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Editor's pick technology

The future of retail: Beyond stories told, to stories experienced

JCP_VR2

If you’d visited a mall housing a J.C. Penney store over the holidays, you may have been welcomed by a virtual reality experience that took shoppers on an immersive ride to the North Pole.

Created with marketing and technology agency Narrative, the “Twas The Flight Before Christmas” initiative was in place in four malls (one each in New York, Ohio, Arizona and Virginia), in a bid to grab consumer attention during the busiest shopping period of the year. It consisted of an Oculus Rift-based campaign where individual viewers could interact with reindeers and snowmen, as well as Santa himself, while a large screen was also set up for the rest of the audience drifting through the mall to enjoy.

Head over to Forbes to read my interview with Tricia Clarke-Stone, CEO of Narrative, on the reasoning behind this immersive tech experience and how it was designed to drive footfall into store and traffic to the checkouts.

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: NYFW’s consumer shift, has Burberry become a gimmick, Thakoon’s real-time fashion plans

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

thakoon

  • NYFW going consumer? CFDA hires BCG to study the idea [WWD]
  • Is Burberry becoming too gimmicky? [Yahoo Style]
  • Thakoon to shift to “real-time fashion”, launch see-now, buy-now, wear-now model (as pictured) [BoF]
  • How Rebecca Minkoff is disrupting the traditional runway show [Co.Design]
  • Proenza Schouler to keep its Pre-Fall 2016 collection images under wraps and off Instagram [WGSN Insider]
  • JC Penney shoppers visit Santa’s workshop in new virtual reality initiative [AdAge]
  • The North Face launched an online customer service tool powered by conversation [Digiday]
  • Aldo takes non-fashion approach in new Instagram push [Digiday]
  • How Boohoo.com releases up to 300 new products a day [Fashionista]
  • Michael Kors bet big on Instagram marquee ads, and it’s paying off [AdWeek]
  • Swatch to start selling mobile payment watch in US in 2016 [Bloomberg]
  • How Apple executive Angela Ahrendts is bringing a touch of chic to retail stores [NY Times]
  • Why Gilt Groupe is forced to sell, either to Saks’ parent company or someone else [Re/code]
  • 3D fashion police: how 3D-printed clothing could affect fashion law [3ders]
  • Is virtual reality the future of fashion week? [Vogue]
  • ‘Unboxing’ videos a gift to marketers [NY Times]
  • How luxury brands are balancing the digital tightrope between aspirational image and conversation [The Drum]
  • Social media: powerful selling tool for emerging designers [WWD]
  • The future of wearables is normal clothes made smart [Racked]
  • Last fashion week, Dazed armed anonymous industry insiders with wearable tech bracelets [Dazed]
  • Team behind Lady Gaga’s flying dress to bring wearable tech to a store near you [Mashable]
  • How Clothing+ is bringing smart clothes closer to your kit bag [CNET]
  • Half a year later, the Apple Watch feels like a stalled platform [Quartz]
  • Will phones replace wallets by 2021? [Vogue]
  • What’s going on at Condé Nast? [BoF]
  • Why brands are ditching Twitter’s 6-second Vine app [AdWeek]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile technology

Are we really going to shop from the Apple Watch? What retail apps are trying to achieve

applewatch

When Apple makes a major announcement like a move into the wearables category, it’s guaranteed a long line of other businesses will jump on board any which way they can; aiming for success by association with relevant launches of their own.

Needless to say there were multiple new apps created in time for the Apple Watch hitting stores in April on that very basis. 3,500 to be precise. Retail is one of the key categories within that, with Target, Asos, Amazon, JC Penney and Marks & Spencer just some examples of those who introduced new applications specifically.

Many of these brands aren’t normally what we’d consider early movers in such a tech game. So what are they trying to achieve? Are such efforts merely about benefitting from the media coverage likely to follow, or do they actually think there’s potential to be shopping from our wrists?

Head over to Forbes.com for my full story exploring the answers to those questions.

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social media

JC Penney tried, but failed to nail social marketing during Super Bowl XLVIII

Last year’s Super Bowl game was all about the success Oreo achieved with its Dunk in the Dark instant Twitter response. While lots of brands played with social this time round – from Tide to Chobani – no one quite nailed it in the same way, or certainly not with a legitimate real-time feel to it.

