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Brexit is here, Vogue.com’s return to e-commerce, fashion copes with Coronavirus

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

Top Stories
  • Brexit is here. What’s next for fashion? (Vogue Business)
  • Vogue.com to launch new shopping vertical (WWD)
  • How the fashion industry is coping with the Coronavirus crisis (Jing Daily)
Technology
  • AI-powered robot warehouse pickers are now ready to to work (MIT)
  • H&M and Magic Leap redefine the customer experience (Magic Leap)
  • Fashionphile is turning luxury authentication into a science (Fashionista)
  • ‘We can’t scale humans’: Why startups are raising millions to build AI avatars (Fast Company)
  • Smart tags seen as next marketing tools (WWD)
  • The Future of Fintech: AI & Blockchain (Business Insider)
  • Walgreens is expanding its digital cooler doors ad network (Digiday)
  • Birmingham’s Thomas Crown gallery to be city’s focal point for AR & street art (VR Focus)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • BRC announces new voluntary vegan guidelines for fashion (Drapers)
  • Guardian bans ads from fossil fuel companies (Campaign)
  • Copenhagen Fashion Week unveils ‘radical’ sustainability plan (Fashion United)
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield achieves top score for climate action (Retail Gazette)
  • Pandora commits to carbon neutrality by 2025 (Fashion United)
  • The drive toward sustainability in packaging – beyond the quick wins (McKinsey&Company)
  • Adidas debuts sustainable football field made out of ocean waste (Highsnobiety)
  • H&M Conscious becomes first retail collection to feature Circulose® (The Industry)
  • Worn Again technologies opens R&D plant in England (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Estee Lauder, Sephora unveil shoppable AR makeup try-ons on Pinterest (Mobile Marketer)
  • H&M’S new boss says its 500+ ‘stores will change’ as it focuses on digitalization (Charged Retail)
  • Allbirds set to open its second UK store (The Industry)
  • E-commerce deliveries will overrun cities in 1 to 3 years (Retail Dive)
  • UK retail space could shrink by 20% (Retail Gazette)
Marketing & Social Media
  • How fashion brands like Off-White and Balenciaga are getting in on Super Bowl 2020 (WWD)
  • 42% of people believe ads can change the world, despite trust crisis (The Drum)
  • Danish fashion is withstanding Instagram’s test of time (Vogue Business)
  • As TikTok looms, Youtube plans to remain the ‘clear founding ground’ of British talent (The Drum)
  • Sephora and Chipotle want to go viral on TikTok. Their employees already are (Vox)
Product
  • Nike sells out of Kobe Bryant products (Hypebeast)
  • Nordstrom launches secondhand clothing sales (BoF)
  • This makeup primer is Revlon’s first clean-certified beauty product (Fast Company)
  • Will we buy mostly vintage clothes in the future? (WSJ)
  • Atolla receives patent for adjustable skin analysis system (WWD)
Business
  • LVMH revenues rise 15% in 2019 but uncertainty in Asia looms (Vogue Business)
  • J.C Penney gets NYSE warning on possible de-listing (WWD)
  • LVMH, Kering, Anta and Alibaba pledge donations to battle Coronavirus (WWD)
  • How fashion can navigate 2020’s political minefield (BoF)
  • New CEO and chairman for H&M Group (Drapers)
  • Levi Strauss boosts digital credentials with new board member appointment (Fashion United)
  • A new model for crowdsourcing innovation (HBR)
  • L’Oreal launches Employee Human Rights policy (WWD)
Culture
  • ‘Angels’ in hell: The culture of misogyny inside Victoria’s Secret (NYT)
  • Disney partners Secret Cinema to create global immersive experiences (Campaign)
  • Camille Walala decorates “kid’s dream house” with more than two million Lego pieces (Dezeen)
  • Atari is opening eight video game hotels across the US (Input)
  • Is the gaming world become more trans-inclusive? (i-D)

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.

