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JCPenney unveils Instagram-inspired private label

JCPenny’s Peyton and Parker

JCPenney has announced it will launch a private label at the end of October inspired by and dedicated to picturesque Instagram moments.

Peyton and Parker, as it’s called, is specifically targeted at women who take on the responsibility of dressing not only themselves, but also their families and their home, according to the retailer.

“We were inspired to create a line that made it easy for mom to dress her family and decorate her home, creating a picture-perfect moment for all of her social media channels,” says Val Harris, senior vice president of product development and design for JCPenney.

She adds: “The holidays are a critical shopping period and by introducing new brands, such as Peyton and Parker, we will drive traffic and invite new and loyal customers to discover what JCPenney has to offer this season.”

Fittingly, the company will launch a social media campaign on Instagram featuring “savvy mom influencers” to promote the launch of the label. Given the struggles JCPenney has been facing, the hope, inevitably, is that customers will similarly share their own looks back through the same channel.

JCPenny

JCPennyThe merchandise will be released in limited-edition capsule collections available seasonally, with the first set for October 19 for the holiday period. The collection will focus on matching apparel, accessories, shoes, as well as home items.

Prices will be in-line with the retailer’s budget-friendly merchandising approach, with a $30 price tag for a women’s top and $11 for a cable-knit stocking.

This move comes as Instagram is becoming an ever more important distribution channel for the fashion industry, recently expanding its focus to include more vendor-friendly outlets with a dedicated shopping “Discover” channel and shopping tags in its Stories.

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

ICYMI: Farfetch’s IPO, everything to know about CGI influencers, Bitcoin hairspray

Farfetch IPO
Farfetch IPO

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

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch files for IPO, testing investors’ appetite for luxury [BoF]
  • The numerous questions around the rise of CGI models and influencers [Vogue]
  • You can buy hairspray with Bitcoin now [TheCut]
  • Yuval Noah Harari on what the year 2050 has in store for humankind [Wired]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon is losing its smart speaker dominance [AdWeek]
  • Microsoft’s HoloLens mall demos bring early AR glasses to the masses [VentureBeat]
  • Los Angeles subway to become first in the US to use body scanners [DigitalTrends]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fur: A reality check [BoF]
  • Is clothing rental the secret to making fashion sustainable? [Independent]
  • Fashion for Good launches toolkit on how to develop Cradle to Cradle denim [FashionUnited]
  • Why Instagram’s ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag is bad for fashion – and bad for the soul [TheGuardian]
  • German outdoor brand Vaude starts upcycling community [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • McDonald’s unveils new Apple store-like Chicago flagship location [HypeBeast]
  • Superga, Cos, Rains and Fred Perry join Coal Drops Yard lineup [Retail Gazette]
  • 5 reasons why LA is the place to be for retailers [FootwearNews]
  • Consumers opt for marketplaces, fast retail, personalization [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Neutrogena, Sonos beta test use of video in Amazon search campaigns [MobileMarketer]
  • Alibaba’s to host first fashion show in China [JingDaily]
  • Rebecca Minkoff to present new brand identity during NYFW [WWD]
  • It’s never been easier to buy a pair of Yeezys [GQ]
  • Counterfeiting make-up is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
PRODUCT
  • Everlane is launching ‘clean silk’ in a move toward greater sustainability [Fashionista]
  • This digitally-knitted sportswear is like 3D-printed clothing [Wired]
  • River Island launches homeware [Drapers]
BUSINESS
  • Why the gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike is so significant [Vox]
  • Mulberry hit by House of Fraser collapse [FT]
  • $500 million in counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel Goods seized in one of the largest busts to date [TheFashionLaw]
  • Bringing affordable fast fashion to Africa [WWD]
CULTURE
  • How make-up swatches became a political battleground [Dazed]
  • In hype beast homes, Supreme accessories are the hot decor [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.

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Retail technology

Westfield launches immersive and theatrical VR experience

"Alien Zoo" by Dreamscape and Westfield VR experience
The “Alien Zoo” VR experience by Dreamscape and Westfield

Westfield Century City in Los Angeles has partnered with Dreamscape Immersive Inc to launch a pop-up virtual reality (VR) experience that invites visitors to explore an imaginary world.

The 13-minute “Alien Zoo” experience invites guests to walk aboard a spacecraft, select their own avatars and interact with different creatures from across the universe.

