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Cosmopolitan adds shoppable virtual try-on to print mag

Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan magazine is adding a shoppable virtual try-on capability to its print issues that will enable readers to experiment with beauty looks and then buy them via Macy’s.

The feature is being launched in partnership with the US department store, which is also rolling out the technology in store.

A Cosmo reader must download selfie camera app YouCam and scan specific cosmetics featured on the magazine, to then be able to superimpose looks on their faces. The looks are then shoppable via Macy’s online.

The move comes off the back of research that shows 73% of readers want to be able to try on products featured in the magazine virtually, Cosmopolitan publisher Donna Lagani notes. She also mentions that the average millennial takes around four selfies a week.

The new feature launches in partnership with Macy’s in the magazine’s October issue, with new looks rolling out every month thereafter.

Cosmopolitan has increasingly developed tools to bridge the gap between its print issues and the digital sphere, in order to engage with its young, mobile-savvy audience. In 2015, it became Snapchat’s partner when the social media app launched the Discover feature promoting content such as Live Stories to immense success. At the time, its Discover stories were shared up to 1.2m times a day, while receiving on average 3m views overall.

The move also comes heavily off the back of huge growth in augmented reality beauty try-on from brands across the industry. Most notably is the recent acquisition of startup Modiface by L’Oréal. Being able to experiment with different make-up in a virtual sense is becoming increasingly commonplace as a result.

How are you thinking about digital engagement? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. 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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e-commerce mobile

Hearst introduces shoppable Amazon SmileCodes to print publications

Amazon's SmileCodes in Seventeen magazine
Amazon’s SmileCodes in Seventeen magazine

Hearst has unveiled a deal with Amazon to place scannable SmileCodes on Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, allowing readers to purchase straight from its pages.

Amazon’s SmileCodes are branded QR codes that link to sales pages and other content when scanned using the Amazon app. With the Hearst partnership, codes will be placed alongside selected items that once scanned, lead readers to the item on dedicated Cosmo and Seventeen stores on Amazon.com.

Customers can also access the online stores directly, where the publications will launch a “See, Love, Shop!” storefront that is updated monthly to correspond to the print publishing schedule.

“Amazon offers a wide selection of products, fast and free shipping options and low prices, and by teaming up we will be providing Cosmopolitan and Seventeen readers the opportunity to ‘see, love, and shop’ the products our editors showcase and they covet,” said Donna Kalajian Lagani, senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen. “We are using the latest technology to create a new instant and interactive experience moving our readers down the purchase funnel.”

Items are selected either by the magazines’ editorial teams or exist within ads by selected brands. They will range from categories such as beauty, fashion, wellness and books. So far partners include beauty and personal care brands like Olay, Neutrogena and Cover Girl. To further spotlight “See, Love, Shop!”, the magazines will also be posting shoppable listicles on their websites and promoting certain selections via social media.

Amazon SmileCodes has so far been running as a pilot in Europe, but the Hearst deal marks its official US debut. The online giant has vouched to promote new storefronts, which in turn will likely help promote its SmileCodes feature.

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Editor's pick technology

Robots takeover Stylist magazine for celebratory 400th issue

Sophia the Robot robotics fashion
Sophia the Robot

UK weekly magazine, Stylist, is looking to the future in its 400th print issue by dedicating it to robotic technology.

Gracing the cover is Sophia the Robot, arguably one of the most famous faces of recent humanoid launches. Sophia stars in her own fashion editorial donning designer clothes and also answers questions on the meaning of life in the back page Q&A section.

“As technology continues to invade our lives, robots replace people at work and AI enters our homes, it’s only natural that we’re all beginning to wonder about the roles we’ll play in the future,” the Stylist team writes.

Other contributors include the Beautification make-up artist robot, which is put to the test by beauty writer Ava Welsing-Kitcher. The robot, which applies make-up on the user through a series of acrylic arms, may lack in the detail of its execution at this stage, but it speaks to a future where machines will play a major role in the development and application of beauty and personal care.

Beautification
Beautification

Welsing-Kitcher writes that L’Oréal is already in the process of using android chemists to make creams and serums, while Shiseido is rolling out robots in production lines to speed up packaging assembly. Beyond the supply chain, robots will begin to take on more customer-facing roles in beauty too, such as by engaging in retail environments.

Pushing the conversation forward on whether robots will substitute humans, Stylist also enlists Articoolo, a robot built by a team of content writers, mathematicians, marketers and computer scientists in Israel, to predict spring’s biggest fashion trends. Meanwhile as the first range of ‘companion robots’ such as Pepper begin to enter the consumer market, it investigates its potential to end social isolation and loneliness.

Aligned with the magazine’s shopping editorial approach, robot-filled wishlist pages also highlight that the technology will pervade more aspects of everyday life than previously expected.

