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Campaigns Comment digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

Vivienne Westwood calls to ban land ownership, Shiseido acquires Drunk Elephant, Hong Kong protests hit luxury

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

Top Stories
  • The ‘only way to save the world’ is to ban land ownership, says Vivienne Westwood (Dezeen)
  • Why Shiseido bought Drunk Elephant for $845million (BoF)
  • Hong Kong protests could hit Burberry sales by up to £100million (Quartz)
Technology
  • Adidas 1st to sell shoes via Snapchat game (Mobile Marketer)
  • 5G smartphone sales will top 1B by 2025 (Mobile Marketer)
  • Unicef now accepting donations through bitcoin and ether (The Guardian)
  • 3D-printed smart textiles consume less energy, water & chemicals (Sourcing Journal)
  • GOAT showcases world’s rarest sneakers with AR try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • Personal stylists are using data to strengthen relationships (Vogue Business)
  • O2 launches ‘worlds first live ad’ powered by 5G (Campaign)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • California bans animal fur products (Drapers)
  • Kat von D launches vegan footwear line from apple ‘leather’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Farfetch partners with Thrift+, a second hand donation platform (Retail Gazette)
  • Chloe forges three-year partnership with UNICEF (WWD)
  • Forget carbon neutral, Patagonia wants to be ‘carbon positive’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Little Mistress launches sustainable packaging (Fashion United)
  • John Lewis launches sustainable ‘buyback’ trial (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Stance opens Carnaby Street flagship store (Retail Gazette)
  • Morphe launches in-store Youtube studios to drive foot traffic (Glossy)
  • H&M outlet brand Afound shifts focus towards online (BoF)
  • Rental service HURR Collective to stage pop-up shop (The Industry)
  • Vans brings new boutique concept to Covent Garden (Fashion United)
  • Givenchy unveils US e-commerce site (WWD)
  • HMV launches Europe’s largest music store (Retail Week)
Business
  • Ganni’s guerrilla approach to global growth (BoF)
  • New CEO at Stella McCartney (Drapers)
  • Race to buy Barneys heats up (WWD)
  • Toys R Us relaunches website amid Target partnership (Charged Retail)
  • Victoria’s Secret store exec departs (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH luxury venture fund invests in streetwear brand Madhappy (Fashion Law)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram launches Threads, a close friend chat app with auto-status (TechCrunch)
  • The next generation of menswear designers might be on Youtube (Fashionista)
  • Teens choose Youtube over Netflix for the first time (CNBC)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister launch Instagram checkout (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Mens beauty grooming retailer Beast Inks deal for U.K rollout (WWD)
  • SprezzaBox and Esquire team up to launch subscription box (Fashion United)
  • Everlane launches ReCashmere sweater collection (Dezeen)
Culture
  • Adidas teams up with Universal Standard for a truly size-inclusive collaboration (Adweek)
  • Why 5,000-year-old fashion is making a comeback (BoF)
  • Lululemon partners with United Nations Foundation (Fashion United)
  • Kellogg’s autism-sensitive packaging for kids (Stylus)
  • Victoria’s Secret hires first plus-size model (Fashion United)
  • Havas and CALM team up to create self-care labelling for Topshop and Topman (Campaign)
  • The business of casting queer models (BoF)

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.

Categories
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Puma’s sustainable material goals, retailers team up to improve AR/VR, guide to ethical certifications

