omnichannel

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Heals Digital Discovery
Image source: CloudTags

British furniture retailer Heal’s has just revealed the results of a year-long near-field communication (NFC) trial in its London flagship. The tablet-oriented Digital Discoveries service was part of a wider mission to understand consumer behaviour across all its platforms, and help shoppers move between them smoothly.

Oliver White, director of e-commerce, said: “While Heal’s has been excellent at understanding its customers’ behaviours on its website, in-store has admittedly been a real blind spot. Given most customers prefer to view in-store before purchasing online, it was essential to create a more seamless integration between their physical and digital spaces.”

Visitors can scan RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on products via in-store tablets to unlock additional information such as where the product was made, availability and complementary items. Selections can be added to a wish list and emailed for future reference.

The project also boosts connections to related marketing thanks to its underlying partnership with British ‘remarketing’ specialists CloudTags. When consumers click any of the product URLs in the wish-list emails, CloudTags is then able to re-engage them via targeted display ads on other sites.

Within the first week, 20% of customers used a tablet, 30% emailed themselves a wish list and 75-80% opened a link. Collaborating with UK-based real-time marketing platform Fast Thinking resulted in a click-through rate of 11% – 16 times greater than a standard online-only remarketing ad campaign. This contributed to 30% greater spend compared to Heal’s average online customer.

Heal’s partnered with Google’s Nexus on the tablets and is currently installing the NFC technology across its five other UK locations in preparation for the Christmas shopping season.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

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“A recent note to investors by Cowen analysts includes a prediction that Amazon.com AMZN +0.66% will become the leading apparel retailer in the U.S. by 2017, topping Macy’s by a comfortable margin. Time will tell if the prediction is accurate, but it’s clear from Macy’s M +1.52% actions, including expansion of its same-day delivery service and other omnichannel initiatives, that the department store chain isn’t planning on just handing its crown to Amazon.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Macy's x Amazon
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“A year and a half ago, I interviewed Tadd Spering, CEO of New York City-based startup Stylinity. The headline: How Stylinity Is Turning Fashion Retail Into A Social Experience. The company remains true to its original mission. But today, bringing it to life is taking a different form.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Stylinity
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“House of Fraser [IRDX RHOF] is to open its first full-scale store for seven years in Northamptonshire, as part of a multichannel strategy to get closer to its customers.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - House of Fraser
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“Karen Millen [IRDX RKMI] is using technology to get a better view of its stock, no matter where it is. The fashion retailer is using Retail Assist’s omnichannel supply chain solution Merret to gain an omnichannel view of stock. That means it can fulfil orders through the most efficient and cost-effective channel.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Karen Millen
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“Shoppers around the world now expect omnichannel, multi-screen experiences from brands and retailers, with the average consumer using a total of five devices when making a purchase – a significant increase from the 2.8 devices reported in 2014.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Omnichannel Experience

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Two major trends stood out at this year’s South by Southwest, Engagement and Relevance and here’s the lowdown on how they will impact brands in 2015.

1 – Engagement, the new storytelling

More than ever, fashion at SXSW is in search of meaning. Style and lifestyle no longer suffice. Brands arise that operate from the belief that fashion is more than representation. The increasingly dominant generation of millennials does not only consist of customers, but also brings forward designers and marketeers, and they are developing a new breed of brands.

The same language

These new brands are associated with concepts such as sustainability, self-expression and mindfulness. Entirely in accordance with the worldview of millennials this is a natural belief that goes without saying. This engagement doesn’t need to be emphasised all the time.

Hidden message

Look at the luxury brand Maiyet, Founder and creative director Kristy Caylor seemingly effortlessly combines a distinct style with traditional elements, sustainable sourcing and collaboration with craftsmanship from countries like India, Indonesia and Kenya. “Buying a two thousand dollar handbag is always about self indulgence.” she says. “We don’t have to wave a flag on sustainability. Millennials are getting it.”

Agile consumer

The previous generation, Generation X, thinks in extremes and sees no credible middle ground between charity or sustainability on the one hand and commerciality on the other. The millennial is much more agile and expects brands to be very commercial and intrinsically socially engaged at the same time.

Less for more

In the wider market this movement of awareness is also visible. In the middle and high fashion segments in the US, a slight decrease in the sales numbers is being reported (1% was mentioned), but people actually spent more (reportedly 5%). Established luxury brands play into this by creating more understated designs and marketing. They are forced to go back to their roots of craftsmanship and eye for detail, conveying their real value much better. Think back to the decision of Louis Vuitton to largely ban the famous monogram from their products.

From the heart

Even mainstream brands are slowly moving along, take high street favourite H&M’s 7 commitments (such as care for fashion conscious customers and selecting and rewarding responsible partners) begin to be credible and contribute to the already strong reasons to buying at H&M.

Fair share

To be clear, we’re not talking about an assumed identity. This conviction comes from within. As the next example, take Cuyana [http://www.cuyana.com/], a young brand from San Francisco. Founder Karla Gallardo explains that their motto is ‘Fewer, better items’ and that they recently started the ‘Lean closet movement’. Customers who choose ‘lean shipping’ at checkout receive a reusable bag that they can fill up with items that they don’t wear so much anymore. The items are sent to non-profit partners who make sure that the garments are delivered to people who really need them. The philosophy of Cuyana is about awareness and promotes, as they call it, intentional buying.

SXSW featured many brands with a similar mindset, and who certainly made it clear only authenticity survives. Check out The Real Real, Stelle Audio, Red Bubble and Repack.