Pepper robot companion fashion
Pepper
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mobile social media

British Vogue launches chatbot on Facebook Messenger at London Fashion Week

British Vogue, March 2017 issue
British Vogue, March 2017 issue

British Vogue has made its first foray into the AI space via a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that allows users to personalise their fashion news.

“Vogue Fashion Update”, as it’s called, was launched to coincide with the start of London Fashion Week, enabling users to catch up on all the latest shows and their favourite designers.

Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue commented: “This is a new method for us to be able to talk directly and immediately to the huge Vogue audience, who rely on us to provide inspiring and authoritative fashion news.”

On joining a chat, users are first given options as to what information they receive, including daily alerts on top stories, up-to-date runway news during the show season, or more tailored content based on specific designers of interest.

Vogue Messenger chatBot

The bot will evolve over time, with future updates set to provide further personalisation and interaction, the Condé Nast International digital team behind it explained in a press release.

Their view is on taking away the need to compete with a scrolling newsfeed and instead deliver content directly to the subscriber for a distinctly more personal interaction.

Cantlin Ashrowan, Condé Nast International’s director of product, said: “We are always seeking to engage with our audiences in new and innovative ways. Today marks the latest step in British Vogue’s long history of innovation in fashion journalism.”

More specifically, it also follows British Vogue’s attempts to run a Whatsapp group (which was really just a broadcast list) for similar reasons. This started out as an instant message update every time there was any relevant fashion news – and fairly frequently – but closed down within a month or so with no word as to why. One can only assume the manpower behind it didn’t make sense for the team (in terms of returns), comparative to this automated version using Facebook’s bot store.

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business

BoF moves to walled content model, intros monthly and annual subscriptions

 

BoF Professional
BoF Professional

The Business of Fashion is introducing a paywall in front of much of its content in a bid to move forward with monetisation, it announced today.

From October 25, BoF Professional, as the subscription setup has been dubbed, will be the only way to get unlimited access to its content as well as exclusive analysis, special briefings and networking events. There are both monthly and annual payment plans available.

“For almost a decade, The Business of Fashion has been a trusted source of independent, authoritative analysis on the global fashion industry, arming fashion professionals all over the world with a powerful competitive advantage in today’s turbulent times. Now, it’s time for BoF to take the next step in our journey as a business,” founder Imran Amed wrote in his post about the plans.

Students and occasional readers will continue to have access to five articles per month free of charge, as well as unlimited access to the site’s Daily Digest Newsletter, BoF Fashion Week galleries, the BoF 500 and BoF Careers.

There will also be a special discount to students who wish to upgrade to BoF Professional, as well as special group rates to companies and other organisations of 10 people or more.

BoF has been steadily moving towards more of a revenue-driven model over the past couple of years, with services including a careers site, education platform and offline events under the header BoF Voices all bringing in money to the growing company.

The team raised £1.3m in seed funding from a group of investors in 2013, including Index Ventures, LVMH, Carmen Busquets and Felix Capital. This was followed by a Series A round in 2015.

For those looking to subscribe, the team is offering a 50% early bird discount to the annual subscription of £9 per month. The monthly subscription is £18 per month.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Style.com, Etsy, The Iconic, Dezeen, DVF, Uber, Alexander McQueen

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

dezeen-watch-store

  • What the end of Style.com means for the rest of fashion publishing [Fashionista]
  • Post IPO, Etsy CTO on its conservatively crafty tech philosophy [TechCrunch]
  • Online retailer The Iconic considers drone deliveries [AFR]
  • Old-school timepieces take a stand against the Apple Watch in humorous Dezeen campaign (as pictured) [PSFK]
  • Diane von Furstenberg and that Bruce Jenner Instagram gaffe [WWD]
  • Uber is quietly testing a massive merchant delivery program [TechCrunch]
  • Alexander McQueen explores fashion’s relationship to dance in new video campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • Reebok launches ‘Hunt the Pump’ Instagram treasure hunt [Marketing Magazine]
  • Japanese salarymen unleash their inner surfers with Quiksilver’s amazing wetsuit [Creativity]
  • Google didn’t kill Glass, it’s just making it sexier [Fast Company]
  • Nike and Under Armour look increasingly like tech companies; spending wildly to watch your every step [The Washington Post]
  • Why are major tech brands so obsessed with fashion? [i-D]
  • As technology and fashion converge, get ready for 3D-printed shoes, special parkas for smoggy days, and maybe even jeans that fit [The Atlantic]
  • Something old (bridal wear) meets the new (3D printing) [NY Times]
  • 3D-printed swimsuit’s design mimics water movement [PSFK]
  • Will drones take fashion into the future? [i-D]
  • Online fashion marketplace Poshmark raises $25 million funding round [BoF]
  • What does the ideal click and collect service look like? [Econsultancy]
  • In customer service, online-only retailers are beating out brick-and-mortar [Fashionista]
  • Refinery29 fetches $50 million investment from WPP and Scripps [AdAge]
  • WeChat publishing is changing China’s mediascape [BoF]