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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 digital snippets e-commerce product Retail sustainability technology

Shopify’s $6.6m sustainability fund, TikTok’s global rise, the new lure of the mall

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

TOP STORIES
  • Shopify looks to fight climate change, commits $6.6 million to new sustainability fund (BetaKit)
  • The strategy behind TikTok’s global rise (Harvard Business Review)
  • Can rollercoasters and a bunny garden lure shoppers back to the mall? (BoF)
  • Germany unveils Green Button: what you need to know about the worlds first sustainable textile label (Fashion United)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Pentland brands trials AR app (Drapers)
  • How technologies like RFID elevate the customer experience (Fashion United)
  • Luxury retailers are ladling on perks to please ultra-rich clients (Wired)
  • Coca-Cola cans activate animated stories in AR (Mobile Marketer)
  • Entrupy is an app that helps authenticate your grails (Highsnobiety)
  • McDonald’s uses AI for ordering at drive-throughs (BBC News)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How designers are trying to make NYFW more sustainable (Nylon)
  • Gucci vies to be even greener (NYT)
  • Stella McCartney pens an urgent letter to the fashion industry (The Times)
  • Biodegradable clothes may fix fashion’s huge waste problem (Wired)
  • Second-hand fashion hits £187m on eBay (Fashion United)
  • Harvey Nichols dips a toe into the circular economy (Vogue Business)
  • H&M announces initiative to increase e-commerce sustainability (Fashion United)
  • Sainsbury vows to halve plastic packaging by 2025 (Retail Gazette)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
BUSINESS
  • Philip Green’s Topshop & Topman report £505m loss (The Guardian)
  • New York’s Fashion Week revamp: did it work? (BoF)
  • New MD at Net-a-Porter (Drapers)
  • C&A files to begin IPO Process in Brazil (BoF)
  • Q&A with Mark Parker, CEO of Nike (Fast Company)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ‘We’re doing an evolution’: Inside Playboy’s extreme makeover (Digiday)
  • In London, is Extinction Rebellion out-marketing fashion? (BoF)
PRODUCT
  • Kim Kardashian’s Skims solutionwear launches online (Fashion United)
  • Duchess of Sussex’s new charity workwear collection (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • James Scully calls out ‘distressing’ treatment of models at NYFW (Dazed)
  • Macy’s announces 5-point plan to promote diversity and inclusion (Fashion United)
  • How to prevent your company from cultural appropriation (Forbes)
  • How cancel culture is affecting brands (Digiday)
  • PrettyLittleThing champions diversity at NYFW (Fashion United)
  • CurvyCon proves the future of fashion is fat (Fashionista)
  • M&S presents sunflower lanyards to support customer with disabilities (Retail Gazette)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick mobile social media

Juicy Couture launches virtual collection on new Britney Spears game

Britney-Spears-Juicy-Couture

We know gaming is a lucrative space these days. Just look at Kim Kardashian’s mobile version which has reportedly brought in $100m since its launch in 2014.

The company behind that, Glu Mobile Inc, also runs the new “Britney Spears: American Dream” game, which is quickly following in similar footsteps and integrating numerous brands within it. First up in the fashion space, is Juicy Couture.

The result sees users able to buy a range of 20 digital Juicy Couture Black Label looks for their avatars, including sunglasses, dresses, jeans, jewellery, shoes and handbags. They do so with B-Gems, the game’s currency, and then wear them while doing things like making and performing songs and competing with one another to make it to the top of the charts.

“We’re excited to see the impact adding a fashion brand has to Britney Spears: American Dream. It’s something that has proved quite successful in other Glu titles so we’re looking forward to future opportunities,” Glu chairman and CEO Niccolo de Masi, told WWD. “These types of integrations add significant value to the player by providing an immersive brand experience in an authentic way. We deliberately select brands that align well with each title and celebrity partner.”

Juicy Couture might sound like an interesting choice, but as Racked reports, the classic Juicy tracksuit is supposedly making a comeback after being spotted on various celebrities once more. Bloomingdale’s is also releasing an exclusive capsule collection of Juicy Couture Black Label classic tracksuits (in real life) this July.

The typical player of the Britney Spears game is reportedly female between the ages of 18 to 35.

The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game has included brand integrations such as Balmain, Karl Lagerfeld and Nars cosmetics.

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social media

Social media by the numbers: the big fashion week trends

Kim_NYFW

With the autumn/winter 2016 fashion week season now behind us, it’s time to run the numbers, crunch the stats and crown the social media winners and losers of the month.

Or try to…

Conflicting data and contradictory reports on brand statistics are published daily during New York, London, Milan and Paris, making it increasingly difficult to compose an accurate picture of exactly what’s what. But, equally they enable lots of thought around social media trends in general and which way the industry is moving with what it uses, favours and finds the most success on.

Given the hot debate currently underway around whether designers should move to in-season, consumer-facing shows or not, lots of this sort of information counts. So here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:


Instagram continued to dominate

During New York Fashion Week (NYFW), 427,000 images were shared on Instagram, generating more than 113 million social engagements (likes and comments), according to Traeger Communications. Year-on-year, this is a 47% increase in images and a 30% increase in engagements, proving that Instagram continues to be a powerful medium for brands that want to join in the fashion week conversation. Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC) added during London Fashion Week (LFW)’s launch that “97% of the BFC’s designers questioned in a survey were on Instagram”.


