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”
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.
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Technology can enable us to do great things, says Warby Parker co-founder and CEO, Neil Blumenthal, with regards to the brand’s meteoric rise in the direct-to-consumer space, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global.
Speaking to Liz Bacelar at this year’s NRF Big Show in New York, Blumenthal explains how technology is critical to making customers’ lives easier.
Warby Parker sees itself sitting at the intersection of three communities – tech, fashion, and social enterprise, he notes. It’s both a tech company and a retailer focused on creating products and services that tangibly impact consumers every day.
Warby Parker is one of Silicon Valley’s first so-called unicorns, a special group of startups that exceed expectations to pioneer within their own category by hitting over $1bn in valuation – including Airbnb, Uber and WeWork.
The nine-year-old company has paved the way to creating a great retail experience that transverses seamlessly between online and offline, and as a result, inspired the business model of many single-product focused startups known to consumers today – from suitcases at Away, to footwear at Allbirds.
But from its scrappy beginnings hosting a showroom at Blumenthal’s New York apartment, to being one of the first DTC brands to launch a brick-and-mortar retail space, the eyewear company has had a razor sharp focus on treating the whole experience of buying glasses as a single product – from trial to wear.
From its successful at-home trial program to digital eye tests, Warby Parker works with a team of in-house technologists to constantly iterate its approach to better serving the customer. For example, after receiving feedback that it was inconvenient for customers to take time off work to get an eye exam, it developed a prescription app that pairs an iPhone to a second screen to test the user’s vision. Recently, it then deployed Apple’s new AR technology to launch a virtual try-on feature.
During this conversation, Blumenthal also shares how the brand has been built to resonate with multiple consumer segments, the importance of the social aspect of the company, and why he sees Amazon more as inspiration, rather than threat.
Fashionista’s new survey suggests that bullying is still alive and well in the fashion industry [Fashionista]
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.
How do we know when we have hit peak SXSW? Was it the year grumpy cat stole all the headlines? Was it the hotel-sized vending machine from Doritos? Was it when homeless people were rather uncouthly set up as wifi transmitters?
Or will we look back and think about when baby goats grabbed our attention in 2018? With a solid dose of irony, Viceland went above and beyond to get people to pay its parking lot spot a visit this year, with a pit full of real-life “kids” available for petting. How else are you going to spend your time in between hopping from keynote sessions to tacos and barbecue. after all?
Jokes aside, that move represents quite a significant shift that’s happened over the past five-plus years at the Austin-based festival. At one point the Interactive portion of the show, which precedes Music and runs alongside Film, was really about new tech launches – the place to discover the latest startups, and the big event for the likes of Twitter, Foursquare and beyond to get off the ground.
Where once it was really a haven for geeks, and a playground for all things B2B, slowly but steadily it has shifted to become more and more about marketing, and then carried through to be a representation really of broader culture and society.
Let’s not forget how much more pervasive the internet has become in our lives during that time. SXSW Interactive is really about everything cultural because tech infiltrates that in every single way today. In doing so, the festival has therefore simultaneously ended up being phenomenally consumer-facing.
2018 is the perfect culmination of that evolution. On the one hand, the big speakers on stage this year are discussing everything from female empowerment, diversity and transparency, while out and about around the city there’s a mass takeover by fashion brands, not to mention the most impressive activation from entertainment entity Westworld, that has ever been seen at SXSW.
The audience mark-up of the event is inevitably behind this shift as well, with that focus on culture driving it. No longer is it just comprised of developers or startup entrepreneurs, but rather a perfect slice of the typical “millennial” target consumer. Is it fully representative of America? Perhaps not. But there is certainly diversity on the ground in many more ways than you would have imagined from a tech conference, and than you would have seen 5-10 years ago.
The big consumer-facing activations used to arrive only for music. Doing them during Interactive isn’t entirely new – Nike, Levi’s, Game of Thrones, even Warby Parker have had a presence in previous years – but 2018 stands out for its pervasiveness.
