Editor's pick Retail

Depop opens physical store that teaches community how to sell

Depop in NYC
Depop in NYC

Depop has opened a physical outpost in NYC that aims to strengthen its connection to the community by offering advice on how to sell.

The store features a photo studio where sellers, or the marketplace app’s trained professionals, can photograph their items against clean backgrounds, as well as receive hands-on advice on how to brand an online store and how to navigate the postal system.

“The whole purpose of the space is to strengthen our connection with our community, and to experience Depop in real life,” said Maria Raga, Depop’s CEO, to i-D magazine. “Different styles, different subcultures, and introducing different designers in a new light is really important to us. It’s fun for our community too because they get to be inspired by the possibilities of what they can do with their Depop shops.”

To reinforce that purpose, the store is not fully stocked, but rather currently carrying a curated selection dedicated to NYC called Depop Loves New York.

At the moment, shoppers can find items by the likes of seller Venus X, who recently closed a vintage store in the city, and Luke Fracher, who provides a selection of rare shirts from local sports teams like the Yankees and the Mets, by Fracher. Meanwhile NYC-based designer Sandy Liang reworked vintage pieces, while Queens-based artist Slumpy Kev painted on vintage Levi’s and Dickies garments.

Depop in NYC
Depop in NYC

“Our community is just a little sponge of very thirsty entrepreneurs, and creative entrepreneurs at that,” continues Raga. “I think it’s just getting that first taste of what it is to make your own wealth, while having fun and creating your own brand.”

This is Depop’s second physical outpost, with the first one opening in Los Angeles in March. The store holds a similar purpose to its newest iteration, and is also inviting top users to host their own pop-ups within the space.

Depop’s foray into brick-and-mortar, as well as its core purpose of giving its community the tools and exposure to succeed, serve to further emphasise how brands can enable the young shopper’s behaviour of having a ‘side hustle’, and increasingly seeing themselves as entrepreneurs.

Stores with little merchandise but a loud message are also an effective marketing strategy for making use of physical spaces that don’t need to sell, but act as gateways to online experiences. Last year,  Nordstrom launched its Local concept  tapping into service and convenience over merchandise per square foot.

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.

mobile Retail

eBay launches personalized feature tailoring homepage to individuals

eBay Interests
eBay Interests

eBay has launched Interests, a feature that allows individual shoppers to have a tailored experience based on their passions, hobbies and style.

Currently available on the marketplace’s app and soon to launch on desktop, Interests generates a curated homepage based on a combination of user likes and dislikes and data on their individual patterns of shopping and browsing. To participate, users must answer a few questions on their hobbies and interests, such as what their favorite activities are and how they would describe their personal style.

“Our shopping experience should be as individual as each shopper on eBay,” said Bradford Shellhammer, head of browse & personalization for eBay. “By asking people to tell us a little bit about their interests, we’re delivering a personalized store built around the things you care about most.”

eBay Interests
eBay Interests

Over the last few years, eBay has been investigating different ways to make shopping on the platform more relevant for consumers who may find themselves overwhelmed with choice, or frustrated that they cannot find what they visit the site for.

In 2011 it acquired Hunch, a tech company that developed a mechanism to provide tailored recommendations; last summer, the Image Search and Find it on eBay features were introduced to enable app users to take or upload images to the platform instead of searching via text; and in late 2017, the Grouped Listings feature was launched to allow shoppers to condense similar offerings in the search results so it is easier for them to find what they want. It also has a chatbot that aims to help users with discovery.

data e-commerce

Gucci tops first hottest brands list from Lyst and The Business of Fashion


E-commerce player Lyst has teamed up with The Business of Fashion to introduce a new ranking of fashion’s hottest brands and biggest products.

The Lyst Index relies on information pulled from the Lyst site – which tracks 4.5 million data points per hour from over 65 million annual consumers, 4 million products and 12,000 brands – as well as Google search data. The formula takes into account search, page views (across devices), engagement, intent rate and conversion.

For Q2 of this year, Gucci comes out top, rising three places since April 2017 to overtake Yeezy and Vetements, which ranked in second and fourth place respectively, with Balenciaga rising from ninth to number three. Gucci also sees four products listed in the 10 best-selling products globally, with its GG Blooms slides topping the list overall.

