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ICYMI: LVMH’s digital strategy, feathers in fashion, the McQueen documentary

Proenza Schouler
Proenza Schouler

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

TOP STORIES
  • Decoding LVMH’s digital strategy [BoF]
  • Is the use of feathers in fashion any more ethical than fur? [Fashionista]
  • The McQueen documentary tells the story of the people who carry his legacy [Vogue]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Why Nordstrom is betting on high-touch tech [Fortune]
  • Avery Dennison and SoftWear Automation to create digital supply chain for manufacturers [SupplyChainDigital]
SUSTAINABILITY
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • How Sephora built a beauty empire to survive the retail apocalypse [CBInsights]
  • This is how a brick-and-mortar store can thrive in the age of Amazon [NYMag]
  • Urban Outfitters launches third-party marketplace, tests self-checkout [RetailDive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Nike sells out of Facebook Messenger sneaker drop in less than an hour [RetailDive]
  • Givenchy and Stella McCartney score on Instagram at Royal Wedding [WWD]
  • Victoria’s Secret is still advertising to women like it’s 1999 [Bloomberg]
  • Esprit’s Instagram posts are now shoppable [FashionUnited]
  • This Ikea print ad is designed to put you to sleep [CreativityOnline]
  • Do influencers need regulating? [BoF]
BUSINESS
  • Balenciaga is now the fastest-growing label at Kering? [Harper’s Bazaar]
  • LVMH invests $60 million into fashion platform Lyst [HypeBeast]
  • Richemont clinches takeover of Yoox Net-A-Porter [Reuters]
  • Can the Model Alliance Respect program make a difference? [Vogue]
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Editor's pick Retail technology

JD.com on a future where robots replace humans

Richard Liu, CEO, JD.com
Richard Liu, CEO, JD.com

“Sooner or later, our entire industry will be operated by AI and robots, not humans,” said JD.com’s CEO, Richard Liu, at the World Retail Conference in Madrid this week.

Speaking to a large audience of retail professionals, the head of China’s second-largest e-commerce company (behind the Alibaba Group), highlighted the fact he believes the future of retail is all about automation.

The Asia region is known to heavily invest in technologies that enable more personalized, seamless, and often self-directed retail experiences, as we recently highlighted on the site, making this a more natural leap for such businesses, but Liu’s views were not met by everyone worldwide.

Mango chairman Daniel Lopez disagreed on the idea of automation as inevitable, saying that humans are sociable at the core, so stores should strive to provide that element. “This is part of the experience that consumers are looking for, and by all means we shouldn’t lose that human touch,” he said. Mango has always had ‘experience’ as a central part of its DNA as a result, he explained.

In another conversation, John Lewis’ group development director, Tom Athron, delivered a warning on the same note: “Walk away from the power of the human at your peril. To assume consumers want everything to be automated or screen-based is naive, they want that in some ways, but I have a belief that humans and machines together will always be better than humans on their own, or machines on their own.”

Athron agreed, however, that some automation is necessary when labor is a retailer’s biggest cost. As the industry and technology evolves, it’s inevitable computers will be able to perform certain jobs more efficiently, he explained, making it essential to shift accordingly to an extent in order to remain competitive.

Véronique Laury, CEO of Kingfisher, which owns companies such as UK DIY retailer B&Q, says that the only benefit a physical store will have in the future is to provide emotion-led experiences, which are more often than not facilitated by humans. “That emotional connection is not completely fulfilled through digital techniques or technology. The human being side of talking to someone who understands what you are going through will be really important even in the future,” she said as she likewise dismissed the idea of purely automated or robotic-led stores.

Beyond experience, convenience and frictionless shopping was also a central theme of the conversation at the event. JD.com’s Liu also spoke about how the company is always finding opportunities to invest in logistics capabilities to serve the Chinese consumer’s evolving expectations around speed, for instance.

JD.com’s delivery service currently covers 100% of China and offers next day delivery to 90% of its 252 million customers. Liu’s goal for the next few years is to have a convenience store in every Chinese village, and the retailer is currently deploying drone technology to source and supply more remote locations until it reaches that milestone.

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Retail technology

Mango launches digital fitting rooms

Mango digital fitting room
Mango’s digital fitting room

Mango is the latest fashion retailer to be exploring digital fitting rooms, creating an “Internet of Things mirror” in partnership with Vodafone and Jogotech.

