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Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - ShopStyle Revamp
Image source: ShopStyle

Black Friday hysteria has well and truly arrived, with some discounts starting even earlier than expected. We’ve taken a look at how retailers are handling one of the biggest shopping events of the year, from tech-enhanced in-store experiences to websites that will help shoppers scope out the best deals.

ShopStyle creates new website

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday gain traction year after year, ShopStyle has devised a means of filtering through all the promotions so shoppers can find the best daily deals. The shopping comparison website has designed a site dedicated to holiday promotions. Updated daily by ShopStyle editors, the site collaborates with 1,400 fashion retailers aiming to present the “best of the best” deals to its users.

Pinterest users will probably spend more

On the brand’s business blog last week, Pinterest employee Liz Xiao revealed that two million people had already saved Black Friday and Cyber Monday-related pins, and there’s no doubt that that number has increased now that Black Friday week is in full swing. Xiao also added that, according to a November 2015 Civic Science survey: “Not only will Pinners shop more on Black Friday, they’ll also spend more than non-Pinners.” Pinterest users are generally willing to spend three times more on clothing and accessories than those who do not use the social-media-cum-scrapbook site.

In-store revamps ready for the customer onslaught

Over at Macy’s, an update to the department store’s Perry Ellis concession aims to change the way men shop for their clothes. The store has installed floating mirrors – fitted with proximity sensors that will, on cue, display interactive branded content – as well as LED hardware that will further promote Perry Ellis’s values. Phone-charging stations have also been installed for customer convenience – ideal for savvy shoppers who use mobile technology to improve their shopping experience. Meanwhile, Bloomingdale’s first-ever outlet store opened last weekend in New York, no doubt deliberately timed to tap one of the year’s biggest shopping periods. While the Bloomingdale’s Outlet has yet to release any information regarding its Black Friday offers, its discounts already offer a generous 25-75% off.

The discount backlash

In a similar vein to complaints about manic shopping on Boxing Day, Black Friday has received criticism due to the fact that it falls over the Thanksgiving weekend – the day after Thanksgiving itself – which, some argue, is a time for rest, relaxation and spending time with loved ones. While Macy’s will, for the third time, open its doors for Black Friday at dinner time this Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 26), other retailers are refusing to succumb to the pressure. For the first time, all of H&M’s US stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day to “allow [their] store teams to enjoy this time with their family and friends”. British retailer Jigsaw, meanwhile, has released a Black Friday Manifesto online, explaining that it will not be partaking in Black Friday, declaring: “Our products are reduced by nothing because they stand for something.”

Cyber Monday deals look promising

Those who don’t like the idea of venturing outside over the Thanksgiving weekend can still capitalise on retailers’ generosity by shopping online on Cyber Monday (November 30), or even before then. Amazon – whose Prime Day deals in June were more successful than last year’s Black Friday events – is a testament to the success of online shopping, and the company appears to be ahead of the pack, offering highly discounted deals every day between November 23 and 30. Other retailers are also luring online shoppers in with some lucrative deals, including Whistles, which is boasting 30% off all items throughout Cyber Monday.

Jason Goldberger, president of Target.com, has commented in a recent blog post that, despite it not being the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday sales “continue to climb”. He continued: “To today’s always-connected shoppers, who get served deals constantly via email, social and broadcast channels, events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday stand out even more because they know retailers are giving it their all – and that this one really counts.”

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Shoppable Content
Image source: odd pears

With Pinterest and Instagram set to roll out ‘buy’ buttons and shoppable video tech disrupting your YouTube transmissions, the question isn’t so much whether truly shoppable content is possible – it’s whether it’s a good choice for the future of your brand.

What’s the real conversion rate of this technology? While there’s convincing evidence of real ROI on certain shoppable content in use today, brands also need to consider whether consumers might want to keep their engagement with Pinterest and Instagram free from retail. At Decoded Fashion’s New York Summit, an expert panel will weigh in on the shoppable content debate – but for now, let’s take a look at the current state of play.

With fashionable consumers spending long periods of time browsing personally curated content on their Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr accounts, the reasons why brands would want to engage with those sites are obvious. The desire to make the world more shoppable has disrupted the world of video, with platforms like Wirewax allowing any brand to make interactive videos. No doubt attracted by an average click-through rate of 18.8%, Lacoste, Pepe Jeans and Coach are just some of the big names to have used the service. And if you’ve been dreaming of digitised wardrobes ever since Cher in Clueless got dressed for her school day, then you’ll appreciate the new trending smartphone tools for curated closet displays. Smartphone apps like Closetspace replace racks and hangers through geo-tagging and customised styling suggestions.

But there’s certainly a case against making anything shoppable just for the sake of it – by making it all about instant purchasing, you could risk reducing brand loyalty by putting off devotees. As a result, certain brands are pursuing an alternative kind of user engagement that taps into their tendency to browse for inspiration in a different way. After all, Pinterest and Instagram are about displaying a certain lifestyle that goes against the digital: vintage magazine scans, interiors inspiration and slow-cook recipes.

