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business Editor's pick Events Retail technology

Everything you need to know from World Retail Congress

Retail’s ability to disrupt and update its strategies alongside a broader call for more sustainable practices were among the key topics at this year’s World Retail Congress in Amsterdam.

“High velocity retail” and “the future of retail” were the themes for the conference in 2019, with technological advancement standing out as a priority for retailers. “If you’re slow at picking up these nuances, these trends and things that are happening all around us all the time, you’re going to be a loser,” said Lord Stuart Rose, former chairman of British department store Marks and Spencer, now chair of online grocer Ocado.

There was also a conversation around slowing down, however, which tied into consumer expectations of purpose-driven brands. “I think the brands and retailers who will win will be the ones who can tap into meaning,” said philosopher Robert Rowland Smith.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • High velocity retail: Why the World Retail Congress 2019 was a breath of fresh air [Forbes]
  • Slower retail: Has the industry hit its speed limit? [FashionUnited]
  • Lord Rose: Death of the high street is “overblown” [Retail Gazette]
  • Amazon revealed as the world’s most valuable retail brand, but it shouldn’t rest on its laurels [Warc]
INNOVATION
  • Levi’s to allow shoppers to customize their own ‘greener’ jeans [FashionUnited]
  • Retail chiefs dismiss AI job threat, promise more training [Reuters]
  • Google launches tool to help retailers boost customer experience [Retail Week]
  • Walmart International CEO on data privacy, the failed Asda merger and leveling the playing field for women [FashionUnited]
RETAIL UPDATES
  • Zalando to expand delivery from stores to bag missed sales [Reuters]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter to become one of the first to launch shoppable Instagram account [ChargedRetail]
  • JD.com exec Ling on the future of ‘boundless retail’ [Retail Week]
BUSINESS MODELS
  • Retailers should collaborate to survive: “You can’t do it alone” [CyclingIndustry]
  • Retailers say business model needs to change for them to remain relevant [Enterprise Times]
  • Millennials are driving growth in emerging subscription retail services [FootwearNews]
  • Superdry chairman urges boardrooms to hire young people amid online shift [Retail Gazette]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. 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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business Campaigns

3 ways fashion brands weighed in on the US midterm elections

Tory Burch
Tory Burch

Fashion companies used to avoid dipping into politics, but with society facing greater polarisation than ever, consumers are expecting their favorite brands to speak up.

More than half of US consumers (52%) said a brand’s position on social or environmental issues would impact their holiday buying decisions this year, up three points from 2017, according to research published this week by The NPD Group.

“In this midterm election year, political polarization and activism is on the rise in this country, and it’s bleeding into the upcoming holiday season, especially among younger consumers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor of The NPD Group.

With customers becoming more aware of what they support with their dollars, retailers don’t want to look like another callous corporation, but getting activism-based association right, is a challenge of authenticity.

Check out these three initiatives major brands took in the run-up to the US midterm elections:
 

Political backing from Patagonia

Patagonia
Patagonia

Known for its environmental activism, outdoor brand Patagonia took a step further this election. Not only did it join the Time to Vote campaign by closing stores nationwide to give employees the opportunity to get to their local polling stations, but it also made its first political endorsements in the brand’s history, supporting Democratic candidates Jackie Rosen and Jon Tester.

“The company is endorsing candidates for the first time this year because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters. Nevada and Montana are two states where Patagonia has significant company history and a long record of conservation accomplishments, and where the stakes are too high to stay silent,” the company said in a statement.

In addition, the brand launched an entire section of its website to help customers “make a voting plan”, with links to information about candidates and polling places.
 

T-shirt endorsement from Moda Operandi, Tory Burch and Carbon 38

Moda Operandi
Moda Operandi

Limited-edition tees with “Vote” signs were on sale at numerous retailers to drive awareness around increased voter turnout. Moda Operandi even created a trunk show called “Vote 2018” dedicated to selling them. Tory Burch’s tee was among those featured on the luxury e-commerce site, with the proceeds going to Yara Shahidi’s Eighteen x 18. Prabal Gurung’s bamboo-cotton tee was also on sale, and sold out, with proceeds supporting Rock the Vote.