JC Penney however, was one that tried. The US department store posted two tweets throughout the evening with numerous typos in them. Needless to say, even in a sea of 25 million tweets (up from last year’s 24.1 million), they quickly went viral.

A drunken employee with access to the corporate social accounts was the inevitable assumption. Not surprising with copy that read: “Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0.” And: “Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???”

In no time at all, they’d received upwards of 19,000 retweets and 8,000 favourites each. Things then got even better when other brands weighed in – Macy’s amusingly denied responsibility, Kia asked whether they needed a designated driver, and perhaps the best of all, Snickers looped in its own ongoing campaign concept by saying: “Eat a #SNICKERS, you’re not you when you’re hungry RT @JCPenney Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0.”

It was a brilliant marketing ploy – JC Penney was just about to respond with something groundbreaking, bang on target for the ever eager, second screen consumer. Weren’t they?

Alas, mittensgate. Yes mittens. The JC Penney social team were wearing mittens. New York / New Jersey was so cold they couldn’t possibly tweet in any other way (although it turns out it actually wasn’t), so they had to keep their fingers wrapped up in cosy mittens and desecrate all over what could have been a spectacular social hijack in the process. #tweetingwithmittens: how disappointing.

According to the follow-up posts, the initiative was designed to promote the retailer’s Team USA mittens for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. From one cold sporting event (or not) to the next (also a case of, or not)…

Kate Coultas, a spokesperson for JC Penney, told BuzzFeed: “We knew Twitter would be very active but wanted to find a way to stay above the Super Bowl fray and instead create our own narrative. Given it was cold, and we are selling Go USA mittens — we thought it could be a fun stunt!”

Perhaps I’m being a touch harsh, the move has after all generated a ton of buzz, not to mention coverage across multiple major marketing publications, and all that without the hefty $4 million TV media buy. That said, without the best recent sales history, it just feels like there might have been somewhat of a slightly wasted opportunity in focusing merely on a pair of gloves for sale.

As Business Insider, who referred to the ploy as “frankly, a bit lame”, said: “It’s sort of hard to gauge the actual sentiment toward the campaign, as the Twitter bios of the people who interacted with JCPenney’s posts indicate that most of them are involved in media in one way or another.” This writer included.

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social media

Retail’s 7 most innovative Holiday campaigns

This article first appeared on Fashionista 

ebayinc_digitalstorefront_rm4 (2)

The holiday season can account for up to 40% of a retailer’s annual revenue, and thus it’s no surprise to see some of our favorite stores (and fashion brands) go all-out with festive campaigns in a bid to capture as many dollars as possible.

Multiple initiatives have lined up to grab our attention this year, but if there’s one thing tying them together, it’s interactivity. From singing contests you can enter to touchscreens you can explore, participation is the biggest push for 2013.

Pinterest is also proving big news. According to a recent study by Lab42, 94% of users say the virtual scrapbooking site has changed how they prepare for the holidays, while 42% have created their own holiday-themed boards. Meanwhile, stats show such activity is also affecting sales. Revenue on retail sites that originated from Pinterest doubled over Thanksgiving weekend, and brands like Target and Topshop have quickly taken advantage.

Here’s our pick of the top seven activations.

1. eBay’s Touchscreen Storefronts

First up is the digital storefronts eBay set up for Rebecca Minkoff, Toms and Sony in the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall this season. Shopping from them is easy. As with any smartphone or tablet device, you just touch the screen and start browsing products, then complete the order via PayPal on your mobile device. Items can either be delivered to your home for free or picked up at the Sony Gallery on the floor below.

2. Gap’s VSCO-Powered Gift Guide

Gap gave an indie twist to its holiday gift guide by partnering with seven well-known users of photo-editing app VSCO for its Make Love campaign. Those artists acted as both models and photographers, captured in various Gap products themselves and completing their own photo assignments based on one of Gap’s holiday themes: fair isle, indigo, metallic, plaid, stripes, texture and warmth. The results are featured on both a dedicated page on VSCO’s website as well as in Gap.com’s “Give A-Z” holiday guide.

