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Retail technology

GU showcase store introduces personalized avatars for virtual try-on

GU Style Studio
GU Style Studio

Fast Retailing’s GU, is connecting online and offline retail with a new store in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, that allows shoppers to see sample products in real-life and then try them on using virtual tools.

The GU Style Studio, as it’s called, is designed to showcase garments and provide a sense of convenience by enabling customer to then order them through their mobile phones for delivery at home later.

Visitors are encouraged to create their own digital avatar through a photo taken at the GU Style Creator Stand, then scan QR codes on individual items via the GU Style Creator App to see how they would look wearing each piece. They can then continue to play with a combination of different looks digitally while they move through the store.

According to Osamu Yunoki, GU’s chief executive officer, a benefit from this technology is the data collected from shoppers at the store. Yunoki told Bloomberg that information on app usage and styling combinations can help GU learn more about how people shop and what’s in style.

After purchasing items, customers can choose to have them shipped to their home, or they can pick them up at a nearby GU store or designated 7-11 location. GU has almost 400 stores across Asia, primarily in Japan, Taiwan and China.

GU Style Studio
GU Style Studio

“We’re fusing the in-store experience and e-commerce to offer a fun and convenient experience. Harajuku isn’t just for shopping. It’s also a place where fashion is created. We’d like to use our customer’s creations as a stimulus for developing new types of fashion,” he said.

It’s not the first time Fast Retailing, Asia’s biggest clothing retailer, and also the parent company of Uniqlo, has chosen GU as a testbed for new technology: it was the first brand in the portfolio to introduce RFID tags and self-checkout back in 2015. Two years later, Fast Retailing announced they would be using the technology in 3,000 Uniqlo stores worldwide.

The industry is increasingly seeing examples of more seamless shopping opportunities – from unmanned stores, to overtly interactive ones. This idea of walking out empty-handed, meanwhile, combines the idea of a convenient shopping experience, while encouraging customers to share more data.

How are you thinking about retail 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 Retail technology

Target introduces AR and text-to-chat beauty concierge service

Beauty Concierge at Target

Target is upping its beauty game with a focus on personalized experiences through a series of digitally-enabled features both in-store and at the customer’s home.

The so-called Target Beauty Studio is a partnership between the US retailer and Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup software, which allows users to virtually try on hundreds of makeup items using augmented reality on Target.com (desktop and mobile).

Meanwhile, the experience is also being trialled at 10 select stores across the country, with further roll out plans later this year. The feature is reminiscent of what many beauty brands such as Sephora and Bourjois have been doing in the try-on space in a bid to offer shopper more tools for discoverability and decision-making both on and offline.

Target virtual try-on powered by YouCam
Target virtual try-on powered by YouCam

“When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore,” said Christina Hennington, senior vice president of beauty and essentials at Target. “With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we’re giving Target’s guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs.”

Tapping into its younger consumer’s peer-to-peer messaging behaviour, Target is also introducing a text-to-get beauty advice service that will enable consumers to chat to Beauty Concierge representatives both on Target.com and via SMS. On the website users can click a ‘chat’ icon to type their questions and receive answers in real time, while on mobile users can text “BeautyChat” to a dedicated number to receive a response.

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

ICYMI: Fashion’s sustainability pulse, Gucci customization, is blockchain a bad move?

Gucci
Gucci

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

TOP STORIES
  • Sustainability in fashion is growing, but ‘systemic’ change a ways off [WWD]
  • Blockchain is crappy technology and a bad vision for the future [TNW]
  • Gucci introduces new ‘do it yourself’ customization program [WWD]
  • Nike patent imagines shoes with tiny treadmills built into the soles [Gizmodo]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple, Amazon and more vie for us drone pilot program [Reuters]
  • Facebook is launching a new team dedicated to the blockchain [Recode]
  • We were promised mind-blowing personal tech. What’s the hold-up? [WSJ]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain [Reuters]
  • Amazon’s new codes on boxes encourage re-use [RetailDive]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon reportedly could grab 10% of retail sales by 2020 [RetailDive]
  • Walmart’s head of e-commerce on the future of retail [Cheddar]
  • Aldo updates app to streamline trying on shoes in store [RetailDive]
  • Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar mall heralds new growth strategy [Nikkei]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ikea ‘bullied’ a potted plant while encouraging another, then showed schoolkids the impact [AdWeek]
  • The world’s most popular iPhone app isn’t Facebook or WhatsApp [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • How product customization is driving a new business strategy at Tapestry [Glossy]
  • Ikea and Savile Row tailor William Hunt partner up to create three-piece suits [FashionUnited]
  • $12,350 for a pair of adidas? [BoF]
  • Alexander Wang designs cooler bag with Magnum [FashionUnited
BUSINESS
  • Hudson’s Bay seeks to revive Lord & Taylor’s fortunes [CNBC]
  • Here’s why nobody wants to buy Birchbox, even after VCs spent $90m [FastCompany]
  • Apple’s retail boss will be joining Ralph Lauren’s board of directors [BusinessInsider]
  • YNAP shareholders say yes to Richemont purchase offer [WWD]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Amazon exploring the future of sizing with 3D body scanning trial

