John Lewis

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Image source: John Lewis FOUND

This week has seen some of the UK’s most traditional retail institutions throw their hats into the in-store technology ring. At 131-year-old retailer Jaeger, CIO Cathy McCabe promised a front-to-back IT revolution in stores – including kitting out staff with iPads to enable them to take payments from customers anywhere on the shop floor. Meanwhile in Birmingham, John Lewis will be trialling a new lifestyle store concept called Found. It will curate lifestyle collections across fashion, homeware and technology – aiming to bring a younger, more stylish audience into stores with a targeted lifestyle ‘edit’.

By making in-store technology their chosen driver for change, both retailers are clearly attempting to get beyond gimmicks in favour of bigger profits. But can the latest in-store tech really drive sales? This question (alongside many others) will be posed at our NYC Summit on 28-29 October, where a dedicated panel will debate how we can optimise in-store tech to create retail concepts of the future.

The matter of whether it can be a true revenue driver has been on many minds at bricks-and-mortar stores in the past year. The most famous investors in this space in the luxury fashion market have been big-name brands like Burberry, Kate Spade and Karl Lagerfeld. The latter, for instance, has deployed in-store tech in all its outlets, such as iPad minis integrated into display racks and fitting rooms equipped with fun photobooths – you can even add a Karl-inspired filter and share on social media.

Start-ups getting in on the action include Perch, an experiential media technology that makes physical displays more immersive – in other words, the display table becomes an interactive digital screen. According to Mary Beech, CMO at Kate Spade, there’s a higher sell-through for products on Perch tables. Other brands that have partnered with Perch include Levi’s, Nordstrom and Estee Lauder.

But there’s also evidence that certain customers feel overwhelmed by the presence of too much technology in their real-life shopping trips. While facial recognition tech could be employed to give individuals more age-appropriate beauty recommendations, for instance, 68% of UK shoppers would find that “creepy” (source: RichRelevance). But that’s no reason not to experiment. The future for more easily digestible in-store technology could lie in lifestyle concepts within larger retail institutions, such as John Lewis’s new Found space.

Retailers’ best bet may be to take cues from lifestyle e-tailers like Warby Parker and Bonobos – stores that, in their model for using technology to create a better fit and lower price for customers, have been huge e-commerce successes. Moreover, both brands have now been able to open physical spaces directly informed by the shopping patterns of a younger customer, rather than trying to anticipate their desires with a random selection of technology gimmicks. Either way, in-store technology is a space that’s bound to make for some trial-and-error success stories in the next year.

Book your ticket for the Decoded Fashion NYC Summit here.

Reported by Claire Healy


“John Lewis is to introduce a new fashion and lifestyle concept: ‘FOUND at John Lewis’. Set in a boutique shopping environment, the initiative will introduce new and niche contemporary brands to womenswear and bring together a curated edit of existing and new brands across womenswear, accessories, beauty, homeware and technology.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Found x John Lewis

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In the race to synthesise fashion retail and technology, the consumer can get forgotten in the fray. Retailers’ investment in technology can often feel gimmicky, whether you’re browsing the racks or clicking through a targeted advertisement. In one of Molly Young’s Critical Shopper columns for the New York Times, she visits Rebecca Minkoff’s SoHo store, with its vending machine wall interface – describing the chaos that could ensue when ordering a coffee. Brands should push the boundaries when it comes to implementing technologies, but they need to address consumer needs in a useful way. In this respect, Minkoff’s adjustable dressing room lights are what will bring shoppers back.

At our London Summit, you will find a panel on this very topic – how to achieve tech in retail that goes beyond the gimmicky, and actually addresses the consumer’s needs. In today’s fast-paced retail world, being able to pick the right technology for your brand is key to delivering amazing, and long-lasting, ROI. This can mean taking a gamble on technologies that are somewhat under the radar – after all, who would have predicted the rise of in person Click & Collect as a result of online shopping? It’s just one trend that asserts the importance of Bricks & Mortar that works in tandem with digital spaces. Our panel will address all this, as well as highlight a newer technologies that is likely to make waves in an increasing number of retail stores soon: beacons technology.

On hand to discuss these emerging technologies in the retail space will be four experts who have taken interesting approaches to how they’ve incorporated technology into their omnichannel strategy. From the traditional high street-turned-digital players, we will hear from River Island’s Doug Gardner and John Lewis’s John Vary. Harvey Nichols’ multi-Channel Director Sandrine Deveaux will also be revealing how she applied her tech background to turn a London-based department store steeped in tradition into a leading online fashion destination.

Catch the panel discussion on 20 May to discover how our experts believe fashion can get a grip on technology while keeping the consumer a priority – no gimmicks allowed.
Book your ticket for the London Summit here

Reported by Claire Healy


“John Lewis [IRDX RJLW] is opening outlets in department stores in the Philippines as part of a multichannel strategy to raise international awareness of its brand.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  John Lewis x Outlet


SXSW Interactive is almost here! In the run-up for the festival on March 13-17, it’s time to take a moment to sign up for our special events, featuring new hot startups as well as established brands. And most involve a cocktail or two.

