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

ICYMI: Brand activism, Adidas on evolving dark social, the role of augmented reality this holiday


TOP STORIES
  • The thorny business of brand activism [BoF]
  • How Adidas is evolving dark social to stay ahead of the game [Marketing Week]
  • Target’s Christmas tree sales aided by augmented-reality feature [Bloomberg
TECHNOLOGY
  • DeepMind’s AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical ‘turning point’ for AI [Telegraph]
  • Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is about to launch drone deliveries in Finland [Technology Review]
  • Robot janitors are coming to mop floors at a Walmart near you [Bloomberg]
  • Athlete’s Foot announces new 3D tech [Retailbiz]
  • eBay will now authenticate luxury jewelry items [TechCrunch]
  • YNAP supports Hour of Code with fashion hackathon for London children [The Industry
  • 70% of consumers still want human interaction versus bots [Retail Dive]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • UN climate change chatbot makes saving the world personal [CNET]
  • Stella McCartney is on a quest to save you from the fashion industry [Wired]
  • Kering partners with Savory Institute for regenerative sourcing plan [WWD]
  • United Wardrobe launches program for brands to sell unsold stock [Fashion Network]
  • Why Chanel’s exotic skins ban is wrong [BoF]
  • Can transparency solve the consumer trust deficit? [BoF]
  • Stella McCartney, Burberry among fashion brands uniting against climate change [CNN]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Go cashierless stores are coming to airports [Venture Beat]
  • Alibaba signs agreement with Belgium for e-commerce trade hub [Fashion Network]
  • Why luxury shopping via WhatsApp, WeChat may be the future [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Under Armour is running a YouTube series on IGTV [Digiday]
  • Love Magazine bringing video issue to YouTube [WWD
  • Coty unveils Google Assistant tool for Clairol [WWD]
  • Swiss hotel chain offers a ‘social media sitter’ to handle your Instagram while you relax [TheNext Web]
PRODUCT
  • Marc Jacobs set to launch affordable ‘The Marc Jacobs’ line [FashionNetwork]
  • Heineken launches capsule collection with Union [FashionUnited]
BUSINESS
  • Just 20 fashion companies are making almost all of the industry’s profits [Quartz]
  • Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin to take leave of absence [TheGuardian]
  • Calvin Klein is facing the fact that it’s a jeans-and-undies company now[Quartzy]
  • L’Oréal launches VC fund [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Virgil Abloh on the power of being creative without limits [Dazed]
  • K-pop’s popularity is starting to shape fashion worldwide [Vox]
  • The $4 trillion reason so many companies are rebranding for wellness [Quartzy]

How are you thinking about 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
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
data e-commerce Editor's pick Podcast Retail

Yoox Net-a-Porter on nailing the basics of e-commerce

TheCurrent's Rachel Arthur and Yoox Net-a-Porter's Paolo Mascio recording TheCurrent Innovators podcast - e-commerce
TheCurrent Innovators: Paolo Mascio with Rachel Arthur

There’s little point in looking at all of the innovation surrounding e-commerce today, if you don’t first have the basics in place, Paolo Mascio president of online flagships at Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, explains on the most recent episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

“If you can’t get the fundamentals right, forget about artificial intelligence,” he says. “Really, execution is the key word. It’s very easy to mess up with your customers… A bad customer experience is even worse than not giving [them] an experience at all. It’s better not to open Russia or China if you can’t serve them in the proper way. Discontent spreads… which is setting the base for a failure in the future as well.”

Both Yoox and Net-a-Porter are businesses known for their innovative approaches to e-commerce – the former for supporting brands on running their own operations, and the latter for its first-rate customer experience. While together they’re focused on maintaining their market leading position, many of their partners and clients by comparison represent an industry still getting to grips with how to handle multichannel commerce.

Mascio references the shift to convenience, or of frictionless customer experiences in an omnichannel world, as the foundation of e-commerce expectations today. But it’s service, he says, that can be the key point of differentiation for brands – especially those in the luxury space – comparative to multi brand retailers.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Underneath that, what’s driving brand growth and loyalty today, is data, he notes. “Data is one of the fundamental things around which, not only our company, but the brands themselves are going to build their future.”

This is the big shift still taking place in luxury, he adds. “Most brands up to a few years ago thought they were all unique, now they’re all struggling to distinguish themselves in the digital space.”

“For decades the brands have built their success around their collections, around the designers’ names, and the designers’ abilities, around advertising, but they haven’t tracked down what the customer’s behavior was,” he explains, noting that today, it’s the customer that has the biggest voice.