The Business of Fashion puts that rise down to Gucci’s ability to connect with millennial and Gen Z consumers. The report reads: “Alessandro Michele’s maximalist-magpie aesthetic translates extremely well to digital channels, while the brand’s marketing strategies, such as the meme-led campaign for Gucci watches in March, and Glen Luchford’s recent ‘50s sci-fi inspired video have proved successful experiments.”

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

It highlights the fact sales to millennial and Gen Z consumers grew at double-digit rate in the first of the 2017 fiscal year, and retention is high. It also outlines that Gucci sales rose to €1,48 billion in Q2, up 39.3% year over year and beating analysts’ expectations by 7%. Operating profit for H1 was over €907 million, up 69% from about €537 million last year.

Yeezy at number two it puts down to the ongoing buzz around founder Kanye West and the fact he’s married to one of the most photographed women in the world, as well as the clever pricing and distribution strategy that Adidas has deployed.

Meanwhile, Balenciaga at number three is attributed to the streetwear attitude to couture that Demna Gvasalia has introduced as well as some clever marketing plays. But it was reportedly its inadvertent part in the Ikea shopping bag viral meme that caused its biggest search increase in the quarter.

Other brands listed in the top 10 include Givenchy, Valentino, Y-3, Prada, Nike and Fendi, while those with winning products further include Saint Laurent, Chloé, Diane Von Furstenberg, Common Projects and Comme Des Garçons.

This is the first in a series of four quarterly Lyst Index reports.

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

business e-commerce mobile Startups technology

Fashion features heavily among the 33 companies selected for Tech City UK Upscale programme

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK at the launch of the Upscale 2017 programme in London
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK at the launch of the Upscale 2017 programme in London

Numerous early stage fashion and e-commerce businesses are among the new intake for Tech City UK’s six-month Upscale programme.

Included are Mastered, an online education platform for creative professionals led by industry experts; Poq, an app commerce solution for major retailers; Wolf & Badger, a global online marketplace for independent brands; and Trouva, a curated online shopping site pulling together 150 independent boutiques.

Many of the others bring further relevancy to the fashion industry, including real-time video platform Grabyo, which has worked with brands in the past including Hunter, where it delivered instantaneous highlights from the catwalk to Twitter fans during London Fashion Week.

StoryStream, which enables live storytelling for brands through content curation and publishing, has also previously worked with events company Decoded Fashion at one of its hackathons.

Across the board, the Upscale companies represent a wide spread of sectors that reflect the UK’s strengths – from e-commerce, to fintech, as well as increasingly important areas like data analytics. They are flagged as companies that could grow into the next generation of digital household names.

Others the fashion industry might find benefit from include Cambridge Intelligence, an artificial intelligence company that helps companies see patterns and insights in their data; LivingLens, which provides brands and agencies with a way of searching and using hours of video content; and Streetbees, which gathers market research insights from around the world through artificial intelligence and geo-location.

This is the second year of the Upscale programme under Tech City UK’s mission to accelerate the growth of the UK’s digital economy. In the 2016 pilot, other fashion and retail businesses including Edited, Metail, Appear Here, Depop and Snap Fashion participated.

The latest cohort gain access to mentorship from some of the UK’s most successful tech entrepreneurs including founders Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman; successful investor and Lovefilm founder Saul Klein; Candy Crush creator Riccardo Zacconi; Blippar co-founder Jess Butcher; and Just Eat founder David Buttress. The aim is to help them begin their scaling journey.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, said: “One of the objectives of Tech City UK is to accelerate the growth of the country’s digital and tech sector. The companies that join our Upscale programme have already overcome significant hurdles and have the makings of brilliant businesses.”

The companies joining have raised $4.1 million in funding on average, and have average revenues of just over $1 million per year. See the full list of those selected to participate on the site.

This story first appeared on

business digital snippets mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: endangered fashion unicorns, Dior’s YouTube moves, Facebook marketplace

fashion unicorns
Fashion ‘unicorns’ have become an endangered species

This week’s round-up of relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech news neatly sums up a series of things to be tracking at present: the evolution of social media businesses into greater advertising and commercial retail opportunities, the role customer service and messaging apps play together, the explosion of all things virtual and augmented reality, and an ongoing bevy of start-ups to know about.

