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business Campaigns e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail

The rise of livestream shopping: From Kim Kardashian to hypebeasts

In the build up to this year’s Singles’ Day event in China (Nov 11), Kim Kardashian West took to TMall to co-host a live streaming shopping session with one of the country’s top-selling influencers, Viya Huang. The event drew in 13 million viewers and helped Kim K sell her entire stock of 15,000 bottles of KKW perfume in just a few minutes.

Broadcasting shopping events have long been a success in Asia, a region that often leapfrogs the West when it comes to responding to its audience’s want-it-now behaviors with digital tools. In 2018, the genre generated $4.4bn in sales in China alone. 

To further put in perspective the success of the feature on TMall, Huang, who joined Kardashian West on-screen during the broadcast, previously broke a record on the platform in October when she sold almost $50m in one day. 

In this case, the benefits of the partnership were twofold: while for Kardashian West it meant tapping into a mature audience and expanding her already huge visibility in Asia, for TMall, this served as a testing ground for its Global Influencer Ecosystem, a program that aims to train and support 2,000 influencers around the world.

Kim Kardashian’s TMall livestream

Live streaming has its origins beyond retail, and is part of a much wider voyeuristic nature the internet helped incubate – from watching people play video games on sites like Twitch, to the huge popularity of unboxing videos on YouTube. 

Brands following suit feels only natural as a result. Sprinkle in some influencer dust, and you’ve got a recipe for success. 

But this fairly new behavior is also an offshoot of a much wider trend for immediacy, or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tactics that retailers have long deployed with flash sales and limited edition products.

You only need to look at the long-standing popularity of shopping channels like QVC and HSN, which combined brought in $3.1bn in sales during Q1 2019, to find the winning strategy: a charismatic host who sells a single product with a masterful sense of urgency, either focusing on its price or exclusivity, urging viewers to call in. But how do you refresh that model to suit the younger generation whose mobile-first behaviors mean they don’t watch live television, or even pick up the phone?

Enter platforms like NTWRK, a self-described QVC for Gen Z and Millennials, whose second round of funding included the likes of Foot Locker, Live Nation and rapper Drake. The app broadcasts live sessions where hosts, who are often celebrities or musicians, will sell limited edition goods – from sneakers to concert tickets – only available for the duration of the show. This, according to the platform, is “shopping at the speed of culture.” 

NTWRK could also represent the next step in hypebeast – or urban streetwear – culture, adding an extra level of exclusivity now that queueing outside stores has become a secondary market in itself.

Meanwhile H&M’s young brand Monki recently hosted an experience on its own e-commerce site where its fashion editor and a buyer discussed fashion trends and their favorite products of the season, while viewers could shop the products and even replay the video once it had ended.

Monki’s livestream

The popularity of these platforms and one-off events show that appetite is definitely there, much like in Asia. But in order to create a seamless shopping experience and keep customers coming back, brands and tech platforms still have a few kinks to resolve. 

Firstly, there is the issue of internet connection, which will undoubtedly improve once 5G has hit the masses. Then, there is creating a user experience that enables viewers to shop while never having to leave the stream to add their payment information or check out. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it will be up to brands and retailers creating these streams to enlist hosts and create experiences that will grab and keep the attention of a notoriously fickle demographic.

It will be interesting to watch this space mature. A trend that is so clearly influenced by a tried-and-tested retail format – TV shopping networks – highlights how innovation is often about evolution, and not reinvention. Finding what works, and updating it to the digitally-led generation.

How are you thinking about new 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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business Editor's pick Retail sustainability technology

The greater need for transparency: 7 brands regaining consumer trust

Sustainability has been a major talking point for the fashion industry over the past couple of years. In this year’s State of Fashion report, radical transparency was highlighted as one of the major trends retailers should be implementing. But following rising concerns of greenwashing, from misleading PR-led campaigns to the increase of fake news, consumer trust is at an all-time low and brands are having to work harder to prove their authenticity in the matter.