Those who can understand their customer and use analytics to better serve them, are the ones who will win. On top of that, and only then, comes the next step forward, he explains. Personalization, for instance, is something Mascio is watching closely. Artificial intelligence (Yoox Net-a-Porter is working with IBM Watson), is going to be the facilitator that transforms how people shops for the very reason it enables the brand to manage customers on a one-to-one basis at scale, he says.

In terms of the user interface, another area he’s keeping an eye on, is that of voice technology. “I believe voice controlled systems [will] play quite a fundamental role in the future,” he says. “It will take time… but then there will be a need for a brand to evolve their interfaces, so that customers can use voice to search for products in a much easier way.”

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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
business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups technology

What you missed: Alibaba’s Singles’ Day record, ASOS try before you buy, unpaid Zara workers

Alibaba on its Singles' Day success, as posted on Twitter: "#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion - more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%."
Alibaba on its Singles’ Day success, as posted on Twitter: “#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion – more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%.”

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
  • Alibaba’s Singles’ Day goes global with record $25bn in sales [Bloomberg]
  • How Alibaba makes Singles’ Day appealing to luxury brands [Glossy]
  • Will the power of Singles’ Day ever truly capture the West? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba tests 60 futuristic pop-up stores across China for Singles’ Day [Digiday]
  • ASOS launches try before you buy service [TheIndustry]
  • The real story behind those desperate notes that Zara workers left in clothes [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Inside LVMH’s executive reshuffle [BoF]
  • Burberry operating profit jumps 24% in half, boosted by new Coty deal [WWD]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter Q3 sales jump 17.7% [Fashion United]
  • To reach consumers, Richemont’s new leaders need to embrace digital [BoF]
  • Laying out fashion’s new supply chain vision [CFDA]
  • One of fashion’s most prominent investors is someone you may never have heard of [TheFashionLaw]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ASOS launches virtual Gift Assistant on Facebook [TheIndustry]
  • Why Maybelline is winning at social media [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • The new marker of luxury is feel-good marketing [QZ]
  • For Nike, augmented reality is the perfect way to sell hyped sneakers [Engadget]
  • Gwen Stefani fronts Westfield’s Christmas campaign [Fashion Network]
  • Cue the reindeer: Kohl’s, Nordstrom launch holiday campaigns [MediaPost]
  • Fruit of the Loom goes totally 80s with comical freeze frame ads for sweatpants [AdWeek]
  • Fashion wakes up to podcasts [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Alibaba warehouse where fake goods go to die [Sixthtone]
  • You can now rent Ann Taylor clothes for a monthly fee [Today]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s app now lets you place items inside your home using AR [The Verge]
  • Apple said to be working on AR headset aimed for potential 2020 ship date [TechCrunch]
  • Zalando to open new tech hub in Lisbon [TheIndustry]

PRODUCT
  • Is mass customisation the future of footwear? [WSJ]
  • These 10 brands are killing it on the fabric innovation front [HighSnobiety]
  • Ford just made a trucker hat that uses technology to save truckers’ lives [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Glossier, Stitch Fix among most disruptive companies [RetailDive]
Categories
e-commerce mobile social media

Yoox Net-a-Porter Group tests notifications as one of Whatsapp’s first business partners

Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is testing Whatsapp's new business features
Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is testing Whatsapp’s new business features

Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is living up to its promise of Whatsapp as a key channel for customer service, teaming up with the messaging app as one of its first business partners.

The luxury e-commerce company has previously highlighted that its mobile shoppers place more than double the orders of desktop users, making it particularly clear why it would look to further engage them. It will work with Facebook-owned Whatsapp, which has over one billion daily users, to test various features, including enhanced notifications.

In a blogpost about the “conversational commerce” launch, Gabriele Tazzari, director of research and development at the group, said the personal shopping team has already been using Whatsapp to service the company’s highest value customers – its EIPs, or extremely important people. They have been experimenting with using existing functions like status updates to share pictures of new items and ultimately push towards transactions.

“To date we have made countless sales across Whatsapp, even selling a single item for over £80,000,” he explains, noting how shoppers have highlighted a preference for messaging rather than emails.

As part of the new test programme, the group has now integrated its Order Management System (OMS) with Whatsapp by using its new Enterprise solution. This allows the company to additionally use the messaging service as a notification system for order and shipping confirmations. It is doing so as a test with Yoox in Belgium initially, where it’s so far seen less than 3% of users ask to unsubscribe from the service.

“In the future, we hope to engage customers with our business via the app, giving every single user an immediate and personal service, whether it is an automated notification or real-time customer care or personal shopping services,” Tazzari adds.

Further features that Whatsapp is rolling out include verification badges, messages that can’t be deleted and different colour messages.

