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ICYMI: Dolce & Gabbana’s downfall, the double-edged sword of discounting, a trillion-dollar holiday season

Dolce & Gabbana is in trouble in China
Dolce & Gabbana is in trouble in China

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

TOP STORIES
  • The crash and burn of Dolce & Gabbana [NYT]
  • The double-edged sword of discounting [BoF]
  • Get ready for the first-ever trillion-dollar shopping season [Fast Company]
  • ThirdLove publishes a scathing open letter to Victoria’s Secret in a New York Times ad [AdWeek]
TECHNOLOGY
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Sustainable fashion searches surged in 2018 [Forbes]
  • Trawling for trash: the brands turning plastic pollution into fashion [The Guardian]
  • Bangladesh clothing factories face squeeze if safety push blocked [BoF]
  • How to convince a fashion brand to go fur-free in 2018 [Fashionista]
  • From Gucci to Walmart, these brands & retailers took a stand on social issues this year [Footwear News]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Inside an Amazon warehouse on Black Friday [Vox]
  • Amazon is mailing a printed holiday toy catalog to millions of customers [CNBC]
  • Walmart unveils ‘digital playground’ as it gets serious about toys [Marketing Dive]
  • Kohl’s cracks the retail code [Fortune]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Why holiday windows still matter [NYT]
  • Snapchat enlists Kylie Cosmetics to launch in-app social commerce [Mobile Marketer]
  • Canada Goose is turning the dressing room into a freezer [Free Malaysia Today]
  • Balenciaga just blew the CGI model debate wide open [Vogue]
  • How Farfetch leverages its WeChat strategy [Jing Daily]
  • Girlboss is launching a LinkedIn-like platform that’s exclusively for women [AdWeek]
  • Apple’s holiday ad is an animated short film [TechCrunch]
BUSINESS
  • YNAP drops Dolce & Gabbana following major Chinese retailers [WWD]
  • The race to replace Victoria’s Secret [BoF]
  • Gap plans to shutter ‘hundreds’ of its flagship stores [RetailDive]
  • The personal luxury goods market delivers positive growth in 2018 to reach €260 billion – a trend that is expected to continue through 2025 [Bain & Company]
CULTURE
  • Does fashion have a cultural appropriation problem? [BBC]
  • The art of woke wellness [The Atlantic]

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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business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups technology

What you missed: Alibaba’s Singles’ Day record, ASOS try before you buy, unpaid Zara workers

Alibaba on its Singles' Day success, as posted on Twitter: "#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion - more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%."
Alibaba on its Singles’ Day success, as posted on Twitter: “#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion – more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%.”

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


TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba’s Singles’ Day goes global with record $25bn in sales [Bloomberg]
  • How Alibaba makes Singles’ Day appealing to luxury brands [Glossy]
  • Will the power of Singles’ Day ever truly capture the West? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba tests 60 futuristic pop-up stores across China for Singles’ Day [Digiday]
  • ASOS launches try before you buy service [TheIndustry]
  • The real story behind those desperate notes that Zara workers left in clothes [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Inside LVMH’s executive reshuffle [BoF]
  • Burberry operating profit jumps 24% in half, boosted by new Coty deal [WWD]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter Q3 sales jump 17.7% [Fashion United]
  • To reach consumers, Richemont’s new leaders need to embrace digital [BoF]
  • Laying out fashion’s new supply chain vision [CFDA]
  • One of fashion’s most prominent investors is someone you may never have heard of [TheFashionLaw]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ASOS launches virtual Gift Assistant on Facebook [TheIndustry]
  • Why Maybelline is winning at social media [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • The new marker of luxury is feel-good marketing [QZ]
  • For Nike, augmented reality is the perfect way to sell hyped sneakers [Engadget]
  • Gwen Stefani fronts Westfield’s Christmas campaign [Fashion Network]
  • Cue the reindeer: Kohl’s, Nordstrom launch holiday campaigns [MediaPost]
  • Fruit of the Loom goes totally 80s with comical freeze frame ads for sweatpants [AdWeek]
  • Fashion wakes up to podcasts [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Alibaba warehouse where fake goods go to die [Sixthtone]
  • You can now rent Ann Taylor clothes for a monthly fee [Today]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s app now lets you place items inside your home using AR [The Verge]
  • Apple said to be working on AR headset aimed for potential 2020 ship date [TechCrunch]
  • Zalando to open new tech hub in Lisbon [TheIndustry]

