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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

6 brands driving consumer engagement through customization

The availability of data and an increased purchasing power has pushed retailers to create products and services beyond the standard selection. Whilst traditionally customization was seen as a luxury feature, the democratization of fashion has led to many high street retailers offering the service as another way to engage consumers.

In today’s digital era, the abundance of data has made it easier for retailers to personalize marketing content, but this is now going one step further to individual design and styling. Consumers want products tailored to their own specific needs and style, and by offering customization, retailers can increase their value and differentiate from the competition. 

From a business perspective, offering customization can be financially rewarding too, as 1 in 5 consumers will pay a 20% premium for personalized products or services. Customization can also be a sustainable method of production, as products are created to meet the exact demand, thus minimizing the risk of excess stock. 

Meanwhile, as manufacturing processes become more sophisticated and streamlined through features like 3D printing and automation, customization is something we will see more of in the future. As we continue to watch this trend develop, here are 6 brands driving engagement  through customization.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton custom Run Away sneaker

The sneaker industry is expected to be worth $95.14billion by 2025, and Louis Vuitton is another luxury brand hoping to tap into that booming market by offering consumers customized sneakers. Consumers will have the option to customize the Run Away sneaker by changing its colour, material and stripes and for an extra personal touch, get their initials printed or hot stamped on the shoe.

Fame & Partners
Fame & Partners bridemaids dresses

Fame and Partners is a contemporary womenswear brand based in LA trying to combat overproduction in the fashion industry by offering made-to-order garments. Through their Custom Clothing studio, consumers can customize any item by choosing the silhouette, sleeve length or neckline. The brand’s strategy eliminates the need for excess stock, helping to reduce waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill. 

Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty custom hair care

This DTC beauty brand has taken over social media with its Instagrammable hair care line that target Gen Z consumers who are seeking products unique to their needs. Consumers can go online and take a quiz to determine their hair profiles, selecting up to five hair goals, ranging from color protection to curl definition. They can also choose both the scent and color of their products, creating a customized product from design to function. Each bottle is then formulated using clean ingredients, which are cruelty-free and 100% vegan.

Rapha
Rapha custom collection

Cult British brand Rapha is disrupting the cycling market by partnering with Unmade to create a customizable team collection. Customers are given the opportunity to create their own unique jersey designs, including team logos, which are then manufactured into a bespoke product. Poor user experience and long lead times are usually a set back when it comes to customization, but Unmade’s print solution allows for quick bespoke manufacturing on a smaller scale.

Puma
Puma’s new NYC flagship

To enhance customer experience in store, Puma has created an exclusive customization studio at its new flagship store in New York. Customers can customize a range of footwear and apparel using paints, patchwork, embroidery, 3D knitting, laser printing and material upcycling. The studio also collaborates with new artists on a bi-weekly basis, with Sue Tsai, BWOOD and Maria Jahnkoy being the most recent.

Levi’s
Levi’s customization patches

Levi’s brand strategy has revolved around making products your own since the original blue jean was patented in 1873. These days, many Levi’s shops have a dedicated tailor shop that can customize and repair products, such as adding patches, studs, embroidery, stencilling and distressing, so consumers can have a one-of-a-kind product. To align with its sustainability initiatives, the brand also offers a full repair service which does anything from fixing rips and holes to color fading, helping well-worn jeans gain a new lease of life.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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 data e-commerce product technology

Levi’s partners with Pinterest on personal styling tool

Levi’s has partnered with Pinterest on a personal styling tool that generates a custom inspiration board depending on the user’s taste. 

Called “Styled by Levi’s”, the feature exists on a microsite, where users can select the gender they would like to shop in, and five product images that they relate to the most. Next, they are prompted to log into their Pinterest accounts to receive personalized, shoppable boards. 

Apart from editorial campaigns and product images, boards also refer customers to its customization service and chatbot feature, which the brand launched in 2017.