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

Gaultier’s goodbye to fashion, the fine line with ‘woke’ merch, BAFTA’s sustainable dress code

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

Top Stories
  • Stars turn out for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s final show (BBC)
  • Woke brands walk a thin line with ‘moral merch’ (Vogue Business)
  • Celebrities have been asked to ‘dress sustainably’ at this year’s BAFTA awards (Harper’s Bazaar)
Technology
  • Davos 2020: WEF unveils digital currency governance consortium (Finextra Research)
  • EE creates 5G-powered dress (Campaign)
  • Apple’s ‘finger device’: wearable computing’s next big thing? (CB Insights)
  • UPS is betting big on drone delivery and autonomous trucks (Business Insider)
  • How artificial intelligence is making health care more human (MIT Technology Review)
  • Digital supply-chain transformation with a human face (McKinsey & Company)
  • Realistic 3D apparel models can be shared anywhere online now (WWD)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Ikea builds eco-store with hanging gardens in Vienna (Retail Detail)
  • Aerie expands ‘real’ role model push with social contest, eight new ambassadors (Marketing Dive)
  • Gucci Changemakers Impact fund names first round of grant recipients (WWD)
  • Starbucks commits to a resource-positive future (Starbuck Stories)
  • The future of sustainable materials: milkweed floss (Fashionista)
  • Worn again technologies opens subpilot making step to industrialization (Fashion United)
  • Step inside an apartment from the climate change-ravaged future (Fast Company)
  • Bally reveals new mountain preservation efforts (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside Prada’s pop-up private club (NYT)
  • Tiffany & Co. to open a blue box cafe in London (The Telegraph)
  • Inside the Williamsburg penthouse made for Instagram influencers (Glossy)
  • Neutrogena offers skincare advice in salon pop-up (Campaign)
  • Is existential retail the next wave in fashion? (WWD)
  • E-commerce could kill 30k stores and half a million jobs by 2025 (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram deprecates IGTV button as mobile streaming bet fails to take off (Mobile Marketer)
  • Meet The Drum’s latest cover star: a virtual influencer named Floresta (The Drum)
  • Social Chain launches livestream shopping for Facebook videos (Campaign)
  • Foot Locker consolidates eight loyalty programs into one (Glossy)
  • Can fashion PR make cannabis a luxury good? (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Virgil Abloh channels brutalism for concrete efflorescence furniture series (Dezeen)
  • Nike to launch modest swimwear range Victory Swim (The Industry)
  • Thom Browne teases collaboration with Samsung (Fashion United)
  • Superfeet licenses New Balance brand for high-tech custom insoles (Sourcing Journal)
  • Redemption launches sustainable athleisure collection (WWD)
  • Happy99 creates futuristic clothing for a post-consumer world (i-D)
Business
  • Amazon becomes first to pass $200bn brand valuation (Campaign)
  • Gap’s Alegra O’Hare exits as brand ‘redefines CMO role’ (Campaign)
  • Fashion industry sets out post-brexit immigration priorities (The Industry)
  • Could Shopify be the new Amazon? (Fashion United)
  • Tailored brands to sell Joseph Abboud brand for $115m (Retail Dive)
  • Why DTC marketing is no longer about accessible price points (Modern Retail)
  • US to crack down on counterfeit goods (Fashion United)
  • Do US luxury designers have a future? (Vogue Business)
Culture
  • L’Oréal exec will lead initiative to end gender bias in ads (Adweek)
  • Louis Vuitton teams up with the NBA to influence luxury buyers (Quartz)
  • Banana Republic celebrates artistic visionaries in campaign for Black History month (Marketing Dive)

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.

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

Microsoft’s $1bn carbon reduction investment, ASOS’ AR tool, men’s makeup at John Lewis