PRODUCT
  • Is mass customisation the future of footwear? [WSJ]
  • These 10 brands are killing it on the fabric innovation front [HighSnobiety]
  • Ford just made a trucker hat that uses technology to save truckers’ lives [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Glossier, Stitch Fix among most disruptive companies [RetailDive]
Categories
Editor's pick social media technology

All the interactive retail campaigns from tech to social media this holiday season

Hearst and Blippar's augmented reality retail district in Covent Garden - holiday campaigns
Hearst and Blippar’s augmented reality retail district in Covent Garden

What better time of year for something a bit fun and interactive than at Christmas. With an increasing movement towards more in the way of technology that actually resonates with consumers, we’ve seen all sorts of campaigns deployed this season to enhance the festive experience in both physical and digital spaces.

From chatbots to virtual reality devices, not to mention increasingly clever applications on social media, all things digital are proving key for successful holiday seasons to come.

Here we’ve rounded up all of the best of this year’s initiatives across the fashion and retail space. Don’t forget to also check out our best picks of the festive films for 2016.


Technology aids in merging physical with digital

The evolving presence of tech in the holiday season was first spotted when John Lewis launched its Christmas campaign in the UK a few weeks ago. Included was an in-store activity where visitors could experience its Buster the Boxer commercial through virtual reality headsets.

Shortly after, eBay opened a two-day pop up in London that aimed to be the first store run on ‘emotions’. Visitors could browse gift items and select the ones they responded to the best, according to bio-analytic and facial technology.

Next we saw Hearst Magazines teamed up with Blippar to create the world’s first ‘augmented reality retail district’ in Covent Garden. Magazine editors worked with 35 participating retailers to bring to life beauty and fashion gift guides that are only available to view through the Blippar app. Further gamification included using the app over the district’s Christmas tree, located in the famous Piazza, to unlock retailer and restaurant discounts.

Google's Window Wonderland virtual reality experience - holiday campaigns
Google’s Window Wonderland virtual reality experience

Meanwhile in New York, department store window displays are being celebrated through a campaign from Google called Window Wonderland, which allows users to experience 18 displays, from the iconic Bergdorf Goodman to Macy’s and Tiffany & Co, also through the magic of VR. Each can be zoomed in and even come with audio guides from some of the store creatives talking about this year’s work.

The experience was produced by Google’s Art, Copy & Code team by taking hundreds of high-resolution images of each store and then stitching them together so they can be viewed via a web browser, on a smartphone or tablet, or through a VR headset.

In a nod to the lesser trend of wearable technology this season, Samsung is celebrating the launch of its new G3 smartwatch in Piccadilly Circus from Dec 1 until Christmas Eve, with one choir performance a day, showcasing holiday spirit from around the world. Aiming to bring Londoners and visitors together, each choir comes from a different culture or country, ranging from France to Bangladesh.

The key part however is that selected choir members will wear the new smartwatch, which will measure their heartbeats, movements and calories burnt. The biometric results have then been transformed into visuals, displayed on eight screens around the stage.

The Samsung choir wearing the G3 smartwatch - holiday campaigns
The Samsung choir wearing the G3 smartwatch
Social media spans chatbots to live video

Beyond creatively deploying technology in physical environments, brands are taking to social media to explore new and different ways they can engage and encourage followers to get excited for the season.

There’s been a big focus on using chatbots via Facebook Messenger for instance, by brands including Nordstrom, Burberry, American Eagle and others. The idea is to enable gift discovery and interaction via the scaleable artificial intelligent bots, rather than relying on customer service teams. It’s fun and playful at this point, but also says a lot for the future of a trend referred to as “conversational commerce”.

Agent Provocateur's Whatsapp campaign - holiday campaigns
Agent Provocateur’s Whatsapp campaign

Conversation was also the name of the game for Agent Provocateur this season, albeit in a human capacity. The lingerie brand took to Whatsapp for a campaign led by its agency Cult LDN. Referred to as a Ménage à Trois, it helped couples choose ideal gifts by chatting within a group.

In a simpler way, we’ve also seen retailers like Macy’s pushing its “The Santa Project” campaign over social media with ads on Facebook Canvas and Instagram Marquee, while also encouraging followers to record their own videos explaining why they #Believe in Santa.