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

TOP STORIES
  • Puma aims for 90% of materials to be sustainable sourced by 2020 [Fashion Network]
  • Retailers, tech companies team up to improve AR/VR [Retail Dive]
  • Fashionista’s complete beginner’s guide to ethical fashion certifications [Fashionista]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers are tracking where you shop—and where you sleep [Bloomberg]
  • How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’ [The Verge]
  • Japanese taxis are using facial recognition to target ads to riders [Futurism]
  • AI could replace 42% of UK wholesale and retail jobs [Drapers]
  • IBM, FIT to train future designers on AI [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Levi Strauss launches denim recycling program [Fashion Network]
  • UK retailers might have to pay all their packaging waste costs [WWD]
  • Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? [Quartz]
  • T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion [Fast Company]
  • True blue: Denim has to change to save the planet [Retail Dive]
  • Packaging is killing the planet—these start-ups offer luxe, sustainable solutions [Vogue]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba’s Tmall chief establishes ambitious 3-Year plan [Bloomberg]
  • The rise of live-streamer style [NYT]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
PRODUCT
  • Zozo’s experiment in customized clothing was too early [Quartz]
  • Lululemon bets on product innovation, expansion for 5-year growth plan [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Shares of US retailers drop following Amazon’s one-day delivery announcement [BoF]
  • Goldman Sachs says dragged-out Brexit is doing deeper damage to UK economy [Fashion Network]
  • Puma enjoys ‘best ever’ quarter as it ramps up stocks [Reuters]
  • Debenhams names 22 stores to close [BBC]
CULTURE
  • Patagonia has only 4 percent employee turnover because they value this 1 thing so much [Inc]
  • Tapping the men’s wellness opportunity [BoF]
  • How a niche designer brand won Coachella [BoF]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global 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. 

Categories
business digital snippets product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Rent the Runway’s competitive lawsuit, Cavalli exits US, the data gap for fashion sustainability

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Rent the Runway’s alleged “scheme of monopolistic, anti-competitive conduct” [The Fashion Law]
  • The struggling fashion house Roberto Cavalli closes its U.S. stores [NYT]
  • Exactly how bad is fashion for the planet? We still don’t know for sure [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Sustainability becoming an economic benefit for luxury brands [Fashion Network]
  • Hundreds of US cities are killing or scaling back their recycling programs [Vox]
  • Corona builds plastic trash wall on Ipanema Beach to warn from plastic pollution [PR Week]
  • Asda’s George to only use recycled polyester by 2025 [Drapers]
  • The North Face aims to reduce man-made waste in collaboration with RÆBURN [Complex]
  • The next wave of sustainable fashion is all about regenerative farming [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • At Galeries Lafayette’s new Champs Élysées flagship, the Paris concept store is reborn [Vogue]
  • Tommy Hilfiger closes NYC flagship and more [Fashion United]
  • Dior expands beach collection with dedicated dioriviera spaces [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Gentle Monster and Huawei team up to launch fashion-focused smart glasses [The Current Daily]
  • Lululemon soars on menswear, online push; inches into Nike turf [Reuters]
  • Reformation is launching its permanent extended sizing clothing collection [Fashionista]
  • Bobbi Brown and Walmart want to bring wellness to the masses [BoF]
  • Luxury marijuana brand Beboe is launching a skincare label [Paper Mag]
  • Amazon now wants to get into your make-up bag with their own skincare brand [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch invests in The Modist [Drapers]
  • Michael Kors steps back from Capri board [WWD]
  • PVH in talks to sell Calvin Klein women’s jeans business [Retail Dive]
  • Carine Roitfeld announced as style advisor of Karl Lagerfeld’s namesake brand [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Neiman Marcus drums up support for refinancing [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Jo Malone London is launching a new fragrance exhibition [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Dove debuts #ShowUs image library to diversify depictions of women in media [Marketing Dive]
  • YSL Beauty hits the desert for debut Coachella pop-up [WWD]
  • Fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus is opening a café in Paris and it’s an Instagrammer’s dream [The Independent]
CULTURE
  • The future of luxury is freedom [BoF]
  • Shopping while Chinese: Real stories of discrimination [Jing Daily]
  • Ikea’s next big thing is self-care [Fast Company]
  • Generation Z: Who they are, in their own words [NYT]
  • Why does the burden of creating inclusivity in fashion fall largely on marginalized groups? [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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. 

Categories
Campaigns Editor's pick Retail technology

8 brands deploying vending machines as smart retail solutions

Artificial intelligence, social media buzz and customer acquisition tools are just a few of the strategies behind vending machines being used as a key part of today’s retail experience.

Intelligent vending machines, which are expected to grow 17% globally over the next five years, come with technology that can provide invaluable customer data – making what was once an anonymous purchase into a visible opportunity for targeting and acquisition.

And so, brands and retailers have begun investing in activations where the machine is central to the experience, and dispense anything from beauty items to full-sized cars. Here we look at the most innovative vending machine experiences and technologies that are helping shape the future of retail.