Meanwhile, also worth reading this week is detail on David Lauren’s promotion to the role of chief innovation officer over at Ralph Lauren, Dior’s catch up strategy on YouTube, and the growth of physical stores by online players including Warby Parker and Bonobos.

  • Fashion ‘unicorns’ have become an endangered species [BoF]
  • Dior’s borrowing Chanel’s strategies to catch up on YouTube [Glossy]
  • Mastercard launches ‘selfie pay’ [FT]

  • LVMH to buy majority stake in Germany’s Rimowa for $716 million [BoF]
  • Swarovski, maker of all things bejewelled, refashions itself as a tech company [NY Times]
  • As their incomes rise, Chinese consumers are trading up and going beyond necessities [McKinsey]
  • Ralph Lauren promotes founder’s son to chief innovation officer [Bloomberg]

  • Facebook launches Marketplace for local buying and selling [Reuters]
  • For young brands, is the Instagram opportunity shrinking? [BoF]
  • Pinterest Promoted Video lands in the UK with Hunter on board as a partner [The Drum]
  • Snapchat users are spending 78 seconds on average playing Under Armour’s Cam Newton game [AdWeek]
  • An inside look at Snapchat’s new advertising API technology [AdAge]

  • Reebok adds Gigi Hadid to #PerfectNever campaign [MediaPost]
  • Farfetch inspires consumers to find the perfect product in new #TheOne campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • Google, Facebook become focus of holiday digital campaigns [MediaPost]

  • Warby Parker, Bonobos have big plans for physical stores [WSJ]
  • Shopify adds Facebook Messenger direct sales channel [Retail Dive]
  • Salesforce launches LiveMessage to provide customer service across messaging apps [VentureBeat]
  • Cocktails, cinemas and concierges: Malls weave a web of their own to entice customers [Financial Post]
  • Now you can sign up for a “.shopping” domain name [Apparel]
  • The Outnet launches first android app [Fashion United]

  • Japanese brand Anrealage hosts augmented reality fashion show [Glossy]
  • Mark Zuckerberg’s VR selfie is a bigger deal than you realise [Wired]
  • Will Google’s ‘soft and cozy’ approach to VR headsets make the space more mainstream? [AdWeek]
  • The mainstreaming of augmented reality: a brief history [HBR]

  • Venture capitalists invest $56 billion in start-ups so far in 2016 [Reuters]
  • New app co-created by Elon Musk’s estranged wife could be a game-changer for retail [BGR]
  • Online fashion retailer Grana raises $10M led by Alibaba’s entrepreneurship fund [TechCrunch]
business e-commerce mobile

From unorganised retail to controlled fulfilment – how Indian e-commerce is evolving

Snapdeal is now the third largest online marketplace in India behind Flipkart and Amazon

Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Indian marketplace Snapdeal, recently sat down with the team from venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz to discuss the e-commerce scene in their country.

Speaking on the a16z podcast (a must-listen if you don’t already), the group explored everything from inefficient supply chains to evolving digital payments. The conversation comes at a time when competition is heating up from international players like Amazon, as well as local market leader Flipkart. Snapdeal with its 300,000 different merchants selling everything from computers to women’s fashion (its most popular category), is now ranked third in the country.

Head on over to Forbes to read the full story; a breakdown of everything you need to know about the current marketplace e-commerce scene in India and the barriers being overcome.

e-commerce social media

Farfetch on the impact of millennials as employees and as social media consumers


Andrew Robb, COO at online fashion marketplace Farfetch took to the Millennial 20/20 Summit stage in London yesterday to talk about the role of the millennial audience on both workplace culture and social media trends.

Here are six recaps of key things he said:

  • On company culture: “Farfetch doesn’t have a tech culture, as such, but certainly a ‘newer’ company culture. We fit into the mould of being more open… What makes us unique is that we’re in this space of fashion and technology merging, which is very specific, but also the fact we’re global. We started global. We had two companies in London and Portugal, boutiques in five countries and we were selling worldwide. If you look at the staff we have, we’re young and very international. In our London office, we have at least 30 nationalities.”

  • On employee attitudes: “We used to hear people complaining about millennials from a workforce standpoint, but… I actually think what they’re asking for makes sense. Why would it not be a good idea to have access to the CEO? Or to have them listen to your ideas? In general this generation is very demanding, but if we listen to them it’s about the fact they want challenges, and we’re very open to giving them challenges. If you give them autonomy to do something, give them ownership of something, they learn whether they’re actually ready for it.”


