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What you missed: Burberry’s ARkit, AI transforming Shop Direct, Stella McCartney and The RealReal

Burberry's new ARkit integration
Burberry’s new ARkit integration

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

  • Burberry turns to Apple for augmented-reality fashion app [Bloomberg]
  • AI will transform every retailer, says Shop Direct boss [Drapers]
  • Stella McCartney wants you to resell her goods in new partnership with The RealReal [Fashionista]
  • Could kelp be the future of sustainable fashion? [Observer]

  • Direct to consumer brands vs commodities: who will prevail? [LooseThreads]
  • Decoding Chanel’s Gen-Z strategy [BoF]
  • More luxury stores closed in China over the last year than in any other country [Jing Daily]

  • Target will begin incorporating Pinterest’s Lens visual search technology [AdWeek]
  • John Lewis pioneers Facebook’s 360 shoppable ad [Campaign]
  • Dior debuts Weibo story, stays in lead with Chinese millennials [Jing Daily]
  • Inside Birchbox’s 40-person social media war room [Glossy]
  • Snapchat debuts Sponsored 3D World Lenses at Advertising Week New York [The Drum]

  • Gant to launch ‘Couple Thinkers’ TV show on YouTube [Fashion Network]
  • Nas brings street cred to effortlessly cool animated ads for Timberland [AdWeek]
  • Why United Colors of Benetton is parting with catwalk convention to showcase its brand DNA [The Drum]
  • Fashion brands still succumbing to the high-priced artsy film [Glossy]

  • Patagonia has launched its own online thrift store [PSFK]
  • New Macy’s loyalty program nudges customers to spend more [Retail Dive]
  • Uniqlo’s retail empire embarks on a digital revolution [Nikkei]

  • AR is now a must-have in retail [Business Insider]
  • A way to repeatedly recycle polyester has just been discovered [Eco-Business]
  • These high-tech knitting machines will soon be making car parts [Bloomberg]
  • Fashion’s future may rest on an old technology: glue [Fast Company]
  • Modiface is becoming the go-to provider of augmented reality to beauty brands [Glossy]

  • Google and Levi’s ‘connected’ jacket is now on sale [TechCrunch]
  • To make a new kind of shoe, adidas had to change everything [Wired]
  • How these female engineers reinvented the bra [Fast Company]

  • With lab-grown leather, Modern Meadow is engineering a fashion revolution [BoF]
  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M [TechCrunch]
e-commerce social media

Weibo has more influence over China’s Gen Z consumers than WeChat

Photo: imtmphoto/Shutterstock - china e-commerce Gen Z
Photo: imtmphoto/Shutterstock

Online stores and physical boutiques are equally important for Generation Z (Gen Z) when it comes to shopping; they use social media apps like WeChat and Weibo not only for messaging but for shopping; they frequently buy on impulse, and they are more willing to pay extra for speedy delivery.

These are just some of the findings from a report titled “The Global Generation Z (Gen Z) Consumers Survey: China Insight,” released by the management consulting company Accenture on August 24, which attempts to demystify the consumption behaviours of China’s Gen Z.

In the report, Gen Z is defined as the post-95s generation (meaning they were born after 1995), and it specifically refers to people who are aged between 18-20 years (it is not legal to study underage people in China).

The population of post-95s is approximately 250 million in China as of the end of 2016, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. This demographic has demonstrated rising purchasing power in recent years mostly due to the generous financial support of their parents.

In China, this generation are true digital natives, and pioneers of shopping on social media even though they are relatively late to online retail. 70% of them are willing to purchase products on social media. That figure is higher than that of the post-90s generation, which is at 58%, and the post-80s generation, which is at 60%.

Moreover, when it comes to which major social media channel has more influence over the post-95s with respect to decisions about what they should buy, Weibo wins over WeChat, the report shows. The finding is the opposite for post-90s and post-80s generations, both of which value WeChat more than Weibo.