Adidas: Live interaction
Adidas's World Series activation
Adidas’s World Series activation

To promote its new Splash Pack line, Adidas installed vending machines in two sports bars in LA and Boston during the baseball World Series. Customers were able to win a variety of limited edition products, from cleats to autographs and gear from Adidas athletes. The vending machine had built-in digital printing capabilities that would unlock different items based on the on-field action. For example, when player Chris Sale hit a homerun, it unlocked a chance to get his graphic tees. That created an ongoing buzz that kept fans coming back to check which new prizes were up for grabs next.

Lululemon: Data capturing
Lululemon's Run Stop Shop
Lululemon’s Run Stop Shop

Lululemon tapped into one of its core demographics, runners, by setting up a machine at one of its Run Stop Shops in New York, and another one in Chicago. Prizes included essential running supplies, such as Honey Stinger energy chews and Lululemon socks and hats. To win free goodies, customers had to answer a quick questionnaire on their workout habits, register with their emails and post a picture with the caption #thesweatlifeNYC or #thesweatlifeCHI.

Revlon: Social media shoutout
Revlon's gifting machine at Ulta Beauty
Revlon’s gifting machine at Ulta Beauty

In a similar vein, Cosmetics brand Revlon teamed up with beauty retailer Ulta to create a vending machine that toured the US to dish out free gifts with purchase for users also willing to engage on social media. After purchasing a product, clients would be encouraged to post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LiveBoldly – the title of Revlon’s latest campaign – in order to win a free gift. Different gifts were available depending on how much the client spent in-store.

Mulberry: Gamification
Mulberry's smart vending machine with TheCurrent Global
Mulberry’s smart vending machine with TheCurrent Global

Mulberry launched an in-store vending machine in partnership with TheCurrent Global, where visitors played a game of roulette in order to win prizes, from leather goods to vouchers to spend. The activity aimed to capture data on existing or new customers of the brand – in order to play, users had to input their social media handles and had the option to add their email address for further prizes. The machine was part of a larger #MulberryLights campaign for the holidays whereby it also toured stores in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and New York.

Caravana: Retail theater
Carvana's vending machine
Carvana’s vending machine

When magnified, vending machines can provide customers with an automated retail theatre that only adds to the retail experience. US-based online car dealership Caravana has created a physical location that features a seven-story vending machine that quite literally, dispenses cars. While most of the purchase process happens online (buying, selling and financing), when the buyer wants to test drive, they can schedule to pick up their desired car at the vending machine, located in Indianapolis.  Adding even more to the experience, a Carvana employee will then hand out a giant coin that customers have to slot into the machine in order to retrieve the car. Alibaba has also launched something similar in partnership with Ford in China.

Dirty Lemon: Text-to-buy
Dirty Lemon's unmanned store
The Drug Store

NYC-based The Drug Store, which sells healthy beverage brand Dirty Lemon, looks like a walk-in vending machine for its entirely unmanned experience. Customers simply walk into the store and open the fridge to take any beverage, and walk out – there is no staff, cashier or even security in place. To pay, customers must text a number and say exactly what they are purchasing. The company has also deployed RFID tech in the refrigerators to track inventory sold, while a heat map tracker monitors customer flow.

Yves Saint Laurent: Customization
YSL's customizing vending machine
YSL’s customizing vending machine

To promote its beauty collection in Hong Kong, Yves Saint Laurent created a vending machine that added a level of customization to the consumer’s purchased. Called “Lipstick Engraving ATM 2.0”, the experience allowed guests to purchase lipsticks and have their name lazered on the product on the spot. “The concept behind the #YSLBeautyClub vending machine is all about fun and engaging way to interact with the brand. It’s about beauty on the go,” said Marie Laure Claisse, YSL Beauty’s marketing manager, at the time.

Hung Fook Tong: Personalization through AI
Hung Fook Tong vending machine
Hung Fook Tong vending machine

In Hong Kong, herbal tea chain Hung Fook Tong (HFT) is rolling out vending machines that use a combination of visual recognition technology and artificial intelligence to better understand and serve their customer. Machines will have cameras that photograph the customers, and create an individual profile that also includes past purchases. After analyzing data such as the climate at the point of sale, age and gender, the machine will know which drink or product a particular customer is most likely to buy and provide a recommendation.