On Aesop’s website, for example, branded content doesn’t mean getting people to buy soap – instead, the company produces an online bi-monthly literary magazine, The Fabulist, which features fiction, non-fiction and interviews from emerging writers. It’s a tactic that takes a leaf out of Prada’s book: the brand’s global writing contest is in its third year, and its new Wes Anderson-designed café, Bar Luce, has been designed with Instagram suitability firmly in mind.

While shoppable content is here to stay, the world of branded content doesn’t need to end there. For some brands, conversion rates might be harder to track – but brand loyalty will stick like glue.

You can book your ticket to the NYC Summit here.

Reported by Claire Healy

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“Pinterest is about to get a boost with the hiring of Macintosh icon designer Susan Kare. Kare, 61, is joining the social network as a product design lead, where she will influence the way Pinterest looks — much in the same way she helped shape the original Macintosh software experience.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Pinterest x Susan Kare
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“Pinterest’s first partners for its developer platform, which began opening up in May this year, are starting to roll out — with Polyvore and If This Then That (IFTTT) being among the first.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Pinterest
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“You can finally make purchases directly on Pinterest, but going on a crazy shopping spree will be tougher than you think. The social network on Tuesday began rolling out Buyable Pins, essentially items for sale, to iOS users nearly one month after the feature was announced at a company event.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Pinterest x Buyable Pins
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“Looklist has raised a small seed round to build out its “inspiration engine” for fashion and hair. I know, I know, this sounds like a bunch of other fashion startups, not to mention one of the main reasons people use Pinterest. But founder and CEO Shaz Sedighzadeh said there’s really no good place to find curated images and search through through them based on factors like gender, temperature and length.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Foundry Group x Looklist
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“From the moment it launched five years ago, people have been using Pinterest to share things you can purchase. Today, the service is home to more than 50 billion pins, a figure that’s growing by 75% a year. But even though the social network was popular with shoppers from the start, you haven’t been able to actually buy stuff on Pinterest.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Pinterest
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“Pinterest is finally opening the doors for developers to access its information — a little bit, at least.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Pinterest
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“Pinterest launched a new “Pin It” button on Thursday that makes it faster for users to bookmark content across the Internet.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Pinterest

3017116-inline-s-3-getting-more-than-lucky

When you go to Eva Chen’s Instagram, you receive the usual riot of colour-coordinated #shoesies, brunches and CTAs to buy carefully arranged products that you’d expect from your favourite fashion bloggers. Except Eva Chen’s actually an editor-in-chief – heading up Lucky magazine for two years this June, the stylish editor and prolific social media poster has taken the magazine into a new era. The key shift, for many, is the introduction of Lucky Shops – the e-commerce platform that now forms part of the Lucky Group alongside the magazine. When the announcement was made last Autumn to spin off from Conde Nast and join forces with BeachMint for a heavy focus on e-commerce, trendwatchers were worried. With other traditional media companies having tried and failed at e-commerce, where does the marriage of commerce and publishing stand in 2015?

 

While independent magazine publishing ostensibly booms, those traditionally at the top find it hard to compete in the global market. Just last week, Nylon Media Inc. announced that it was shutting down the U.S. print edition of its men’s magazine, Nylon Guys. According to statistics from MediaFinder, 190 new magazines launched in the US and Canada in 2014, but magazine closures were also on the up – 43 more magazines closed this year than last, bringing the total to 99.

 

One answer to the fashion magazine industry’s woes that’s been floated most often has been e-commerce. But not everyone has been as lucky as Eva Chen and her team’s social media-driven adventures in e-commerce – although, as it should be remembered, Lucky Shops is still in its early days. Condé Nast has been accused of reacting too slowly to the shifting landscape in their own industry, leaving them trailing behind. But their own e-commerce efforts will ramp up this year. Franck Zayan (formerly e-commerce director at Galeries Lafayette) is heading up a dedicated division at the media powerhouse, which is set to finally start selling products to its readers this year. Bridging commerce and content is something e-commerce companies have been doing for years – Net-a-Porter and ASOS, with their dedicated magazines, are of course primary examples – and it looks like the magazine industry’s biggest player is finally catching up.

 

Bolstered by the notion that consumers want their online commerce to be content-driven, the drive for e-commerce in publishing continues apace. Just this week, Condé Nast owned Glamour announced that it will begin some kind of e-commerce initiative this year – beginning first in the US and UK before branching out to all its international markets. It will be interesting to see whether consumers respond in the way that the editors at the top are hoping – which means, for Eva Chen and others, turning an Instagram like, or a turn of a magazine page, into an online purchase or two.

Written by: Claire Healy

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