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

Top Stories
  • Microsoft will invest $1 billion into carbon reduction and removal technologies (MIT Technology Review)
  • Asos trials augmented reality fit tool (Drapers)
  • War Paint and John Lewis launch first ever men’s makeup counter (Fashion Network)
Technology
  • The tech driving next-gen customer service (Vogue Business)
  • Revolve integrates Snap+Style technology for digital communication (Fashion United)
  • How luxury retail can become a tech accelerator (Jing Daily)
  • Google Cloud launches new solutions for retailers (TechCrunch)
  • How Starbucks uses AI to counter mobiles isolating effect (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart expands robots to 650 additional stores (Retail Dive)
  • Stein Mart introduces ‘smart button’ for BOPIS shoppers (Retail Dive)
  • Augmented reality contacts are real, and could be here sooner than you think (Mashable)
  • Robots are changing retail, but not where you can see them (Modern Retail)
  • Gaming dominates the $120bn spent on mobile apps in 2019 (Warc)
  • Amazon is reportedly developing a hand-scanning payment option (Adweek)
  • Walgreens is training staff in virtual reality (Charged Retail)
  • How digital garment printing answers the call for customization (Sourcing Journal)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • What’s your fashion footprint? ThredUp’s quiz will tell you (Adweek)
  • Stella McCartney introduces biodegradable stretch denim (Fashion United)
  • Walpole launches its British luxury sustainability manifesto (Retail Gazette)
  • Your e-commerce addiction means delivery emissions could increase 30% by 2030 (Fast Company)
  • H&M’s AI operation helps make its supply chain more sustainable (Supply Chain Dive)
  • Jacket Required dedicates third of show to sustainable brands (The Industry)
  • Dyehouses are cleaning up their act (Vogue Business)
  • Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
  • Fast Retailing signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (Retail in Asia)
  • Quorn introduces carbon-footprint labelling (Stylus)
  • Lush’s Mark Constantine: the retail rebel fighting climate change before Great was born (Retail Week)
Retail & Commerce
  • Walmart opens cashierless store in Florida (Grocery Dive)
  • Shiseido opens ‘beauty innovation hub’ in Shanghai (Retail in Asia)
  • Bose is closing all of its retail stores (The Verge)
  • Dior, Rimowa take over Harrods (WWD)
  • Opening Ceremony to close all stores (Drapers)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram begins hiding photoshopped images (Hypebeast)
  • Burberry launches online game to celebrate Lunar New Year (Fashion United)
  • Facebook rethinks plan to insert ads into WhatsApp (Campaign)
  • Segmentation is dead! (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Ugg launches monthly product drops (Drapers)
  • New Under Armour sneaker will offer connected coaching (Sourcing Journal)
  • Hermès launches beauty (Fashion United)
  • Nike’s Vaporfly marathon shoes face a potential ban from competition (Quartz)
  • Is 2020 the year men’s makeup will go mainstream? (Evening Standard)
Business
  • Louis Vuitton buys the second largest rough diamond in the world (Fashion United)
  • Old Navy will stay under Gap umbrella (Adweek)
  • Pitti Immagine CEO on the future of trade shows (BoF)
  • Casper files for IPO (Retail Dive)
  • Off-White operator acquires Opening Ceremony (Drapers)
  • Amazon ramps up counterfeit reporting (BoF)
  • Boohoo to surpass forecasts after 44% jump in quarterly revenues (Retail Gazette)
Culture
  • The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, its more inclusive than ever (National Geographic)
  • How the gaming industry is changing across the world (Quartz)
  • Redefining plus size – dressing the ‘average’ woman in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Why this community of hypebeasts only buy fakes (Dazed)
  • Comme des Garçons accused of racism in AW20 menswear show (Fashion United)
  • A-COLD-WALL* isn’t making streetwear anymore (i-D)

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.

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business data e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

2019 highlights: The year in innovation news

2019 was a big year for innovation and the Current Daily has been tracking it all throughout – from the rise of 5G-enabled experiences to the continued push towards a circular economy. 

Here, we highlight some of the most interesting stories from the year, outlining why they are an important indication of where the industry is moving in 2020 and beyond.

5G will drive 100m people to shop in AR

Augmented reality took center stage this year as its user-friendly features meant a growing number of brands – and social media platforms like Instagram – started adopting it as a core engagement strategy.

In April, a Gartner report highlighted that 100 million people will shop in AR once high-speed 5G mobile services roll out more extensively. This means the experience is going to be more seamless than ever, giving it better real-time rendering, shorter download times and reduced latency. Retailers seem to be on board, as 46% of them plan to deploy either AR or VR. Check out our piece exploring what other benefits 5G will bring retail.

Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020

If there’s one thing to be sure, there’s no escaping the growing momentum around shifting to more sustainable practices as an industry. But is there really progress being made? In July, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) launched its second yearly assessment of fashion brands and retailers to find that only reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets the industry has set for 2020 will be met. 

This means the 90 signatories of the GFA’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which includes fashion companies like adidas, PVH Group and Inditex, will have to hurry if they want to achieve more in the next year. We talked a lot about the need for action in this space when a further collaborative group was announced: the G7 Fashion Pact. If you ask us, it’s time to say enough to the pledges, rather give us some tangible outputs.

H&M to trial clothing rental for the first time

Talking of sustainability, one are where we have seen a lot of action and experimentation this year is in new business models. Rental is making serious strides at all ends of the market, but perhaps most interestingly within fast fashion just recently as the H&M Group announced it will trial clothing rental at one of its H&M Stockholm stores. Members of its customer loyalty program can now rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections.

Recently, its brand COS also launched a pilot where it is renting out clothes through Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset, which customers can access through a monthly flat rate. We also published a deep-dive into the different opportunities we see for the industry in rental, here.

Allbirds CEO calls out Amazon product copying

In November, Allbirds’ co-founder and CEO, Joey Zwilinger, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after discovering the e-commerce platform was producing its own wool sneakers similar to the brand’s most popular style.