  • On Snapchat: “Millennials, on average, are using one extra social platform than older generations. Snapchat is the eighth most important for those over 35 years old, while for millennials it’s third [behind Instagram and Facebook]… Those younger say Snapchat is more important than Instagram. So we think it will increasingly become a really important channel for fashion consumers over time.”

  • On social commerce: “For a long time there’s been this idea in e-commerce that Facebook was going to become a dominant sales driver. It’s not. Social is an amazing brand engagement tool but it’s not been for driving sales. Instagram is going to change that. Millennials use Instagram for fashion inspiration and Facebook to connect with friends. It’s much easier to convert someone looking at fashion than it is chatting to friends. You’re just much closer to the customer need, at that time.”

  • On Instagram advertising: “What I’m also excited about with Instagram is the advertising. Their model will allow brands to spend very significant sums in positive ways to connect with that audience. It’s also very measurable and has much higher ROI because consumers are in the right frame of mind. The targeting is so strong, where on many other channels that is just not the case.”

  • On what’s up next: “Last year we opened six new websites and offices [including Japan, China and Russia]. We launched our ‘Store of the Future’ business, and Farfetch Black & White, which offers brands white labeled e-commerce solutions. And lastly we acquired iconic retailer Browns. The reason we wanted to do that was to really understand how consumers are interacting in this online and offline mix. We’re focusing on all these things heavily for the year ahead.”
business e-commerce

ShopStyle: Expansion takes it from search to digital marketplace


For anyone who’s a regular user of the ShopStyle fashion search platform (and I’m one), there’s an interesting development due in Q2 as it transforms into a fashion marketplace with the launch of new shopping cart service, ShopStyle Checkout.

Parent company Popsugar said the aim is to enable consumers to purchase products from multiple retail partners in a single seamless transaction using one login.

The launch will be via ShopStyle’s iOS app and it will roll out across all the brand’s platform’s as well as 14,000 ShopStyle Collective influencer sites by year-end, Popsugar said.

Popsugar doesn’t intend that ShopStyle becomes an actual retailer itself, and the retail partners it signs up will remain the ‘merchant of record’.

So far it’s named a number of partners, including big hitters like Topshop and River Island, Target, Neiman Marcus and

It could be pretty amazing – it will launch with over 3.4m products and expects to have over 100 retailers on board by the end of this year.

It’s certainly got a dynamic team behind it. Popsugar is one of those businesses that grew out of the digital revolution. Founded a decade ago as a blog by husband and wife Brian and Lisa Sugar, the media and tech company targeting millennial women is profitable and now has combined visitor traffic of 100m.

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

e-commerce Startups

Lyst generates further $40m investment, becomes latest in long line of recent e-commerce funding announcements


Fashion marketplace and e-commerce platform Lyst has raised $40m in a Series C investment round, with funding from partners also working with LVMH, YOOX Net-a-Porter Group, Everlane, Facebook and more.

Lyst says the round will support the continued global expansion programme for its universal cart technology, which enables shoppers to make purchases from multiple retailers through one unified checkout. It will also help it to grow its teams in both its London and New York offices.

On the potential for the plans, co-founder and CEO Chris Morton, said: “We are already seeing a higher conversion by as much as five times through our universal cart – its widespread adoption by the industry’s leading brands and stores is a testament to the unique platform we have built and the volumes of sales it is generating.” Those sales have grown from $40m 12 months ago, to $150m today, according to the company.

The investment partners include Groupe Arnault; Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, 14W, DFJ and a New York based hedge fund.

It follows a flurry of big funding announcements for the e-commerce space in recent months, including Farfetch’s $86m in a Series E round, resulting in a $1bn valuation; Poshmark’s $25m in a Series C; and even Rent the Runway’s $60m in a Series D in late 2014. In its first day of trading as a public company meanwhile, Etsy recently sold more than 13 million shares, raising $267m and enjoying a valuation of $1.8bn (albeit trading down in the days since). All eyes are also on, a supposed Amazon competitor due for imminent launch that has recently raised $140m in funding including from Alibaba, according to reports.