Body Labs 3D scan
Body Labs 3D scan

Amazon is currently inviting people to have their bodies 3D scanned at its NYC offices, hinting at the e-commerce giant’s future plans of entering the virtual try-on and personalized fit space.

According to The Wall Street Journal, participants are being asked to return every two weeks to have their bodies scanned over the course of 20 weeks. They are also being asked to answer a series of fitness and health questions, and complete an online survey that determines weight-related loss and goals in the past year. The survey reads: “We are interested in understanding how bodies change shape over time.”

The project comes from Amazon’s new 3D body scanning unit, and is assumed to tie to a broader aim of improving the fit of clothing sold online – one of the industry’s greatest challenges. It comes after Amazon paid a reported $100m+ to acquire Body Labs, a startup that creates 3D body models to support B2B software applications, back in October 2017.

At the time TechCrunch reported that Body Labs’ website, which is currently down, demonstrated how its API could be used to “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image”, which in turn could be used to power custom apparel or be used by fashion e-commerce retailers.

Over the past couple of years Amazon has been making aggressive moves towards the fashion category, both from a hardware, service and merchandise perspective.

In April 2017, it released the Echo Look, a device that uses a camera to help users keep track of their outfits and receive style advice. Its try-before-you-buy Prime Wardrobe service, launched last summer, is also now open to consumers beyond the Prime membership and is due to launch imminently.

The retailer has so far developed over 50 in-house apparel labels for women, men and children, showing that there is virtually no corner of the apparel industry that it doesn’t have covered.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: Nike scavenger hunts, AI changing how we shop, Reebok’s Oscars letter

Nike's scavenger hunts
Nike’s scavenger hunts

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


TOP STORIES
  • Inside the wild world of Nike’s high-tech scavenger hunts [Mashable]
  • No clicks required: Artificial intelligence is changing how we shop, Boxed CEO says [CNBC]
  • Reebok just sent an open letter to the Academy Awards asking for a new award to honour fitness trainers [AdWeek]
  • The evolution of retail personalisation, in five charts [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Aldo to buy Vince Camuto in a merger of shoe brands [NY Times]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior and Louis Vuitton are the fashion brands with best Instagram Stories engagement [BoF]
  • How H&M is using Instagram to drive buzz for its latest brand, Arket [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Shoemaker Kickers capitalises on FOMO to spur purchases [Digiday]
  • Boohoo enlists all-female crew for #AllGirls ads, but critics claim diversity vision is lost in casting [The Drum]
  • Female empowerment imagery more effective than sex appeal in ads, says Facebook [The Drum]
  • The fashion influencer has found a new gig [Refinery29]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 3 things retailers can do to compete with Amazon [Retail Dive]
  • GGP looks to revive its malls with interactive concept stores [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Streetwear brands are tapping the creative power of AR [JWT Intelligence]
  • The end of typing: The next billion mobile users will rely on video and voice [WSJ]
  • Here’s what you need to know about voice AI, the next frontier of brand marketing [AdWeek]

START-UPS
  • With “return bars” and “returnistas”, Happy Returns is eliminating the hassle of returning online orders by mail [LeanLuxe]
  • This virtual try-on system for clothing might actually work [Engadget]
Categories
business data digital snippets Editor's pick film product social media Startups technology

What you missed: Fashion-tech education, Burberry’s see-now buy-now plans, Dior bags on WeChat