Instead of going the usual lawsuit route, the founder took this as an opportunity to highlight his brand’s sustainability mission. In the letter, Zwilinger highlights that Allbirds’ sustainable philosophy is open source, and it has thus far helped over 100 brands who were interested in implementing its renewable materials into their products, suggesting Amazon might like to do the same. It was a bold move but one that sparked a conversation around the role of collaboration once more, and its critical place in true innovation.

Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too?

Gen Z quickly adopted Chinese social media platform TikTok as their app du jour this year for its bite-sized video content. Currently, 66% of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30, according to data analytics firm, Business of Apps.

Brands have started to follow suit, tapping the app to drive engagement and ultimately sales. Content varies from crowdsourced, as in a recent Burberry campaign that saw users challenged to create the brand’s logo with their fingers, through to more refined, such as in a snippet of an interview with singer Shawn Mendes for Calvin Klein. We explored various other brands setting TikTok precedent, here.

Lush abandons social media

While TikTok has been taking off, elsewhere social media is slowing for some. Vegan cosmetics brand, Lush, for instance decided to shut down all of its activity in the UK as it became “tired of fighting with algorithms” or paying to appear on news feeds. Instead, it suggested a hashtag where fans would still be able to speak to the brand.

Lush’s bold move speaks to fight playing out for anything still resembling organic reach. As consumers become jaded over being ‘sold to’, brands are having to find novel ways to reach them, beyond the influencer route. One other area we’re tracking here is those owning their own conversation channels, as with both Glossier and H&M of late.

Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business

2019 was the year of major acquisitions in both beauty and fashion. While LVMH recently announced it was snapping up Tiffany & Co for $16bn, other names included Farfetch buying New Guards Group, which operates streetwear favorite Off White for $675m; Shiseido acquiring cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845m; and more recently, Coty acquiring a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600m. 

The latter served as particular confirmation of how brands build and grow in this day and age. Jenner, who was 18 when she started a single ‘lip kit’ line, used Instagram to form a direct conversation with her audience. In 2019, this seems like an obvious strategy, but the reality star’s foresight to do so in 2015 has undoubtedly been her recipe for success.

How luxury fashion learned to love the blockchain

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of counterfeit goods, luxury brands also began to embrace blockchain as an important authentication tool this year. 

Earlier this year, we heard about how LVMH launched its own platform, Aura, which is currently being piloted with some of the brands in its portfolio and will further expand in the future. Kering and Richemont meanwhile are said to be exploring this too, while De Beers is using it to trace its diamonds. Once matured, the technology will undoubtedly make its way into the hands of the consumer, who will be able to better understand where their possessions are coming from. We also tracked some of the other innovations in the transparency space; an area that continues to heat up.

Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready

Automation was another big tech focus this year, particularly for its potential impact on retail, from supply chain management to last mile delivery. This shift is putting pressure on retailers to rethink their operating models, distribution centres and headquarters, with McKinsey warning that brands that fail to implement it into their strategy risk falling behind. 

Automation is something we’ve long been talking about for the sake of efficiency, but there also comes a significant ethics conversation to be had here, which the industry is exploring. We agree, now is the time.

What Fortnite could mean for fashion

The global gaming market is expected to reach $180bn by 2021, and fashion brands are realizing the valuable potential in this. Free-to-play video game Fortnite has grown into a multi-million dollar business by selling clothing to image-conscious gamers, for instance. This monetization of player aesthetics, more commonly known as ‘skins’, has opened the door for retailers to cash in on the virtual world. 

Going forward, we expect more brands to invest in digital garments or utilize gaming to drive product discovery. We accordingly explored how gamification is being used in the shopping journey by brands like Kenzo and Nike to both increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

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.

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business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Buy, build or partner: A new model of working with startups

Earlier this summer Nike announced it was acquiring AI startup, Celect, in order to “beef up its predictive analytics strengths”. It’s a smart move. A data move. Like all things artificial intelligence, this solution needs a lot of consumer or retail data to get smarter. And Nike, with its $36.4 billion in revenue last year, has a lot of data. 

A tech acquisition is a complicated beast that comes with as many challenges as it does advantages. And it should not be seen as an innovation silver bullet by most corporates. 

Take augmented reality by comparison for instance, an area where we’ve seen multiple acquisitions over the past couple of years. This space is changing so rapidly, the tech you buy is almost immediately obsolete. There is higher image quality every day, new capabilities in what it can read – like skin diagnostics and not just makeup in beauty for instance – and constant challenges to stay ahead in the market as a result. 

