Image source: www.businessdestinations.com/
Before setting up in New York and Milan in the autumn, Decoded Fashion is heading East – on 9 July, we will be partnering with Condé Nast Japan to host our first Tokyo Summit. Bringing together the biggest names in luxury, fashion and retail technology in Japan and from the UK and the US, the day will see brands, publishers and technology start-ups presenting their case for how fashion can engage with tomorrow’s consumer in a digital world.
With founders and execs from Google, the Business of Fashion, Farfetch and AllSaints due to attend, some of the industry’s most successful storytellers will be bringing key insights to Tokyo – but what about the home-grown talent in the city? In Tokyo, where investors have been cautious to get behind start-ups, the beginnings of a retail technology scene have been slow to get up and running. But the scene has gained serious momentum in 2015, with exciting trends from the technology world colliding with the needs of retailers and consumers alike.
Here’s our rundown of the top trends coming out of Japan right now – and, if you’re local, you can book tickets to the summit here.
Social Media as E-Commerce? Line Got There First
With news of Instagram and Pinterest’s plans to make their platforms shoppable hitting the radar this month, it might surprise you to know that a popular Japanese messaging app got there first.
Big in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and other Asian countries, Line’s initial launches were commerce-led pilots such as flash sales and a consumer-to-consumer standalone marketplace app, Line Mall. Last summer, Line Shop was launched – a standalone app that connects bricks-and-mortar and online brands with users. Earlier this year, the chat app even moved into delivering groceries in Southeast Asia, promoting various deals for the delivery of online-to-offline goods via the messaging app.
Tying the various shopping pilots together, Line Pay is the app’s payment service, allowing users to make payments via the chat app itself – spearheading the trend that companies like Facebook and Snapchat are now experimenting with.
Isetan Department Store is Embracing the Apple Watch
Alongside high-end, trendsetting stores Colette Paris and London’s Dover Street Market, Tokyo’s Isetan department store was among the first to sell the Apple Watch in April – further confirming the tech giant’s new edge when it comes to luxury strategy. Isetan has gone one step further by building a store specifically for the watch on the ground floor, nestled between Cartier and women’s high-fashion clothing.
Elsewhere in Japan, mobile carrier SoftBank will also sell the Apple Watch through its stores – but for the luxury gold editions, the trend-setting Isetan is the retail destination of choice. Catch Isetan’s president and CEO Hiroshi Onishi in conversation with Imran Ahmed (Business of Fashion) at the Tokyo Summit, where they will discuss the changing face of retail today.
M-Commerce has a Tokyo Trailblazer
New start-ups in Tokyo are beginning to disrupt the status quo on the retail scene, and one m-commerce company has recently hit the headlines for receiving the equivalent of $13.3m in series B funding.
Origami, which has attracted more than 800 retailers to its platform since launching in April 2013, pioneers an online-to-offline model that allows retailers to bridge the digital and physical spaces of their shops. The mobile app allows users to follow retailers, receive updates on new items and, ultimately, purchase products in-app or in-store.
With new investment from SoftBank Group, the app will utilise the parent company’s CouponGATE technology, allowing retailers to distribute vouchers for product vouchers or discounts via physical voucher-issuing machines. Catch founder Yoshiki C. Yasui at the Tokyo Summit.
Meet Pepper the Robot
Also making an appearance at the Tokyo Summit, Pepper the Robot is Japan’s latest robotic star – except this one can be yours for 198,00 yen, or around £1,000. Developed by Softbank, it completely sold out in under a minute when it went on sale over the weekend. Why is everyone so excited? Pepper can detect human emotions such as anger, joy and sadness – check out our 4ft-high attendee for yourself at the summit next month.
Reported by Claire Healy