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Contactless payment adoption, US WeChat ban, beauty trends during Covid-19

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

  • Relationship goals: luxury retail and technology make a perfect combo for customer (Forbes)
  • Retailers on the store of the future: Uncertainty is the biggest challenge (Glossy)
  • Will COVID-19 change fashion shows forever? (BoF)
  • How the pandemic is hurting progressive manufacturing (Vogue Business)
  • The future of fashion is in biomaterials and circularity (Sustainable Brands)
  • Ecommerce is saving fashion but destroying the planet (BoF)
  • Covid-19 chaos or not, consumers want brands to have purpose (Sourcing Journal)
  • How convenience store chains like Circle K and 7-eleven are morphing in the COVID-19 era (Fast Company)
  • High-end fashion is finally joining the shift to digital (Digiday)
  • Covid-19 boosts contactless payment adoption (Retail Dive)
  • Virtual try-on is catching on among fashion consumers (Glossy)
  • The beauty trends customers are buying during Covid-19 (Vogue Business)
  • Animal Crossing creates live shopping experience with Klarna (WWD)
  • Spin Live launches shoppable video service in Shopify’s app store (Retail Dive)
  • Pinterest expands its skin tone search feature (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • What does a US ban on Wechat mean for fashion? (BoF)
  • What fashion and beauty needs to know about Reels (Vogue Business)
  • Steph Curry is getting its own brand at Under Armour (Footwear News)
  • Edit+ mixes athleisure, sustainability (WWD)
  • Ganni launching rental denim collaboration with Levi’s (Fashion United)
  • Farfetch sales soared as online shopping took off during lockdowns (BoF)
  • Zalando see strong demand for logistics, fewer returns (Reuters)
  • Casper expands physical presence through tie-up with Sam’s Club (Retail Dive)
  • Luxury clobbered by Covid-19 (BoF)
  • John Lewis launches first ever virtual beauty tech department (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • 3 key trends of China’s young luxury consumers (Vogue Business)
  • Why China will become the driving force of luxury (Jing Daily)
  • The future of the modelling industry (BoF)



e-commerce Retail social media

Instagram launches seamless checkout with Burberry, Zara and more

Instagram has announced a new shopping feature that allows customers to complete their purchases without ever having to leave the app. Launch partners include fashion brands such as Burberry, Zara and H&M.

The feature, called Instagram Checkout, allows customers to check out on product purchases with one click, without having to leave the app. Previously, clicking the shopping tag on posts led users to an external e-commerce page. The customer journey is now entirely seamless: users only needing to pre-register their payment and delivery details the first time they use it, and can purchase with one click from then on. Users will also receive push notifications from Instagram on their orders, such as when it has been shipped.

The feature is currently only available in the US through 20 participating brands, which also includes Revolve, MAC Cosmetics and Oscar de la Renta.

Speaking on the launch, Rachel Waller, VP of marketing, digital at Burberry said: “Burberry is always pushing for digital innovation that improves our customers’ experience. We have seen great results from the monthly B Series product drops which launched last September, bridging the journey from inspiration to e-commerce for our social community for the first time,” adding, “We are excited to expand our social commerce as one of the first brands to adopt checkout on Instagram”

Instagram shopping feature Checkout Instagram

Posting on Instagram Stories on Tuesday (March 19), the platform’s head of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen, gave her followers a sneak peak of other brands who will be joining in the upcoming weeks, including Dior, Prada, Uniqlo and Kylie Cosmetics.

Instagram has continuously improved its shopping features in order to align with consumer demand for more frictionless social shopping. Last September, it also announced shopping capabilities on its Stories and Explore features.

How are you thinking about e-commerce innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: high-skilled immigration, The Outnet’s social study, Kors on customer loyalty

digital snippets michael kors
Michael Kors on Instagram

We’re back with another round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion, digital comms and technology news over the past week. Top of the agenda is a perspective on why high-skilled immigration policy is important for fashion and tech, while there’s also highlights from The Outnet, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co, Zaraa and moe.

We’re now taking a leaf out of the European guidebook and having a bit of a summer break. Hoping you all get to do the same and we’ll see you soon!