The Gen Z generation is particularly pushing for this change, with 90% believing companies should take responsibility to address environmental and social issues. Meanwhile almost three-quarters of Millennials are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products, demonstrating how there is tangible value in transparent produce. In order to regain their consumers’ trust, brands must therefore be explicitly open with information regarding data protection and how sustainable their supply chains truly are.

Technology is playing a major role in helping promote transparency, from blockchain helping shed light on the supply chain, to holistic e-commerce interactions. Here, we highlight some of our favorite examples of brands disrupting the space by going that extra mile in regards to transparency:

Patagonia
Patagonia: The Footprint Chronicles

Patagonia is one of the pioneering brands when it comes to sustainability, fully disclosing its textile mills, factories and farms through its website. The ‘footprint chronicles’ is a visual map showing information about the supply chain including the numbers of workers, gender mix and items produced there. Patagonia was the first outdoor brand to be certified to the Advanced Global Traceable Down Standard for maintaining excellent animal welfare standards for birds. 

As a result of its ongoing efforts, Patagonia was identified as one of the leading brands on Fashion Revolution’s most recent Transparency Index, receiving a score of 64%. 

Nestle
Nestle trialing blockchain

Nestle is the first major food and beverage company to utilize the use of blockchain technology, allowing consumers to trace the origin of their food. The company is aiming to eventually reach full supply chain transparency, with this move shedding light on 95% of its annual sourcing of raw materials. 

Products will have a QR barcode that when scanned, provides consumers with Tier 1 information on product, such as harvest date, farm location, packing date, as well as information on how to prepare it. To determine the feasibility and viability of the technology, an initial pilot scheme testing the traceability of milk will be created first, with plans to expand into palm oil production.

Walmart
Walmart beef supply chain

As it stands, only 33% of consumers trust the food system. Following the Tesco horsemeat scandal in 2013, consumers have become increasingly skeptical of where their food has come from, particularly when it comes to meat produce. In the US, Walmart is addressing this by developing the first beef supply chain. The system, which took 2 years to develop, follows a previous blockchain pilot on lettuce and spinach, which aimed to reduce contamination rates, following an increase in vegetable-related illnesses.

H&M
H&M product transparency

In the UK, retailers are only required to disclose where the garment was made, but this year to increase its transparency, H&M made the decision to go one step further by sharing specific details about their individual suppliers. Consumers can now access information on the production country, supplier name, factory name, and even the number of employees in that factory. H&M is setting the bar in the industry by allowing consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing, helping them to shop responsibly. 

For H&M’s sister brand Arket, sustainability has been a primary consideration from its inception. Beyond showcasing suppliers, the brand also aims to design long-lasting garments, while informing its customers on how to care for them and prolong their lifespan.

Volition
Volition’s clean products

Volition is democratizing the beauty industry with products designed from crowdsourced ideas that are voted by the general public before making it into production. The brand uses scientific ingredients to deliver safe and effective products, from skincare to bath and body. Volition gives all of its products the ‘safe science’ seal of approval, catering to the 42% of consumers who feel they do not get enough information on ingredient safety. 

Following consumers request of non-toxic but highly effective products, Volition’s experts created a blacklist of harmful ingredients, giving consumers peace of mind about what they are putting onto their skin.

Selfridges
Selfridges Buy Better Campaign

Department store Selfridges is doubling down on its Buying Better labels, which aim to aid consumers in their purchasing choices.  The labels highlight sustainable product attributes, such as vegan, forest-friendly or supporting communities. The labels are part of the retailer’s commitment to ensure that 50% of its products are better for people and the planet by 2022. Currently, over 3000 products across homeware, fashion and beauty feature the labels, helping guide consumers away from the disposable, fast fashion mindset.

Drunk Elephant
Drunk Elephants holistic products

Skincare brand Drunk Elephant may be new to the market, having launched in 2014, but it is already catching both the eye of consumers and major beauty conglomerates alike. Consumers have gone wild for its transparent, no-nonsense approach to skincare. The products are based on biocompatibility, and use clinically-effective natural ingredients. Each product listed on its website has a detailed breakdown of all the ingredients and their purposes, creating a holistic user-friendly experience. 72% of consumers want brands to explain the purpose of ingredients and Drunk Elephant is leading the with their holistic product breakdowns. 