3. John Lewis’ “The Bear and The Hare”

Over in the UK meanwhile, John Lewis wins for the biggest budget when it comes to advertising this year. It spent £7 million ($11.4 million) on a hand-animated and very cute tale called “The Bear and The Hare,” which has garnered more than 10 million views on YouTube to date. What’s innovative is all the components that go with it, and none more so than the windows of its flagship store in London. They feature some of the 188 animal sculptures made from 7,000 everyday products tied to the bear and hare theme, like a reindeer made of Dyson vacuums, a polar bear of Nintendo Wiis and a turkey crafted from a series of rolled up towels. The retailer is also running a contest with the campaign, calling all aspiring singers to record and upload their own versions of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” for a chance to have their recording play with the commercial on Christmas day.

4. JC Penney’s “Jingle Mingle” Singing Contest

JC Penney also called for singing content from its fans this year. Up until Dec. 3 it invited aspiring vocalists to upload videos of themselves singing “Silent Night” to its Jingle Mingle website. Hundreds of the best are then going to be played on the facade of the retailer’s Manhattan Mall store. For each one submitted, JC Penney donated $20 to the United Service Organizations (USO).

5. Topshop’s “Dear Pinterest” Campaign

It was all about Pinterest for Topshop this season. The UK-based retailer used Pinterest to power its online gift guide, and even attached oversized tags to in-store merchandise identifying the ones that had been pinned the most. In November, there was also a giant touchscreen in Topshop’s New York and London flagships that allowed shoppers to pin, share and shop from a gift list there and then.

6. Target’s Pinteresting “Awesome Shop”

Pinterest also makes an appearance at Target this season. Target has launched an e-commerce storefront powered by Pinterest as well as its own reviews this year. Target Awesome Shop, as it’s called, incorporates over 1,000 products that have received four stars or higher in the customer reviews on Target.com and are one of the retailer’s most-pinned products on Pinterest. The result: a highly curated, not to mention awesome, list of recommended items. You can search by category and then click on each product for more information (such as those reviews), before being redirected to the main Target.com site to add them to your shopping cart.

7. Louis Vuitton’s “The Goose Game”

Louis Vuitton created an online board game to feature its holiday gifts. The game, which functions much like “Snakes and Ladders,” is made up of squares featuring Louis Vuitton products that players can purchase in just a few clicks.

Honorable Mention: Kmart’s “Show Your Joe”

It may not be a stunning piece of innovation, but Kmart’s “Show Your Joe” commercial sure brought the laughs — and the views. The video, which was made for TV, has racked up more than 16 million views on YouTube alone since its Nov. 15 release.

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media

Digital snippets: Holiday retail round-up special

Given it’s the day before Thanksgiving in the US – meaning retailers are about to go all out on heavy promotions – here’s a special round-up of all the ways they’re using social and digital to help lure the seasonal shopper and start converting those all-important Holiday sales…

ebayinc_digitalstorefront_rm4 (2)

  • eBay debuts shoppable touchscreens and digital storefronts for Sony, Toms And Rebecca Minkoff in San Francisco (as pictured) [TechCrunch]
  • Target launches “most digitally enabled campaign” in its history, pins hopes on Pinterest this holiday season [Co.Create]
  • Topshop partners with Pinterest for online and offline Holiday campaign [Fashion&Mash]
  • JC Penney launches first Holiday campaign under new marketing head, includes crowdsourcing initiative inviting users to upload videos of themselves singing ‘Silent Night’ [AdAge]
  • ‘Reserve in Store’ service rolling out to all Banana Republic stores across the US, 200 Gap [CNBC]
  • Jingle all the way at Kmart with #showyourjoe Christmas ad [Fashion&Mash]
  • Kohl’s adds emotional brand spots to Holiday mix [AdAge]
  • Hollister teases Black Friday deals on YouTube [ClickZ]
  • All the interactive elements accompanying John Lewis’ #bearandhare Christmas ad [Fashion&Mash]
  • Cath Kidston, Bauble Bar driving traffic with Christmas treasure hunt campaigns [Fashion&Mash]
  • Michaels offers interactive Holiday help with live elf available through streaming video [Chain Store Age]
  • M&S teases Christmas #magicandsparkle campaign over social [Fashion&Mash]
  • Louis Vuitton highlights gift ideas on interactive goose game [Luxury Daily]
  • Tillys runs ugly Christmas sweater contest over Instagram [Tillys]
  • Neiman Marcus teams up with Shapeways to offer 3D printed holiday capsule collection [PSFK]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media

Digital snippets: Gap and DVF, JC Penney, Nike, eBay and Kate Spade Saturday, Burberry