For a company that has pulled such startups in-house, there needs to be serious commitment to advance the technology. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that a lot of the potential development work gets lost. A startup on the outside, by comparison, has to keep evolving in an aggressive way in order to survive. But how can an acquired startup remain competitive if they can’t seek out your competitors as clients? 

Another approach to innovation is building, where brands create solutions in-house, or with agency partners, from the get go. More often than not, this sort of work comes under the experiential header: a tech solution based on the creative. What we frequently see as a result, is big investments (six figures and above) for little return due to the fact the technology just doesn’t rise to the task. 

Not that there aren’t successes within all this – there are many examples of building solutions internally, especially foundational or backend tech – that do make sense. But in our experience with the companies we work with and have gotten to know, it often doesn’t work. Even for basic technology needs, building in-house can frequently be met with many of the same challenges as an acquisition does, namely the fact progress and development gets caught up in the politics and daily grind of everyday business. 

It doesn’t matter what size of organization you are in this case either. We work with large public companies that are leaders in the industry – and we see the same challenges time and again. Things don’t evolve quickly enough and objectives are not met. Eventually, no one is watching that investment any more and innovation gets a bad rep. 

So we believe in a third option. 

With the challenges presented by buying and building, not to mention a lack of progress in internal culture making room for innovation to be successful, we decided to create a platform for partnerships. This middle step is known as open innovation. 

Very simply, this is about setting objectives internally, creating a blueprint of what you want, and then searching exhaustively for the best external partners that fulfil that brief. 

One of the benefits of this tends to lie in the quality of output you receive. When working with an outside partner – particularly at the startup level – a new large corporate client could become the centrepiece to the startup’s growth. This often means the team will continue to update the product and guard its integration after launch. It becomes part of their story. Having the chance to work with an established brand or retailer is almost sacred to an entrepreneur, which is a very different mindset to what you may find in an employee. 

But startups struggle to deliver work ethic with a full understanding of execution needs, deadlines and ability to navigate the red tape in corporations that could hold back the project. That’s why we believe open innovation is most successful when it comes with an assigned partnership manager. Our ultimate role is about providing the framework that can lead to success. 

What we’re increasingly being asked for more recently however, and thus now offering, is essentially a hybrid model – one that is all about partnerships, but unique ones that more closely align with the optimal version of building. This is where we start talking about having your cake and eating it too. 

Many companies have figured out that working with curated top startups is the most cost-effective and efficient option. But then last year, we started to see a new conversation emerging around the fact that often what retail executives look for just doesn’t exist as yet. The kind of solution you have in mind is not what is being pitched to you. You look at all the possible startups in the space and all of them are missing that one thing. You don’t want an incomplete approach. You want the full package.

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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Why Nike is betting on an Amazon-free future

Last month, Nike announced it would be pulling all of its products from Amazon in a bid to refocus its distribution strategy and “elevate consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships”. 

Leaving one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms after a two-year pilot is a bold move. So what does the divorce mean for the sportswear giant?

In leaving Amazon, the company is joining a roster of others, from IKEA to Birkenstock, who have tried and failed to make it work on the platform. Amazon has developed a poor reputation when it comes to how it treats its sellers – and it’s doing very little to change it. But as retailers depart the platform to deliver a more personal customer experience – while keeping a tight leash on their product offerings – the e-commerce giant needs to start thinking damage control.

Selling on Amazon comes with an ever-changing set of challenges. While it has been busy expanding its fashion offering, the website is still designed for the convenience shopper, and not the one looking to be wowed or to discover a new favorite brand. Search ranking results can be confusing – for example, searching for sports shoes will not necessarily bring up the Nike sneakers immediately at the top of the page, even though it is a market leader. It is also often hard to find out whether you are buying the item directly from the brand, or a third-party seller.

Then there is the big elephant in the room: counterfeiting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the website “increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market.” For the US site, it is now attracting Chinese sellers to post their goods directly to consumers, rather than through North American middlemen. This means a proliferation of sold goods that are deemed either counterfeit, or banned or unsafe for consumption, which are virtually impossible to keep track of.

But Nike’s exit is coming from a privileged position. It has built a community outside the retailer’s website, and will exist just fine without it. For brands of its caliber, this is a good chance to take a leaf out of the direct-to-consumer rulebook and create a distribution approach that not only gives it more say, but enables more direct conversations. 

Nike is now working on strengthening its relationship with other smaller retailers. At Foot Locker’s new NYC flagship, for example, NikePlus app users can reserve shoes in advance and pick them up from dedicated lockers.