Decoded Fashion hits SXSW this year with the goal to bring the tech networking experience back to face-to-face interaction. Our Mentorship Hub, supported by Simon and Swarovski, will bring together industry gamechangers and those just starting out in 10-minute mentorship meetings.

And if you meet 10 rising stars in the Fashion + Tech space, register to attend the event on Friday presenting the winners of Simon’s startup competition, followed by Decoded Fashion’s Networking Party. Our global #DFMeetup series lands in Austin to help you mingle with the biggest names in fashion & Tech.

Saturday is content day – with five sessions to pick from at the JW Marriott Hotel. We’ll start the day talking about disruption in brands with HFarm, one the largest startup incubators in Europe, John Lewis, a retailer innovating through R&D, hacks and startup collaboration and our own Liz Bacelar, creator of the world’s first fashion hackathon. Also, don’t miss the ‘Meet the New Retail Disruptors’ showcase at 2pm, discussing the most innovative tech in retail – what matters and what doesn’t.

After all that mingling you might be ready for a digital detox. On Sunday, March 15, the suited and booted guys over at menswear start-up Combatant Gentlemen will be around to show you their innovative design-to-delivery model firsthand – along with a complementary massage.

On Monday, March 16 at 2pm, Cortexica, an industry leader in image recognition and Visual Search Technology, will be on hand to demonstrate their algorithmic findSimilar™ technology – and explain why it’s set to change the future of shopping. To end the day on the more style-focussed end of the spectrum is globally feted jewellery designer Kendra Scott, will be showcasing her new jewellery collection on a living garden wall at 5pm.

Full details of Decoded Fashion’s SXSW activities can be found here.

Reported by Claire Healy

Image: SXSW 2014


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Not ones to leave room for misinterpretation, NRF’s Annual Expo and Convention earned the nickname “Retail’s BIG show” some years ago – and yes, it’s sprawling enough to be quite difficult to summarise in the space of an article. A leading flagship event in the industry, the four-day event took place in New York just last week. For those of us who couldn’t make it, here’s our rundown of the top emerging retail trends set to disrupt the in-store/on-line shopping experience in a big way in 2015.

Interactive mirrors

Intel’s interactive MemoMi MemoryMirror was an undoubted star of NRF. A digital mirror designed for changing rooms, it captures and augments the experience of trying on clothing: including 360-degree views, comparisons of what you’ve tried on so far and virtual garment changes. The omni-channel MemoryMirror is already in place at Neiman Marcus, where it has prompted increased customer loyalty and boosted sales. On the flip side, more interaction means more valuable information can be converted: turning the anonymous customer into a fully connected one. But don’t worry – we don’t think the mirror can tell whether you’re the most beautiful of all just yet.

The digital wallet

Will collaborations between big tech companies and retailers convince us to ditch our metal and plastic in 2015? Digital wallets – that is, payment methods that use any connected device such as your smartphone – are designed for two reasons: to allow consumers to shop not only more quickly, but (arguably) more securely. In-store, contactless payment terminals make transactions speedier, whilst at home it can also facilitate online shopping as it stores payment details. In a panel discussion dedicated to the subject, speakers agreed that making the transaction easier will inevitably win over customers – as those speaking were Maria Thomas (of SmartThings) and Lisa Gavales (CEO of Things Remembered), however, their vested interest in proclaiming the dawn of the digital wallet was pretty evident.

Crowdsourced clothes

Are customers the new designers? In the age of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, allowing customers input into the process of bringing a product to the point of sale could be the key to not only engaging customers, but also shaking up a manufacturing process that hasn’t caught up with the digital generation. One of NRF’s most popular talks was given by Jane Park, CEO of award winning website Julep: a beauty brand that uses crowdsourced feedback and technological innovation to produce and launch 300 new products each year. One case in point is the brand’s Plié Wand nail polish applicator, for which 6000 customers pledged $75,000 toward developing the product – and that’s within a mere 24 hours.

 Even faster delivery

The rise of click-and-collect has been one of the biggest success stories for retailers this season: take John Lewis, whose Click and Collect service overtook its home delivery and helped online sales grow 19% over the Christmas period. New delivery concepts were on the agenda at NRF, however – for example, VP of corporate strategy at Cole Haan Kyle Gallery spoke about the brand’s efforts in trying out new delivery innovations. Its partnership with Uber Rush – offering New Yorkers $10 same day delivery on online purchases in September – was immensely successful, with customers receiving their goods within the hour. Overall, NRF showed that the next step for faster delivery won’t be drones, but rather, somewhere in the middle. Wipro’s drone caught eyes at the Exhibition Hall, but its Wipro Sight System provides shelf space analysis in the warehouse space as opposed to delivering your new shoes to your front door.

Reported by: Claire Healy