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.


Categories
business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods, the UN’s fashion climate charter, ASOS profit warning

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

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods: Why sneaker resale is becoming big business [Forbes]
  • Milestone fashion industry charter for climate action launched [UN]
  • ASOS issues profit warning as Christmas sales falter [The Industry]
TECHNOLOGY
  • China’s retailers turn to real-world surveillance to track big spenders [Wired]
  • Alexa wants you to answer questions [Cognition X]
  • Is the face-swapping robot with multiple ‘personalities’ cool or just plain creepy? [Mashable]
  • Racist, sexist AI could be a bigger problem than lost jobs [Forbes]
  • Is tech too easy to use? [New York Times]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Kering launches first ‘regenerative sourcing’ standard for fashion suppliers [Edie
  • Francisco Costa is back—with the chicest sustainable beauty brand you’ve ever seen [Vogue]
  • The first “plastic-free” supermarket aisle [BBC]
  • Lacoste joins list of brands banning mohair  [Fashion United]
  • Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding. [Vox]
  • Is online shopping better or worse for the environment? [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Here’s how Nike, Alibaba and Walmart are reinventing retail [Wired]
  • The future of fashion is made-to-order, according to Farfetch CEO José Neves [Fast Company]
  • Amazon Go eyes London’s West End for first UK store [Retail Gazette]
  • Why Starbucks is experimenting with experience-based retail [Digiday]
  • E-commerce is thriving in Africa despite hurdles to the “last mile” [Quartz]
  • ‘It’s a big data game’: Startups compete to reinvent the convenience store [Digiday]
  • Lululemon expands test for 1st loyalty program [Retail Dive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • You can try on the latest Adidas sneaker drop on Snapchat [Engadget]
  • Mall of America debuts holiday AR scavenger hunt [Mobile Marketer]
  • Mr Porter launches gift assistant with Facebook Messenger [Fashion Network]
  • Lululemon and Strava team up to launch a series of virtual races [Runners World]
  • Calvin Klein kills print ads — will other fashion brands follow suit? [Footwear News]
PRODUCT
  • H&M teams up with cult brand Eytys for unisex collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • Millennial consumers rule the luxury market – how are brands coping? [SCMP]
  • Samsung’s Supreme collaboration in China is with a “counterfeit organization,” Supreme says [Quartz]
  • LVMH expands portfolio with $2.6B Belmond travel deal [Retail Dive]
  • H&M says full year sales increased by 5 percent [Fashion United]
  • Alberta Ferretti under investigation by Italy’s antitrust authority [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Self-Portrait is growing in the age of streetwear — without flashy logos or sneakers [Fashionista]
  • Prada pulls monkey designs following outcry over racist imagery [Complex]
  • Diversity on magazine covers increased by a record double-digit percentage in 2018 [Fashionista]

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.

Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media technology

ICYMI: Mary Meeker’s internet trends, Balenciaga’s t-shirt meme, drones at Walmart

Balenciaga - ICYMI mary meeker internet trends meme
Balenciaga

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

TOP STORIES
  • Mary Meeker’s 2018 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis [Recode]
  • Balenciaga heard you like shirts, so they put a shirt on a t-shirt for $1,300 [Mashable]
  • Walmart’s future may include in-store drone assistants and smart shopping carts [CNBC]
  • How Natalie Massenet’s new VC firm sees the future of retail [Pitchbook]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Blockchain can help authenticate ownership of fashion goods [WWD]
  • Blockchain and beauty go together, according to Tev Finger [WWD]
  • AmEx pilots blockchain-based loyalty rewards with Boxed [RetailDive]
  • Google is actually pretty good at identifying what people are wearing [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • ‘Need it, text it, get it’: How concierge service Jetblack is aiming to beat Amazon Prime [Glossy]
  • How OPI is hacking Amazon and data algorithms to improve its online site [Glossy]
  • Lululemon hits record high on revamped stores [Reuters]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Snapchat launches its first Lens that reacts to sound [Engadget]
  • How Macy’s is using its store employees and stylists as Instagram influencers to drive sales [Glossy]
PRODUCT
  • ALYX’s Matthew M. Williams reveals data-inspired Nike capsule [HypeBeast]
  • Zac Posen’s new Delta uniforms are the ultimate high-performance outfits [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • The Gucci-Gap divide: How luxury is winning the race for millennial spend [BoF]
  • J.Crew will relaunch this fall [Racked]
  • The changing face of fashion PR [BoF]
Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Nobody is buying Vetements, Walmart’s high tech store, reviving H&M