The post-95s generation is also overall less sensitive about price compared to previous generations, the study points out. They care more about post-sale comments and feedback that they can see on social media and e-commerce websites. Also, they tend to seek opinions from family, friends and online influencers before making purchasing decisions. One-third of the surveyed respondents said they would compare and contrast apparel products of at least four stores, both online and offline, before they buy.

On the other hand, being that they’re young, they’re also more inclined to make impulse purchases. They are likely to buy items as long as they like them. One direct consequence of this habit, according to Accenture, is that the return rate of their purchases is also high. Therefore, it is pretty important for brands to ensure that they have a friendly return policy and that the return process is satisfactory. Otherwise, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would never come back to the brand again.

The post-95s are much more demanding about the speed of delivery. The report says that they may cancel online orders if the delivery time is not clear to them. They expect to receive an order in less than one day and are willing to pay extra for the speedy service. They are also quite outspoken about their customer experience. 72% of the surveyed respondents said they frequently give feedback to online sellers.

Accenture suggests that brands improve their online shopping experience, from shortening the delivery speed to paying close attention to their post-sales feedback, in order to cater to this demographic. However, that does not mean the offline environment is not important to the post-95s generation. The report shows that they value the offline shopping experience, too, and demand physical stores to offer a digital experience.

By Yiling Pan @SiennaPan

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

social media

Do Chinese fashion bloggers have what it takes for luxury brands to succeed?

Chinese fashion bloggers - Gogoboi (second from left), who was ranked as the number one fashion blogger in China by Exane BNP Paribas, attended the Swarovski BeBrilliant event in New York last year. (Shutterstock)
Gogoboi (second from left), who was ranked as the number one fashion blogger in China by Exane BNP Paribas, attended the Swarovski BeBrilliant event in New York last year. (Shutterstock)

Luxury fashion brands marketing to China’s affluent consumers can no doubt benefit by leveraging the huge social media followings of local fashion bloggers. However, this strategy can leave brands with more questions than answers. Investment company Exane BNP Paribas’ recent report, The Shopping Guide: Bloggers in China, which names China’s top 10 fashion bloggers, explores exactly to what extent these influencers can be helpful.

The report ranks China’s most influential fashion bloggers based on their number of Weibo followers, and some of the most familiar names come out on top, including Gogoboi (ranked #1) and Mr. Bags (#3). Their social media feeds cover a wide range of content that varies from blogger to blogger. For example, Dipsy (called Dixi in Chinese, #2), and Vogue China columnist, whose Weibo handle is weishaonian_k (#8) both post about seasonal collections, runway shows at major international fashion weeks, and Chinese celebrities’ cooperation with brands. Fashion columnist with the handle libeika (#4) and shiliupo (#10) are styling experts who pair products from different brands to show readers how to dress.

The top 10 Chinese fashion bloggers ranked by Exane BNP Paribas based on their number of Weibo followers
The top 10 Chinese fashion bloggers ranked by Exane BNP Paribas based on their number of Weibo followers

The report illustrates that thanks to their vast number of followers, fashion bloggers are equally useful or even better than media coverage and advertisement to create buzz in China, unlike in the West, where bloggers are less influential for luxury brands compared to celebrities and fashion media outlets. This is because the rise of fashion bloggers and the development of the Chinese luxury market happened in tandem. The report explains that fashion bloggers “have filled a void on the internet ahead of luxury/fashion brands and publishers” in educating Chinese consumers about different brands.

However, when it comes to actually transferring popularity from the fashion bloggers to luxury brands, brands have to pay attention to more than just a blogger’s number of followers. Luca Solca, the author of the report and the head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, said social media following is not a good enough metric to gauge a blogger’s value. “The number of social actions [likes, shares, and comments] and posts is a much better indicator of social media traction,” he said.