The feature works both when the user is logged in to their Pinterest accounts or not. However, users that are logged in will be served a more relevant experience as the platform also uses data from their past browsing behavior. 

Over the past couple of years, Pinterest has pushed to monetize the behavior of its audience of 250 million with a series of brand partnerships that feature an e-commerce element. For this holiday season, it is introducing Gift Globes, a gift-finding solution where consumers can enter information to receive customised gift guides. Participating brands include Macy’s, Lowe’s and Kohl’s.

How are you thinking about digital 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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e-commerce Editor's pick technology

YOOX combines AI and digital avatars in virtual try-on feature


Luxury e-commerce platform, YOOX is launching YOOXMIRROR, an in-app feature that acts as a discovery tool for users to explore new looks through a virtual avatar, Daisy.

On the app’s homepage, users can view nine fashion stories laid out in a similar style to Instagram Stories, divided into themes such as “Join the party” and “Check mate”.

Daisy, the avatar, has been introduced to showcase the outfits,  customizable by four different skin tones and hair colors. Users can then ‘swipe up’ to play mix-and-match with more garments and accessories. Daisy has also take over the YOOX Instagram account.

 “The introduction of YOOXMIRROR represents an important move for us, offering our customers something personalized and memorable which is also a brand-new way to explore the very best of YOOX, ” says Paolo Mascio, president of YOOX. “We are so excited by the potential of this initiative that we will not limit our avatar Daisy to the styling suite – taking over our IG she is going to become the personification of YOOX, allowing us an even more direct contact with our followers and customs.”

The feature is currently available for both men and women on the retailer’s iOS app.

The luxury e-commerce group has been investigating the different ways in which AI can provide users with a more personalized experience in the future, but also how it can enable its staff to deliver more efficiently. Last year, it opened a tech hub to investigate AI and the next wave of mobile technologies. Meanwhile, at the Wired Smarter conference in London in October, it announced it is introducing a new private label collection that is informed by AI, while designed by a creative team.

This post has been edited. The original version said users could also upload a full-body shot of themselves and view outfits in 2D overlaid onto them. This feature is not currently available.

How are you thinking about digital 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.


Categories
e-commerce mobile social media

Alexa Chung’s Villoid expands; opens up stores for influencers

Villoid
Villoid

Alexa Chung is expanding her fashion app, Villoid, into a place for “hyper curated” shopping by enabling style influencers to sell directly to their fans through their own web stores.

From December 1, a new shop owner is being announced everyday, starting with Chung herself. The initiative takes heed of the fact 92% of consumers reportedly trust an influencer over an advert, according to Forbes.

Each individual style maven showcased will fill their digital rail with the products they love and wear from the 4,000 brands that Villoid stocks.

“Looking for an Xmas party outfit? Head into Poppy Delevingne’s dress section. Lusting after that printed tee you saw Gia Coppola wear on Instagram? It’s there in her shop,” the write-up reads.

“I’m so excited to be launching this next phase of VILLOID alongside some incredible women with enviable taste – some are friends, some I just stalk and others are people I’m sure you’ll come to know and love. I’m intrigued to see what they do with their shops and look forward to sharing this journey with you all,” Chung commented.

Villoid CEO and co-founder, Karin Kaellman, added: “In the two years since our launch, we have developed a strong international brand, a solid tech platform, a stream of magnificent brands applying to become part of our ecosystem – and most importantly a warm community of women of all ages, persuasions and locations. It was only natural that we strap on our working gloves and build this new angle to our platform – to give our fans what they’ve been calling for – an accessible, personalised and hyper curated shopping experience with a nifty buy button. Killing three birds with one stone, we simultaneously allow style influencers to side-step the typical hassles of opening their own stores from scratch, and allow brands to be authentically and organically endorsed by some of the most stylish ladies on the planet.”

Villoid now has users in over 180 countries, with the average one spending 20 minutes a day on the app – the same as Instagram. ?