Vetements
Vetements

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

TOP STORIES
  • 2 years after they broke the internet, it looks like nobody is buying Vetements [HighSnobiety]
  • Walmart opens first small high-tech supermarket in China [Reuters]
  • ‘It lost its focus’: Why an e-commerce push won’t be enough to revive H&M [Glossy]
  • What Trump’s trade war means for fashion [BoF]
  • Alibaba and Ford launch China’s first Tmall car vending machine [BrandChannel]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple’s groovy iPhone spot shows how you can now pay with a glance [Creativity]
  • Museums are the best place to find innovation in AR [VentureBeat]
  • How Tumi is using AI in marketing campaigns, online and in stores [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Fashion’s 7 priorities to achieve sustainability [BoF]
  • Eileen Fisher will use Salone del Mobile installation to remind the fashion world to ‘waste no more’ [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Former Walmart CEO, of all people, says Congress should break up Amazon [Racked]
  • Ted Baker launches experiential pop-up at London’s Old Street station [TheIndustry]
  • Nike opens Unlaced, a sneaker boutique for women [BrandChannel]
  • 6 tips for taking your brand direct-to-consumer [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • What Nike’s analytics platform buy says about the future of brand-consumer relationships [AdWeek]
BUSINESS
  • Kering confirms Stella McCartney split [BoF]
  • Why a potential $5bn valuation at IPO for luxury unicorn Farfetch may not be crazy after all [CB Insights]
  • Louis Vuitton’s new appointment marks an important victory for marketing hype over design [StyleZeitgeist]
  • Raf Simons’ first year at Calvin Klein delivers for PVH [BoF]
  • Lululemon stretches digital marketing wings, sees success [AdAge]
  • What’s driving retail’s sneaker obsession? [RetailDive]
  • 7 takeaways from Shoptalk 2018 [RetailDive]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: The sewbots are coming, retail automation, bots to buy Supreme

Sewbots - The rise of the "sewbot" marks a new industrial revolution in garment manufacturing
The rise of the “sewbot” marks a new industrial revolution in garment manufacturing

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


TOP STORIES
  • The sewbots are coming! [BoF]
  • Nearly half of all retail jobs could be lost to automation within 10 years [Fortune]
  • The botmakers who rule the obsessive world of streetwear [Wired]
  • The ugly problem of pretty packaging [Racked]

BUSINESS
  • New Ralph Lauren CEO has work cut out for him after dismal year [Retail Dive]
  • Is British fast fashion too fast? [Racked]
  • Why the rout in retail shouldn’t be a big worry for US economy [Bloomberg]
  • Zara and H&M back in-store recycling to tackle throwaway culture [The Guardian]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Publishers are using Facebook video to drive commerce revenue [Digiday]
  • Bringing retail to ‘the speed of feed’: Facebook’s quest to court luxury brands [Glossy]
  • Instagram launches selfie filters, copying the last big Snapchat feature [TechCrunch]
  • Sales of this L’Oreal product rose 51% after ‘everyday influencers’ promoted it heavily on Snapchat [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Why there’s no yoga in Lululemon’s first global campaign [AdAge]
  • Community is core to next-gen brands [BoF]
  • Bill Nighy asks ‘Why would anyone shop at TK Maxx?’ in retailer’s zany TVC [The Drum]
  • Selfridges leverages Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark to up transparency [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Inside 24 Sèvres, LVMH’s new multi-brand e-commerce play [BoF]
  • J Crew on underestimating retail tech [WSJ]
  • ‘Ultra-fast’ fashion players gain on Zara, H&M [Retail Dive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Fashion and technology will inevitably become one [Engadget]
  • Is the ‘RFID retail revolution’ finally here? a Macy’s case study [Forbes]
  • How brands are using AI to find influencer matches [AdAge]
  • Mobile tech, digital platforms, AI among key topics at Decoded Fashion London Summit [WWD]
  • Why Amazon’s delivery-drone team is obsessed with geese [Bloomberg]
  • Google touts Assistant’s new e-commerce features [Retail Dive]