  • Why high-skilled immigration policy is vital for fashion and tech [Medium]

  • The Outnet’s social media study on joy provides key content lessons for brands [Forbes]

  • Michael Kors is turning Instagram into a customer-loyalty vehicle (as pictured) [Glossy]

  • Tiffany & Co releases a Snapchat filter [Allure]

  • Zara pulls products after plagiarism allegations on social media [Retail Dive]

  • Yoox Net-a-Porter boss Federico Marchetti looks to China for sales growth [South China Morning Post]

  • Madewell launches 24 days of denim campaign [WWD]

  • Selfridges launches social shopping app [Mobile Marketing]

  • Nike gives babies a stirring speech on unfairness, ambition and triumph [AdWeek]

  • Primark and Ross thumb their noses at e-commerce, will it work? [Forbes]

  • Combatant Gentlemen is tech first, fashion second [WSJ]

  • Fashion retailer New York & Company plans to lift sales with Shopkick rewards [Geomarketing]

  • Vodafone’s Internet of Things swimsuit detects harmful UV levels [Campaign]

  • Drones: Giant leap forward as UK agrees Amazon tests [Trendwalk]

  • Why retailers still struggle with omnichannel—and how they can conquer the challenge [Retail Dive]

  • Inside Pinterest’s effort to woo fashion brands [Glossy]

  • The internet is so bad, it’s awesome [BoF]

  • The pull of personal stylists in the online-shopping era [The Atlantic]

  • What 3D printing means for fashion [BoF]
e-commerce mobile social media

Shoppable Snapchat? Popsugar launches workaround e-commerce tool

Popsugar’s Emoticode links on Snapchat make it shoppable

Popsugar has found a way to make Snapchat shoppable, introducing a companion app that enables users to screenshot what they want to buy.

Emoticode, as it’s called, allows brands and bloggers to convert URLs into shortened links that feature emojis in the first two characters. They can then include those in their Snapchat stories, or indeed their Instagram posts. Once someone screenshots them and opens the resulting image back in the Emoticode app it decodes them into clickable links once more.

Like some of the existing third-party social shopping apps for Instagram already out there, it’s somewhat of a clunky process, but it’s a workable one at this stage.

Popsugar, does of course also own e-commerce site ShopStyle, which acts as the foundation for bloggers to use these emoticodes to monetise their social posts. The business model is therefore an affiliate one – Popsugar will take 15% of each sale that occurs. Launch brands also include Uniqlo, Nordstrom and Sephora.

“It was clear that people wanted to take action from our snaps and it wasn’t as easy as it could be. The lightbulb went off,” PopSugar’s CEO, Brian Sugar, told Digiday. “It works for shopping. It will work for recipes, workouts, articles, really anything you want to engage more with beyond a snap or an Instagram post.

Businesses using the emoticodes will also be able to measure ROI – monitoring clicks, orders, revenue and conversion rate. The codes can also be used on the ShopStyle and ShopStyle Collective apps and so far in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and France.

e-commerce mobile social media

The digital trends expected to drive shopping this Holiday season


Video content, social commerce and geo-targeted campaigns are among the digital trends expected to drive retail strategy in the US this coming Holiday shopping season.

Annual predictions from global analytics and insights firm Blueocean Market Intelligence, also point to mobile commerce, free shipping offers and in-store pickup promotions, and a focus on consumers shopping early.

Anees Merchant, senior vice president of digital, for Blueocean Market Intelligence, says retailers will be challenged by a vast number of strategic choices and digital tactics this year. “Considering the number of social platforms that have mushroomed in recent years, retailers can’t just hop on Facebook with a ‘me too’ strategy. They have to make informed decisions about which networks to invest their resources in to achieve the greatest impact. Social media is no longer about following the mass; it’s about following and converting target audiences,” he says.

Blueocean Market Intelligence bases its findings on an ongoing analysis of the social media efforts of 100 top retailers (as defined by the NRF) with its Social Media Effectiveness Index for Retailers. Here’s a complete breakdown of the predictions:

  • Visual content and interactions will play an important role in holiday campaigns. Retailers across industries will entice their customers with high quality audio and video. Video and image sharing will be dominant on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and of course, YouTube
  • Social shopping becomes a reality. With the introduction of Twitter’s “buy” button and Facebook’s e-commerce integration, there will be a big push with social shopping. Many e-commerce giants are already piloting programs – a sign that mainstream adoption isn’t far away
  • Retailers will spend more on social- and geo-targeted campaigns. Retailers will direct a significantly greater portion of their marketing budgets toward social, and especially around geo-targeting customers. Consumers can expect different offers by state and city
  • Consumers will shop early. Customers don’t want to wait or only visit stores on select days, so they will take advantage of early offers that retailers push in October. As a result, retailers may eventually opt for guaranteed delivery cutoff dates closer to mid-December, rather than waiting until Christmas Eve
  • Mobile commerce will experience a big turnaround. Mobile visits to e-commerce sites have boomed in recent years, and Blueocean Market Intelligence’s SEI for Retailers has confirmed major retailers are making a great effort to push mobile apps
  • Online retailers will use free shipping and in-store pickup incentives to drive more sales. A 2014 survey by UPS and ComScore found 81% of online shoppers believe free shipping is important. Complimentary in-store pickup, too, has been found to be an effective promotion in recent years. Companies that actively communicate theses incentives via social and digital platforms have the potential to drive more sales this holiday.

