nordstrom

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - R29
Image source: R29

Using New York Fashion Week to push an agenda based on marrying culture, content and commerce, US lifestyle e-tailer Refinery 29 created a two-day wonderland of immersive installations in Brooklyn last week (September 11-12).

Dubbed 29 Rooms, the multisensory showcase consisted of 29 overtly Instagram-worthy rooms housed in a 50,000 sq ft waterfront warehouse. The site-specific art installations, virtual reality experiences, live performances and film screenings were the result of partnerships with artists, designers, brands and charity groups.

US chain Nordstrom Rack presented Fierce in Fiction – a door-mounted peep show featuring the surreal worlds of literary heroines Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Meanwhile, US accessories brand Fossil’s Calling All Curious explored the world of makers through a series of large, curiosity-inspiring keyholes that posed questions such as “Do you colour inside the lines?” alongside an invitation to fill in the drawing behind the door.

A handful of rooms aimed to “give women a voice to express themselves, to feel good in their own skin”, tackling topics from body positivity to politics. US women’s activewear retailer SIX:02 and German sportswear giant Puma’s industrial-looking room encouraged visitors to pledge to accomplish a new goal, recorded in text using stop-frame animation, and then projected into the room. The Vote Your Values room, meanwhile, featured mock voting booths where participants recorded short messages for the future US president about issues that were important to them.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

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“The woman coaxing the $13 billion fashion retailer to think small has a “Babes in Toyland” squeak, intermittently bleach-blond hair and the letters S-I-C-K tattooed across her knuckles.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Olivia Kim x Nordstrom
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“Warby Parker has made no secret of its intention to rapidly expand its retail network — that is, in a very specific way, through its own independently-operated stores. With the exception of a few indie boutiques like Imogene + Willie in Nashville and Art in the Age in Philly, Warby Parker has never sold a range of its eyewear through another national retailer, until now.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Warby parker x Nordstrom
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“Personal styling service Trunk Club first got its start by appealing to men who don’t like to shop by offering to ship hand-picked designer clothing to their homes for free. Then, customers only paid for those items they kept. Today, in the company’s first major announcement following its acquisition by Nordstrom last year, the service is expanding this same concept to women. The company is now debuting Trunk Club for Women, which will work much like the men’s service does.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Nordstrom x Trunk Club

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Liberty London Department Store

Image source: LDN Fashion

People only buy expensive things once they’ve done their research online, right? Well according to new findings from research and advisory firm the Luxury Institute, wealthy shoppers still want their shopping experience to be firmly ensconced in the physical world.

As reported by Bloomberg Business, a survey of 1,600 men and women who earn at least $150,000 a year found that the majority prefer to go to shops first, browse items up-close and in person, and receive expert advice from the salesperson. The report goes against the ‘Compare the Market’ myth pervading attitudes in luxury retail – something that has led to retail brands placing less importance on the customer service shoppers receive in-store.

One place where the customer is (still) always right, however, is the traditional department store. Here’s our rundown of the department stores whose forays into new retail technologies are designed to straddle the offline and online worlds with ease – and are championing the kind of multichannel models that will keep affluent shoppers in their ideal comfort zone

Liberty, London

Department stores don’t get much more traditional than the Tudor-style enclaves of Liberty. The store was set up in 1875 with just three dedicated staff and a focus on Eastern furnishings. But fast forward to 2015, and the company has been laying the foundations for an omni-channel strategy that it says is both “functional and fun”. Always careful not to alienate its core customer – who appreciates the in-store experience and the brand’s pared-back marketing compared to its competitors – Liberty has nevertheless launched new technologies in line with how people are really shopping.

A traditional loyalty scheme has gone mobile via the Tapestry app, which adds Instagram into the equation of the usual points and perks – you can browse your favourite brands, and save an item when you see something you like into your “Tapestry.” Then, you can see where it’s located in-store. Moreover, when you want to redeem your points, in-store sales associates will scan phones as well as the usual cards. The scheme allows Liberty’s core customer base to choose whether to sync their existing loyalty card with the app, while attracting new customers through its fun take on utility and bespoke perks.

El Corte Inglés, Spain & Portugal

Founded in 1940, Spanish retail powerhouse El Corte Inglés is Europe’s biggest department store group. It is also one of the most traditional, selling luxury designer clothing alongside electronics, furniture, books, cars, real estate and food. Rather than targeting the entire business, the company is using new retail technologies to optimise particular aspects. This month, for example, it announced it will be launching a mobile shopping platform in its Portuguese market with technology company Grability, following the launch in its home market of Spain last December. Focusing on grocery shopping, the app offers El Corte Inglés customers an intuitive mobile shopping experience that, according to the company, has resulted in marked enthusiasm for the new platform and boosted sales.

Nordstrom, USA

As Lauren Sherman wrote in her report on the Great American Department Store for Fashionista in April, “the role of department stores is changing, and only those willing to recognise the need to transform will survive”. In an era of struggle, some stores are faring better at moving on from mid-20th century models than others.

Nordstrom, based in Seattle, is spending big on technology, warehouses and acquiring businesses like e-commerce site Trunk Club. At the same time, however, it is putting its reputation for great customer service to good use in the age of e-commerce. It takes risks with brands rather than veering towards the conservative, and ex-Opening Ceremony hire Olivia Kim creates monthly shop-in-shops, dubbed Pop-in @ Nordstrom. Schemes like this show how Nordstrom is capitalising on a younger customer’s desire for newness offline, as well as online.