Activewear brand Carbon38 created 300 tanks emblazoned with “I Am a Voter”, producing a second run after selling out. All of the proceeds support groups including Democracy Works, Headcount, Nonprofit Vote, Rock the Vote, Vote.org, #VoteTogether, Voto Latino and When We All Vote.

“We noticed heavier-than-usual traffic on our site and likely reached a broader demographic than just our core customer since so many people are proud and compassionate about this,” said Carbon38 co-founder and CEO, Katie Warner Johnson, to WWD.
 

Voting booths at Levi’s

Levi's
Levi’s

Another participant in the Time to Vote campaign, Levi Strauss & Co also went above and beyond to encourage turnout. The brand worked with Rock the Vote to install 40 voter registration booths in Levi’s stores.

According to the brand’s president and CEO, Chip Bergh, the current divided political climate and government’s failure to provide for society are pushing companies to weigh in. “We are a $5 billion company. I have a platform that would be wasted if we are not taking advantage to make a difference in this world”, he said at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York last week.

Bergh explained the business operates with a concept called “profits through principles”: every year it gives a certain percentage of its profits as a company to its foundation. “Through the foundation, we execute a lot of goodwill towards the communities and the society.”

With so many different social issues to choose from, brands have a responsibility to pick causes that align with their values. As Bergh puts it: “If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. We’ve had to be deliberate about the spots we’re going to weigh in on.”

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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
film

Tory Burch nods to re-gifting in holiday campaign

Mindy Kaling in A Very Merry Mindy for Tory Burch
Mindy Kaling in A Very Merry Mindy for Tory Burch

Actress and comedian Mindy Kaling stars in Tory Burch’s holiday campaign this year, which focuses on the idea of re-gifting.

The tongue-in-cheek video, titled A Very Merry Mindy, sees a personalised giftbox arrive from Tory Burch herself just as Kaling worries about how she’s going to have time to get all her Christmas shopping done.

She proceeds to go through all the items inside, pondering which of them should go to which of her friends and family. A navy sweatshirt with “Peace” written on the front of it she suggests for her aunt, while a gold tote she thinks will do well for Beyoncé.

She decides to keep the Tory Burch Foundation Seed Box, which features seven products made by and benefitting women entrepreneurs, for herself.


Categories
e-commerce Startups technology

Fashion Future Awards celebrates US visionaries and disruptors

Stefano Tonchi Misha Nonoo Liz Bacelar
Stefano Tonchi of W magazine, designer Misha Nonoo and Liz Bacelar of Decoded Fashion

Rebecca Minkoff, Misha Nonoo and Tictail were among the winners at the inaugural Fashion Future Awards in the US; an event co-hosted by W magazine and Decoded Fashion.

Recognising innovators across the fashion, retail and technology space, the evening celebrated the best across 10 categories including mobile, customer experience, start-ups, e-commerce, fashion week campaigns, data and analytics, omnichannel, and more.

There was also a visionaries award given to both Snapchat and Tory Burch for the way in which they’re pushing boundaries in technology and fashion.

“Fashion and technology are both about the future—forecasting and influencing it as it relates to retail, designing and driving it forward when it comes to tech,” said Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W. “As a judge, it was refreshing to see so many inventive ideas and such an appetite for experimentation. The winners are great examples of innovative thinking at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology.”

A full list of winners is below:

A Killer Experience – Most innovative way of enhancing the consumer experience.Winner: Covet Fashion

Beyond the Runway – Most engaging campaign launched at Fashion Week.Winner: Misha Nonoo

New e-Store on the Block – Best new e-commerce launch. Winner: MM.LAFLEUR

Real-Time Innovator – Best use of data and analytics for fashion and retail. Winner: Combatant Gentleman

The Big Idea – Most promising new digital fashion project. Winner: +rehabstudio

The Game Changer – Startup set to disrupt fashion in 2015. Winner: The RealReal

The Master of Mobile – Most innovative use of mobile. Winner: Tictail

Digital Coalition – Best brand and startup collaboration. Winner: Nineteenth Amendment & Macy’s

Bytes and Bricks – Best omni-channel experience. Winner: Rebecca Minkoff

The Visionaries – Selected by W magazine, these two honorees are pushing boundaries in technology and fashion: Snapchat and Tory Burch

Categories
Blocks Editor's pick technology

Designers are jumping into the wearable tech space this #NYFW – should we care?

