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“Facebook is making it easier for you to shop directly in Facebook. That way, you have one less reason to leave Facebook.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook x Shopify
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“Twitter doesn’t just want to be where you discuss the Kardashians’ latest sartorial choices. The social network would like to become the place where you make your sartorial choices.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Twitter x Shopify

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Is Fashion Ready For Bitcoin?
Image source: bitcoinvista.com

Cryptocurrencies are all the rage in tech news right now. The name on everyone’s lips is bitcoin, the only liquid cryptocurrency on the market. But in a recent article, Andrew Lee, co-founder of Amazon-based bitcoin marketplace Purse, voiced what’s on many peoples minds: “there’s this huge lack of consumer incentives [to use bitcoin]. […] Why use bitcoins if you have PayPal or if you have a credit card? It’s hard to imagine my mom getting excited about bitcoin.”

It’s true – there are more than a few factors that make the use of this cryptocurrency more complicated than your everyday currency: Its volatility, taxation issues, its legality in different countries, and the fact that it is not easy to convert large sums of money from bitcoin back to normal currency.

Unsurprisingly, the past two years have seen a surge in the popularity of startups that are attempting to make bitcoin more mainstream. Many online marketplaces, ecommerce platforms, etailers and retailers are now entering into partnerships with them.

Shopify, the ecommerce platform supplier of over 75’000 merchants, started accepting bitcoin via US-based payment processor startup Bitpay in late 2013. Paypal has also announced partnerships with BitPay, CoinBase and GoCoin. The startup Gyft lets its customers use bitcoin to buy gift cards from Victoria’s Secret, Aeropostale, Zappos and more, and those fortunate enough to know about it were able to buy tickets to the December Victorias Secret Fashion Show on BitPremier, a bitcoin marketplace for luxury items. Another startup named Bitfash enables customers to use bitcoin to buy items from fashion retailers such as ASOS, ZARA and Forever 21.

Who else is giving bitcoin a go?

Rakuten: Japan’s largest online retailer will reportedly start accepting bitcoin payments through the startup Bitnet, a bitcoin payment solutions platform specifically developed for large retailers.

Showroomprive: This Paris-based European retailer accepts bitcoin thanks to a partnership with the french payment processor startup Paymium (read about this here and here).

Overstock: The US-based retail giant that makes $1.3 billion in annual sales accepts bitcoin from over 100 countries since November, thanks to a partnership with bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase.

Reeds Jewelers: This retailer also accepts bitcoin payments in the US through a partnership with Coinbase. They report that their decision to do so has proven rather fruitful – transactions handled with bitcoin are on average significantly higher than the average order values.

As Dominic Frisby, co-founder of Queueco and author of Bitcoin: The Future of Money? told Decoded Fashion: “Now is the right time to be learning about the system. As for whether now is the right time to be investing significant amounts of investment capital in bitcoin, nobody knows the answer to that question for sure. Whether bitcoin itself succeeds or not is unknown, but the tech behind it will change the way the internet works. The benefits of bitcoin [for the average consumer]? Privacy, speed of transfer, economy of transfer.”

Benefits specific to the retail space include reduced processing costs, lower transaction rates and easy global transmission, but is the fashion industry ready to buy in?

Reported by Anna Abrell

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“Sachin & Babi has ventured into e-commerce with the relaunch of its Web site. Built with Shopify, the e-commerce platform launches with the brand’s fall collection and features a shoppable video in collaboration with Cinematique.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Sachin & Babi

Considering how much time we all spend on social media, it’s quite surprising that it’s our least favourite online channel to shop on. This might be to do with the fact that these channels are not fully optimised for in-site shopping -at least not yet. However, recently there’s been a flurry of news stories cropping up about imminent monetisation efforts of large social media channels – could this be the beginning of a social shopping era?

Google Plus found a remedy to this issue by offering shoppable Google Hangouts. This allowed Topman to make their January AW14 catwalk show shoppable (263 people watched), and ASOS to host a shoppable Nike Airmax hangout back in March (376 people watched). Yet the participation numbers are still relatively low, especially considering how large the customer base is for both Topman and ASOS.

Unlike Google Plus, Facebook do not offer a way of directly selling items via their platform – but we can expect this to change soon. Last week they announced that they will start offering merchants the option of adding a ‘buy’ button to their promotional newsfeed and page posts, meaning users can stay on the platform to make their purchases. Though the social media giant is currently not taking commissions on this, it could be expected that they may, particularly if the button becomes available for non-promotional posting.

Twitter seems to have gone to the greatest lengths in this space. They tested out ‘buy now’ buttons with the retailer Fancy (info about this here), and they launched an analytics services to help brands and retailers track the success of their promotional campaigns. Beyond this, they acquired the tablet and mobile retargeting startup TapCommerce, and are also to acquire the online payments startup CardSpring. Looks like they mean business!

Pinterest is still lagging somewhat, with their first step into shoppable social coming in the guise of a partnership with Shopify. All Shopify merchants can now pin ‘Rich Pins’ on to Pinterest, which syncs images and info on items to availability in the vendors’ store. It consequently makes shopping via Pinterest easier, and does other nifty things such as emails the person who ‘pinned’ a Rich Pin, if that item has been reduced in price.

Are social media channels finally cooking up a viable remedy to their monetisation issues, or are these acquisitions and partnerships merely a recipe for disaster? Only time will tell, once these technologies have been fully onboarded – but it sure looks like the process is on its way to being streamlined.

Reported by Anna Abrell

The broadcast tower at Alexanderplatz, Berlin

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