As a result of this education-led approach, and its popularity with younger consumers, the brand has recently been acquired by Japanese giant Shiseido for $845million.

How are you thinking about sustainability? 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
Campaigns e-commerce

ASOS and Boursorama team up to create extra-long discount code

ASOS and Boursorama Banque
ASOS and Boursorama Banque

ASOS has teamed up with French bank, Boursorama Banque, to launch an analog campaign with an extra-long discount code, in a bid to grab the attention of their mutually young demographics.

The code, which can be redeemed on purchases at ASOS.fr, aims to publicize the fact that the Société Générale-owned bank is the cheapest in the country for young people.

Printed on newspapers and outdoor displays at French university campuses, it reads: “WeAllKnowThatYoungPeopleDon’tReadAdvertsForBanksSoJustToSayThatWeAreTheCheapestOnlineBank
ForYoungClientsInsteadOfPublishingAnAdThatYouWouldn’tHaveReadWe’reSayingItInThisVeryVeryLongDiscount
CodeThatYouAreGoingToHaveToRetypeToGetYourClothesCheaperOnASOS”

In order to redeem the code online, customers then have to read through the entire copy and type it up during checkout on ASOS. In creating this unusual approach, the bank manages to find a new way to communicate with a customer base that is notoriously adverse to advertising.

Alexander Wang x adidas
Alexander Wang x adidas

Recently, brands have begun to deploy traditional advertising techniques as a way to pique the consumers’ curiosity and temporarily unglue them from their phones. To celebrate football player Cristiano Ronaldo’s historic move to the Juventus football club, Nike ran a billboard campaign in Turin, Italy that listed off his main accomplishments in heavy text, followed by a line saying: “Now forget it all, and do it again.”

Meanwhile, for the launch of the second season of the Alexander Wang x adidas Originals collection, the brands plastered key cities such as London and New York with fly posters that only read “TEXT TO BUY”, accompanied by a phone number and the brands’ logos. Ferdinando Verderi, creative director responsible for the campaign, spoke at length about their campaign and its approach to subverting established rules in fashion advertising, on a recent episode of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Editor's pick social media

H&M’s /Nyden crowdsources designs via influencer Instagram Stories

Nyden, H&M, millennials, influencer marketing, fashion, Instagram
/Nyden

H&M Group’s newest brand /Nyden is tapping into Instagram Stories for its latest collection, teaming up with influencers to crowdsource design features.

Influencers are asking their audiences to answer polls to better understand their preferences in a garment, such as closures (zipper or button), embellishments (fringe or sequin) or whether they prefer neutral or bold patterns. The result will be two dresses entirely crowdsourced by the digital audience.

Christopher Skogfeldt, /Nyden co-founder and head of product says: “We want to show that the power of design lies in the hands of the people, not necessarily just designers sitting in their showroom in Paris.” Adding that: “We believe that inspiration and design is happening all the time, all around us. We want to empower people to show more of that and to create together by giving the power back through democratized fashion.”

Nyden, H&M, millennials, influencer marketing, fashion, Instagram
/Nyden

Influencers include Alyssa Coscarelli, senior editor at Refinery29 (@alyssainthecity), lifestyle blogger Javvy (@savvyjavvy) and influencer Amanda Orelli (@eastcoastfox), all based in the US.

/Nyden launched in April 2018 as the antidote to seasonal, trend-led shopping. Instead, it presents collections as ‘drops’ and collaborates with pop culture figures relevant to its young audience – such as British singer Dua Lipa and LA-based tattoo artist Dr. Woo – to design its limited collections. Both from a retail and design perspective, the brand is borrowing from streetwear’s success formula of generating hype through exclusivity, while putting creativity and community at the forefront.

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

ICYMI: Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, Instagram launches IGTV, H&M’s flagships

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week, including Virgil Abloh launching for Louis Vuitton.