On a direct-to-consumer level, it is launching services like the Nike Adventure Club, a sneaker subscription for kids aged 2-10 where for a monthly fee, they receive a certain number of sneakers a year. The brand is targeting time-strapped parents who live in areas that perhaps don’t have a shoe store nearby. Instead of restoring to the convenience of Amazon when their child has moved up a shoe size, Nike is hoping these parents will choose a box service with a trusted brand instead.

This is also a chance for the brand to test out the subscription model, and potentially apply it to other consumer groups in the future, says David Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.  “We’re starting to think about what other athletes have problems that could be very easily solved by a subscription,” he said. “This is the beginning of something pretty exciting for Nike.”

For all of the sales volume that Nike will be losing by exiting Amazon, the sports brand is hard at work building a tight strategy where convenience meets personalization, which will likely pay off in the near future. 

This is perhaps where Amazon continues to falter – both in the eyes of its vendors and consumers. Next day delivery and low prices come at the price of the user experience, which still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discoverability and bringing up (relevant) recommendations. 

Consumers may currently be fully onboard with the endless hamster wheel of speed and low value, but only time will tell if that will be enough to fulfill their more nuanced needs, such as creating emotional connections. Nike is betting on the latter.

How are you thinking about experience? 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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Nike exits Amazon, Shoptalk’s all-female lineup, Ralph Lauren tackles counterfeits

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

Top Stories
  • Nike to stop selling on Amazon (Business Insider)
  • Shoptalk invites only women to speak at its 2020 event (Retail Dive)
  • Ralph Lauren offers consumers a DIY counterfeit-checking tool (Retail Wire)
Technology
  • Apple plans 2022 release for first AR headset, followed by AR glasses in 2023 (The Verge)
  • Mixed reality apps will quintuple ad revenue to $118bn by 2024 (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart launches voice shopping for grocery on Apple (Grocery Dive)
  • Casca plans to decentralize its supply chain with 3D printing (Sourcing Journal)
  • Wayfair introduces mobile app with visual technology features (Retail Dive)
  • Why the new generation of wearable tech has legs (Glossy)
  • Apple just released an app that tracks your heart, hearing, and menstrual cycles (MIT Technology Review)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • New Balance crafts a sustainable sneaker using surplus material (Hypebeast)
  • Timberland opens first ‘purpose-led’ flagship store in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Seek app builds biodiversity database as users identify plant and animal species (Dezeen)
  • Ted Baker joins Wrap Up London charity campaign (The Industry)
  • YNAP joins forces with Prince Charles’ Foundation (WWD)
  • Fairbnb.coop launches, offering help for social projects (The Guardian)
  • Finisterre teams with Aquapak for sustainable packaging (Finisterre)
  • Inditex, Unions strike deal to create a Global Labor Committee (WWD)
  • How the climate crisis is killing us, in 9 alarming charts (Wired)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside the physical store that only offers digital clothes (Vogue Business)
  • John Lewis & Waitrose launch experiential concept store in Southampton (Retail Gazette)
  • Sephora, Kiehl’s, Vichy and Bobbi Brown are using ‘virtual advisors’ to drive ecommerce (Glossy)
  • Quiz keeps investing in its AI-driven personalization capabilities through True Fit (Fashion United)
  • How Revolve uses personalization to help customers find that perfect dress (WWD)
  • Louis Vuitton is now delivering luxury to your door – via men in sharp suits (CNA Luxury)
  • Dior launches e-commerce in Japan (Fashion United)
Business
  • Adidas to close Speedfactories, transfer technologies to Asian suppliers (Fashion United)
  • Burberry growth inches forward despite Hong Kong setback (Vogue Business)
  • Mulberry losses nearly double in challenging UK market conditions (WWD)
  • Retailers commit to Purple Tuesday (Drapers)
  • Farfetch sinks as analysts warn it is ‘no uber of luxury goods’ (TheIndustry)
  • VC Sonya Brown on how to stand out as a DTC startup (Vogue Business)
  • ShopYourFit launches to make finding fit and size a seamless experience (WWD)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Why brands should pay even more attention to social media (Vogue Business)
  • PopSugar opens ‘sugar chalet’ shopping experience (Campaign)
  • WhatsApp adds shopping catalog feature, courting e-commerce (Fashion Network)
  • Samsung boosts awareness with microinfluencer campaign defending green chat bubbles (Mobile Marketer)
  • Instagram Stories launches TikTok clone Reels in Brazil (TechCrunch)
  • Consumers 35x more likely to see brands’ texts vs emails (Forbes)
  • Facebook Pay lets you buy goods and send money inside Facebook’s apps (Engadget)
  • Gucci transports Snapchatters to a virtual psychedelic tropical island (AdWeek)
  • Saks, Sephora pilot Google’s local ads to drive store traffic (Mobile Marketer)
Product
  • Zara launches fragrance collections in partnership with Jo Malone (WWD)
  • Patagonia’s new line is made from old clothes damaged beyond repair (Fast Company)
  • Supreme and Rimowa unveil new luggage collaboration (Fashion Network)
  • Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star makeup collab earns $54million in MIV (WWD)
Culture
  • How ‘VSCO Girls’ are killing makeup sales and reshaping the beauty industry (Fortune)
  • Is ‘OK boomer’ a merchandising opportunity? (Retail Wire)
  • How fashion can fix its cultural appropriation problem (i-D)
  • Parade wants to make a cultural impact with creative basics (Fashionista)