A round-up of recent stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital:

GapKids_Aviary

  • GapKids launches photo filters and stickers with Aviary to promote Diane von Furstenberg collection (as pictured) [TechCrunch]
  • JC Penney says ‘We’re Sorry’ and ‘Come Back’ with social media blitz [BrandChannel]
  • Nike gears customised shoe campaign to Instagram users [ClickZ]
  • eBay and Kate Spade Saturday to launch touchscreen store window [PSFK]
  • Fashion meets music with Burberry’s new eyewear campaign [Vogue Australia]
  • Condé Entertainment previews video channels for Vogue, Wired and Vanity Fair [WWD]
  • Making the best of a digital situation: what luxury brands can do to catch up online [Forbes]
  • Online, everyone can be a make-up critic [NYTimes]
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digital snippets social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Christmas 2011 special

The fashion industry has been celebrating the festive season with all manner of digital initiatives. Here’s a look at some of the things they’ve been doing:

  • Ralph Lauren transforms online catalog into holiday greeting cards (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Coach launches New York-themed gift tags campaign featuring eight animated videos, e-cards and Facebook application [WWD]
  • Marc Jacobs invites fans to upload their family holiday snaps with ‘MarcFam’ campaign [StyleCaster]
  • Calvin Klein partners with Shazam for interactive in-store displays and unique holiday song [L2 Blog]
  • Burberry sends festive cheer with interactive music videos [Burberry]
  • Tiffany & Co unveils digital storybook, ‘The Winter Carousel’, to tie in with store windows [Luxury Daily]
  • Macy’s extends annual Believe campaign with augmented reality app [Macy’s]
  • John Lewis launches window display featuring its ‘Top 30 favorite things for Christmas’, allowing shoppers to buy directly via QR codes [PSFK]
  • JC Penney invites consumers to personalise their gifts with ‘Santa Tags’; QR codes that host voice recordings [JC Penney]
  • Alexander Wang compiles 12 days of Christmas gift guide [Global Grind]
  • Uniqlo UK offers shoppers the chance to win their Christmas wishlist [Uniqlo]
  • Esprit partners with Yvan Rodic of FaceHunter as part of Make Your Wish holiday campaign [PR Newswire]
  • Gap gives shoppers head start on holiday shopping with Shop Yourself Social initiative [RIS News]

Related posts:

Video: Merry Lanvin Christmas!

Love magazine unveils ‘saucy’ online advent calendar

Barney’s Gaga Workshop incorporates interactive Twitter windows

Making of: John Lewis 2011 Christmas ad

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce mobile Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Saks, Topman, Esquire, Jaeger, JC Penney, House of Fraser, Figleaves and more

A mega update this week to make up for the lack over the past fortnight:

  • Saks ups online content [WWD]
  • Topman to launch online magazine [GQ]
  • Esquire partners with JC Penney to launch men’s e-commerce site CLAD [Esquire]
  • Jaeger debuts transactional mobile site, anticipates 80% increase in m-commerce revenues [NMA]
  • JC Penney adds QR codes, Facebook game, apps and Google+ presence to Christmas campaign [Media Decoder, NY Times]
  • House of Fraser to launch iPhone app offering in-store barcode scanner [NMA]
  • Figleaves links London Underground ads with mobile app [Media Week]
  • Old Navy doles out deals to Shopkick app users [Venture Beat]
  • Flash sales site Vente-Privée launches in US [Market Watch]
  • New York Times launches iPad app for fashion and style content [WWD]
  • How leading fashion brands are embracing online video [Mashable]
Categories
digital snippets Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Stella McCartney, Vogue’s Online Fashion Week, American Apparel, JC Penney

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital this week:

Stella McCartney's autumn/winter 2011/12 campaign
  • Stella McCartney ups social activity with new website, second edition iPad app and ad campaign preview [WWD]
  • UK Vogue to follow up Fashion’s Night In with Online Fashion Week this December [Vogue.co.uk]
  • American Apparel to launch eBay store [Nasdaq]
  • JC Penney introduces “Haul Nation” for teens to blog about fashion [Social Times]
  • Project Runway fans vote for designers on Twitter [Mashable]

  • Start-up Ave23.com looks to change fashion search engines with visual intelligence technology [WWD]

I’m now away for 10 days, so there won’t be any posts for a while. Expect a mega digital snippets update on my return!