As most schoolchildren are told from a young age, A stands for Apple; April, on the other hand, surely stands for the Apple Watch. The industry’s most hotly-anticipated wearable has been preceded by months of speculation – could it sell as well as the iPad on its launch? Will it provide a natural fit for fashion editorials? Now, on the eve of its launch, keen industry-watchers are looking to Baselworld (the watch industry’s international trade fair) for possible rivals. There, a crop of new announcements are proving themselves worthy contenders to the smart watch throne – one which, as we should remind ourselves, Apple hasn’t ascended to quite yet.
Coming from the other side of the bridge where technology meets luxury fashion, TAG Heuer have announced their plans this week to release a smart watch by this Christmas. In a significant move against Apple’s projected domination, the first smart watch from the world-famous Swiss watch brand will run on Google’s Android operating system – on a processor, moreover, created by keen wearables power player Intel. You’ll have to wait to find out more, though. At the Baselworld conference, chief executive Jean-Claude Biver told the crowd, “We don’t want the competition to know what we are going to do.”
Never easily dismissed, the irrepressible musician-turned-technologist will.i.am also announced a new partnership at Baselworld. KERING-owned Gucci, which recently changed hands from the Gianninis to Alessandro Michele, will also bring its timepieces into a new era through a collaboration with willi.i.am’s range of wearables.
For those of you still convinced that Apple’s the only brand that will get you telling the time more smartly, there’s not long to wait: the official release date is slated for UK stores on 24 April, but you’ll be able to order from the 10th. But if Baselworld is anything to go by, the smartwatch marketplace is about to get very interesting.
Writer: Claire Healy
Set to hit Kings Cross on May 20-21, our annual London Summit will feature speakers from both the technology-first and fashion-first sides of the industry: including Google, Matchesfashion.com, Farfetch and John Lewis. One of the companies that has been most eager for two worlds to collide is Amazon Fashion, whose European VP Sergio Bucher will be speaking at the Summit. Ahead of his appearance, we thought we’d give you an update on the fastest growing and most fashionable arm of the WWW’s most famous e-commerce site: then, now, and what’s coming next.
It was back in the 2000s that Amazon started making inroads into the fashion industry – jewellery and watches were available from 2007, with clothing following the year afterwards. Trying to emulate the booming success of sites like ASOS and NET-A-PORTER, Amazon Fashion worked as a subset of the site where customers could buy a range of mid-level brands – such as Kate Spade, and denim brands like 7 for All Mankind – in a format that resembled the rest of the site.
In 2015, Amazon’s big push into high-end fashion is well on its way. In 2012, Jeff Bezos told critics that Amazon was ready to make a significant investment in attracting high-end couture brands, a statement backed up by president of Amazon Fashion, Cathy Beaudoin. Taking its cues from its own acquired and/or launched retail websites (MyHabit, endless, zappos and Shopbop are all Amazon-owned), the team are promising better presentation for luxury goods. Notably, the team’s patent-pending technology assures that items can be placed on site just hours after being shot. 2015’s figures are bound to impress: that’s a cool 40 million customers, 1000s of brands and 1000 employees for the fastest-growing category at Amazon.
“When we think of what’s next, we think of ourselves”, Cathy Beaudoin told WWD in 2013. With a clearly engaged customer base, who more than responding to the site’s ease-of-use, are remaining loyal to the marketplace, Amazon Fashion looks like one to beat in the next few years. In fact, whether the high-end fashion brands ever take the bait seems less important – for Amazon, creating a better e-commerce experience for customers is always the number 1 consideration. But, more than using data to offer shoppers convenience and speed, will Amazon Fashion ever become a desirable destination for serious fashionistas? Sure to offer insight on the site’s future is Vice President of Amazon Fashion EU Sergio Bucher, who will be speaking at our May Summit.
Book your ticket for the London Summit here.
Reported by Claire Healy
How can retailers decode a world of customer data in today’s marketplace? This is just one of the questions that our 2015 London Summit will be asking when it hits Kings Cross on May 20-21. Targeting consumers’ needs across a multitude of channels has evidently become an urgent issue for fashion retailers in the last year, but knowing how to actively engage users through a personalized experience is easier said than done.
One attendee who will hope to clear the mist around using data for customer insights is Kelly Kowal, Global Growth Director at Farfetch.com. The high-end fashion website has increasingly stood out from the crowd for its advanced strategy in digital marketing. In a year that has seen Farfetch internationally expand into other markets, the company has continually invested in new campaigns and new data collection methods in order to fuel its growth. Just last week, Farfetch was pronounced a rare fashion ‘unicorn’, after raising $86 Million in a Series E round – valuing the company at a whopping $1 Billion.
With a marketplace model allowing users to browse globally and shop locally, the Farfetch customer can buy fashion through an aggregated basket from more than 1000 boutiques. And, with each of these boutiques using the Farfetch software module, sophisticated multi-channel merchandising is in the bag. Furthering the omnichannel experience, Farfetch bridges offline and online worlds by allowing customers who visit the bricks and mortar boutiques to get the VIP experience, receiving personal treatment and localized offers. You can even click-and-collect, as of the end of last year. It’s clear that for Farfetch, e-tailing facilitates multichannel success – but how does data play into all this? Find out from Kelly Kowal on May 20.
Want to hear more from Farfetch and other winners in ecommerce strategy? Book your spot at our London Summit now.
Reported by Claire Healy
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
“The massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that took place in the first week of January was, unsurprisingly, dedicated in a big way to wearable tech.”
“Lenovo is the latest tech company to jump into the already saturated wearables market. The manufacturer has quietly added a new fitness wristband tracker, called the Lenovo Smartband, to its website.”