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.

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business Campaigns Editor's pick product Retail social media technology

5 brands tapping virtual storefronts to drive engagement and push conversion.

Brands are using virtual experiences in physical locations to provide shoppers with the benefit of an interactive in-person experience without needing to carry inventory.

These “invisible” or virtual storefronts – usually in the form of augmented reality content visible via smartphones – are being used to drive sales, collect data and boost branding efforts. At a time when physical retail is struggling, such mobile initiatives aren’t just eye-catching, they’re more convenient by providing curated products that can then be delivered on demand. 

To date, we’ve seen brands doing everything from collaborating with artists and social media platforms to creating personalized assortments using such virtual setups. Shoppability is key. Here’s a highlight of some of the more recent success stories…

Havaianas
Havaianas’s boardwalk virtual store

Early this summer, footwear brand Havaianas launched a virtual storefront focused on driving sales for one day only. Located on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, shoppers passing by a colorful mural discovered it was actually a virtual pop-up store. Snapping a photo of the designs they liked directed them to a shoppable microsite at  StepIntoSummer.com, revealing a curated style guide with various tips on what to buy. 

The concept was powered by Google’s Cloud Vision AI platform, which helped Havaianas pair merchandise with colors from the mural – a big step up from QR codes. The brand collaborated with street artist Buff Monster on the mural and featured fashion tips from stylist Tara Swennen.

Lego
Lego’s augmented reality store

To promote its first limited-edition clothing line for adults, Lego opened a pop-up shop with a twist in February: the store was entirely empty. Shoppers in London’s Soho neighbourhood arrived to find a Snapcode (a QR code for Snapchat) displayed on a pedestal. Scanning the code with their phones then surrounded them with a virtual storefront in AR. 

Customers could choose between three different types of merchandise – sweatshirts, caps and t-shirts – and view them on a Lego character. The pieces then sold through an integrated “Shop Now” feature on Snapchat, which led shoppers through to a dedicated e-commerce page that displayed the products on a real-life model, enabling them to choose their size before completing purchase.

Macy’s
Macy’s Santa Monica Pier displays

Macy’s partnered with Pinterest to display scannable Pincodes at vibrant gathering spots in the US, such as Central Park in New York and the Santa Monica Pier in LA. Scanning a code took shoppers to a Pinterest board curated with ideal summer looks for their location with links to the online store. 

Unlike most immersive retail experiences that are fixed to a specific location, or indeed online only, this campaign was designed to inspire customers with virtual catalogs that meet them where they are. 

Nike
The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat

Nike is another that has been experimenting with the idea of using specific virtual spaces to release new products. In 2018 it also used Snapchat, this time to release its Air Jordan III “Tinker” for those in attendance at the NBA All-Star after-party only.

 Achieved via a partnership between Nike, Snap, Darkstore and Shopify, users could scan exclusive Snap codes to buy and receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night. All of them sold out within 23 minutes.

Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices augmented reality experience

Austin-based activewear brand Outdoor Voices launched an augmented reality app experience at SXSW in 2018 that encouraged fans to get outdoors to find particular virtual products in the middle of the park. Once discovered, users could explore them in 360-degrees, find out more information as well as click to purchase.