“The real ‘effectiveness’ of key opinion leaders (KOLs) also derives from their personality, specific writing style, visual style, unique skills or level of authority within the fashion industry,” said Patrice Nordey, the Shanghai-based chief executive officer of digital inception agency Velvet Group.

Examples of successful collaborations include Gucci’s turnaround in 2016, which can be said to be because of Chinese fashion bloggers who first caught on to the new designs and promoted them to consumers. Earlier this year, a capsule collection released jointly by Mr. Bags and the handbag brand Strathberry also attracted praise online. Not all matches are perfect though—when Gogoboi took over the Weibo handle of Louis Vuitton during Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015, Chinese internet users sniffed at Louis Vuitton’s choice as they thought Gogoboi’s style did not fit with the brand image. In his latest Weibo campaign for Fendi, the number of comments under his post also dwarfed the average level of engagement he is able to generate.

What is possibly the biggest reason for brands to be cautious about seeking a one-on-one partnership with a Chinese fashion blogger is the unclear relationship between sales and influencer marketing. After Gogoboi’s November Fendi campaign, the brand’s parent company LVMH reported in its 2016 annual report that Fendi saw sales growth in China’s market. The two events may be correlated, but such correlation does not imply causation.

chinese fashion bloggers - Givenchy’s “Mini Horizon” handbag order page on WeChat
Givenchy’s “Mini Horizon” handbag order page on WeChat

Mr. Bags’ recent collaboration with Givenchy is another interesting case. Turning WeChat into a social e-commerce site, Mr. Bags gave his followers access to buy his exclusive Valentine’s Day edition Givenchy “Mini Horizon” handbags. He reported that 80 handbags were sold out in 12 minutes, but it remains unknown if such an astonishing achievement can be completely credited to his influence or if it’s a result of “hunger marketing,” a promotional strategy used by brands to boost customers’ desire to buy their new products by limiting supply. This strategy has been frequently used by Chinese brands, such as tech company Xiaomi, and has proven successful in drumming up sales in the short term.

There is no doubt that Chinese fashion bloggers will continue to play a significant role in the luxury fashion industry. But one thing is clear: blogging is no longer a hobby for them. Apart from their large online following, they need to prove their real effectiveness and business value in the long run.

By Yiling Pan @SiennaPan

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

social media

Weibo’s comeback lures luxury brands

Fendi on Weibo
Fendi on Weibo

China’s social media app Weibo is showing signs of a strong rebound in a WeChat world, and luxury brands have been wasting no time taking advantage of the platform’s expanding reach.

Fendi recently rolled out a new campaign on Weibo asking followers of the Italian leather handbag brand to show off their best selfies. In a culture where the selfie is everything, the company enlisted the aid of not just one, but three different selfie apps to give users a variety of ways in which they could show off their smile with Fendi’s new “Hypnoteyes” capsule collection.

One of the apps is Meitu Pic, part of a company that also produces livestreaming app Meipai that has just been reviewed for a potential US$5.23 billion IPO. The company’s apps altogether have more than 400 million monthly active users, and Fendi is hoping to tap into this user base with its multi-pronged campaign. Meitu Pic users can access an exclusive set of Fendi frames, stickers and more to decorate their selfies and post them to Weibo with the hashtag, #FendiHypnoticEyes.

Fans can also participate by uploading their photo on BeautyPlus and Selfie City, both apps under the Meitu umbrella, but which serve slightly different purposes. BeautyPlus, for instance, boasts a filter that’s meant to improve skin blemishes, while Selfie City offers filters and frames from popular films. Fendi has customisable frames and filters on both apps for users to try.


One of China’s most influential fashion bloggers, Gogoboi, serves as Fendi’s selfie role model to give participants a goal to reach. Gogoboi started out as a Weibo blogger, but now, he also has fashion content on WeChat, including his own store as the platform has grown into a critical tool for marketers and e-commerce.