Also deploying video is Barneys New York, which has promoted a stylish Secret Santa featuring a group of influencers, from Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine to DJ Mia Moretti. #BarneysUnwrapped lives on the retailer’s Instagram page, where each participant stars in an individual video unwrapping their gift, subtly encouraging viewers to buy said items at Barneys, of course.

Needless to say, there’s also been a big focus on Snapchat this season with retailers such as Kohl’s taking the tried-and-test route of Sponsored Geofilters and John Lewis a Sponsored Lens themed to Buster the Boxer.

Sweet's pop-up gift shop on Snapchat sponsored by Maybelline - holiday campaigns
Sweet’s pop-up gift shop on Snapchat sponsored by Maybelline

Sweet, Hearst’s Snapchat-only media channel, meanwhile ran a two-day pop-up ‘shop’ sponsored by Maybelline. It released a gift guide with over 100 snaps, ranging from affordable to expensive, with Maybelline ads running in between. While Sweet’s editorial team worked on the extensive gift selection, it also developed fun and shareable content such as GIFs and catchy phrases, hoping viewers would screengrab their wish list items and send to friends.

Despite the success of a Snapchat giveaway campaign during this year’s Black Friday, US beauty subscription box Birchbox experimented with Instagram Stories in a “12 Days of Christmas” initiative for the holidays instead. It revealed prizes and discounts from partners such as Hilton and Athleta, in a campaign hosted by actress Sophia Bush.

This sort of staggered giveaway as a strategy, has been deployed by a number of other American retailers this year, including Target for Black Friday, and JetBlue with another 12-day campaign in a bid to get customers to come back and interact day after day.

Birchbox's 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Instagram Stories - holiday campaigns
Birchbox’s 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Instagram Stories

Meanwhile with live video on a steep incline, Facebook Live has been the focus for a lot of brands ahead of the holidays. UK retailer Primark, an active user of the feature, has recently promoted a series of giveaways under the “Go, Get and Gift” headline, where viewers who answered questions correctly the quickest would be rewarded discounts and gifts.

ASOS ran a similar campaign that grabbed viewer’s attentions by asking them to guess what was packed inside mysterious bags as tips and hints slowly unfolded, with all the right answers entering a prize draw.


Comment

Each of these themes – from virtual reality to chatbots, Snapchat campaigns and live video – point to the direction we’re seeing fashion brands and retailers moving for 2017. They join a raft of other key trends to know about in the tech space including frictionless payments, designing for the voice interface and thinking about blockchain.

What this also proves is that with digital media so embedded in customers’ lives, brands are particularly embracing chances to grab audience attention while they’re willing to join in; during a positive and festive time of the year. The holiday season, unlike its divisive younger sister Black Friday, is the perfect opportunity for them to convey a message of unity and fun, while experimenting with all that the newest tech has to offer. Look out for much more of this ahead too however.

 

 

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business digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

What you missed: What Trump means for retail, Alibaba’s $17bn Singles’ Day, Snapchat’s Snapbots

Trump America election retail
Analysts are weighing in on what a Trump presidency means for retail and for fashion

With the world reeling from the news of the US election over this past week, analysts have been trying to wrap their head around exactly what a Trump government will mean for retail. There are several good reads listed below.

Also hitting the headlines has of course been the mindblowing success and growth of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day – this year a $17bn affair, up from ‘just’ $14bn in 2015.

Meanwhile, some lighter bits to absorb: a wealth of new campaigns launched for the holiday season. John Lewis vs Marks & Spencer has got us excited, but also below is everyone from Gap to Macy’s, Debenhams and Kohl’s.

ps. Don’t forget to sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass – we’re currently offering 20% for our readers using code “community”.


TOP STORIES: US ELECTION & ALIBABA’S SINGLES’ DAY
  • What President Trump means for retailers [Retail Dive]
  • Fashion industry reacts to ‘devastating’ Trump victory [BoF]
  • Is fashion’s love affair with Washington over? [NY Times]
  • New Balance customers revolt after company welcomes Trump [Campaign]
  • $17 billion in one day: How Alibaba turned China’s Singles’ Day into a shopping bonanza [Digiday]
  • Virtual reality lets Chinese customers shop Macy’s New York store on the world’s biggest shopping day [Quartz]
  • Why luxury fashion brands are showing up for Singles’ Day [Glossy]
  • Michael Kors dished out discount codes with a casino-themed game on WeChat for Singles’ Day [AdWeek]
  • Five takeaways from Alibaba’s gigantic $17.8 billion shopping festival [AdAge]

