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Fred Segal launches online virtual shopping experience

Fred Segal partners with Mastercard and Refinery29
Fred Segal at Refinery29’s 29Rooms

Fred Segal has teamed up with Mastercard to introduce a virtual shopping experience that will launch exclusively from Refinery29’s 29Rooms concept in Los Angeles.

The initiative allows shoppers to explore the three-dimensional physical store as if they are there in person, through any online browser. This enables them to navigate the space as they would in real life, rather than by using search terms and category breakdowns to scroll through product pages, as well as interact with different brands and engage with digital content curated by the retailer.

“Fred Segal has always been at the forefront of experiential retail. From our inception, our curated offerings made the store a must-shop destination in Los Angeles,” said John Frierson, president of Fred Segal. “Having an online presence is of course an essential part of business, however at Fred Segal we rarely do things the traditional way. We’re thrilled to be the first major retailer to create a truly experiential online shopping destination.”

The experience is backed by Mastercard and Next Retail Concepts. It also allows frictionless, secure payments to occur through the same environment by integrating with the merchant’s existing e-commerce platform.

“At Mastercard, we’re using our products and services to create solutions for retailers that allow them to meet the ever-growing expectations for a frictionless, customized experience, across any channel or connected device,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of digital partnerships at Mastercard.

The companies have curated an exclusive collection of holiday gifts shoppable only online. The experience at 29Rooms will otherwise come to life in Los Angeles from December 5-9.

Retailers have been exploring the use of 3D simulations for retail for some time. In 2015, Harvey Nichols in the UK created a virtual version of their new store, allowing anyone to take a tour of the space themselves at home. Others including Macy’s and Walmart have been experimenting with virtual reality for retail, trialling initiatives that allow for immersive experiences facilitated by VR headsets. A successful example of both experience and conversion rates remains to be seen.

How are you thinking about retail 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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Campaigns mobile Retail technology

Simon Mall’s Launchpad concept introduces cutting edge tech to the masses

Simon introduces tech to its consumers
Simon introduces tech to its consumers

Simon, the US’s largest retail landlord, has launched an evolving retail platform that introduce new technologies by established and emerging brands to its consumers across the country.

Called Launchpad by Simon, the concept rolled out during Black Friday across six mall locations in the US, including at Lenox Square in Atlanta and King of Prussia in Philadelphia. Each location features two immersive experiences that welcome customers to experiment with new technologies such as mixed reality and robots and learn the latest trends in the space.

The first activation, called the “720 Degree Experience”, deploys virtual reality using a 720 degree camera which will create HD images and video to either view on a headset or post on social media.

Meanwhile “Youth Tech” incorporates three separate experiences: a robotic dog that responds to verbal commands, a smartphone-enabled gaming console and AR cards that bring animals to life in 4D.

To source the products on display, the property group travelled the world and visited major consumer tech and lifestyle shows such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), ASD Show, Canton Fair and Hong Kong Gift and Toy Show.

"Launchpad by Simon"
“Launchpad by Simon”

“By working directly with key wholesalers, we have immediate access to new products and concepts,” said Joseph Gerardi, VP of specialty leasing at Simon Properties, explaining that customer feedback is key to understanding demand for new tech products. “Items that sell extremely well will quickly migrate to another location outside of ‘Launchpad.’ If the product does not sell to a satisfactory level during the trial period, we will immediately return it and test the next product on our list.”

Malls are increasingly upping their efforts to provide new, interactive moments at their properties that tap into the consumer need for more experience, and less purchase. Earlier this year, Westfield’s Century City location in Los Angeles launched a theatrical VR experience called “Alien Zoo”, which invited customers to enter an imaginary, virtual world.

How are you thinking about 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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Comment Editor's pick social media

Abercrombie’s ‘Let’s Get Social’ – a classic example of an in-store sharing #fail

ABERCROMBIE_kids - LET'S GET SOCIAL

Let’s talk about photos in stores.

This past weekend, millions of shoppers (albeit fewer than in 2013) descended on their favourite shops to pick up deals tied to Black Friday. Retailers accordingly ran varied promotions, offers and campaigns in a bid to drive that traffic their way – both in store and of course equally online.

Needless to say for many of them, a drive for social sharing anchored the initiatives. If you can get your goods shared / advocated for over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter tied to timed discounts particularly, that’s deemed a pretty hefty incentive for more people to shop.

This of course goes without saying for the seasoned social media staffer…

So how’s this for a confusing in-store strategy to accompany such a move then: Abercrombie & Fitch is running a campaign for the season with the tagline “Post it. Tag it. Like it.” appearing in its store windows. A no brainer for its digitally-savvy target consumer of course – Snapchat ahoy! Online, it’s kidswear line is also promoting the idea of sharing across the usual platforms. “Let’s Get Social,” reads its website header, as pictured above.

A colleague of mine, while researching Thanksgiving weekend retail experiences, did of course opt to shoot some of said imagery in-store. She hit up the brand’s Glendale Galleria location on Saturday at noon, height of the holiday shopping weekend therefore, but was very swiftly asked to put her phone away.

Ok so fair enough, she was shooting the messaging; perhaps there’s still an argument to be had around copyright protection etc etc etc for retailers (though I actually want to argue this pretty heavily these days too given the image-driven world in which we now live), and the associates spotted her for looking more professional than social media-y.

What’s more mind-blowing though is the 13-year-old girls in the store at the same time who were asked to stop taking photos of themselves (#selfies!) when trying on a couple of hats.