The aim was to combine the thrill of an epic theme park attraction with the awe and wonder of a great film, according to the team. The “extraterrestrial journey”, as it’s referred to as, allows viewers to witness first-hand the galaxy’s most endangered species.

“Walk side by side massive beasts, play with adorable and exotic creatures, and not only fight for survival against the most deadly predator in all the cosmos, but prove that there is still hope for humanity in our exciting, yet unpredictable, universe,” the write-up explains.

“When you think of VR, you tend to be in the world of gamers and high-tech and we try to take the virtual out of virtual reality,” Walter Parkes, Dreamscape co-chairman, said. “So let’s make it as real as possible, make it tactile. All of the animals we’ve created have deep histories. We could actually write a book about what planets they come from. It’s a narrative-rich approach to VR and much more inclined toward our backgrounds. Texture’s everything.”

As malls in America continue to struggle with the advent of e-commerce, large brick-and-mortar retailers are expanding their remits to engage with experience-hungry consumers through new types of environments. Converging retail, entertainment and technology is a primary focus to drive footfall.

“We’re at a time when movies and malls are getting a lot of competition from digital distribution. So one way to counteract that is to offer irreplaceable, unique experiences and that idea was certainly embraced by our studio partners and our retail partners,” said Parkes. “That’s why the malls that are doing well are as much entertainment centers as they are retail centers.”

As he explains, you can’t get anything at a mall that you can’t get online, thus creating environments that offer more is key.

Following the Westfield pop-up, the company plans to take the concept to other markets, envisioning its final version as true VR multiplexes, where different rooms can offer different experiences, much like a cinema.

Dreamscape Immersive has a number of big names backing its vision of VR for entertainment – in December, it closed a $30 million Series B round that included investors from Nickelodeon and VR Sense Solutions Ltd, while companies such as Warner Bros, 21st Century Fox and Westfield Corp are among its initial investor pool. Executives on staff include Parkes, a film producer, and CEO Bruce Vaughn, a Walt Disney Co alumni.

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business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

What you missed: Chanel vs Amazon space travel, Massenet’s VC firm, robots at retail

Chanel's spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris) - space technology
Chanel’s spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris)

Chanel grabbed everyone’s attention once again at Paris Fashion Week – this time for another future-focused theme with its spacecraft set design. Kudos to the work that went into that but can you imagine the budget? Even Karl Lagerfeld’s visions have got to come back down to earth (excuse the pun) at some point – where is the true value, is the question? Jeff Bezos of Amazon meanwhile, is genuinely exploring how to ship products to the moon.

Elsewhere this week, we’re also talking about Natalie Massenet’s other role running her own VC firm alongside her new co-chair position at Farfetch; the incoming of robots at retail; news of Everlane ditching Facebook Messenger notifications (an interesting move that may spell some serious indication around chatbot ROI); and under our tech header, a must-read from Wired on Ford’s future city including hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers.

If you’re headed to SXSW this weekend, we look forward to seeing you there – don’t forget to check out our handy content guide en route.


TOP STORIES
  • Chanel focuses on space travel for Paris Fashion Week show with branded spacecraft [Vogue]
  • An exclusive look at Jeff Bezos’s plan to set up Amazon-like delivery for ‘future human settlement’ of the moon [Washington Post]
  • Natalie Massenet, Nick Brown to form venture firm Imaginary Ventures [WWD]
  • Robots will be in retail stores sooner than you think [Forbes]

BUSINESS
  • Sports Direct clarifies purchase of Agent Provocateur [FT]
  • BCBG Max Azria gets bankruptcy loan as chain plots asset sale [Bloomberg]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Everlane, one of Facebook Messenger’s first retail partners has ditched it as a notification tool [Recode]
  • Snap pops 40% to start trading at a crackling $33 billion valuation [Quartz]
  • How 5 brands are using Snapchat Spectacles [Digiday]
  • Fashion series are popping up on Instagram Stories [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • Benetton launches new women’s equality campaign [The Industry]
  • L’Oreal’s UK CMO: ‘We are very clear on where our media money is going’ [The Drum]
  • France’s ARPP takes issue with “degrading” Saint Laurent ads [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Target unveils $7B plan to overhaul stores, digital operations [Retail Dive]
  • Mall retailers are competing on speed to stay relevant [Glossy]
  • ‘Notoriously difficult’: Inside the unraveling of the Thrillist-JackThreads marriage of content and commerce [Digiday]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Ford’s future city: hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers [Wired]
  • Virtual reality: growth engine for fashion? [BoF]
  • Apple reportedly could have over 1,000 engineers working on AR in Israel [Road to VR]
  • IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein form AI dream team to aid retail, other industries [Retail Dive]
  • The emerging technologies getting us excited from MWC 2017 [The Drum]
Categories
technology