START-UPS
  • Miroslava Duma launches fashion tech lab with $50 million to invest [BoF]
  • Why do so many big fashion and beauty brands want to support start-ups? [Fashionista]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: Rebecca Minkoff’s LA show, Ivanka Trump’s Nordstrom response, exec musical chairs

Rebecca Minkoff (right) with blogger Aimee Song at the designer's LA show
Rebecca Minkoff (right) with blogger Aimee Song at the designer’s LA show

Rebecca Minkoff kicked off the first of the LA fashion shows this season (Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford and Rachel Zoe to follow), with a shoppable collection as well as a series of connected handbags on offer. There was also entertainment galore, which gives Tommy something to try and outdo later this week.

Meanwhile, other news this week has focused heavily on the execs movements at various brands, including Stefan Larsson out as CEO at Ralph Lauren, Riccardo Tisci leaving Givenchy, rumoured headed to Versace, and Clare Waight Keller exiting Chloé. Also worth reading is detail on the John Lewis delivery trials straight to your car boot, insight on everything you need to know about the Snapchat IPO and Gap’s new 90s inspired campaign.


TOP STORIES
  • Rebecca Minkoff teams with Like to Know It to make LA show shoppable [WWD]
  • Ivanka Trump’s brand responds to Nordstrom [Racked]
  • John Lewis and Jaguar Land Rover are trialling shopping deliveries straight to your car [Forbes]
  • LVMH sets up new investment vehicle for emerging brands [Fashion United]

BUSINESS
  • Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson quits after dispute with founder over creative control [WSJ]
  • Riccardo Tisci is leaving Givenchy [BoF]
  • Clare Waight Keller exiting Chloé [BoF]
  • Hudson’s Bay reportedly in talks to acquire Macy’s [Retail Dive]
  • Farfetch sets share options scheme for all employees [WWD]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • 8 things marketers need to know about Snapchat’s IPO [AdAge]
  • How social media turned Hollywood’s beauty prep into marketing gold [BoF]
  • Step inside the YouTube-fuelled, teenaged extravaganza that is Beautycon [Wired]

MARKETING
  • Gap debuts ’90s-inspired ads starring the children of its former campaign stars [Fashionista]
  • Adidas tells the stories of female athletes’ struggles with ‘Unleash Your Creativity’ campaign [The Drum]
  • Luxury brands leverage custom emojis for peer-to-peer communication push [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • DKNY taps Farfetch to revitalise e-commerce strategy [Glossy]
  • How Lululemon and Adidas use RFID to set the stage for omnichannel [Apparel]

TECHNOLOGY
  • The promise of augmented reality [Economist]
  • Why retailers struggle to adopt mobile payments [Digiday]

START-UPS
  • Caraa CEO Aaron Luo: Startups have given up on good, old-fashioned (non-tech) product innovation [LeanLuxe]
Categories
business Editor's pick social media

#Longread: Is Twitter still relevant for fashion brands?

The Burberry Tweetcam campaign on Twitter in 2015
The Burberry Tweetcam campaign on Twitter in 2015

As far as social media platforms go, Twitter is fairly down the list for fashion brands these days. Where once it led the pack with such initiatives as the Burberry Tweetwalk in 2011, even its Tweetcam in 2015, its coverage of late surrounds more in the way of axed products (video app Vine for instance), an acquisition fall out (no one wants to buy it) and increased job losses and exits (including many senior execs) – all of which led to record lows in its share price during 2016.

Couple that with persistently stagnant user growth, and it raises a real question mark over Twitter’s future. So what do fashion brands need to know in terms of whether they should or shouldn’t invest time and money in the platform in 2017?


The numbers

Although phenomenally successful over the past decade, in recent years Twitter has fallen behind its peers. The main issue is flat user growth, which impacts negatively on revenue.