Burberry see-now buy-now fashion
Burberry’s first see-now buy-now campaign

One of the most interesting things about taking a decent summer break, and particularly one in August, is observing what happens during that time. Traditionally still the month that most of Europe closes down, it is also the time just before fashion weeks begin again and therefore the perfect opportunity for quiet on the news front full stop. We’ve certainly noticed that with regards to digital campaigns or tech stories over the past six years that Fashion & Mash has been running. And yet, not so much this year…

August 2016 proved busier than ever in terms of news in this space, ranging from Burberry’s new see-now buy-now campaign to Kate Spade’s wearables launch, Dior’s WeChat moves and various new high-tech store openings. What that does of course is continue to prove the relevancy of this world to the industry’s growth and success.

Read on for a full breakdown of what you might have missed…

PS. We’ve rebranded our regular “Digital Snippets” series to this “What you missed” feature in a bid to bring you a broader range of relevant stories, as well as a breakdown by category to make your consumption that much easier. Note: this version includes a month’s worth of links – normal weekly service will now resume. 

PPS. A new must-read site/newsletter in this space is LeanLuxe – edited by Paul Munford, and providing “stories, analysis, and opinion on the world of modern luxury business”.


TOP STORIES
  • Fashion needs a more robust approach to technology education [BoF]
  • Burberry reveals campaign it hopes will woo shoppers to first ‘straight-to-consumer’ collection [The Drum]
  • Dior in first with luxury WeChat handbags [China Daily]
  • Consumers prefer see now, buy now, wear now model, says Verdict [The Industry]

BUSINESS
  • Luxury armageddon: Even Chanel takes a hit as sales and profits plunge [Trendwalk]
  • Gucci among world’s hottest fashion brands, while Prada cools [BoF]
  • Prada sales slide as weak demand weighs on luxury-goods maker [Bloomberg]
  • Macy’s to shutter 100 stores as online players pressure brick-and-mortar [WWD]
  • How Demna Gvasalia is revolutionising Balenciaga from the inside out [Vogue]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Burberry sponsors Snapchat Lens for My Burberry Black launch [The Industry]
  • For Kit and Ace, Snapchat doubles as a TV channel and customer service assistant [Digiday]
  • Nike and others dive into Instagram Stories: why marketers already like it better than Snapchat [AdAge]
  • While some retailers ignore Snapchat, others are killing it with lens and geofilter ads [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat found a way to bring its ads to the real world [QZ]
  • Burberry becomes first luxury brand to personalise on Pinterest [Marketing Week]
  • Grindr officially gets into the menswear game [Fashionista]
  • Chatbots are thriving on the Kik chat app [Business Insider]

RETAIL
  • Westfield’s new World Trade Center mall puts in-store tech centre stage [Glossy]
  • Sephora’s Chicago store has new, high-tech look [Chicago Tribune]
  • After digital spree, retailers spending on stores again [WWD]
  • Malls aren’t dying. They’re changing [Racked]
  • Retailers look to high tech to engage visitors to their store [Journal Sentinel]
  • London is getting the first YouTube store, where online video stars can sell merchandise to the public [PSFK]
  • Retailers like J Crew are obsessed with data. (And it’s killing your shopping experience.) [LeanLuxe]
  • Neiman Marcus launches high-tech sunglass try-on mirror [WWD]

ADVERTISING
  • Watch Spike Jonze’s electrifying short film for Kenzo [Dazed]
  • Kate Hudson makes her new Fabletics spot ‘feel like you’re scrolling through her Instagram feed’ [AdWeek]
  • Cotton Inc.’s interactive video ad lets viewers determine how a day plays out [AdWeek]
  • L’Oreal celebrates diversity and targets men with new ‘Truly Yours’ positioning [The Drum]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Fashion’s fourth industrial revolution [BoF]
  • Kate Spade’s new wearable tech collection is fun and full of personality [Wareable]
  • Wearable technology: Amazon’s next big step? [Trendwalk]
  • Adidas ups athleisure-technology ante with Atlanta Speedfactory announcement [Trendwalk]
  • What 3D printing means for fashion [BoF]
  • Why STEM subjects and fashion design go hand in hand [The Conversation]
  • Athleta goes beyond wicking with new technical fabric [Glossy]
  • Cotton Inc. bonds with Nanotex on Dry Inside technology [WWD]
  • The MIT lab that’s quietly pioneering fashion for everyone [Co.Design]