There had been talk among China’s tech experts in recent years that Weibo was facing impending doom as WeChat grew to become a major player in the daily lives of everyday Chinese consumers, from being a payment mechanism to a platform to message friends. Weibo started out as a Twitter-like microblog in 2009 and grew to more than 300 million users before taking a tumble in 2014 after both the rise of WeChat and a series of censorship crackdowns (which, by 2015, prompted real-name registration on all Chinese social media sites). In 2014, only about 5% of Weibo’s users were generating almost all of their content.


Now, though, things are starting to look up again for the platform. Weibo appears to have carved out a unique space for itself in the long-form blogging and video sphere by removing its character limit for posts and partnering with video sharing app Miaopai. In the past year ending in September, Sina Weibo has seen its monthly average users grow 79%, according to big data service provider QuestMobile. Its growth rate is faster than WeChat and even Alibaba’s e-commerce giant Taobao.

Even since WeChat’s rise in 2014, marketers still never quite gave up on Weibo when it came to luxury brands, but their approach to the platform is often different. For starters, Weibo, unlike WeChat, doesn’t have limitations on how often you can post per day, according to Kim Leitzes, founder of KOL marketplace ParkLu. Sometimes even the content is different — Revolve head of Greater China Jessica Shen said they like to encourage their fans to post street-style photos of their favourite Revolve outfits to their Weibo accounts, and they curate the best ones for their page. Weibo, she said, gives them an opportunity to create an almost Pinterest-like page of images for their brand in a clean, minimalistic style that stands out among all the noise.

If Weibo continues to gain momentum, it’s highly likely more luxury brands will be turning to the platform to grow loyal followers, but in a way that complements their WeChat content. Fendi did this by adding a Whack-A-Mole-style “Catch Hypnoteyes” game to its WeChat content stream, where players could also browse the products, and download animated sticker versions of the bags to send to friends.

By Jessica Rapp @jrapppp

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

business e-commerce

Chinese luxury: Apps, social media, fashion focus and exchange rates are key


The Chinese luxury consumer is changing with a number of factors coming together to drive this, according to Bain & Company’s 2015 China Luxury Market Study.

Last year, Chinese consumers from the mainland continued to buy luxury products, but they bought them abroad as currency issues in places like Japan and Europe made travel very attractive.

They also went online big-time, showing a lot more comfort with, and trust in, overseas websites.

This resulted in a slowdown in China’s overall luxury market, which dipped 2% to CNY113bn (£12bn/€16bn/$24bn) last year, driven by a decline in watches, menswear and leathergoods.

Bain said that if luxury brands want to overcome the economic slump and reinvigorate consumer spending domestically, they need a more tailored, localised marketing strategy, with high fashion content and to adjust their pricing to reduce the massive price advantage that some markets have.

Happy travellers

Bain’s research, which included a survey of nearly 1,500 Chinese consumers, found a sizeable shift in shoppers’ geographic preferences for luxury shopping in 2015. Overall, overseas luxury purchases grew 10%, with consumers flocking to Japan, where their spending increased more than 200%. South Korea, Europe and Australia were also popular shopping destinations, due to favourable exchange rates and competitive pricing on luxury goods in these markets. At the same time, luxury spending of mainland Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau dropped by one-quarter.

Surging confidence

Chinese consumers are feeling much better about their place in the world and more confident as they travel around it. Bain’s report said that, as overseas travel among Chinese shoppers increased around 32% from 2014, consumer reliance on Daigou, or overseas personal shoppers who buy and send luxury goods to customers in China fell. Daigou was the growing channel choice in 2014, but fell to around a CNY43bn market last year.

Bain cites price adjustments by key brands that reduced Daigou margins, government efforts to tighten control over imports, a weakened Chinese currency, and an increased reliance on other purchase channels (ie cross-border websites and overseas websites), which accounted for CNY48bn of the CNY293bn (£31bn/€40bn/$45bn) luxury spend overseas. The report highlights the increasing popularity of cross-border and overseas websites as luxury shopping channels with nearly half of those surveyed saying they purchased luxury goods via these sites last year.