Image via Bloomberg

Blocks e-commerce social media

Twitter hints at e-commerce integration on its way


Twitter’s plans for a shoppable service are becoming increasingly evident, with news of a setting discovered on the social network’s Android app called ‘payment & shipping’.

Currently dormant – it cannot be opened or activated as yet – the inclusion suggests there are moves ahead for e-commerce integration as suspected, which could become a significant factor for brands on the platform.

As The Next Web reports, the setting was discovered by a series of users who have all taken screenshots of the same menu bar (as shown below).

Its story continues: “This is the latest in a stream of hints that Twitter is preparing a foray into commerce. Back in June, Re/Code spotted a “buy now” button that began appearing in tweets with links to retail site Fancy. The same publication previously got its hands on documents that appeared to show commerce plans, while Twitter has been rumored to be working on a deal with payments provider Stripe for some time.”


Blocks e-commerce social media Startups

Hukkster and Svpply shuttering doors


It’s an interesting time in the social shopping space – brands are busy trying to figure out how to monetise off the back of the engagement they see on the likes of Instagram on the one hand, retailers such as Nordstrom are continuing to partner with start-ups like Wanelo on the other, and yet news is recently in that both Hukkster and Svpply are set to close.

As per a story on Fashionista today, Hukkster, which allowed users to tag items they liked the look of online to receive alerts when they went on sale, sent the following to its users on Friday evening. It was signed by co-founders Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan (as pictured):

“We are writing with the unfortunate news that Hukkster is now closed.

Thank you so very much for shopping with Hukkster over the years and supporting us in our mission to save you time and money on the brands you love.

It gave us great joy creating a tool to help you access your favorite products, must-haves, little somethings, special gifts, pick-me-ups, finishing touches and perfect accents. Please click here if you would like us to recover the product links from your Hukkster wish list and we will do our best to get you this in a timely manner.

We started Hukkster with nothing more than an idea and had the opportunity to build our dream team and make our vision a reality. While we’re sad to say goodbye, we hope our story inspires all of you to challenge the status quo.”

Hukkster was founded in 2012 and had raised $4.5 million of investment from a group that included Winklevoss Capital. Fashionista suggests the affiliate business model it operated under didn’t perhaps scale fast enough to sustain it. Twitter and Reddit users have expressed their sadness about the news.

As TechCrunch reported, a short message on Hukkster’s webpage now reads:

“27 Months
822 Days
1,010,889 Hours Worked (Seriously)
315 Retail Partners
300,000 Happy Shoppers
887,207 Sale Alert Emails Sent
$39,037,108.00 Total Dollars Saved
Thank you for the opportunity to innovate, learn and grow!
Challenge yourself to change the status quo.
Now it’s time for a nap.
The Hukkster Family”

Meanwhile Svpply, a curated social shopping site that was bought by eBay in 2012, sent this today:

“Dear Svpply user:

We are writing to let you know that and its associated apps — Svpply and Want by Svpply — will retire on August 31, 2014.

We appreciate that you took the time to curate and share collections of your most loved products, so we want to give you time to export the links you’ve added to the site. You can do so through your Account Settings.

Svpply was acquired by eBay in 2012, and the talents and expertise of the Svpply team were leveraged to create more personalized shopping and selling experiences on eBay, including eBay Feed and eBay Collections, which launched on eBay in 2012 and 2013, respectively. eBay Feed and eBay Collections deliver a tailored shopping experience for millions of eBay users around the world, helping them to easily discover items that match their interests and curate collections from the 650 million items on eBay.

We encourage you to continue expressing your passions and interests by creating eBay Collections on eBay. Curate, browse, and shop with $5 off of a $10 or more purchase on eBay.”