On average, Twitter had 317 million monthly active users in Q3 2016, up 3% year-on-year. This compares to Facebook’s 1.79 billion, up 16% yoy and Instagram’s 600 million, which is double that of 2014. Snapchat doesn’t disclose monthly figures, suggesting that its engagement is so high it prefers to talk about dailies. It has a reported 150 million daily active users, compared to Twitter’s estimated 136 million.

In terms of revenue, Twitter is therefore finding it particularly difficult to attract brand marketers to advertise on a platform with restricted growth (albeit its advertising revenue was up 6% year-on-year in Q3 2016). What’s perhaps more troubling for the long run in that vein, however, is a potential shift in the way the platform is used.


First for news?

Twitter has long been considered the go-to platform for breaking news – often reporting on stories ahead of mainstream media channels. One in five PR disasters even break on Twitter, according to marketing tool, Year Ahead. And Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s focus is indeed reportedly on the social media app as a global information news network.

As social media expert, Karinna Nobbs, explains: “Many customers use Twitter as a news platform, so with the right analytics, if it is right for your target, you should be on it.” She also suggests that fashion brands use Twitter for building relationships with journalists and publishers.

Is Twitter still relevant for the fashion industry?
Is Twitter still relevant for the fashion industry?

Yet, according to Paul Berry, founder and CEO of RebelMouse, even publishers are moving slowly away from the platform. He told Digiday: “Five, 10 years ago, there was a lot of emphasis on building Twitter followings, traffic. For new media companies, Twitter is the afterthought and the side job. It used to be one person on Facebook, one person on Twitter, and now it’s three people on Facebook and half a person on Twitter.”

Further stats from the same Digiday piece show that 59% of Twitter users do indeed get news on the service, third after Reddit and Facebook. But only 16% of adults in the US use Twitter in the first place, and only 9% of adults get news there. That compares to Facebook being used by 67% of U.S. adults, with 44% of US adults getting news there, according to Pew Research Center.

Twitter has been introducing new features in a bid to combat this, and both grow and retain engaged users. Included is its livestreaming service Periscope, and “Twitter Moments”, its storytelling feature enabling users to gather (and consume) tweets under themes, or indeed news stories. In truth, however, they still haven’t made much of an impact, while Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat continue to storm ahead – especially with live video.


Fashion application

Within the fashion industry specifically, there is reasonable usage of the platform nonetheless, especially during fashion weeks – arguably the industry’s most newsworthy occasions. 503,404 Tweets were tagged #LFW for spring/summer 2016, according to the British Fashion Council. But engagement is significantly higher on Instagram. For spring/summer 2017, Burberry for instance received 415,300 likes on Instagram compared to 28,750 likes and retweets on Twitter, according to Stylight. That trend continues for most other designers.

Speaking anonymously, one industry insider said: “Twitter has become the last, and at best the fourth social media channel I think about when thinking about our communications strategy [behind Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat]. I would argue Pinterest… and possibly even LinkedIn are more relevant to fashion and e-commerce today.”

Of course some fashion brands haven’t ever used Twitter at all. Christopher Kane for instance hasn’t posted a single tweet (though its reserved account has approximately 4,500 organic followers). By comparison the brand’s Instagram account has 226k followers with over 1,350 posts.

The fact is, the internet has shifted from being a text-based entity, to a visual and video one. While Twitter has attempted to keep up with this movement, for fashion brands particularly, other platforms have become more appealing and perceivably more suitable.

Another anonymous source explains: “Fashion brands have always thought visual-first, they were just previously restricted by what the social media channels enabled. When Instagram took off, they suddenly got their version of digital beauty – something that was in keeping with the aesthetic they were trying to portray and at huge scale. They’ve grown fast on that platform and engagement remains high, albeit with its own algorithmic challenges. The new flurry of live video options – on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat – all give them new means to provide insights, news and updates from the brand too, and importantly in quite a ‘cool’ way. It’s entirely possible they just don’t need Twitter anymore.”

Belstaff on Twitter
Belstaff on Twitter

That’s not to say everyone feels that way of course. One example of a brand that makes the best of what Twitter has to offer is Belstaff. Its global marketing manager, Melina Fenby, explains the brand’s current strategy includes using Twitter as “our news, events and information hub to grow brand loyalty”. She says the team uses Twitter for influencer engagement (motorsport and adventure figures resonate well with the Belstaff community) and event/PR activity (the Goodwood Festival of Speed content was particularly popular).

