Image source: Google
In 2015, the gap between social networks and e-commerce is narrowing. Not content with likes, retweets and pins, some of the biggest social media players announced trials of ‘Buy It’ and ‘Shop Now’ buttons as part of the architecture of their platforms this week. Aiming to monetise your clicks with more immediacy than ever, Pinterest and Instagram are the first social networking platforms to put their money where their mouths are. Over at Google, according to Mashable, senior vice-president Omid Kordeastani has confirmed plans to introduce a “buy” button sometime in the future. So why are all your favourite social media platforms so keen to get you shopping – and why now?
We might be on our phones 99.9% of the time, but luxury brands increasingly have to think outside the box to have any chance of getting past that iPhone lock screen. Making connections between mobile strategy and other aspects of a customer’s journey – in-store experiences, social media platforms, and dedicated websites – are essential for a successful omnichannel strategy, but also for telling the kinds of stories that drive loyalty to brands.
Like a leggy late 90s Naomi Campbell, the undeniable ‘super’ of digital innovation is 158-year old brand Burberry. Headed by Angela Ahrendts (until she was poached by Apple last year), Burberry has dominated mobile engagement since launching its mobile site in 2011. Today, a third of Burberry’s online business is achieved through a mobile device. So why is Burberry’s strategy so damn good? A mix of an all-out digital-focussed strategy, plus one or two creative social media driven campaigns a year – last year’s Burberry Kisses, in partnership with Google, allowed users to send a virtual kiss around the world using their smartphone. Mobile engagement dictated the redesigned flagship Regent Street store in 2012 – including mobile apps, iPads for staff members, QR codes, digital labels, beacons and mobile payments to enhance the store experience.
One brand that has only more recently turned to mobile to enrich the in-store experience is Kenzo, whose tangible popularity amongst millennials makes smartphone engagement essential. Kenzo recently launched their first mobile app, in conjunction with its pop-up at French department store Printemps’ Haussmann flagship. ‘Kenzo loves Printemps’ lets consumers browse through the exclusive pieces created for the store, as well as enter a contest to win exclusive prizes through an interactive game. By gamifying the shopping experience, the brand are creating real incentive to download the app – Klever Kenzo. Massimiliano Pipolo, head of Visual Identity at Kenzo, will be revealing some of his secrets at our Milan event this month (more on that later).
This doesn’t mean luxury brands should jump to create apps – without real incentive to download, some will just end up floundering in the app store. The key is to know when (and when not) an app will add value to cohesive omnichannel storytelling. Mobile apps are platform specific, making it difficult for your brand content to flow freely across the digital ecosystem. For brands who don’t need super sophisticated graphics or access to a user’s camera or mic, a dedicated mobile website – such as Ralph Laurens’ m.ralphlauren.com – might just make a lot more sense.
Our Milan event, taking place on 22nd October in partnership with e-Pitti.com, will take such innovations in omnichannel strategy as its starting point. With expert speakers such as Barbara Corti, Paul Van Zyl and Juliet Warkentin due to appear, the day will aim to address the possibilities for mobile strategy looking forward: everywhere, everywhen, everyhow.
Reported by Claire Healy
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
This week saw the launch of two pieces of wearable tech that we actually want to wear. The normal geek piece has gone from zero to hero in just a matter of days.
After touching down for all of 8 hrs after SXSW, we hopped on the Eurostar to continue our European Meetup tour! First stop Paris, with the support of our local host Celine Lippi, Co-Founder of Fashion Capital Partners. With a full house at the newly opened Le Numa, it was time to discuss the ins and outs of the ever growing omni-channel.
Kicking off with an opening keynote from Google's Pauline Butor who told us an astonishing five billion queries regarding fashion and beauty are made through Google every month! She went on to demonstrate the vast amount of Google tools available to fashion brands, that can help them gather data and create content. Talking us through last years hugely successful Topshop Fashion Week campaign, which used live hangouts to create another layer of content and a live view of a model’s runway walk.
Next both iVentures Consulting and DemandWare discussed how to improve customer experience, with the connection between both physical and digital stores. iVentures Consulting gave us a preview of their eShopper Index, which brands came up top digitally? The top 5 included Zalando, Zappos, Amazon, NET-A-PORTER and Gap.
Fusalp, Vilebrequin & l’Exception debated best practices; rethinking retail with smart shopping experiences, digital windows and customer touchpoints, with a gentle reminder that at the heart of all these tech innovations still remains the physical product and of course the consumer!
The evening closed with 3 startup pitches; Shop'n'Brag, a mobile shopping app that seems to do just about everything, with augmented reality features and deal finders rolled into one; HappyBeacon, allowing retailers to interact directly with the consumer through push notifications and our final startup Bodi.me, joining the fight against returns by letting the consumer try on clothes virtually.
For all the photos from the evening, head over here and Paris, we cannot wait to return in June!