How are you thinking about new technology? 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 digital snippets product Retail social media sustainability technology

Amazon 10 years ahead of UN Paris agreement, Nike’s first hijab ambassador, Facebook’s AI styling

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

Top Stories
  • Amazon plans to meet UN Paris agreement 10 years early (CNBC)
  • First Nike hijab ambassador on breaking barriers for women in fitness (Evening Standard)
  • Facebook experiments with AI-powered styling program (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images (The Verge)
  • L’Oreal’s Color&Co adds AR hair color try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • The quiet robot revolution that can unlock a trillion dollars in retail efficiencies (Forbes)
  • Starbuck taps Alibaba’s Tmall Genie for voice ordering (The Drum)
  • Facebook teams up with Ray-Ban on smart glasses (Mobile Marketer)
  • Google opens a new AI research centre in India (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Moncler tops Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Drapers)
  • Waste2Wear presents world’s first collection of ocean plastics verified with Blockchain (Fashion United)
  • Ikea invests in solar farms (Fast Company)
  • Nike opens distribution center fully powered by renewable energy (Highsnobiety)
  • Toast launches clothes-swap scheme (Drapers)
  • Salesforce is building an app to gauge a company’s sustainability progress (Tech Crunch)
  • Green money: AmEx joins fight against plastic waste (Stylus)
  • Avery Dennison teams up with plastic bank to further the circular economy (Sourcing Journal)
Retail & E-commerce
  • Body Shop opens refillable concept store (The Guardian)
  • Sandro opens first US flagship store in New York (Fashion United)
  • Psyche launches standalone childrenswear site (Drapers)
  • Quinn Harper opens first store on the King’s Road (TheIndustry)
  • Pandora unveils new store concept in Birmingham (Fashion United)
Business
  • Ocado and M&S’ new joint venture enjoys double digit growth (Charged Retail)
  • H&M to test selling external brands in strategy shift (BoF)
  • Thomas Cook collapse leaves thousands stranded as bailout fails (Bloomberg)
  • Burberry appoints non-executive director (Drapers)
  • In London, fashion takes a break from Brexit (BoF)
  • Toby Bateman steps down from Mr Porter (Retail Gazette)
  • Bluemercury founders depart Macy’s (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • The danger for luxury brands that fail at story telling (Jing Daily)
  • Urban Decay dishes out makeup samples to Bumble app users (Mobile Marketer)
  • As Gucci trips up on social media, sales fall (WSJ)
  • Louis Vuitton launces LVTV (Fashion United)
Product
  • Caspar jumps on the CBD bandwagon with sleep gummies (Retail Dive)
  • HP debut first computer made with ocean-bound plastics (Adweek)
  • Victoria Beckham launches beauty line at LFW (Fashion United)
  • Italy’s Opera Campi to launch stretch hemp apparel (Sourcing Journal)
Culture
  • Instagram adds new restrictions on weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures (Adweek)
  • Banana Republic looks to skin tone and size inclusivity for turnaround (BoF)
  • Refinery29 and Eloquii team up to create a crowdsourced plus-size collection (Adweek)
  • Gucci faces backlash for straightjackets at Milan show (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.

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business Podcast product Retail

Stadium Goods: Riding the sneaker culture boom

The success of Stadium Goods comes off the back of unprecedented consumer desire for sneakers and the need for a rich brand experience in which to buy them, says the platform’s co-founder and co-CEO, John McPheters, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

“For me the light bulb was that demand had never been higher. It was continuously growing, there were more and more people that wanted to buy our products, but there wasn’t a rich experience that consumers could go to to buy that stuff that was trusted, where they knew what they were getting, where they could really hang their hat on the brand experience and the presentation.” he explains.  

As a result he and his partner, Jed Stiller, set about creating a site that is focused on consignment – meaning it resells existing sneaker stock as well as broader streetwear – but it only does so with unworn and authentic styles. That focus on trust is the key, he says.  

Only launched in 2015, the site was acquired by ecommerce marketplace Farfetch in 2018 for $250 million. Very few emerging businesses have seen such rapid growth. It’s now considered such a market leader, it recently announced a partnership with auction house Sotheby’s to sell 100 of the rarest, most coveted sneakers ever produced.  

The site’s explosion aligns with the growth of sneaker culture worldwide. Expected to hit nearly $100bn in global sales by 2024, sneakers are outpacing much of the rest of the industry, including that of handbags. As a result, they have become the new ‘cash cow’ and awareness driver for all manner of brands, not least those in the luxury space, where such products are used as entry to otherwise more aspirational price points. 

In all parts of the market this has resulted in ‘cult’ or ‘it’ sneakers to own as a result. A rare pair of Nikes today can easily sell for as much as those from Gucci or Balenciaga as a result. This means it’s increasingly a race, with some limited edition styles going for $10,000 or more. 

Co-Founder & CEO, Current Global, Liz Bacelar and Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Stadium Goods, John McPheters

In this episode, recorded live at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum, we chat to founder John McPheters about the cultural relevance of such products, the evolving role of exclusivity and desire in luxury today, and just how what he’s doing is really about teaching the industry to give up control.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how 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.