Decoded Fashion Event Explores Technology’s Role in Fashion Retailing

Decoded Fashion’s inaugural London salon launched recently to a full house, with both the retail and digital industries present to watch a line-up of global pioneers – including Facebook, Google, Topshop and ASOS – discuss the blurring of fashion and technology. We heard how mobile shopping will have a huge impact on fashion-related holiday shopping, customers want more opportunities to purchase online, and some widely held assumptions used in social media marketing are flawed.

Think of your typical social media user and we immediately imagine a younger demographic: Generation Z or the Millennial perhaps? Not necessarily. Facebook’s Director of Retail Fashion & Luxury Partnerships, Tracy Yaverbaun, revealed that a larger than average proportion of high-net-worth individuals are using the social networking site disproportionately. That makes Facebook an underappreciated tool for reaching the affluent luxury consumer. With successful digital campaigns already launched by Cartier and Tiffany, Facebook will reveal further findings in a full report on the topic released on November 20.

Similarly, with an average consumer age of is 45 and a spend per purchase of £1,300, luxury online retailer Moda Operandi initially dismissed social media as an inappropriate platform for the brand. It quickly had to rethink its digital strategy to form a stronger focus on social after customers questioned their lack of engagement.

One of the most insightful statistics of the day divulged that despite social media being a tool for sharing and connecting, roughly 80% of all online conversations only happen among five or fewer friends. That makes a brand’s entrance into these digital cliques a privacy minefield. ASOS successfully exploited this trend when launching its first online sale exclusive to Facebook fans, the catch being that the more friends a fan invited to the sale, the earlier they received access.

Commerce and content

If you’re going to work hard to engage with your consumer online then you’d better make sure that this includes an opportunity to purchase. Viewers now expect and often demand for online content to be shoppable, as seen by avant-garde magazine dealt with increasing requests on where to purchase products featured on its diary blog by adding an affiliate scheme partnering with brands to allow readers to purchase featured products through the on-site Purple Boutique.

This is also increasingly being expected of video content, premium menswear brand oki-ni famously made its lookbook film “The Game” a commercial success with the introduction of taggable clothing, allowing viewers to click-through to purchase. Every item featured in the video sold out, earning the brand £20,000 in the first two weeks alone.

Interestingly ASOS’s editorial director succinctly brought to light the changing approach to branded content when he disclosed that it costs the brand 5p to deliver an app compared to a 70p per physical printed catalogue magazine.

Bricks and mobile

There’s no shortage of scaremongering when it comes to the demise of the retail store due to online shopping. However eBay’s head of retail Martijn Bertisen countered fears when revealing predictions that 40% of fashion-related online searches this Christmas will be mobile and a further 40% will have relevance to local area.

With more than 40% of in-store transactions now being influenced by mobile search. Angel Gambino, Head of Digital at Westfield, explained how simple measures such as the implementation of free phone charging stations at shopping malls could make a big difference toward easing the customers’ search. Multichannel retailing is a huge opportunity for the physical store and mobile should be considered an essential part of the shopper journey.

 Gemma T Ball researches and writes about design, culture and consumer trends.

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