Tag Archives: trends

WGSN to host live Twitter Q&A on the future of shopping – send your questions to #askwgsn

9 Jun

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Trend forecaster WGSN might be best known for its design and product development work (seasonal colours, silhouettes, consumer insights and more), but it also analyses forward developments in retail strategy, digital marketing, merchandising and store design.

Sat under the umbrella of its market intelligence team, these are experts in their field on all things to do with the business side of the industry – note I’m shamelessly referring to myself in this category as WGSN is of course my employer. I’m a global senior editor on all things media and marketing related, by that I mean brand strategy, digital communications, in-store technology and more (of course in each instance always weighted towards how it pertains to the fashion and retail space).

But I also head up the social media content strategy for the company, overseeing our output across Twitter, Tumblr (award-winning!), Facebook, Instagram and Google+ (where you may have seen my mug hosting our business-focused monthly Hangouts).

To that end – I bring you the latest campaign, and urge you to get involved. On Tuesday, June 10 we will be hosting a live Twitter Q&A with Lorna Hall, head of the WGSN market intelligence team and resident retail expert. Hall brings with her a wealth of experience on exactly what is shifting the landscape and will be able to talk to absolutely anything to do with the future of shopping.

I’m talking legacy retailers and their moves to omnichannel; new focuses on innovation and integrating start-ups; big data, beacons and personalisation; search, shop and go, or the new paths to purchase re-engineering the ‘impulse buy’. Not to mention a bunch of other keywords and phrases like mobile, phy-gital, service, footfall drivers, experiential and more. You name it, Hall has the answer.

So please get stuck in, send us your thoughts using the hashtag #askwgsn – Hall will be online responding from 4pm GMT / 11am EST. The more you ask, the more we respond and the more content we regurgitate back out again. It’s a win win.

Digital snippets: Prada, John Lewis, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sephora, L’Oréal

1 Jun

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech:

pradasphere

  • Prada delves into visual past with Pradasphere microsite [Luxury Daily]
  • John Lewis picks iBeacons, smart-home Sonos rival, and 3D planning start-ups as final partners for JLab incubator scheme [The Drum]
  • You can now buy Comptoir des Cotonniers directly from ads on bus shelters in France [Fashionista]
  • The ROI: Sephora, Thismoment share results of Pinteresting beauty board launch [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal targets ads based on hair colour in online photos [AdAge]
  • ‘Vogue’ makes its Instagram shoppable with Liketoknow.it [Fashionista]
  • adidas promises to exclude consumers unless they opt ‘#allin’ to World Cup campaign [Marketing]
  • Visual search set to make world of imagery instantly shoppable [BoF]
  • Condé Nast drafts an internal ‘Magna Carta’ for native advertising [AdAge]
  • Lingerie brand turns to Snapchat for a voyeuristic, vanishing lookbook [PSFK]
  • Fruit of the Loom turns GIFs into Father’s Day gifts [AdWeek]
  • The power women who are reinventing the way you shop fashion online [Forbes]
  • Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights [Quartz]

Looking back at SXSW: wearables, privacy and avoiding bandwagons

14 Mar

This article first appeared on The Business of Fashion 

Rachel Arthur recaps the highlights of this year’s SXSW Interactive conference and identifies key takeaways for the fashion industry.

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AUSTIN, United States — The marketing and tech crowd hit Austin, Texas, once again this week for the annual SXSW Interactive conference, bringing with them more members of the fashion industry than ever before. There were representatives from long-time attendees like Burberry and Bergdorf Goodman, alongside a flurry of first timers from Parisian fashion houses and UK department stores alike, a sure sign of technology’s increasingly pervasive impact on fashion retail.

Thought of as an incubator for tech-enabled creativity which aims to provide a “view on the future,” the annual event is overloaded with keynotes, panel discussions and pop-up events, not to mention a trade show floor. But, as usual, much of the action also happened off-piste, in spontaneous conversations at hundreds of events and parties.

Here, we’ve compiled some key takeaways, on themes ranging from wearable technology to consumer privacy.

The State of Wearables

It was clear wearables — an emerging category of personal accessories with embedded sensors, displays and other digital technology (such as Nike’s FuelBand, Google Glass and Apple’s rumoured iWatch) — were going to be a key topic even before SXSW began. They’d dominated the scene at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas each January and over 60 sessions addressed the topic, up from a mere handful last year.

Speakers unanimously agreed that the category is advancing rapidly. American basketball star Shaquille O’Neal even made an appearance to discuss his new interest in wearable technology with Rick Valencia of Qualcomm. Yet despite predictions that the market for wearables could reach $30-$50 billion over the next 3 to 5 years, the growing consensus was that mass adoption was still a ways off. On Google Glass, Robert Scoble (author and startup liason officer of Rackspace) said: “This is one of those products you know is the future, but it’s so unfinished at this point that it’s frustrating. It’s three to five years away before it’s really useful.”

And indeed, it was the word ‘useful,’ more than design or aesthetics — which the current crop of wearables are widely thought to lack — that came up the most. Jennifer Darmour, user experience design director at Artefact, said she has a drawer full of wearables that she had worn for just a week or two each before abandoning them. There was too much focus on novelty, she said, rather than on creating real functional value. “We’ve been taking a technology and trying to find a problem for that technology, instead of the other way round,” she added. “We need a more human-centric approach.”

Q Manning, chief executive of app design company Rocksauce Studios, agreed: “We need to solve problems. Just because we can build it, doesn’t mean we should. We need to pinpoint will this actually be useful? Is it beneficial? Will it help me live my life better?”

Jay Morgan, digital creative director of Havas Worldwide, added: “When wearable tech becomes [part of our] normal clothes and we don’t have to [actively] interact with it, it’s not then going to be about whether people care about it, it’s just going to be a part of your life. That’s what brands need to think about it now.”