In terms of hype, the big activation is Westworld, as mentioned. Today, there are people lining up for hours to get a secret shuttle out to Live Without Limits, where HBO has built a replica of the fictional town of Sweetwater to kick off marketing activity around the show’s second season.
Back in downtown, meanwhile, technology isn’t entirely missing from the experiences put together, but a lot of it is on consumer tech for today, rather than tomorrow. Highlights include the Google Assistant house touting the future of voice tech on the one hand, and Under Armour’s push for its latest cushioning technology, Hovr, on the other. The latter was teased as a zero gravity experience, but turned out to be a group of trampolines to take photos on, proving the value of Instagram-worthiness remains (with long lines out the door to back it).
The move to represent the technical ability in product, has also been the case for L’Oréal this week with the launch of its Custom D.O.S.E. skincare line – a technological service that can scan and evaluate an individual consumer’s skin and create tailor made serums as a result.
And tech is a consideration for Outdoor Voices too, with the launch of an augmented reality campaign that encourages SXSW attendees and locals to get outdoors into a park to get access to exclusive product. In addition, Bose has also been thinking about AR, but this time demonstrating a pair of smart glasses that use audio rather than visuals as the overlaid digital information. The result is that you can hear what you see – when you look at a building for instance, it tells you what it is in your ear.
Some of the other experiences meanwhile are more traditional in their programming. A line-up of talks, a store and a DJ for happy hour does the job for fashion brand Express, for instance, while the Create & Cultivate pop-up, which is focused on “women to watch” and backed by watch brand Fossil, is not dissimilar.
Laying on top of all that is also some truly lo-fi consumer focus. Wrangler has teamed up with Modcloth to offer denim customization in the latter’s store, for instance. Meanwhile, Hermès is probably the most surprising attendee. The luxury brand has brought Hermèsmatic – a laundromat-inspired customization and repair service – to this year’s festival to offer fans the chance to update their vintage scarves via washing and dip-dying services.
SXSW may not be the place to discover the latest big tech before anyone else anymore, but it is certainly somewhere to come for a jump into how modern culture is evolving at the hands of our connected era, and inspiration around the kind of brand activations targeting tuned-in millennials accordingly.
Donald Trump’s first week as President has been quite something… for this industry, it’s the overhaul on trade deals particularly to keep an eye on, as outlined by Bloomberg below. Elsewhere, the past seven days have been all about British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman stepping down, through to lots more in the way of technical detail from the couture shows in Paris.
Also worth reading is the BoF’s piece on automation, a view on what the store of the future looks like now we have Amazon Go, and the unveiling of the first dress made with graphene.
Nike and Ford caught in crossfire of Trump’s trade overhaul [Bloomberg]
British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman steps down [Vogue]
So is Amazon the big threat to retail, or do retailers really have themselves to blame? There’s a great piece from Recode exploring the longer-term demise of Macy’s. No surprise to also see Neiman Marcus’ IPO has been stalled given current market conditions. The Limited is another US store announcing its closure over the past week.
Meanwhile, other big news to know about include a bid to fight counterfeit goods on Alibaba, PETA aiming to disrupt LVMH from the inside (as well as a separate piece on how LVMH is making luxury more sustainable), and yet more advertising updates on both Instagram and Snapchat. If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to also check out our list of the 8 top tech trends for fashion and luxury retail in 2017.
This week’s round-up of relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech news neatly sums up a series of things to be tracking at present: the evolution of social media businesses into greater advertising and commercial retail opportunities, the role customer service and messaging apps play together, the explosion of all things virtual and augmented reality, and an ongoing bevy of start-ups to know about.
Meanwhile, also worth reading this week is detail on David Lauren’s promotion to the role of chief innovation officer over at Ralph Lauren, Dior’s catch up strategy on YouTube, and the growth of physical stores by online players including Warby Parker and Bonobos.
Fashion ‘unicorns’ have become an endangered species [BoF]
Dior’s borrowing Chanel’s strategies to catch up on YouTube [Glossy]