The news follows Facebook Messenger’s move into conversational commerce with the growth of its chatbot services. The likes of Everlane, Sephora, Burberry and more recently Levi’s, have been using it as both a content-sharing and customer service tool. Payments are also possible, hinting at what could be rolled out to Whatsapp down the line.

This story first appeared on Forbes

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media

Yoox Net-a-Porter is pushing Whatsapp as a sales channel

Yoox Net-a-Porter is exploring Whatsapp as a mobile sales channel (Image via Net-a-Porter #MFW street style)
Yoox Net-a-Porter is exploring Whatsapp as a mobile sales channel (Image via Net-a-Porter #MFW street style)

Luxury e-commerce group Yoox Net-a-Porter is working on an initiative that will allow customers to buy products directly through Facebook-owned messaging service, Whatsapp.

The company already sees its personal shoppers using the app to communicate with its most valuable clients, and its plan is to expand that usage, according to CEO Federico Marchetti.

Some 40% of its higher-margin in-season revenue comes from just 2% of its customers, which it calls its EIPs, or extremely important people, he explained to Bloomberg. The company also knows its mobile shoppers place more than double the orders of desktop users.

“We’ve made some of our biggest sales to EIPs by chatting to them through WhatsApp,” Marchetti said.

Whatsapp currently has a reported 1.2 billion monthly active users, up from over 700 million in January 2015. It’s one of the most popular messaging service worldwide, but being a closed network, has not been an easy one for brands to utilise.

While the likes of Vogue launched a short-lived group chat (or broadcasting service) on the app in 2016, most other instances, including a campaign from Agent Provocateur for the holiday season, have been focused on individual communications.

Vogue started a short-lived Whatsapp group chat in 2016
Vogue started a short-lived Whatsapp group chat in 2016

This sits alongside the likes of WeChat in China by comparison, where payments are already integrated and many users have their bank accounts linked to the service. Luxury brands in this space are still new to the idea of selling directly, with just a fraction of them offering it according to research firm L2, but there’s scope there for uptake.

At this point, YNAP says it is still testing its plans for Whatsapp and has no scheduled release date. Marchetti declined to give details on how payments might work on the platform, but stored client details might be the simplest method without a significant technology development. In other words, manually ringing up e-commerce via existing accounts as an option following the clienteling side of the private personal shopper conversations on the app.

There are also learnings already out there from other businesses. In the US, Nordstrom for instance launched a service called TextStyle that allowed customer to buy directly from sales associates via messaging, simply by replying “buy” and entering a unique code. The purchase is completed using the customer’s Nordstrom.com account information.

Meanwhile, we’ve also started to see the move to e-commerce within platforms like Facebook Messenger off the back of the growth of chatbot services. The likes of Everlane, Sephora, Burberry and others have been using it as both a content-sharing and customer service tool. Payments are also possible, hinting at what could be rolled out to Whatsapp down the line.

That said, Everlane recently announced it is pulling back from using the platform as a notification option, returning instead to email. When the partnership first started in 2015, CEO Michael Preysman said: “Over time we think this will become a way to not only build stronger relationships with customers, but to ultimately drive demand and new purchases.” It looks like that may not have happened, Recode reports.

Categories
business e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

Yoox Net-A-Porter: Mobile-only, seaplane deliveries and ‘EIPs’

Yoox Net-a-Porter seaplane
Net-a-Porter trialled same-day deliveries to the Hamptons by seaplane this summer

In an interview in the past few days, the CEO of the merged Yoox Net-A-Porter Group said: “One of my biggest objectives is to transform the company into a mobile-only company.”

While various news outlets jumped on that statement, it’s probably not quite as bold as it seems. Convincing luxury shoppers to permanently abandon a bells and whistles website for an app might be tough, however good that app might be. The Yoox app certainly isn’t good enough just yet, even though the Outnet one is pretty impressive.

Full-scale websites still have their place and will continue to do so but Federico Marchetti’s statement of intent does underline how important mobile has become at all levels of the market. Perhaps he should have said he wants YNaP to be a mobile-first e-tailer, rather than a mobile-only one.

For now, he told Associated Press, mobile accounts for less than half the firm’s total turnover but Marchetti expects sales via smartphones and tablets to be around 75% of sales (sales totalled €1.74bn last year) by the end of 2020. He also wants overall sales to rise 17-20% annually in that timescale.

To help his ambitions, the company is developing further apps, finally added text search to its Yoox app recently, as well as a television shopping app with Apple TV. We should see more of this kind of thing for the firm’s own brands, as well as the e-stores it runs for brands like Marni, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, when its London tech hub opens next year.