TOP STORIES
  • Over the rainbow: Virgil Abloh makes historic Louis Vuitton debut [BrandChannel]
  • Instagram celebrates its 1 billion user mark with launch of YouTube rival IGTV [TheDrum]
  • How H&M is rethinking its flagships [BoF]
  • 3 ways personalization can save brands from the retail graveyard [VentureBeat]
TECHNOLOGY
  • This AI program could beat you in an argument – but it doesn’t know what it’s saying [TechnologyReview]
  • Marks & Spencer partners with Microsoft on artificial intelligence initiative [WWD]
  • Performance-based marketing gets blockchain makeover [WWD]
  • You too can be a “Westworld” AI with this new Alexa game [FastCompany]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Asos to ban silk, cashmere and mohair from its website [BBC]
  • Stella McCartney unveils sustainable shop with ‘cleanest air’ in London [Independent]
  • MPs launch inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry [TheIndustry]
  • How Parley for the Oceans became fashion’s go-to environmental non-profit [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 22 experiential stores NYC has to offer [RetailDive]
  • M&S should be “looking seriously” at Amazon tie-up says former digital boss [Retail Gazette]
  • IRL stores are doing it for the ’Gram [Racked]
  • How Depop is catering to Gen Z and millennials to get an edge over resale competitors [Glossy]
  • Farfetch’s Black and White program shows slow growth [Glossy]
  • Retailers, malls staving off Amazon with help from OneMarket [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • YouTube hires Derek Blasberg to head fashion partnerships [TheCut]
  • Aerie rapidly gaining market share off social media and ‘more authentic’ women [CNBC]
BUSINESS
  • Chanel publishes annual results for first time in 108 years [NY Times]
  • Amidst consolidation wave, Acne Studios could fetch €500m [BoF]
  • Kering to sell Christopher Kane back to designer [BoF]
  • Google to invest $550 million in China e-commerce giant JD.com [Reuters]
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
Campaigns Editor's pick film

Human rights foundation highlights modern slavery with unboxing video stunt

Unboxing the Truth - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Unboxing the Truth – Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), which works with journalists and organizations to bring to light human rights abuses and corruption, is tapping into the millennial behaviour of unboxing videos to highlight one of its causes.

To do so, the foundation teamed up with Jacques Slade, a YouTube personality known for videos where he unboxes sneakers to a 851,000-strong audience, to highlight the plight of modern slavery.

Slade’s video begins with a disclaimer explaning that he was sent a mystery box and viewers should stick around to learn a really important message. He then proceeds to open the package, to reveal a high-end shoe box where the word “Humanmade” is replaced by “Slavemade” once it is fully opened. As the pair of shoes is revealed so are stats about modern slavery, which can be found on the shoe’s tongue, laces and soles.

Stats disclose that slavery still exists in 161 countries and counting, while also highlighting that less than 2% of slaves will ever be rescued. Slade then shows the shoe’s dust bag, in which a printed letter addressed to him and his viewers explains that they do not expect people to stop buying sneakers, but rather to stop and ask themselves: “What is the human price of the products you buy?”

Slade, whose core audience is men aged 13-24, explains that he was initially contacted by a creative agency on behalf of an “unspecified nonprofit organization” to take part in a video about forced labour, and that was the extent of what he knew prior to recording the video.

The stunt aimed to tap into an audience who is highly engaged about their passion, which in this case is owning and cherishing limited-edition footwear by the likes of Nike and adidas.

As part of the campaign, the organization is asking for donations towards its fight against slavery and human trafficking. Donations will go towards funding media coverage, training and mentoring journalists in specific geographies with a high prevalence of slavery, and bringing frontline activists to the Trust Conference where they would learn new skills.

Unboxing the Truth - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Unboxing the Truth – Thomson Reuters Foundation

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

ICYMI: Fashion embracing AI, how Apple is using AR, breaking down Gucci’s innovation model