Reported by Claire Healy

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“Liberty is heading across the Atlantic this summer as the latest brand to partner with Nordstrom for the themed shop Pop-In at Nordstrom, WWD has learned.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Liberty x Nordstrom
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“Nordstrom’s stock price took a 3 percent hit on Thursday afternoon after it announced that its earnings for 2014 came in at $720 million, a sizable downgrade from the $734 million it brought in during 2013.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Nordstrom

Zara-App-

As e-commerce makes the shift to mobile, fashion retailers aren’t planning on getting left behind. Indeed, smartphone app use among retail consumers has far exceeded expectations, with app use in-store or on-the-go fast becoming the norm for the average shopper: according to Cisco’s fifth annual retail survey, 55% of shoppers said they will use a retailer’s app for or during a shop. Here’s our pick of the top apps combining convenience, hyper-relevance and a stylish look on the current mobile marketplace.

1~ Zara

The Spanish retailer recently came out at #1 in Push Technology’s review of high street retailers’ mobile apps for Drapers – scoring 70.5 out of 80 to beat H&M, Asos and a notably low-scoring Topshop. Why? The user experience is seriously easy-going, allowing you to add items to your basket without going through the bore of creating an account. What’s more, the app’s internal pathways are logical, simple and, best of all, fast. It seems that speed is key when it comes to high-street shopping on your mobile – nobody wants a clunky experience that gives you the kind of pause for thought that will take those shoes right out of your basket again. They don’t call it fast fashion for nothing, you know.

2~ Vestiaire Collective

We love Vestiaire Collective – the Parisian eBay for luxury pre-owned fashion, the website allows users to browse and buy designer items that will be authenticated and checked by in-house experts before arriving at your house. Even better than VC’s website, though, is their nifty app for iPhones, iPads and Android, which allows you to be alerted in real time by push notifications about items you’re following. What’s more, if you want to sell items on the platform instead of buying them, the in-app form for doing so is super intuitive and quick, allowing you to take photos of your item there and then.

3~ Nordstrom

Just this week across the pond, a consumer study by Market Force Information revealed that Nordstrom was consumers’ favourite fashion retailer for the third consecutive year. This could be down to their app, which boasts a high uptake rate and high ratings in the app store. Good-looking and easy to use, it lends itself to an omni-channel shopping experience: you can buy directly from the app to pick up in store, check item availability in a store close to you, or even scan pages of the printed catalogue to shop it directly from the app.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Beautiful Function Wearables Competition Finalists

Tomorrow, on November 18, the worlds of fashion, retail, and tech will join forces for the kick off of Decoded Fashion’s two-day New York Summit. Rebecca Minkoff, Nordstrom, Barneys, kate spade, Google, Style.com, and more will meet to discuss wearable tech challenges and the latest ideas around retail innovation.

One of the highlights of the summit will be the finals of the Beautiful Function wearables competition, which aims to identify the most consumer-friendly and beautiful wearable device launched this year. Five finalist startups, chosen because of the striking design and functionality of their wearable, will pitch live on stage to a panel of industry leaders on November 18. All finalists’ wearables cater to the U.S. market, are ready to market today and are currently available for pre-order. The winning team will be featured on Style.com.

The finalists are:

Cuff: Cuff serves as an alert system, with the ability to track your fitness and send notifications. The interchangeable modules, called CuffLincs, connect directly to an iPhone or Android application.

Jon Lou: The 314 handbag charges your smartphone and lights up to help you find your interior items. With powerful off-the-grid energy developed at MIT, you can keep an iPhone 6 charged for one month. Made in Italy.

Kovert Designs: Kovert’s modular collection of smart designer jewellery allows customers to insert the Altruis Stone into different ring, bracelet and necklace designs. Using their app, the user can set the smart stone to vibrate for particular notifications (filtered by key contact or keyword). Kovert will be announcing a small handful of collaboration collections with brands/designers in 2015.

Machina: A hoodie with speakers integrated into it. It allows its wearer to hear music without having to insert headphones into their ear. Music can be controlled via Bluetooth, using an iPhone, iPod or Android device.

Viawear: Tyia, Viawear’s smart bracelet, sends notifications using gentle vibrations and color. Tyia is designed to make things easier, richer, more beautiful and more focused, helping you connect with real life instead of just your digital one.

The competition judges are:

Myf Ryan, Marketing, Director UK & Europe, Westfield
Dirk Standen, Editor-in-Chief, Style.com
Olivia Kim, Director of Creative Projects, Nordstrom
Simon Collins, Dean, Parsons The New School for Design

“There is a lot of excitement, but also confusion about the possibilities for wearables and fashion today. During next week’s summit, we will reveal big players outside of everyone’s radar. We will discuss what matters in the immediate future and expose the technology that will help get us there,” said Liz Bacelar, founder and president of Decoded Fashion. “The Decoded Fashion Summit is about being ahead of the story, discarding pre-conceived notions and learning new possibilities emerging around the world.”

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

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“Nordstrom will pay $350 million to buy Trunk Club, the Chicago-based men’s online clothing and personal styling company, multiple sources familiar with the terms of the deal tell Re/code.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Trunk Club