The experience allows shoppers to scan the tags in the items they have brought in to see suggestions of pieces that would complete the look, as well as be able to request different sizes and colors of the ones they’re trying on. Sales associates are alerted via a digital watch.

The mirrors currently exist in the brand’s new flagship store in Lisbon, and is being tested in other cities worldwide. The aim is to roll the digital fitting rooms out to all of the company’s top stores.

According to the team, this is the first phase of a digital transformation project for Mango designed to create new ways for customers to engage and relate to the brand.

Mango’s chief client officer, Guillermo Corominas, said: “This is a really exciting project for Mango. We see the future of retailing as a blend of the online and the offline. These new fitting rooms are another step in the digital transformation of our stores to create a whole new experience for our customers.”

Vodafone’s director of Internet of Things, Stefano Gastaut, added: “This project helps put more power at the shopper’s fingertips and will bring Mango closer to its fashion conscious shoppers and offer them more options and experiences than a conventional fitting room.”

Other retailers experimenting with this sort of technology have included Rebecca Minkoff, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. The latter has made it a standard part of the refit of its Regent Street store, dubbed its “store of the future” in London.

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social media

Mango’s latest trend campaign goes social media-heavy

mango campaign
Mango AW16 campaign

Mango has released details of its latest monthly trend ‘campaign’, adding that it will be upping its social media commitments with this particular launch.

The retailer, which earlier this year moved to a monthly trends model and away from a two-seasons one, has given details of the first of its four AW16 trend stories that will launch globally at the end of August. It features Roos Abels and Lexi Boling on the streets of New York.

Part of the campaign has been revealed on the brand’s Snapchat and Instagram (@mango) channels, with a live broadcast of previously unseen footage from the shoot, which also reveals key garments being featured by Mango during the first month of the upcoming season.

In addition, the brand will launch its official Spotify channel in late August, which will be updated each season with the songs featured in the Mango campaigns and stores, in order to create its own playlists.

The brand currently has close to 16.5m followers across all of its social media platforms.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
business e-commerce

Mango fast fashion gets faster; digital is key

mango-board

Spanish fashion giant Mango had big news Thursday announcing its move from a fast fashion business model to an even faster fashion one and an increased focus on the digital channel. The company said today that it’s going to offer new product every two weeks as part of a business transformation that it’s calling a “major revolution”.

Along with the new, 26-drops-a-year model, it will no longer print 22m catalogues each year and will make online (currently accounting for just 10% of turnover) its biggest focus.

So, that means from February – when the SS16 offer starts to drop in-store – we’ll see faster, fortnightly response to the strongest trends. They’ll be backed up by a new ad campaign every month “featuring the latest trend and represented by the face that best defines it”. Digital will be key for these campaigns and the company will also publish new trends content every fortnight via its digital channels.

All this change makes the decision to axe its print catalogues pretty logical as they would struggle to keep up with the pace of new trend development.

It also raises a few questions: How will its rivals respond? I can’t wait to find out the answer to that one. Also, where does it leave the traditional two-seasons-a-year trends model? That’s an even tougher one but it’s a question that the entire industry will have to answer some time soon.

The question was first asked back in the late 90s when the ‘fast fashion’ became the business model to follow. Back then it was all about retailers being in the driving seat and getting manufacturers to race to make faster deliveries of the trends those retailers had identified after long and careful research. But the spring/summer and autumn/winter concept still just-about-worked.

But in a world where online, social media, and peer ‘likes’ are what count, fast fashion has morphed into a scenario where the consumer is more in control and the retailers are racing to keep up. With this move Mango is making sure it’s ahead of the game but also saying two mega seasons a year just don’t work. Welcome to the world of the micro season…

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
digital snippets mobile Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Moss, Kenneth Cole, Burberry Body, Harrods, Google

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

 

  • Diane von Furstenberg releases autumn/winter 2011/12 campaign video, Journey of the Dress (as above) [The Cut]
  • See behind-the-scenes on Kate Moss and Terry Richardson’s forthcoming TV campaign for Mango [YouTube]
  • Kenneth Cole courts controversy with new website calling for consumer opinion on abortion, gun control and gay rights [Mashable]
  • Burberry Body fragrance launches with sampling drive via Facebook [Telegraph.co.uk]
  • Harrods to launch online magazine and new mobile site [Retail Week]
  • Google unveils catalogue iPad app with initial 50 brands [Refinery29]