AI in fashion - artificial intellgence
AI in fashion

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

TOP STORIES
  • How fashion should (and shouldn’t) embrace artificial intelligence [BoF]
  • How Apple will use AR to reinvent the human-computer interface [Fast Company]
  • Breaking down the Gucci-inspired ‘innovation model’ that’s taking over Kering [Glossy]
  • In fashion’s hype-driven era, Hermès is doing its own thing [Dazed]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Blockchain, Internet of Things and AI: What the newest luxury startup accelerators are investing in [Glossy]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • What really goes into a fashion sustainability ranking & how brands game the system [TheFashionLaw]
  • Millennials say they care about sustainability. So, why don’t they shop this way? [BoF]
  • Report: Levi’s is ‘all talk and no action’ on sustainability [Glossy]
  • Beauty brands are finding innovative ways to reduce packaging waste [Fashionista]
  • The young designers pioneering a sustainable fashion revolution [Vogue]
  • TheRealReal, Stella McCartney flaunt high-fashion recycling [MediaPost]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Is video the future of online shopping? [BoF]
  • Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car [TheVerge]
  • Fast fashion’s biggest threat is faster fashion [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Outdoor Voices uses AR to launch OV Trail Shop running collection [FashionNetwork]
  • Oakley forgives you (even if others don’t) in this lovely ode to athletic obsession [AdWeek]
  • Adidas Originals traded pieces from Alexander Wang’s new collection to get to Coachella [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • Disney made a jacket to simulate physical experiences, like a snake slithering across your body [TheVerge]
  • Adidas is testing how to mass-produce custom shoes like those it makes for elite athletes [Quartz]
BUSINESS
  • Balenciaga issues second apology after claims of discrimination against Chinese shoppers [Reuters]
  • Sephora’s lawsuit with obsessive compulsive cosmetics is a staggering case study in how beauty products are sold [Racked]
Categories
Editor's pick technology

Dolce & Gabbana’s drones stunt sends flying handbags down the runway at MFW

A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18
A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18

Dolce & Gabbana staged a tech-filled show in Milan on Sunday as it sent drones down the runway donning next season’s handbags.

One of the biggest marketing stunts of the season so far, the affair kicked off late while the brand waited for all of its 600 guests to turn off their WiFi, indicating in advance that it had a special surprise up its sleeve.

A handful of drones then opened the show by flying along the catwalk from a heavily adorned faux-church facade, each carrying a new color of next season’s bags and guided by assistants in white coats – presumably in place in case anything went wrong. They hovered in place, rotating on the spot, before returning backstage and letting the real show begin.

The label is no stranger to tapping into tech to engage with a millennial audience, with whom it is increasingly turning its focus to. In 2015, it sent models down the runway taking selfies. It has also long focused on enlisting a series of young royals, influencers and famous celebrity heirs to promote the brand through collaborations and runway shows.

This season also marks the second time the label hosted an additional ‘secret’ fashion show, with the aforementioned millennials playing leading roles. On Saturday night at a downtown party spot, the “Secrets & Diamonds” show featured models and selected influencers donning evening wear, including 20-something-year-old members of the British aristocracy, who the next day then watched the drone spectacle from the front row.

Dolce & Gabbana is not the first luxury label to deploy drones to ignite a conversation that one could argue deters from the actual fashion taking place. In 2014, Fendi worked with Unit9 and Google to live-stream its AW14 runway show by using drones that shot models from above. The role of technology as gimmick continues to rule the runway, it would seem.

Categories
Campaigns

Fendi enlists six artists to makeover HQ rooftop

The Ring of the Future, Fendi
The Ring of the Future, Fendi

Fendi has enlisted six global street artists to transform its HQ rooftop in Rome, Italy, in celebration of the one year anniversary of its “F is For…” online communications platform aimed at millennials.

Artists hailing from the US to Korea got together to write the word “Future” in their own native language, creating a ring that represents inclusion and diversity, titled The Ring of the Future.

To celebrate the launch, Fendi has also launched its first “F is For…” product, a genderless t-shirt sold exclusively at its online store.

The “F is For…” hub can be accessed via Fendi.com, with content split into five different verticals: Freaks, explaining the platform’s vision; Fulgore, featuring fashion editorials shot entirely on the iPhone 7; Faces, introducing models and other members of the brand’s ‘young crew’; Freedom, listing places to eat, drink and have fun; and Fearless, introducing new art and music.

In the physical world, “F is For…” is also hosting events, parties and fashion shows, while hoping to establish Rome, its hometown, as a fashionable location.