Of course, tech doesn’t have to mean apps. Marchetti told AP that the company has some other inventive ways of meeting its same-day delivery commitments. It introduced services like seaplanes to drop off rush orders to the Hamptons this summer, for instance. And less tech but equally welcome is the try-it-on-while-we wait courier service.

All of that is particularly aimed at the firm’s EIPs (that’s Extremely Important People). They may account for 2% of customers but they spend one-third of the cash that the business generates.

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

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: YNAP’s 2020 growth plans, synthetic spider silk, LVMH’s start-ups

Digital snippets - YNAP
Yoox Net-a-Porter Group

We’re back with another round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion, digital comms and technology news over the past week or so. Top of the agenda is an in-depth insight from Yoox Net-a-Porter Group on how it plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020, while there’s also highlights from LVMH’s start-up showcase in Paris, the role synthetic spider silk might play in the future, not to mention various views from the latest Snapchat campaigns…


  • How Yoox Net-a-Porter Group plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020 [Fashionista]

  • Synthetic spider silk could be the biggest technological advance in clothing since nylon [QZ]

  • LVMH is looking for start-ups to bring personalisation to its brands [Glossy]

  • Snapchat takes turn at couture [WWD]

  • Early reads on Snapchat lenses show success for Urban Decay and Benefit [WWD]

  • Kate Moss leads line-up of stars in new Calvin Klein campaign [The Industry]

  • Shiseido ups digital game with ‘Rouge Rouge Kiss Me’ [WWD]

  • Meet MikMak, the mobile shopping network that sells via video [WSJ]

  • Beauty and the bot: Artificial intelligence is the key to personalising aesthetic products [The Globe and Mail]

  • How software is reshaping fashion’s back end [BoF]

  • Pinterest for fashion brands: ‘It’s not there yet’ [Glossy]

  • Can new technologies thwart counterfeiters? [BoF]

  • Blippar sets ‘early 2017’ date to hit mass awareness as it tunes ad business for visual search [The Drum]
Categories
business e-commerce mobile

Yoox Net-a-Porter: Native apps, m-commerce and surging sales

Netaporter

How has the combined Yoox and Net-a-Porter online fashion giant been faring since the Italian and UK businesses linked-up? Pretty well actually with global growth in the double-digits and m-commerce sales growing fast – very fast.

OK, for three-quarters of the period covered, Yoox and NaP continued to operate separately (their ‘merger’ was announced in March and completed in early October) but if we pretend the business was one big happy family from January 1, the figures do look good.

The business released its sales figures for 2015 on Monday and we heard none of the complaints about unseasonably warm or cold weather denting sales. Instead, it saw a rise of a bigger-than-expected 31%. And in Q4, when the weather was particularly challenging and lots of fashion retailers suffered, the business still managed a sales rise of 27.8%.

Some of that was down to the weak euro that made its sales look better. But even with positive currency effects factored-out, the rise for the full-year was 21% to €1.7bn. While a lot of that was about Yoox selling goods at a discount, full-price sales were also key. Revenue at its online flagships (for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Marni) rose 19.2% for the year, and 20.8% in Q4.

And the company said it saw an “excellent performance” at the Net-a-porter and Mr Porter’s sites. In fact, last year’s ‘In-Season’ business line (ie NaP itself, Mr Porter, plus Yoox’s Thecorner and Shoescribe sites) saw pro-forma revenues of €893.3m, up just short of 37%.

What also characterised last year was the fact that more and more sales came via m-commerce as smartphone and tablet shopping made as much of an impact on luxury as it did on the mass-market. That’s a wake-up call for high-end brands still unconvinced by the smartphone shopping revolution.

Mobile accounted for as much as 40% of Yoox-NaP’s sales last year, boosted by native apps, which surged an astonishing 180%. It’ll be interesting to see what those percentages stand at this time next year.

Also important was the group’s expansion internationally with some markets being standout performers. While it grew in double-digits across the world, particularly impressive was the 37.3% UK rise, the 43.3% North American rise and the 36.9% Asia-Pacific rise.

The company had 27.1m average monthly unique visitors last year, up from 23.6m in 2014, and saw 7.1m orders, up from 5.8m. It had 2.5m active customers, up from 2.1m and the average order value was a healthy €352.

Some analysts doubt it will be able to maintain this level of growth – let’s face it, there has to be a slowdown at some point. Will 2016 be the year that happens? We know that luxury shoppers are worried about falling share prices and aren’t getting so much cash through from their oil wells, while aspirational shoppers are concerned about talk of a possible global recession.

But the Yoox arm of Yoox-NaP in particular has shown itself well able to grow in bad economic times as well as good. I’ll be interested to see whether it can make the NaP part of the business turn in healthy profits though. Whatever happens, it will definitely be an interesting year for this business.

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