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Digital snippets: Ralph Lauren’s smart shirt, Apple’s fashion execs, fond farewell to DKNY and Oscar PR Girls

We hope you had a great summer break. Here’s what you might have missed over the past month surrounding all things fashion and tech…

RalphLauren

  • Ralph Lauren is bringing its sensory ‘smartshirt’ to market for $295 [Fashionista]
  • Why has Apple been poaching fashion execs? [BoF]
  • As DKNY PR Girl and Oscar PR Girl move on, one writer mourns the death of fashion Twitter [Yahoo! Style]
  • Why Target had the only ad in Vogue’s September issue with a digital edge [Digiday]
  • The world is not enough for Net-a-Porter [The Cut]
  • Zalando is making billions by tailoring its services to European stereotypes [Quartz]
  • Macy’s tests chutes, tablets in dressing rooms to repel Amazon [Bloomberg]
  • Matches Fashion’s stylish leap from touch to touch screen [NY Times]
  • How Neiman Marcus plans to digitise [Digiday]
  • The Dandy Lab: a new menswear concept store enhanced by technology [Grey Fox]
  • Sephora joins the beauty subscription box arena [PSFK]
  • 12 months after launch: how have John Lewis’ geo-location experiments with JLab winner Localz shaped up? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba lands Macy’s as the first US department store for its online portal [Fortune]
  • Why millions in China downloaded L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app [AdAge]
  • How robots are ushering in a new era of retail customer service [Retail Dive]
  • Will luxury smartwatches work? [BoF]
  • This infographic reveals how social and mobile impact back-to-school shoppers [AdWeek]
  • Why fashion and beauty brands love Instagram [Digiday]
  • Periscope now has 10 million users who watch 21 million minutes a day [AdWeek]
  • Can Twitter turn around its story with buy buttons? [The Street]
  • Facebook tests a digital assistant for its messaging app [Bits]
  • Style.com lifts the veil on staffing, strategy ahead of launch [WWD]
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Startups technology

John Lewis’ JLAB announces five start-up finalists for 2015

JLABpitchers_FINAL

John Lewis is focusing on retail services and connected devices in its second annual start-up accelerator program.

The 2015 JLAB finalists include a digital queue management system for stores called Qudini; an app-based coffee shop created by three teenagers called Space Lounges; a platform that allows connected home users to control all of their devices through one portal called Alfred; a camera device that lets you see who is at your front door called Peeple; and a wearables team called Ikinen who have developed the Helios solar-powered cover for iPhone users.

A total of 21 participated in a pitch day earlier this month (as per the above shot). Said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis: “The five start-ups we’ve chosen certainly demonstrate what a wealth of great ideas there is out there. Each idea has huge potential to bring something new, whether to our customers’ experience of shopping or consumers’ everyday lives.”

Each will be given initial funding and office space within John Lewis’s head office for 12 weeks from early July, and access to a full panel of mentors, of which I am delighted to be one. Look out for my diary entry on the experience later this summer following the second pitch day in September, which will crown the final winner with a prize of up to £100,000 in funding.

The scheme is run in partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks and his venture fund, L Marks. Last year’s winner was beacon-provider Localz.

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Editor's pick Startups technology

John Lewis returns with JLAB start-up contest

jlab

It was a start-up based on beacons that won John Lewis’ inaugural JLAB tech accelerator programme last year, now the department store is turning to the likes of the connected home, effortless payments and meshing the digital and physical for a second spin of the contest.

The initiative is breaking down entrants into specific categories for its 2015 return in an overall bid to “develop products and services that will shape the retail experience of the future”.

Applications are now open until May 1 for the chance to win a place as one of 10 start-ups within JLAB for 12-weeks this summer, and I am honoured to be one of a number of mentors helping the participants in developing their ideas. My contemporaries will be announced in due course.

An overall winner will then be decided at a pitch day in September, receiving up to £100,000 in further investment as well as a contract to trial their solution in stores.

Said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis: “As an established business we have certain ways of doing things and JLAB is an opportunity to inject the start-up spirit into our innovation efforts. Our inspiration is our founder Spedan Lewis – what new things would he be doing today? After the success of last year, I’m looking forward to working with a fresh group of start-ups with exciting ideas that could help shape the customer and Partner experience at John Lewis for years to come.”

The 2014 winner, Localz, is currently trialling its micro-location technology at Peter Jones. One of its key solutions surrounds triggering a customer’s Click & Collect order to be packed up for them as they enter the store in order to speed up collection times.

See more via www.jlab.co.uk, and watch this space for further news.

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Editor's pick mobile Startups technology

John Lewis announces beacon technology start-up Localz as £100k JLAB incubator winner

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

Jlab_Localz

Beacon technology got another nod of approval from the retail sector today as start-up Localz was announced as the winner of John Lewis’ JLAB tech incubator.

The ‘micro-location’ technology business wins £100,000 in investment as well as the chance to trial its solution with the department store in the UK. Its premise is to provide customers with access to enhanced services on their smartphones based on their physical location.

It could detect when they walk into a store, for instance, and automatically trigger that their Click & Collect order be prepared in order to help speed up that process. Similarly it could help with navigation around the stores based on online wish lists.

“It’s all about choice, designed to make shopping easier for those who wish to use it,” reads the write-up.

The concept was shaped and honed within the JLAB incubator over a period of 12 weeks this summer. It followed hundreds of start-ups applying to participate in the contest, which called for innovations that could shape the future of the retail experience.

Localz was among five finalists that received mentorship from experts including Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners; Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com; and Bindi Karia, vice president of entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank. The other start-ups were Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLAB, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future. It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead.”

Stuart Marks, a partner in JLAB, said Localz won because the team felt it had the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers. It will continue to develop its technology in conjunction with John Lewis and will launch live trials in store at a date yet to be announced.