Westfield seeks to grow mall traffic with new large format multi-player gaming theatre

The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield
The ESC Gaming Theater in action at Westfield

At the peak of holiday season 2016, one of the United States’ largest shopping malls opted for a new kind of tourist attraction. Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, replaced the traditional lone-standing arcade game or low thrill ride with a one of a kind gaming centre.

Known as the ESC Gaming Theater, the 750ft room includes a roof-high cinema screen, a live emcee, concert grade surround sound, pulsing lights and 30 touch screens for an immersive multi-player gaming experience.

Designed to bring together friends and strangers alike, this ESC Game Theater offers solo or team play games for up to 30 players at a time. A series of about a dozen games on offer span approximately five to seven minutes and can be either collaborative or competitive, depending on the crowd. With the emcee providing an energetic string of live tips and running commentaries, the entire activity becomes somewhat of a sporting event. Live tournaments are even held periodically for prizes.

The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield
The ESC Gaming Theater at Westfield

The fun is all laced into a strategy to reimagine the future of shopping malls as technology continues to rapidly expand. At a time where shoppers are not only increasingly moving online and to mobile to carry out both research and purchase, but seeking experiences over merely material items, brick and mortar venues need to reinvent the wheel to encourage consumers in and maintain them for as long as possible. Gaming and entertainment is a big driver.

Charley Delana, Westfield’s EVP of global brand ventures, said: “Westfield is committed to redefining the shopping experience by leveraging the latest in technology and digital entertainment innovation. We are thrilled to welcome ESC Games to Westfield Garden State Plaza and we are looking forward to giving shoppers the chance to be among the first in the world to experience the future of gaming and entertainment.”

Capitalising on a projected 18% annual growth in the video game industry in the year to come, ESC Games CEO Todd Swidler has thought about massive expansions both in the US and internationally. “The video game industry is experiencing explosive growth, and we see major opportunities for ESC Games to pioneer a new category that taps into that demand through our unique game experience and competitive tournaments. The possibilities are vast.”

The concept for this mall initiative was incubated by ESI Design. Founder Edwin Schlossberg is an innovator of all things game-design; he entered the scene back in the 1970s when his best-selling book series taught consumers how to play games on their run of the mill pocket calculators. Once again, he gives a technology facelift to a quasi-antiquated model.


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business Editor's pick Startups technology

One year on: How Westfield Bespoke, the retail tech space piloted in San Francisco, is winning

Westfield Bespoke
Westfield Bespoke

100,000: that’s the number of additional customers Westfield Bespoke is estimated to have brought in to the Westfield San Francisco Centre since it opened last year. In the grand scheme of the millions of shoppers who visit the mall annually otherwise, that’s may not seem too much – but this was initially a mere experiment by the company.

Bespoke is a community based on those exploring how shopping evolves at the hands of technology. Situated on the fourth floor of the centre, it offers a trifecta of co-working space for retail tech start-ups, event space for numerous partners to use, and demo space to make testing of retail formats and new tech all the more possible with real world consumers.

It not only helps brings in extra traffic, therefore, but more importantly enables the company to better understand the technologies its retailers needs to be aware of in the future. Indeed the Westfield Corporation has shifted from landlord to broad retail partner. It now goes above and beyond offering tenancy agreements, to helping shape more successful commercial businesses with those it houses in its malls worldwide.

Head over to Forbes to read the full interview with Lindsey Thomas, VP of marketing and communications at Westfield Labs, the group’s digital lab under which Bespoke falls. She uncovers more about the past year, how the new space is evolving and the plans to work with additional start-ups under its Connected Commerce Accelerator in collaboration with R/GA Ventures.

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Editor's pick technology

The future of retail: Beyond stories told, to stories experienced

JCP_VR2

If you’d visited a mall housing a J.C. Penney store over the holidays, you may have been welcomed by a virtual reality experience that took shoppers on an immersive ride to the North Pole.