The hipster sales guy, as my colleague so eloquently put it, walked over immediately and asked them to stop. He also told others of a similar age no photos at all were allowed to be taken in-store.

I witnessed the same only a couple of months ago in Gap. This time it was a guy in his 30s who was asked to stop. Admittedly he didn’t perhaps look like the type that was about to share his finds on social media, but rather ask his girlfriend’s opinion on whether or not to buy (“Darling, can I #dressnormal?). He certainly wasn’t about to take the shot of the blue jumper he was holding and frogmarch it straight to a factory in China for replication though I assure you.

I suspect in both instances this is a classic case of corporate strategy not reaching sales floor level. Understandably many tech-related things, especially for retailers with so many doors, get lost somewhere down the line. But this isn’t a matter of something substantially confusing or complex – a mere conversation with each manager should suffice.

At the end of the day, how do you expect to have a successful social media campaign and NOT allow social media in the one place you can truly call your own? Abercrombie team – suggest you call Glendale, stat.

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Marion Cotillard in fifth Dior film short: ‘L.A.dy Dior’

The fifth installment in the Lady Dior short film series starring French actress Marion Cotillard has been released, this time shot in Los Angeles by director John Cameron Mitchell.

A comedy going by the name of “L.A.dy Dior”, it takes its inspiration from a 1973 Richard Avedon clip starring supermodel and actress Lauren Hutton. It focuses on a star being overwhelmed by a photoshoot:

As Mitchell says in the accompanying making-of video: “It’s something new for Dior”. See the rest of the behind-the-scenes interview with Cotillard and Mitchell, here:

[Pursuitist]

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technology

Forever 21’s holographic catwalk continues global tour

 

Forever 21 has brought its hologram fashion show to the US following a tour through various cities in Europe.

The seven-minute digital event hit Los Angeles last week and New York (as the above video shows) yesterday. It features a series of holographic models walking on a “cosmic runway”, climbing invisible staircases that light up underfoot, and disappearing in a burst of stars.

“Our customers are very digitally savvy,” says Linda Chang, senior marketing manager for the retailer. “We love that, because it challenges us to meet them head on with a fashion experience that’s innovative, fun and progressive.”

The show will now travel to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

Forever 21 previously made waves in digital, with its interactive billboard in Times Square.

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Tripping up on the red carpet

Good point of view about the digital attempts around this year’s Oscars on the Iconoculture blog…

by Robert van Alstyne:

Any way you look at it, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards telecast was a dud. Fresh-faced cohosting talents James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell flat both critically and commercially. And ratings among viewers ages 18-49 were down 12% from last year (Variety.com, 28 February 2011).

But the accompanying online chatter soared. Twitter saw a volume of 36.4 million tweets during the five-hour telecast (PaidContent.org, 28 February 2011). ABC looked to join the dual-screen viewing frenzy by complementing its telecast with “Oscar Backstage Pass,” a mobile application that promised an inside look at Hollywood’s big night for just a buck.

What this actually amounted to was a spate of fixed-angle video feeds that users could click between to get a poorly lit glimpse of the Kodak Theater’s lobby bar or shakily shot take on the red carpet. It got worse when the curtain rose, with a snooze-inducing look inside the telecast control room featuring pumped-in muzak, and a pointless bird’s-eye view of the theater audience viewable only during commercials. Without the aid of curation, the user was always uncertain as to where she should be looking and when.

What made “Backstage” bunk was its complete social media disconnect, turning what might have been a seamless two-screen experience into a tiresome three-screen regimen for the viewer wishing to watch the telecast, use the app and enjoy Twitter witticisms simultaneously. To truly channel event-driven energy in the mobile space, seamless social media integration is as important as a Miramax-backed Oscar campaign.

[Iconowatch]

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Levi’s “Rear View Girls”

Still catching up on emails, I came across a viral video from Levi’s yesterday called Rear View Girls, which aims to promote the Curve ID range. In it, two girls from New Zealand hit the streets of LA with a camera attached to one of their behinds. What ensues is an amusing look at the men (and women) who get “busted checking out their butts”.

The spot from Colenso BBDO, shot by Jae Morrison, proves that funny still goes a long way in viral marketing. At last count it had received in the region of 8m hits on YouTube. At present however, it unfortunately seems to have been removed for “violating terms of service”.

Below, however, is the behind-the-scenes video instead:

 

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social media Uncategorized

Oscars offer 360 digital experience

Given that I’m currently in Los Angeles and the build-up to the 83rd Academy Awards has already begun, I thought I’d post a quick update on all things digital surrounding this year’s Oscars.

It’s a big push from the Academy this year to involve as many people as possible, thus the tagline You’re Invited.

In a bid to attract a younger (and inevitably larger) viewership, young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway have of course been recruited as the hosts, but so too are there a wealth of new online initiatives surrounding the event for the first time.

Between 20 to 30 cameras have been set up to offer online viewers a broader experience than ever before. Alongside the usual TV coverage, there is access to everything from a thank you cam to a press room cam. For just $4.99 fans can also purchase the premium All Access service which offers a 360 degree camera.

Those using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can also download the Backstage Pass app which similarly provides live streams from the various cameras around the Kodak Theatre venue in Hollywood.

Across platforms, the coverage spreads not only from the red carpet and ceremony itself, but backstage to see things like the winners getting their statues engraved, and a look inside the Governor’s Ball celebration thereafter.

The celebrities are more into digital this year too with live tweets from host @JamesFranco and other stars during the show.

A great start – there were already 1600 tweets per minute about the Oscars at the beginning of the red carpet coverage.

Happy watching!