RalphLauren-smart-tshirt

Tomorrow marks the first official day of New York Fashion Week, and with it a month-long series of runway shows that will next travel to Europe – to London, Milan and Paris – to highlight what all we’ll be wearing for spring/summer 2015.

Attention won’t just be on the new clothes in New York on this occasion however, but on the wearable accessories set to hit the catwalks too. Designers including Rebecca Minkoff and Opening Ceremony are each expected to unveil new tech-enabled pieces, while simultaneously over at the US Open, Ralph Lauren’s biometric t-shirts are already being worn.

The question is, after all the hype that will no doubt follow – will any of the new releases actually provide something that has true market appeal beyond the early adopter set?

Read the full story via Forbes.com to find out.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film technology

Digital snippets: Barbour, Tory Burch, Birchbox, Levi’s, Kate Bosworth, Agent Provocateur

Barboursummer

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

  • Barbour creates real-time illustrations of consumers’ stories for summer campaign (as pictured) [Marketing Magazine]
  • Tory Burch releases three pieces of wearable tech: a hands-on review [Fashionista]
  • Birchbox aims to bring ‘artificial intelligence’ to offline retail [AdWeek]
  • Levi’s CMO Jen Sey on her gymnastics career, parenting and the brand’s ecommerce evolution [The Drum]
  • It’s a Snap: Kate Bosworth to Launch Style Thief [WWD]
  • Teaser: Penelope Cruz’s mirage-filled film for Agent Provocateur [Telegraph Fashion]
  • Film: seductive stalker goes full frontal for designer Jonathan Saunders [Creativity]
  • Couture houses include consumers in fashion shows through SoundCloud [Luxury Daily]
  • Facebook tests new ‘buy’ button for online purchases in US [Reuters]
  • Op-Ed | Fashion magazines are missing the mark with shoppable content [BoF]
  • 7 must-have digital tools to promote luxury in China [Jing Daily]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media

Digital snippets: Nike, DVF, Michael Kors, Burt’s Bees, Free People, Chanel, Tory Burch

Here’s a rather hefty highlight of stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital of late:

NikePlus_FuelbandSE

  • Nike’s new FuelBand and the age of social products [BoF]
  • Michael Kors runs #WatchHungerStop animated GIF campaign for World Food Day [Fashionista]
  • Burt’s Bees taps Vine in literary campaign to  promote its classic products [Brandchannel]
  • How Free People is using big data and social commerce for bigger sales [Forbes]
  • Chanel touts cosmetics line through insider beauty tip videos [Luxury Daily]
  • How Tory Burch builds passionate customers: insights on its digital journey [Shop.org]
  • Ralph Lauren showcases accessories in ‘The Dog Walk’ digital video [WWD]
  • Urban Outfitters preps for Holidays with mobile investments [AdAge]
  • P’trique of Sh*t Fashion Girls Say joins The Outnet in LinkedIn video campaign [Fashionologie]
  • Bobbi Brown uses interactive Blippar app to bring Katie Holmes to life [BeautyWorldNews]
  • How Coach uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ [Econsultancy]
  • The major retailers most threatened by mobile showrooming, and how they’re fighting it [Business Insider]
Categories
Comment social media

Key fashion week trend: social media quality

There’s a lot to be said for the level of quality our industry is producing over social media these days, and rightly so for a world that prides itself on luxury. Whatever it is – better cameras, bigger teams, more budget – it’s working.

Take a look at some of the content highlights from the most recent round of fashion weeks:

Burberry_SS14

ToryBurch_SS14

Chloe_SS14

Prada_SS14

DolceGabbana_SS14

In order: Burberry, Tory Burch, Chloé, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana (as highlighted individually last season), all with beautiful executions across multiple platforms.

In terms of cameras, partnerships with tech companies for Burberry and Tory Burch have undoubtedly helped. The former, as reported at the time, teamed up with Apple (ahead of the news this week of CEO Angela Ahrendt’s move to become Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores) to exclusively capture its social media content using the new iPhone 5S iSight camera. This meant incredibly high res images, not to mention benefits including auto image stabilisation, a new ‘burst’ mode that allows users to shoot 10 photos per second, as well as an option for slow-motion.