Created with marketing and technology agency Narrative, the “Twas The Flight Before Christmas” initiative was in place in four malls (one each in New York, Ohio, Arizona and Virginia), in a bid to grab consumer attention during the busiest shopping period of the year. It consisted of an Oculus Rift-based campaign where individual viewers could interact with reindeers and snowmen, as well as Santa himself, while a large screen was also set up for the rest of the audience drifting through the mall to enjoy.

Head over to Forbes to read my interview with Tricia Clarke-Stone, CEO of Narrative, on the reasoning behind this immersive tech experience and how it was designed to drive footfall into store and traffic to the checkouts.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

Digital snippets: eBay, Westfield, Harrods, wearables, Macy’s, Uggs, Mercedes-Benz, adidas

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

ebay_ninewest

  • eBay unveils retail platform: all about omni [WWD]
  • Kevin McKenzie, global chief digital officer at Westfield Group, on the mall of the future [BoF]
  • Harrods to focus on gamification after being ‘undeterred’ by mixed results [Retail Week]
  • The 7 best pieces of wearable tech we saw at CES [Fashionista]
  • Macy’s restructures to boost digital marketing, mulls off-price plans [MediaPost]
  • Uggs tests RFID in a bid to close the online-offline gap [Retail Week]
  • Mercedes-Benz just made a great fashion ad, and it’s a total piss-take [The Drum]
  • adidas launches Superstar campaign video featuring Rita Ora, David Beckham and Pharrell Williams [The Independent]
  • Lady Gaga has turned her Instagram selfies into ads for Japanese beauty brand Shiseido [Business Insider]
  • Max Factor puts a twist on the no-makeup selfie with #GlamJan campaign [Creativity Online]
  • Moncler creates fake snow app for online fun [Luxury Daily]
  • Montblanc announces a smart bracelet for your fancy watch [TechCrunch]
  • From robots to beacons, the future of retail is at hand [BrandChannel]
  • Snapchat wins hearts and minds on Madison Avenue [Digiday]
  • How Snapchat can help retailers kill ‘showrooming’ [AdAge]
  • As Pinterest pitches ads, brands flock to ‘Pinfluencers’ [WSJ]
  • Google stops selling Google Glass [Marketing Magazine]
  • How jewellery makers (not a tech company) finally cracked the battery problem for wearables [Forbes]
  • Cuff raises $5 million Series A and partners with Richline to bring smart jewellery to the mainstream [TechCrunch]
  • Materials science is the new black: 3D and 4D printing the future [Apparel]
  • Disney and McLaren to fund wearable tech competition for start-ups [The Drum]
  • “Back To The Future” power laces herald quantum wave of shoe tech at Nike [PSFK]
  • The patented Nike shirt that could track your heart rate and blood pressure while you exercise [Quartz]
Categories
technology

“Which Hilfiger are you?” asks digital Tommy pod in NJ mall

TommyGSPdigitalpod3

Tommy Hilfiger opened a new store in the Garden State Plaza mall in New Jersey last week, and with it introduced a ‘digital pod’ tied to its autumn/winter 2013/14 campaign.

Hosted near the AMC theatre at one end of the shopping centre, the pod invites shoppers to take a quiz to determine which member of the Hilfiger family they are. The resulting character is showcased on a digital card that offers the option to add a tagline from a series of keywords.

It then asks the user for their email address to receive a copy of it in their inbox (from which they can share on Facebook), before posting it on the other side of the pod for others to see. The whole initiative is tied to the hashtag #tommyxgsp.

It will be in place through the end of December 2013.

TommyGSPdigitalpod1TommyGSPdigitalpod2HilfigerMyHilfigerAlterEgoTOMMYHILFIGER_digitalpod

Categories
digital snippets mobile social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Louis Vuitton, Project Runway, Westfield, Nike, Macy’s, Ikea

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

 

  • Louis Vuitton’s Yayoi Kusama app turns pics into polka dot art prints (as above) [PSFK]
  • Virtual Heidi Klum rates outfits of visitors to New York’s High Line via interactive Project Runway billboard [AdWeek]
  • Westfield pits East against West in social media Olympics campaign [Campaign]
  • Nike to run real-time Olympics Twitter ads [The Drum]
  • Macy’s rolls out Shopkick mobile rewards app nationwide [AllThingsD]
  • Retail brands can benefit from greater reach on Facebook by targeting their fans’ friends [Media Week]
  • B2B fashion sites on the rise [WWD]
  • Spoonflower lets users design and sell own custom fabric [TechCrunch]