Still pursuing the holy grail of seamless, buy-when-inspiration-hits retailing, British fashion designer Henry Holland and financial technology innovation hub Visa Europe Collab have reprised their 2015 partnership for another direct-from-the-show retail experience – this time with UK augmented reality technologists Blippar.
Mobile payments were the hot topic of last year’s National Retail Federation Big Show. Although NFC was still a buzzword at this year’s event, other issues – like omni-channel retailing and the increased spending power of millennials – came into play. We’ve analysed some of the emerging trends.
So what kinds of technology can brands utilise to increase those sales? Online or offline, the trick is a melding of the digital and real world with no discernible difference – the customer’s journey is seamless at every point of contact (and, hopefully, every pay point). Shoppable videos, for example, are starting to gain traction as a more-than-viable way to convert browsers into shoppers. NY-based ‘touchable video’ specialists Cinematique reported an average 13% conversion rate earlier this year – a figure much higher than anything a banner ad could deliver. Wirewax’s taggable video work with Pepe Jeans, meanwhile, had 45% of users clicking an average of 3 times. The more brands engage with the technology, the more the tactic’s ROI can be proven – luxury brands like Gucci, who have already experimented in this area, might help kickstart the trend long-term.
Also bubbling under the digital strategies of fashion’s biggest players are augmented reality applications. Burberry was among the first to embrace AR back in 2011, celebrating its Beijing store opening with an AR catwalk show in which holographic models walked alongside real ones. But fast-forward to 2014, and branded phone apps are using layered realities to drive retail purchases in store. Plus, the universal cart – launched last year by London-based fashion site Lyst – is allowing users to buy luxury items all over the web, in one place. Spring, a new dedicated shopping app, also offers mobile users hundreds of brands at their fingertips.
Technologies like shoppable videos, in-store AR apps and universal carts work because they allow consumers to feel totally in charge of their own retail experience, all whilst increasing brand loyalty with their added ease and innovation. Our New York summit will play host to some of the industry’s most influential players in retail-oriented tech: speakers will include Alan Tisch, founder of Spring, along with a retail panel, headed up by Jared Schiffman (Perch Interactive) and Dan Garraway (Wirewax) focussing on the coolest tech – with the most tangible ROI – around.
Can’t wait that long? Our Milan summit is calling – a day dedicated to exploring the new possibilities of Omnichannel, on October 22nd.
Reported by Claire Healy
Technology is intrinsic to the sportswear sector - the use of innovative, lab-produced materials has been standard industry practice for many decades now. But things have moved on from workout leggings being more stretchy and sweat-resistant than ever before, sports fanatics are looking for more than this.
Sportswear brands need to use clever marketing to spark everyone’s attention. In the past it’s been through sponsoring events, launching guerrilla campaigns, entering into collaborations with designers or celebrities. Recently, they’ve also started incorporating technology into the design of their marketing strategies. Here are a few examples of how big sportswear brands have managed to use tech to stimulate media attention, add value to their product offering, and drive ‘brand love’ over the last month.
Reebok added a customisation program to its Union Square FitHub location. It’s called Local 1nk and it lets shoppers customise their merchandise purchases free of charge, using an innovative portable silkscreen printing device. Amidst its current crossfit craze, this is a cool way for Reebok to use technology (rather than bacon) to set itself apart from its’ competitors - whilst appealing to the masses.
Nike upped their ante with technology by introducing a vending machine that can only be operated with the Nike FuelBand. The so-called Nike+ FuelBox holds items such as socks and hats, and dispenses these when users plug in their FuelBand USB - if they’ve amassed enough points. It’s effectively allowing FuelBand users to turn their exercise units into a currency - a great incentive to use the FuelBand (or deterrent from buying one of the new fitness trackers out there) and a fun motivation to work out. Read more about the FuelBox here.
Then there’s Lacoste, who started dabbling in Augmented Reality for their spin-off brand LCST. In collaboration with Engine Creative, they created an AR app for in-store use that allows customers preview what a trainer would look like, without trying it on. It also lets users take a picture of the preview and share it on social media. Check it out here.
It was also interesting to see that Adidas lifted the restrictions they had placed on ecommerce distribution (read more about this here). The German sportswear brand has now joined competitors like Nike in being available for purchase over marketplace sites such as Amazon and eBay. They will enter into further direct competition with Nike when they launch their first wearable tech fitness accessory later this month. These steps may not be that innovative, but you gotta to start somewhere. We’re excited to see what the other big sportswear brands come up with in the future.
Reported by Anna Abrell
Augmented reality has many applications in the fashion industry, predominantly it has been used to create interactive shop windows or responsive mirrors in-store. Uniqlo, for instance, implemented their so-called ‘magic mirror’ in some stores to help customers choose the ideal colour for their garment. In luxury fashion, Hugo Boss created an augmented reality game for their shop window in London. The jewellery industry has also found practical uses for augmented reality. Boucheron, for instance, created MyBoucheron, which allows customers to preview what a piece of jewellery could look like on them using their webcam at home.
Last week we headed down to the Wearable Technology Show in London’s Olympia, where a multitude of new wearables were exhibiting, from UV activity monitors to responsive running jackets. Most of the gadgets that were on show, were versatile in terms of the applications they could be used for and the industries they could be used in. With some seeming to serve a recreational purpose, others had functionalities that could also be applied in retailing, healthcare and even military contexts. Here’s our top picks:
- Intelligent Headset, the world’s first 3D audio headset, made its debut along with it’s own Zombie game that requires players to ‘listen’ rather than ‘look out.’ This also has great applications for the educational sector and atmospheric marketing.
- ViewAR showcased apps that allow customers to navigate through virtual environments by means of gesture control – beyond gaming, this has some very interesting implications for retailing and branding.
- SnapWatch showcased their fun concept – a rigid steel band featuring a display that can snap around the wrist thanks to the flexible nature of its display. The modern comeback of the eighties Slap Bracelet!
- A piece of wearable tech that might serve to motivate sports enthusiasts to improve their running times is the Glofaster running jacket – it syncs with the wearer’s mobile phone and lights up as long as they are running above their minimal speed.
- A showcased product that is already on the market is the emotional jewellery by the British brand Kiroco Touch. Content in the form of images, videos or text can be stored on bracelets or necklaces and then unlocked when the jewellery gets into contact with a mobile phone. This won the award for ‘Best Innovation.’
Reported By Anna Abrell