Outlining Belstaff’s Twitter strategy going forward, Fenby added: “The real focus for us is to generate meaningful engagement with our existing fans and relevant micro-communities.”


Championing customer service

Unsurprisingly where Twitter does otherwise resonate for retail fashion brands particularly is in the realm of customer service.

ASOS for instance has a dedicated Twitter account specifically for queries. @ASOS_Heretohelp is among the top 10% of help handles with an average response time of five minutes. It has over 180,000 followers of its own, against the main @ASOS account’s 1.01 million.

Others including Nike, Jack Threads and Lululemon are incredibly strong from a customer service perspective on the channel too. Overall, two-thirds of brands tracked by L2 use their Twitter accounts for customer service.

While the average fashion brand communicates with just 64 customers per month via Twitter posts, according to L2, Lululemon addresses the concerns of more than 900 customers each month and even provides personalised product recommendations. Other stand out accounts include Macy’s and Marks & Spencer, which both receive more than 10,000 Twitter mentions and communicate with more than 800 customers each month.

When customers are taking this route, they expect brands to respond quickly to mentions and queries, more so than anywhere else. This fits with the fact cloud-based social customer service provider, Conversocial, found over half of consumers (54.4%) prefer new messaging channels such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and WhatsApp as their primary form of communication with brands compared to legacy channels such as email, phone, and web chat.

ASOS_Heretohelp on Twitter
ASOS Here to Help on Twitter

That’s not overly a surprise. But the truth is, much like storytelling and live news, nailing customer service is also becoming increasingly competitive from a platform side. Facebook Messenger has gained an enormous amount of ground throughout 2016 as one of the early leaders in the chatbot space for instance (behind Wechat in China). This is the introduction of artificial intelligence-enabled automated conversations through a chat interface, which for retailers is especially useful when applied to scalable customer service. Though still nascent, they’re expected to increasingly resonate with consumers.

Twitter therefore, has had to up its game in this space too. In November 2016, it launched bot-like features within direct messages for brands. Included are automated “welcome” responses, as well as “quick replies”, which let users choose from a series of pre-written sentences or prompts (like “what’s the status of my order”) to facilitate faster resolutions.

Cleverly, that also takes some of the weighty customer service conversations out of the feed, and into a private space instead, freeing up accounts to refocus on the storytelling piece Twitter is still aiming for. In that same vein, the company is also rolling out “curated profiles” to a handful of brands, in order to allow them to showcase the best of their content, including that of the visual and video type favoured by the fashion industry. Notably, Twitter is pushing this side of things far more heavily than it is the idea of conversions for retailers. It is actively phasing out its “buy” button for instance.

Sedge Beswick, managing director at SEEN Connects, and former head of social at ASOS, commented: “I still think [Twitter] plays a huge role from a customer care POV primarily – visual for Instagram, Facebook for innovation and Twitter can be the supporting platform where people know they can get timely, supportive and relevant customer care support […] especially if we get the bots right.”


Comment

Twitter isn’t going away just yet, but it’s got a lot of work to do if it wants to re-forge real relevance with the fashion industry. What does this mean in terms of how you should approach it? At this point in time, the answer is relatively dependent on the type of brand that you are – mass-market retailers, department stores and more niche, or specific, brands (like Lululemon), who have developed a level of customer service activity, will likely want to stick with the status quo, explore new features and continue using the platform as an opportunity to converse with consumers on a query-led basis while engagement is high. 900 happy customers, is still 900 happy customers. Same goes for just 64. But analyse the data in terms of what you really get out of it over time.

There’s also still something to be said for using Twitter with news in mind too, but be aware of the fact it’s less of a conversion tool and more of a PR one, and even that may well be only on a good day. Approach it from a content sharing point of view, but figure out within that what your followers actually respond to and adjust accordingly. Whether you spend any advertising budget alongside will make sense thereafter.

The simple truth is, if you’re much more of a visual brand, or indeed one already channeling your focus primarily through other platforms, you may want to keep it that way. For those hovering somewhere in the middle, it’s worthwhile maintaining your Twitter accounts, but doing so by doubling up on resource, rather than promoting anything completely unique, is probably wise.