START-UPS
  • Ignored by LVMH, Richemont, and Kering, modern luxury upstarts gain traction with Silicon Valley [LeanLuxe]
  • Eureka! John Lewis’ TrueStart deal to boost brave new tech world [Trendwalk]
  • This New York-based start-up accelerator is supporting the next generation of retail disruptors [Fashionista]
  • Topshop throws its weight behind wearables [Co.Design]
  • Start-ups in Target’s Techstars accelerator race to finish line [Star Tribune]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick Startups technology

20 years later, THAT virtual Clueless wardrobe is now a reality

Cherwears_plaid

There are few tech-enabled wardrobes more iconic that that of Cher Horowitz’s. Now 20 years since the launch of Clueless (it was first released in the US on July 19, 1995), we’re still seeing companies trying to replicate the personalised and customisable approach her computer had in helping her choose what to wear each day.

In celebration of the film’s anniversary, British virtual fit company Metail is back with its focus on fulfilling that need, nodding to the idea with the launch of a dedicated tribute site called www.Cherwears.com. The unofficial homage enables users to “try-on” and buy modern version of the looks worn by Cher and her three co-stars: Dionne, Tai and Amber.

Shoppers fill out three body measurements to be given a “MeModel” avatar that is reportedly 92% accurate to the user’s own body shape. From there, they can select which garments they want to see reflected on their likeness on screen, whether it be individual pieces or full outfits chosen for their resemblance to the film. There’s even a “Which 90’s girl are you?” quiz for users to discover their most suitable wardrobe to explore first.

Cherwears

Metail founder Tom Adeyoola said: “It’s a fun tribute both to a film we all love and to the woman who imagined this technology 20 years ago, and it perfectly illustrates the Metail technology as both useful and fun to engage with. We have made the online shopping experience as enjoyable as the best physical retail experience can be.”

Metail has worked with brand partners including House of Holland and Little Mistress as well as other high street labels to fill the site with relevant product to purchase. Each piece redirects to the relevant e-commerce site it’s sourced from for users to buy.

This post first appeared on Forbes.com

Categories
Startups technology

Halloween costumes get virtual try-on treatment from Metail

try halloween def

Virtual fitting room start-up Metail is running an online campaign this week that invites shoppers to see what they’d look like in a series of different Halloween costumes.

“Try our scariest looks on your own MeModel,” reads the messaging. Clicking to the page reveals a series of appropriate outfits, including a zombie cheerleader, pirate and skeleton dress. There’s also a pumpkin, a corset spilling with guts, and a variety of blood splattered and gothic looks.

Users need only fill out their height, weight, waist and bust measurements, for a three-dimensional model, or avatar, of themselves to appear in a right hand pop-up box. From there, they can see what the various styles would look like on, as per the picture below (skin tone and hair style can also be adjusted to help visualisation).

The aim of the campaign, which on this occasion doesn’t actually enable purchase, is to drive awareness around the Metail product by helping people choose their costumes in time for Halloween.

Metail recently announced the closing of a further $12m in funding, bringing the total investment in its service to $20m since its founding in 2008. The finance will be used to develop the company’s mobile offering for release early 2015, and to advance its user ecosystem. It will also be looking to expand further overseas in South America, Asia and Europe next year, before setting its sights on the US.

Metail previously worked with House of Holland during London Fashion Week this season past, for a campaign that allowed consumers to instantly try-on and pre-order pieces from the designer’s spring/summer 2015 collection in the right size.

metail_halloween

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Burberry, L’Oréal, Macy’s, Adidas, Uniqlo, Google Glass

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

Burberry_tmall

  • How Burberry has fared in its first days on Tmall [Jing Daily]
  • L’Oréal launches virtual try-on make-up app [NY Times]
  • Macy’s is the first retailer to run Facebook’s auto-play video ads [Adweek]
  • Adidas app to print Instagram snaps on your shoes [CNET]
  • Google’s new fashion-savvy exec can’t fix Glass’ biggest flaw [Wired]
  • Burberry cites integrated marketing activity for revenue growth as EasyJet CEO joins the board [The Drum]
  • Op-ed: Why fashion is the next big thing in venture capital [BoF]
  • Why are fashion brands shying away from Tumblr? [Tumblr]