Tory Burch on the other hand partnered with Sony to shoot its show using the F55 professional 4K camera, resulting in content with four times the resolution of standard high definition video. A detailed view of each and every look was hosted at runway.toryburch.com.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing those in attendance at the shows sharing higher quality imagery too. Yes there are still blurry runway shots, but better smartphone cameras are of course at the root of this improving. That said, there are two other factors helping this along too:

The first is down to designers increasingly creating scenes for the crowd to want to capture. As Elizabeth Holmes of the WSJ reported: “Designers have a few tricks – falling under the heading ‘Instabait’ – to create moments that even hard-to-impress fashion week veterans can’t help but click and post.” These vary from elaborate set designs and props, to celebrity showcases.

The BoF covered this during the menswear shows in July too, writing: “In recent seasons, it’s become increasingly common for fashion shows to end with a tableau of models, perfectly positioned to be snapped and shared on social media. But at the most recent round of Paris menswear and couture shows, the staging of these instantly sharable moments rose to a whole new level of sophistication.”

A second factor that might begin shaping this lean towards quality all that much further, was hinted at by Tommy Hilfiger this season. As previously covered, it offered up a service that delivered assets – pictures through to collection information – upon request to showgoers over email in real-time. The aim was to “allow the industry to curate and share a new layer of exclusive, customised content on their own digital platforms for their followers during the show”. Doing so however cleverly put Tommy Hilfiger back in charge of the look and feel of its brand in the social space, ensuring its quality was as on-brand as possible throughout.

It might be a week for talking about technology, innovation and where the two cross with fashion thanks to that news from Burberry and Apple, but it’s important to ensure nailing content and quality likewise gets the attention it deserves. Overall the result is undoubtedly a better experience for the consumer so long may it continue. And for once, long may other industries be inspired by just how well (and by that we mean beautifully) ours can do digital.

Categories
digital snippets mobile Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Uniqlo, Abercrombie, Louis Vuitton, Nike, J.Crew, Club Monaco, Tory Burch, adidas

I’m playing a massive round of catch-up post work and leisure travel… more on the former to follow, but in the meantime, here’s a look at some of the biggest stories surrounding all things fashion and digital from the past couple of weeks. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below…

 

  • Uniqlo mesmerises Pinterest users with mass pinning for Dry Mesh Project [BrandChannel]
  • Abercrombie & Fitch models cover ‘Call me Maybe’, video goes viral (as above) [Abercrombie & Fitch]
  • Louis Vuitton’s new interactive site teaches you how to pack [FastCo.Create]
  • Nike becomes first UK company to have Twitter campaign banned [The Guardian]
  • J.Crew’s latest online venture, Hello World, invites Scott Schuman and Garance Doré to capture five global tastemakers [Refinery29]
  • Club Monaco launches Facebook Timeline app [Mashable]
  • Tory Burch resets with app, revised blog [WWD]
  • adidas athletes #takethestage in its biggest-ever marketing push [Campaign]
  • Fashion to embrace ‘social gaming’ [WWD]
  • Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso: fashion’s new phenom [Forbes]
  • Pinterest has users, Fancy has a business model [AdWeek]
  • NYC and Mayor Bloomberg launch Project PopUp, a fashion tech start-up competition [BoF]
  • 10 fashion memes that took the internet by storm [Fashionista]
Categories
digital snippets social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Coach, Madewell, Hermès, Gucci, John Lewis

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • How social media helped Kate Spade become a global brand [Mashable]
  • How digital marketing fuelled fashion label Tory Burch’s global expansion [Mashable]
  • Coach releases Facebook app encouraging users to create animations from handbag tags (as pictured) [FashionablyMarketing.me]
  • Madewell launches fun fashion choose-your-adventure video [T magazine]
  • Hermès’ Paris Mon Ami campaign to run online with interactive ‘Scarf In the City’ game [Trendhunter]
  • Gucci most searched fashion brand on Bing [The New Age]
  • John Lewis launches 24-hour virtual shop [PSFK]
  • GQ partners with new menswear site Park & Bond for pop-up shop in New York [WWD]
  • Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Next rank top in m-commerce sites [NewMediaAge]