Exploring the critical nexus of fashion, retail and tech, Decoded Fashion’s 2017 NYC edition took place on November 1-2. It focused on the evolution of mobile engagement and commerce – “Mobile opens up a vast array of [issues] we can now solve that we never could before,” said Lucinda Newcomb, vice-president of digital product for Sephora – as well as the renewed value of a bricks-and-mortar presence.
We present the highlights.
- AI-Curated Displays Promote Mobile Discovery: Leah Anathan, chief marketing officer of global marketing personalisation firm Qubit, noted that “due to the limitations of the small screen, people are seeing and buying less” – creating a need to showcase only the most relevant content. Analysing 35 luxury fashion and beauty brands throughout 2016, Qubit found that while traffic to mobile and desktop sites was roughly equivalent, conversion rates and revenue per visitor were both more than double when people shopped via desktop. A new Qubit product uses artificial intelligence to tackle product discovery, customising what users see based on past purchases and real-time behaviour. Clicking a Qubit icon changes the UX, enabling shoppers to indicate products they like; the software then predicts preferences and surfaces subsequent products accordingly, effectively rendering it as a scrolling/discovery interface.
- Leveraging Instagram’s Latent Shoppers: “People are using our app to discover and get inspired, but ultimately converting on email and desktop,” said Aleksandra Chojnacka, director of business development and global strategy for ShopStyle – a massive, multi-brand fashion search engine. ShopStyle redirects shoppers back to brands’ e-commerce sites as well as hosting a network called Collective, where it partners fashion and beauty brands influencers (largely Instagram stars) to generate affiliate links. ShopStyle now enables Collective members to add a swipe-up feature on Instagram Stories that leads consumers to a product page where they can see details, make a purchase or generate an email for later review. This has driven a 350% increase in conversion for Instagram Stories. Chojnacka suggests that while people aren’t specifically on Instagram to shop, they are highly amenable to doing so while there.
- Personal & Personalised: Aiming to offer the type of buyer-seller relationship one might have with a boutique owner, US re-commerce fashion marketplace Poshmark has introduced a Dressing Room app feature – reaffirming tactics detailed in Concierge Commerce. Shoppers can request to link to a Seller Stylist, specifying sizing information and style preferences. The seller then feeds relevant stock into a virtual dressing room and offers styling advice. “Our focus is to not get lost in algorithms,” said co-founder Tracy Sun. “We see ourselves more like a dating app, connecting people to people.” For more on the booming re-sales market, see Pause & Pulsate, within our Liquid Retail Industry Trend. See also Brands Harnessing the Hype, part of Sneakerheads Unboxed.
- Digital Tech Applicable In-Store & In-App: This year French beauty retailer Sephora added an augmented reality feature called Virtual Artist to its app, allowing users to recreate the in-store hands-on experience by virtually testing make-up (see also Retail Tech: Future-Shaping Tools & Trends). The concept is emulated in the more recent installation of Virtual Artist screens in select Sephora stores.
- E-Brands’ Sales-Boosting, Insights-Aiding Physical Spaces: The trend for e-brands opening physical stores continues, presenting a key brand touchpoint and source of consumer insights. US luxury re-commerce company The RealReal launched its first permanent store this week in New York. Chief merchant Rati Levesque said pop-ups have driven sales: “People who bought four times a year online, that number doubled once they got engaged with the store.” The average selling price in-store is five times that online, and frequent re-merchandising has lured some shoppers several times a week. A multi-channel strategy is also key: “We know if you’ve obsessed over something – we can get you back in store to look at it in person,” said Levesque, referring to targeted follow-up email marketing.
Image Source: Poshmark