One of the continuing focuses for the platform will be on emerging design talent. Villoid has run its “Emerge” programme with the British Fashion Council since 2016; supporting young designers by giving them exposure through the platform.

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick technology

ICYMI: Perry Ellis offers voice-activated menswear style advice via Amazon Alexa

Ask Perry Ellis on Amazon Alexa
Ask Perry Ellis on Amazon Alexa

Perry Ellis has introduced “Ask Perry Ellis”, an Amazon Alexa skill that aims to give style advice and outfit options to men using the voice-activated artificial intelligence.

The brand created the skill based on a study it commissioned that found more than one-third of men admit to having skipped an event because they didn’t have the right clothes to wear, said president Melissa Worth. Meanwhile, 76% of men said they would be interested in using a technology that would help them find outfits for occasions they find challenging to dress for.

The skill launches as a time when Amazon is upping its range of Echo devices that house the Alexa AI. It is triggered when the user says: “Alexa, ask Perry Ellis what I should wear to… [a specific occasion].” Alexa then replies by offering an appropriate look for over 150 occasions, including jury duty, a wedding, a networking event and even Mardi Gras.

Ask Perry Ellis on Amazon Alexa
Ask Perry Ellis on Amazon Alexa

The aim is to drive engagement and ultimately push users to purchase. When asking for advice on what to wear to a Skype interview, for instance, Alexa creatively replies: “Look sharp on screen in our Slim Tech Washable Suit jacket and stay comfortable in a pair of Conformity boxer briefs.”

The app also takes into account the venue, weather and dress code, and then sends a selection of outfits to the user’s Alexa app, and email address. Interestingly, they can then click through to PerryEllis.com to complete the purchase, rather than the more obvious route of Amazon itself.

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Amazon steps into the fashion selfie game with Echo Look device

The new Amazon Echo Look
The new Amazon Echo Look

Amazon is expanding AI assistant Alexa’s capabilities with a new standalone selfie camera, designed to give users fashion tips and advice on what to wear.

Echo Look, as the device is called, follows in the footsteps of the main Amazon Echo voice-controlled gadget, of which more than 10 million have reportedly sold.

This new hands-free camera version offers many of the same functionalities as the original, but also comes with four LED lights, a depth-sensing system and a background blurring effect, all in a bid to give users the perfect full-length shot of what they’re wearing. It also takes videos and can automatically share such looks on your own or a friend’s phone.


More than just being a means of seeing what you look like however, the device also comes with a service called “Style Check”, which uses machine learning to compare different outfits and advise on the best choice based on trends and what flatters you.

The write-up reads: “Style Check keeps your look on point using advanced machine-learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists. Submit two photos for a second opinion on which outfit looks best on you based on fit, colour, styling and current trends.”

As with most AI, the intention is that the service gets smarter the more people use it. It additionally will help users create a personal look book by saving all their previous outfits – what they wore and when.

Amazon's Echo Look can give outfit advice through its Style Check feature
Amazon’s Echo Look can give outfit advice through its Style Check feature

It comes of course at a time when Amazon is increasingly trying to shift into the fashion space. As Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at e-commerce solutions provider, Salmon, comments: “It doesn’t take too much imagination to realise that this in turn will enable Amazon to promote products sold through its platform, and even its own clothing ranges – thereby locking customers into a relationship with Amazon. Existing retailers need to be aware of Amazon’s aggressive horizontal expansion and its innovative invention of new routes to market. While many retailers are still struggling with establishing omnichannel strategies, Amazon is taking omnichannel innovations to the next level.”

Voice is one particular area that will continue to see growth in terms of how consumers discover product too. According to Mary Meeker of KPCB, half of all web searches will use voice or image search rather than text by 2020. “More efficient and often more convenient than typing, voice-based interfaces are ramping quickly and creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction,” she said last year.

The Echo Look device retails for $199.99, though is not yet available to the public.