BUSINESS
  • Nasty Gal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [Retail Dive]
  • Burberry profit falls 40% as costs rise [WSJ]
  • Kenneth Cole to shut down almost all its brick-and-mortar stores [Bloomberg]
  • Luxury coatmaker Canada Goose said to line up banks for IPO [Bloomberg]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snap Inc.’s Spectacles are dropping in these crazy cool vending machines called Snapbots [AdWeek]

ADVERTISING
  • Luxury brands are failing in their storytelling [The Guardian]
  • Gap harnesses optimism in holiday ads [MediaPost]
  • Macy’s bets on power of Santa belief this holiday [AdAge]
  • Jennifer Saunders and Ewan McGregor sign up for Debenhams Christmas campaign [The Drum]
  • Kohl’s ramps up giving message in holiday campaign [AdAge]
  • Browns unveils new look, new website and innovative window campaign [The Industry]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: previewing Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent, Herrera on Snapchat, Primark’s 3m followers

SaintLaurent
A snapshot of Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent preview on Instagram

A round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past week or so. Read on for a sneak peek of Anthony Vaccarello’s new Saint Laurent, detail on how Primark got to three million Instagram followers, and why Samsung wants to bring VR to fashion…


  • An Instagram sneak peek at what Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent will look like [Yahoo]

  • Carolina Herrera taps Snapchat publication Sweet [BoF]

  • How retailer Primark got to 3 million Instagram followers in less than three years [Digiday]

  • Fendi and Elle collaborate on interactive video campaign [Glossy]

  • River Island rolls out RFID to boost sales [Drapers]

  • Kohl’s launches in-app voice search to boost mobile growth [BrandChannel]

  • Why Samsung wants to bring virtual reality to fashion [Glossy]

  • The rabidly-followed leggings brand you can only buy on Facebook [Racked]

  • Snapchat launches a colossal expansion of its advertising, ushering in a new era for the app [AdWeek]

  • How try before you buy is going to revolutionise retail [The Drum]

  • How pricing automation is impacting e-commerce [Forbes India]
Categories
Comment social media

Kohl’s and the Chewbacca Facebook Live video: where’s the line?

chewbacca video

If you’ve spent anytime on Facebook over the past few days it’s more than likely you’ll have stumbled across the video of a woman in the US trying on a Chewbacca mask.

Her infectious laughter has now made this Facebook Live’s most-ever watched recording with over 100m views, and counting.

Essentially an unboxing video, she just happens to mention at the beginning that she got it from department store Kohl’s, before sharing the fact that this mask is a birthday present to herself and not going to be for her kids.

Kohl’s jumped on that idea sending Candace Payne and her family several more masks so they could all enjoy wearing them, as well as a stack of further Star Wars merchandise and a $2,500 Kohl’s gift card. The nature of the response (planned with its social agency, Huge), as well as its speed, has won the retailer props around the country and across social media.

“We don’t want you to have to share your Chewbacca mask, so we ‘confinsctated’ masks for everybody,” the Kohl’s rep said in the video of the drop-off, in reference to her confusion in the initial clip about how to pronounce “confiscated”. That clip, called “The Happiest Chewbacca” has got 29m views too. The mask has also since flown off Kohl’s shelves around the country.

The question is, where’s the line with such brand integration? Kohl’s got lucky with this one, to be fair. Payne could have opened the item and never mentioned the retailer’s name. She could (likely) have even bought it from somewhere else. There’s no denying however that the store did a great job of quickly reacting in a positive way that benefitted the family further, thanking them for being loyal shoppers, rather than just taking to social media to post a basic response of their own.

The fact it had the wherewithal to do something about it when the opportunity presented itself should alone be celebrated. But dig a little deeper on social, and a few responses were of course a touch cynical – ranging from eye rolling at the fact Kohl’s did anything at all, to wishing to never have to work for an agency that did such uncreative campaigns, not to mention suggesting that the PR’ing of the initiative was what felt particularly forced.

While speed is probably what made this work – grabbing the moment and beating any competitors to it – others suggested that what it did left a nasty brand-feel to an otherwise very fun and joyful thing. Payne and her family seem pretty happy about it, but there’s a slight layer of awkwardness over so much gifting felt in the Kohl’s clip too.