2 Creating relevance: right place, right time, the right message

Consumers in 2015 aren’t either click or brick. They’re all over the place. They wake up with their smartphone (60% of Americans pick up their phone literally as the first thing they do every day) and they go to bed with it. From their laptop, they ‘like’ one of your posts on Facebook, to their afternoon of shopping in town before crashing on their couch in the evening with their tablet (30%). And when they’re in your bricks & mortar store they order your products using their phone (over 10%!). Because: why would you go stand in a long line at the checkout if you can order online immediately?

Channel chaos?

The word loyalty is hardly known by consumers these days. Confidence boosts the urge to discover and everything is just a click away. Google provides extreme transparency that even the luxury brands have to cope with. Customers want to buy quickly, easily and where and when it suits them.

Targeted content

How do you deal with that as a brand? How do you attract attention? A frequently heard solution at SXSW is personalisation: providing targeted content in the right place at the right time. Relevance, panelists say, is the only way to stand out for your busy customers.

Who, what, where

Big Data – knowing what your customers do, where they are, what they want – was a hot topic during SXSW this year. Big names such as ASOS, Topshop, Birchbox, Lincoln, etc. use the term. But it’s not entirely clear what brands are just flirting with the concept, and who is seriously doing good business with it.

Emotional connection

But knowing what customers do, where they are, what they want is just the start.

The brands that stand out, offer more than this, using inspirational content to reach customers on a personal level and provide an experience (check out the launch of Lincoln in China).

2015 will see the death of the segregated channels. A sale is a sale. Everyone in your organization has to contribute to it, no matter where and how that sale is made. In 2020, 80 percent of the world’s population will own a smartphone that is always online. New marketing will be commonplace: Big Data will have become BD, Internet of Things will be known as IOT. We’ll go from ‘bricks and mortar’ to ‘bricks and mobile’. Offline retail? That will cease to exist.

 Guestpost by Louise Roose and Pieter Jongerius, Fabrique

sephora

French beauty retailer Sephora is gunning to become a forerunner in digital beauty retailing with the launch of an innovation lab and four new digital initiatives.

Billed as an incubation hub for the ideation, development and testing of new digital initiatives, the lab – based in a San Francisco warehouse – will also host a monthly internal Think Tank team, charged with grooming the next generation of Sephora digital leaders, and predicting the shopping landscape five years from now. Additionally, it will house ‘Idea Central’ – a programme that sources and delivers ideas from employees, regardless of rank or role.

To coincide with the launch, Sephora has also prepared a number of key digital initiatives:

  • Devised in collaboration with New York-based, cross-platform beauty app Map My Beauty, Pocket Contour is a virtual make-up artist application for contouring. The app identifies face shapes and provides a personalised, step-by-step guide on how to create a contoured look. The tool can be accessed via Sephora’s website (on mobiles) or the app.
  • In April 2015, it will launch its first augmented reality (AR) experience via its existing Sephora-to-Go mobile app for iPhones. Users will be able to unlock digital content – including interviews with beauty experts, product videos and product pages on Sephora.com – by hovering over the faces of nine beauty brand founders, including US-based Laura Mercier, which are featured in windows and in-store display cases.
  • Bluetooth beacons are to be rolled out in Sephora stores across the US, delivering personalised alerts to the mobile devices of customers who have opted in to the service (see Sales-Boosting Beacons for more on how this works). When shoppers are either in or close to a branch, they can be notified when new demonstrations or activities are happening in-store, and receive birthday alerts or loyalty programme updates.
  • Lastly, frequent shoppers can sign up for Flash, which grants two-day shipping on all online products ordered within the US. The service is free for Rouge Beauty Insider members (the top tier of Sephora’s three-tier loyalty rewards programme), or $10 per year for all non-members

Guest post Stylus.com by Alison Gough, EditorKatie Baron, Head of Retail

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“Stores and billboards that understand what you’re doing. TV sets with content targeted at you. Smart everything. These are just a few of the ways new technologies that have emerged or gained speed in 2014 could dramatically change how we buy and sell things.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Harvey Nichols Can I Be Any Clearer?
Image source: fastcocreate.com

With a week to go til’ the big day, retailers’ holiday campaigns are in full festive swing. Whether attracting new shoppers to cross a store’s threshold or keeping loyal brand-lovers engaged, ‘tis the season to go all out – and, when it comes to fashion retail, tech-focused omnichannel strategies are the best bet, for a happy holidays on both sides of the checkout.

Some of the best of the year’s campaigns are using social media and a dose of sarcasm to subvert tired Christmas tropes. With its ‘Could I be any clearer?’ campaign, London luxury retailer Harvey Nichols is allowing consumers to create personalized Christmas Cards detailing exactly what they want – including messages such as ‘Seasons Greetings…will be very awkward, if you don’t get me a pair of Charlotte Olympia silver sandals.’ Dubbed ‘the best way to get what you want this Christmas’, the campaign includes an app so users can create their own cards to print at home or share on their own social media channels.

Also celebrating a very tongue-in-cheek Christmas is British luxury stalwart Mulberry. Having built its social media strategy over the past few years – in part thanks to the exposure lent by frontwoman Cara Delevingne – the label has turned to a more traditional family set-up this year: one in which some upper-crust family members compete to give the best gift, and #WinChristmas. In a video in which a hot pink Mulberry handbag wins Christmas over a unicorn – cue screams of ‘Thanks, Grandma!’ – the British brand shows it can poke fun at its own prestige and clock up over a million hits in the process.

This Noel has also seen the very first Christmas campaign from Burberry – starring Romeo Beckham in a four-minute film entitled ‘From London with Love.’ Reminding the market that Burberry’s the one to beat when it comes to offline/online synchronicity, the old-school Hollywood inspired campaign was launched with a huge event at the label’s Regent street flagship store.

And, the winner of the battle of the luxury fashion Christmas campaign? We’ll have to wait until the numbers are in, come 2015.

Reported by Claire Healy

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