The digital challenge

The survey reveals that nearly 80% of respondents said they normally get information on luxury brands from the internet or apps, and a full 60% identified social media channels Weibo and WeChat as their online source for information on luxury goods. As a result, brands spend, on average, 35% of their marketing budget on digital, and it’s growing.

But that spending needs to be carefully focused and some luxury players are still lagging their peers online as three key reports, from KPMG, Contact Lab and L2, have shown in recent months.

Adapting to change

So, as sales drop within China, what are luxury retailers doing? Bain said it’s seeing a reduction of the store footprint of most brands, with a greater focus on fewer, larger and better located stores. Many brands realise that they need to regain their exclusive image, which has been somewhat blurred by over-expansion.

As in 2014, the research also shows the greater importance of fashion and exclusive designs to win domestically. Brands with a strong fashion heritage and stronger emphasis on original design did well in 2015.

And the future?

Looking ahead, Bain expects these and other 2015 trends to continue this year, prompting further challenges, opportunities and requirements for brands:

  • The macro environment is expected to remain similar while the rising middle class becomes more sophisticated and knowledgeable about luxury.
  • Overseas channels will stabilise (Daigou will decline).
  • Global pricing by leading brands and government efforts to localise consumption will spur domestic growth.
  • Global pricing will likely spread further to other brands.
  • Luxury brands should strengthen both digital platform-building (Weibo WeChat, apps) and digital content creation, with an emphasis on localisation to reflect local market preferences.
  • Luxury brands must place greater emphasis on making their brand “younger” and more fashionable to capture the next generation of on-trend customers. There will also be an increased focus on “exclusivity,” both in product design and store footprint.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

digital snippets film social media technology

Digital snippets: Beats by Dre, Alexander Wang, Apple, in-store tech, China social media

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


  • Did Beats by Dre just out-Nike Nike with this incredible World Cup ad? [AdWeek]
  • Alexander Wang and friends bring SNL’s Mango back in latest ad [GQ]
  • Apple’s newest ad says we’re ready for wearables, now [re/code]
  • In-store tech, sales driver or hype? [BoF]
  • Beyond Weibo and WeChat: four chinese social platforms with big luxury potential [Jing Daily]
  • Regent Street to deploy beacon technology in shops [The Telegraph]
  • Tanya Taylor partners with Instagram artist Kalen Hollomon on coolest lookbook ever [Fashionista]
  • Nike unveils world’s first-ever 3D-printed performance sports bag [WGSN Tumblr]
digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups

Digital snippets: The North Face, Instagram Direct, Target, Barneys, Harrods, Karmaloop

The big news over the past couple of weeks in the retail and fashion tech space was of course the concept of Amazon drones, but multiple other stories grabbed the headlines too. Here’s a highlight of the best ones…


  • IBM’s Watson explores the great e-commerce unknown with The North Face [AdAge]
  • What Instagram Direct means for fashion brands (as pictured) [Fashionista]
  • Barneys creates holiday .gif guide to appeal to younger consumers [Luxury Daily]
  • Harrods’ Christmas Weibo campaign engages London’s Chinese tourist influx [Jing Daily]
  • Karmaloop targets millennials with YouTube and Snapchat holiday plan [AdWeek]
  • Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’ gets the Dickens treatment for Christmas [AdAge]
  • Native advertising: the pros and cons [WWD]
  • Designing the next generation of wearables, with women in mind [Fast Company]
  • With 3-D printing, clothing that leaves out the sewing machine [NY Times]
  • Mallzee is a Tinder-esque shopping app that lets your friends play fashion police [TechCrunch]
  • Start-up Thread is building a scalable personal styling service, blending human stylists and intelligent algorithms [BoF]
  • Instagram is the ‘best platform for brands’ in 2013, beating out Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ [Venture Beat]
  • Retailers look to their best customers, not bloggers, as the new influencers [Fashionista]
  • Gap’s ad with Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia defaced with racist graffiti, drawing incredible response from company [Huffington Post]
digital snippets e-commerce film social media