In spite of that, there’s no denying that the Chewbacca story is everywhere for this particular moment in time, and the fact it’s with the Kohl’s name wholeheartedly attached to it means that team is no doubt patting itself neatly on the back. Wouldn’t you? We’d love to hear some of your thoughts as industry insiders on the matter, do share in the comments below…

chewbacca kohls

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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Tommy Hilfiger’s #Instapit, Amazon’s growing fashion offer, Burberry’s Brooklyn Beckham nepotism controversy

Your round-up of the latest stories related to fashion and technology…

tommy

  • Tommy Hilfiger to host first ‘Instapit’ for Instagram content creators at women’s show [WWD]
  • Amazon’s clothing selection is now bigger than 250 Walmart supercenters combined [Re/code]
  • Brooklyn Beckham, Burberry and the new celebrity aristocracy [The Guardian]
  • House of Fraser baffles Twitter with off-the-wall Valentine’s Day #emojinal campaign [Marketing]
  • Dolce & Gabbana’s male models were glued to their ipads on the runway [Yahoo! Style]
  • John Lewis introduces ‘Shazam for clothes’ [Independent]
  • Zalando: the fashion platform looking to China for great customer experience [Econsultancy]
  • How The North Face uses AI to create natural conversations with online shoppers [Medium]
  • Inside three retail innovation labs: Sephora, Kohl’s, and Sears [RetailDive]
  • Social media influencers star in Boohoo #WeAreUs campaign [WWD]
  • 4 influencers break away from a dystopian future in adidas’ edgy new campaign [AdWeek]
  • Fashion and beauty brands are investing more in influencer marketing than ever [Fashionista]
  • Here’s how much celebrities make in the Instagram product placement machine [Jezebel]
  • Uber will now deliver your fancy Nordstrom clothes and flowers too [Mashable]
  • At retail’s ‘Big Show,’ a look at the tech merchants hope will keep them relevant [The Washington Post]
  • Shoppers love click and collect more than any other retail tech [Marketing]
  • Fixing the fitting room [Bloomberg]
  • The latest in so-called ‘beauty tech’ [Racked]
  • A growing internet ecosystem is breeding a radically new generation of fashion-forward men [Quartz]
  • Global luxury: how to win when you’re everywhere [BoF]
  • What worries retailers about their digital transformation [Digiday]
  • Here’s the problem with trendy e-commerce businesses [Fortune]
  • The future of e-commerce: bricks and mortar [The Guardian]
  • This ex-Googler’s fashion aggregation site is pioneering age of digital personalisation [Forbes]
  • New platform Launchmetrics can help fashion publicists track the ‘influence’ of front row guests [Fashionista]
  • Meet the 25-year-old Swedish woman using 3d scanning to make shoes fit perfectly [Forbes]
Categories
Editor's pick film

Christmas ad update: Target, Sainsbury’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Harvey Nichols, Primark, Kohl’s, House of Fraser, M&S, The Body Shop

Sainsburys_Mog

Festive retail films are continuing to come out in droves, with Target, Sainsbury’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods getting in on the storytelling and emotion-inspiring game, ranging from an adventure to save the Christmas tree, to Mog the cat almost ruining the day, and a coach getting a wonderful surprise.

Meanwhile, Harvey Nichols warns of the risk of #giftface, Primark documents a journey home with a clever combination of models amid toy scenery, Kohl’s focuses on modern family, and House of Fraser and M&S stick with good musical fun. The Body Shop is a personal highlight, however – nothing like a good sing-a-long to Jingle Bells in the shower.

Check them all out below, and be sure to look back at John Lewis, Kate Spade, Burberry, Mulberry, Mr Porter, Debenhams and TK Maxx, here.

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.

Categories
Editor's pick film

Our pick of the top 10 campaign films this holiday season

From the magic of Christmas to the drama of gift giving, all with a little whimsical fun and frolics thrown in, there’s something for everyone in the best of the fashion and retail films this holiday season. Here’s our highlight of 10 of them:

Kate Spade: The Waiting Game

Hermès: A Little Holiday Magic

Sainsbury’s Tu: Dads Pull Out Surprise Dubstep Dance For Christmas

LOFT x SRSLY: Put the Happy in Your Holiday (series)

Burberry: From London with Love

John Lewis: #MontyThePenguin

Gucci: Special Delivery, a Holiday Tale

Kohl’s: Holiday Magic

Gap: Dress Normal Holiday 2014 (series)

Mulberry: #WinChristmas