As TechCrunch reported when the news first broke: “This is often what happens in the months and years after big tech companies acquire new and clever products — some key parts sometimes get integrated, and other beloved bits often get cut.”

digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media

Digital snippets: Burberry, Levi’s, Nordstrom, adidas, Gap, Apple, CFDA, Bonobos

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


  • Burberry credits 9% revenue hike on strong online sales and ‘more targeted marketing’ [Marketing]
  • Levi’s launches $96m global campaign centred on user-generated content [The Drum]
  • Nordstrom is bringing Wanelo into 100+ of its stores [Glamour]
  • Inside adidas’ social media team at the World Cup in Rio [AdAge]
  • Gap’s former social chief: retail has shiny-new-object syndrome [DigiDay]
  • Might Apple have a future as a fashion conglomerate? [CNET]
  • CDFA embraces shoppable video technology to boost engagement [Luxury Daily]
  • Bonobos raises $55 million to expand its bricks-and-mortar locations [Internet Retailer]
  • In a sea of go-girl advertising, P&G’s ‘Like a Girl’ hits hardest [AdAge]
  • The science of shopping: digital innovations shaping the future of retail [The Guardian]
  • “Buy Now” buttons start appearing in tweets. Is Twitter shopping finally here? [Re/code]
  • Stores still critical to wooing men, but leaders re-wiring for digital age [BoF]
  • How top style bloggers are earning $1 million a year [Co.Design]
  • Is Instagram killing personal style blogs? [Fashionista]
  • Here’s the first-ever Google Glass hair tutorial [The Cut]
  • In Japan, Urban Research experiments with virtual changing booths [BoF]
e-commerce social media

Zappos piloting personal shopping service on Instagram with #nextootd

Most of you will have already heard of the hashtag #ootd. For those who haven’t, this is the epitome of the #selfie phenomenon. “Outfit of the day” as it stands for, has over 23 million posts attached to it on Instagram.

That’s 23 million images associated with what people are wearing, said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs – the San Francisco-based experimentation and innovation arm of e-commerce site Zappos – during SXSW last week. “We looked at [those figures] and asked as a retailer how do we be a part of that?”

The answer? His team recently launched a pilot project on the platform called Next OOTD. Very simply, followers are invited to post a selfie along with the hashtag #nextootd. Those who do will receive a personalised shopping recommendation based on their Instagram from Zappos in return.

Zappos is of course a company that prides itself, and has become known, for customer service (its longest ever phone call was nine and a half hours – and celebrated for that fact, Young revealed). He said they are constantly trying to think of lots of different ways to take that service to the next level.

At the moment this project is entirely manual – there’s one person doing it who doesn’t even work weekends – so the potential to scale isn’t really there, he admitted, but that’s not to say it won’t be down the line.

“Personal shopping via Instagram… that could be the future of our business,” he argued – and perhaps rightly so given the buzz around social shopping once again at present. “It could have a 50 person team manning it and making personalised shopping recommendations.”

To his own strategy, he added: “I heard Sarah Friar, CFO of Square speak recently, and she said: ‘Think big but start small.’ That’s kind of how we approach things at Zappos Labs.”

digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Wren, Gucci, John Lewis, Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Sephora

A bit of a catch-up post today in light of several weeks of travel… here then all the latest stories to know about surrounding fashion and tech from the past fortnight or so:


  • “First Kiss” film (as above) goes viral with 63 million views – is ad for clothing label Wren [NY Times]
  • Gucci launches own Spotify music hub to promote short film ‘The Fringe’ [The Drum]
  • John Lewis looks to digital innovation as next big thing in retail with ‘JLab incubator’ [The Guardian]
  • Lord & Taylor now accepting bitcoin [CNBC]
  • Kenneth Cole challenges consumers to do good deeds and prove it via Google Glass [Creativity]
  • Sephora launches ‘Beauty Board’ social shopping platform [USA Today]
  • Bergdorf Goodman makes Instagram shots shoppable at SXSW with 52Grams [5th/58th]
  • Dolce & Gabbana crafts love story around perfume to appeal to consumer emotion [Luxury Daily
  • adidas launches gaming platform powered by social media starring Lionel Messi [Marketing Magazine]
  • Can Instagram save ageing teen retailer Aeropostale? [CNBC]
  • Which big brands are courting the maker movement, and why – from Levi’s to Home Depot  [AdWeek]
  • How beacon technology could change the way we shop [Fashionista]
  • On Instagram, a bazaar where you least expect it [Bits blog]
  • What Google’s wearable tech platform could mean for the fashion industry [Fashionista]
  • Smartphone payment system to be unveiled in UK [FT]
  • Alibaba ramping up efforts to sell US brands in China [WSJ]
  • What does WeChat’s new e-credit card mean for luxury? [JingDaily]
  • Op-Ed | Are camera phones killing fashion? [BoF]