Managing Privacy

Privacy was another key topic at SXSW this year, perhaps unsurprisingly as whistleblower Edward Snowden gave one of the headline talks. Appearing via Google Hangout from an undisclosed location in Russia, Snowden called on the technology community to help protect privacy rights by building them into technical standards. “There is a policy response that needs to occur, but there is also a technical response that needs to occur,” he said. “It is the development community that can really craft the solutions and make sure we are safe.”

Christopher Soghoian, principle technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, added: “I really think that consumers need to rethink their relationship with many of the companies to whom they entrust their private data. I really think what this comes down to is if you are getting the service for free, the company isn’t going to be optimising your experience with your best interests in mind.”

While Soghoian was referring to Internet services like Facebook, the issue of consumer privacy should be of concern to retailers as well, as they increasingly collect and leverage personal data.

“The bottom line is data should not be collected without people’s knowledge and consent,” said Snowden. “If data is being clandestinely acquired and the public doesn’t have any way to review it and it is not legislatively authorised, it is not reviewed by courts, it is not consonant with our constitution — that is a problem.”

For others, the issue of privacy and personal data was seen in the context of a value exchange, with consumers increasingly willing to reveal information in return for benefit. “The more utility you get, the more you’re going to have to give away your privacy,” said Scoble, adding he’d happily do so himself in return for more useful and personalised experiences. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, agreed: “I’m excited about data being about me. The marketer gets a certain amount of value in the stats on my demographic, but the real value is for me.”

Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, said the way forward was giving consumers control of their data. “We are now developing technologies to give people control over who manages their data and how. We are ensuring privacy, so it will be very easy and very comfortable for them to give their data over and get something out of it.”

Avoiding Bandwagons

Elsewhere at SXSW, conversation swirled around everything from “embeddables” (technology emebedded in the world around us, such that “virtually any human activity we can think of is going to be modified and amplified with an invisible mesh of data and processing that we will drift through obliviously,” according to one panel) to bioengineering. But ultimately, “good technology is no excuse for a bad idea,” said Paul Kemp-Robertson, co-founder and editorial director of marketing consultancy and magazine, Contagious. “It’s easy to jump onto bandwagons just because a new technology looks cool. Everyone enjoys feeling like that little kid chasing after the bright, shiny tool in the distance. But in this age of service design and living data, if a marketing idea is not useful, relevant or entertaining, then really there’s very little point in letting it loose on the world.”

Kristina Simmons, a partner at leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, agreed. Wearable technology, for example, should not be a priority just because everyone is talking about it. “It needs to be something that makes sense for your business. It’s about thinking about your top five priorities, versus saying I want to do something with wearables.”

“Innovation isn’t just giant leaps and bounds and the sexy stuff — it’s also about the basics and thinking about how we do things better. Incremental changes can make a big difference too,” said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs.

“Being first has always been a big thing,” said Ben Malbon, Google’s head of creative partnerships. “But the future is here already. We should use the existing tools we have on the table. Innovation doesn’t need invention.”

Social media for fashion: top 10 trends

29 May

Keen to learn more on social media as it pertains to the fashion industry? I’m presenting a webinar tomorrow (Thursday, May 30) via WGSN that explores how leading brands in our industry are integrating multiple social media platforms into a cohesive marketing strategy.

Among the topics are:

• How are brands using storytelling to create engagement and connection?
• What role does film and video content play in a multiplatform marketing world?
• How are brands using data personalisation to deliver relevant content to the right audience in real time?
• How is crowdsourcing being used to co-create content?
• What’s the role of humour in marketing fashion brands?

Do tune in. It’s taking place at 5pm BST / 12pm EST. More details and sign-up here: http://bit.ly/17ZSLh9

The future of fashion weeks: do you have an opinion?

27 Mar

This is a bit of a different post to usual – a call for content if you will. Over the past two years, Fashion & Mash has grown to have readers from many fascinating parts of the industry – both in brand and in agency, all doing interesting things in their own right, but more importantly with a lot of things to say on this space.

Now, I’m looking for a bit of a view on where this industry’s seasonal fashion week shows can go – my very own crowdsourcing you could say. Does the old model still work? Does it need to change? How do we better align the communications and operations side of what our design houses and retailers do? As leaders in the digital field, you’re the rightly placed disruptors for these businesses – can you shake it up? Do you want to? Does it need it?

If you have any thoughts, on the record, or just as easily off (honestly), I would love to pick your brain. Let me know! Drop me an email anytime, whether it’s just with one sentence or two, or for a bigger conversation with a promised drink at the other end too. I have my own thoughts, and with recent discussions they’re rapidly evolving, but yours will really help fuel this fire…

Thank you!

Infographic: UK retail’s earned media mentions in February

22 Mar

Harvey Nichols proved one of the highest mentioned retailers in the UK during London Fashion Week thanks to its exclusive launch of the Victoria by Victoria Beckham collection, according to a new barometer released by Gorkana looking at earned media trends in February.

Topshop and Asos were also present, alongside the perhaps more surprising PC World and Curry’s; the result of a designer dress made from 500m of electric cables.

Overall, the lead retailer in both mainstream and social media mentions during the month, was Tesco, with 11,180 and 99,07 references respectively. Other grocery stores including Asda and Sainsbury’s also feature on both lists, an interesting comparison with the fashion industry, which saw mainstream media focusing more on department stores including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and House of Fraser, compared to social media’s reference to Asos, Topshop, Primark and H&M.

Other big subjects mentioned in February included Valentine’s, of course, as well as David Beckham for his new Bodywear line at H&M.

See the full infographic with all the stats below:

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