Designers embraced Snapchat to reach Generation Z

Snapchat exploded across fashion month, hitting all four fashion weeks in a big way. Social media uptake usually filters down through New York and London before reaching Milan and Paris a couple of seasons later, but the fashion industry couldn’t afford to ignore this trend. New designers joining included Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Gucci, Dior and more. “11% of social media activity around Paris Fashion Week (PFW) was attributed to Generation Z,” reported influencer engagement platform Zoomph, pointing in the direction of Snapchat particularly. Keen to establish brand loyalty with the next generation of consumers (Gen Z is considered to be anyone born after the mid-late 90s), brands used Snapchat to reach this sought after demographic where they already live. Snapchat’s core users are 13-24 years old.


Twitter is still relevant but sees less engagement

Contradicting general consensus, Zoomph reported that 98% of social media activity relating to PFW was on Twitter and only 2% on Instagram. Business intelligence firm L2 reported a similar trend during the Tommy Hilfiger show at NYFW. The designer posted 51 images on Instagram compared to 197 tweets. Mind you, much of that may be to do with the nature of the platform – fast-paced comments versus more considered images. Backing that is the fact that Tommy’s posts converted into 920,528 likes and comments on Instagram, while the larger number of posts on Twitter only saw a total of 30,971 likes and retweets in return.


Facebook lost ground but innovative product appeals

The social media platform largely associated with Millennials continued to fall out of favour with the fashion crowd. Facebook activity surrounding NYFW has declined year-on-year since 2014 according to the L2 report. The pay-to-play nature of the platform is said to be the reason why, with brands instead opting to focus resources elsewhere. Facebook is however experimenting in new spaces in a bid to garner renewed attention. Its Facebook 360 product allows users to experience virtual content first-hand by controlling the rotation on it themselves. Refinery 29 shot eight shows at NYFW using the immersive technology.


Others opted for a digital detox

While that debate rages on around fashion weeks transforming into consumer-facing events, others have been rejecting social media altogether. This season, Massimo Giorgetti banned social media from his MSGM show at Milan Fashion Week MFW) for instance, suggesting guests simply enjoy the show instead of watching it through their smartphones. A number of others did the same including Jacquemus in Paris and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand The Row in New York. Belstaff also didn’t allow photographs to be taken of its capsule collection with Liv Tyler in London.


Luxury brands were outpaced by savvy collaborations

If they weren’t banning it, they were doing the total opposite and teaming up with celebs in order to hit the biggest numbers of social media instead. Rihanna modelling her own Fenty x Puma collection for instance caused an enormous stir with 140,000 tweets being posted about it, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence. That was nearly 100,000 more than Ralph Lauren achieved in the same time period (47,000) and almost double that of Michael Kors (71,000). By comparison, Kanye West opened NYFW at Madison Square Gardens with his Yeezy season 3 collection to an audience of 18,000. On social media that generated 800,000 tweets.


Supermodels and influencers ruled

Once again the choice of models taking to the catwalk also appeared to be just as important as the clothes on show. High-profile names including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner shared backstage insights with their own millions of followers – the former also doing a stellar job launching Tommy Hilfiger’s Snapchat account. A shot of the duo swapping hair colours for Balmain also exploded, generating the brand 144,000 likes and 3,500 comments. At NYFW, of the top 10 Instagram images by total engagements, eight were taken by models and influencers, including models and social influencers Jay Alvarrez and Alexis Ren, as well as Russian YouTube influencer Kate Clapp, according to data from Traeger Communications.


Kim killed it… again

One step ahead of younger sis Kendall was publicity machine Kim Kardashian West – who once again topped the social media leader boards across multiple platforms. Her promotion of the NYFW official app garnered nearly 800,000 engagements and was the most-successful image on Instagram during NYFW for instance. Kim also won Paris by posting a number of throwback images from the AW15 season as well as a controversial-yet-censored naked shot of herself that commanded a hefty 1.6 million likes.

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e-commerce Uncategorized

Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle hits the UK

ShoeDazzle, a personal styling and accessories e-commerce service from the US fronted by reality TV star turned fashion icon Kim Kardashian, opens for business in the UK today.

It offers consumers monthly shoe, handbag and jewellery selections personalised to individual tastes.

Users take a quiz on sign-up, which determines their “style profile”. Each month they then receive a bespoke virtual showcase of items available to buy, based on the advice of a team of stylists led by Kardashian.

On first purchase, they begin a subscription of £39.95 per month, which includes the styling service, cost of product and delivery and returns. It is possible to both skip a month and order additional items. Find out more about how it all works, here.

“We’re very excited to launch ShoeDazzle in the UK,” says co-founder MJ Eng. “ The best word to describe UK fashion is that it’s eclectic – mixing the best of everything and coming up with something that’s individual, unique and tailored to you.  It’s really the same idea that ShoeDazzle was built around – to offer our customers a wide selection of products at an affordable price, personalised to their unique tastes in style.”

ShoeDazzle has nearly 4m members in the US and 1m Facebook fans since it launched in 2009.

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digital snippets social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle, Nordstrom, Gilt Groupe, Fashion140

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

  • Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle raises $40m in capital [AllThingsD]
  • Inside Gilt Groupe: a tour of the leading flash-sales site’s Brooklyn offices [BusinessInsider]
  • Weaving together ethical fashion and social media with the IOU Project [CNN]
  • Five best practices for fashion retailers on Facebook [Mashable]