Digital snippets: Facebook, 3D printing, Weibo, Topshop, Calvin Klein, Anthropologie

It’s likely to be a little quieter here over the space of the next week as I head to Austin, Texas, for this year’s SXSW. Meanwhile, therefore, here’s a quick round-up of some of the best fashion and digital stories from around the web these last few days:


  • Facebook redesigns news feed: what’s in it for brands [Inc]
  • Dita Von Teese debuts 3D-printed dress (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Dior, Prada, Marchesa, Elie Saab and Giorgio Armani top Sina Weibo’s most buzzed about brands from Oscars red carpet [WWD]
  • Topshop is fashion’s most social high street brand [The Wall Blog]
  • Calvin Klein launches Dark Obsession fragrance ad starring model Matthew Terry [The Cut]
  • Content marketing with Instagram: five lessons from Anthropologie [The Bureau]
  • Dove Canada’s Photoshop ‘hack’ reverts airbrushed, edited photos [Huffington Post]
  • Five brands that reaped rewards after adopting responsive design [Econsultancy]
  • One e-commerce winner, one loser; two lessons – Farfetch vs Luxup [Material World, FT]
film social media Uncategorized

Topshop targets Chinese consumers with New Year campaign film


Topshop is celebrating Chinese New Year with the launch of a short film that ties together its British brand and its growing international consumer base.

The Lanterns, as it’s called, sees two models captured in front of London’s Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, with Chinese lanterns floating above them. It is set to a cover of This Little Light of Mine by Berend Dubbe and Gwen Thomas, and ends with copy that wishes the viewer a prosperous New Year in both English and traditional Chinese characters.

“We wanted to create something fun that represented the spirit of the Topshop girl whilst capturing the energy of this special time of celebration and giving,” said Topshop’s CMO, Justin Cooke.

Importantly, the film was released on Topshop’s Chinese social media networks, including Weibo where it has over 10 million followers. It also launched on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

Topshop will open its first store in Hong Kong in May, but this film is as much about reaching Chinese consumers worldwide as it is within China itself. According to stats from Topshop, Chinese travellers took over 70 million trips abroad last year, and 150,000 headed to London.

Cooke said: “Not only do we have a huge following in Asia but there are also enormous numbers of Chinese tourists and Chinese communities based in cities all over the world – for example Los Angeles, where we open a store on February 14, we know that there is a very strong Chinese community there…  I think it’s really important as a global brand that we speak to and understand the things that really matter to them, this is a significant time of year and it’s also a very personal one where people get together and thank the people they love.”

Even the length of the film is culturally considerate. At 58 seconds it coincides with Chinese superstitions of numerology; five and eight are both lucky numbers, symbolising wealth and prosperity.

Topshop has also created limited edition lucky red gift cards and envelopes to note the Chinese tradition to gift ‘Lucky Money’ as a wish of prosperity. They are available in its flagship stores and online globally.

Topshop celebrates Chinese New Year with The Lanterns Topshop celebrates Chinese New Year with The LanternsTopshop celebrates  Chinese New Year with The Lanterns

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Neiman Marcus, YSL Beauté, Mercedes, Nike, Revlon

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


  • Neiman Marcus app syncs shoppers and sales staff [Mashable]
  • Yves Saint Laurent Beauté launches limited edition make-up palette on Facebook [Web&Luxe]
  • Joan Smalls stars in latest Mercedes fashion campaign (as above) [Telegraph]
  • Revlon charts new digital course [WWD]
  • Luring online shoppers offline [NY Times]
  • Comment: Luxury must become interactive to survive [Wired UK]
  • Fashion industry aims to corner the Chinese market with Weibo [Fashionista]
  • Four rules for luxury brand mobile marketing [Mashable]