  • LVMH takes control of Christian Dior in $13 billion deal [BoF]
  • Hermès joins trend of accelerating luxury sales growth [Business Insider]
  • Kit and Ace shutters all stores worldwide, except in native Canada [Retail Dive]
  • Retail workers fight to get a cut in the era of e-commerce [Racked]
  • Debenhams unveils its turnaround strategy [The Industry]

SUSTAINABILITY
  • How to cut carbon emissions as e-commerce soars [Bain & Co]
  • Are fashion’s recycling schemes as effective as they seem? [The Fashion Law]
  • Is deadstock the future of sustainable fashion? [Fashionista]
  • The myth of closed-loop manufacturing [Glossy]
  • How much has actually changed 4 years on from the Rana Plaza collapse? [Refinery29]
  • Why is fashion still sleeping on all-natural dyes? [Fashionista]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How brands are finally cashing in on social with shoppable Instagram Stories and Snapchat ads [AdWeek]
  • Why does the term ‘influencer’ feel so gross? [Man Repeller]
  • Rue21, mode-ai launch virtual stylist with Facebook Messenger group feature [Retail Dive]

MARKETING
  • The state of data strategy in fashion and retail [Glossy]
  • Do podcasts make you wanna shop? [Racked]
  • John Lewis unveils experiential National Treasures summer campaign [The Industry]
  • Mytheresa.com teams with Miu Miu on capsule, fashion film [WWD]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Macy’s and the survival of retailing [Bloomberg]
  • Why retailers are trying on showrooms [Retail Dive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon builds team for autonomous vehicle technology [AutoNews]
  • Burt’s Nature showcases the Burt of Burt’s Bees in VR [The Drum]
  • Estée Lauder’s augmented reality efforts focus on Europe [L2]

START-UPS
  • Walmart’s tech incubator hires co-founder of Rent the Runway [Bloomberg]
Categories
Editor's pick mobile social media technology

Tommy Hilfiger launches chatbot on Facebook Messenger tied to Gigi Hadid collection

tommyxgigi TMY.GRL bot
Model Gigi Hadid and designer Tommy Hilfiger on the TommyXGigi runway at New York Fashion Week (Image: Trevor Collens/AFP/Getty Images, via Forbes)

Tommy Hilfiger has stepped into the conversational commerce game and launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger to tie in with its New York Fashion Week extravaganza.

Named TMY.GRL (reminiscent of the popular Tommy Girl fragrance of the 1990s), the service enables personalised, scalable conversations with fans surrounding the brand’s new Fall 2016 line and its TommyXGigi [Hadid] collection.

Created in partnership with artificial intelligence platform, msg.ai, it aims to replicate a concierge style of experience through its automated messages. Reads the write-up: “Powered by artificial intelligence, TMY.GRL learns to understand consumer habits, context and intent to better predict and provide the content, information or engagement users are seeking.”

Indeed, the first conversation I had with it was surprisingly engaging. Head over to Forbes to read all about it as well as hear from Tommy himself on the plans behind the initiative.