A monthly round up of retail industry news, insights and trends buzzing on my radar….ICYMI
1 Farfetch is changing the face of luxury digital retail
With not one or two, but three mega deals in the pipeline for this fashion month, not to mention the reported $5 billion IPO set for September, it was good timing for Farfetch to get all its ducks in a row and announce its phygital ‘augmented retail’ deals with Burberry, Chanel and Middle East luxury retail group Chalhoub. I was under the impression that Farfetch’s Store of the Future concept programme was aimed at multi-label designer boutiques, similar in size to its test boutique Browns East. However, the more I think about it, the less inclined I am to see the value in boutique-business deals. Of course, much smarter for Farfetch to scale up its global luxury brand targets – so handling the e-commerce operations, data-driven personalisation and 360 degree digital customer relations for the likes of Burberry, Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue Dubai, points towards a new era for luxury online shopping and Farfetch looks to be several steps ahead of competitors.
2 Mango digital fitting rooms
Mango has got the phygital retail memo. Starting this year at major flagship stores, the Spanish chain is rolling out a digital fitting room experience in collaboration with Vodafone. Mango’s chief client officer Guillermo Corominas says: ‘We see the future of retailing as a blend of the online and the offline. These new fitting rooms are another step in the digital transformation of our stores to create a whole new experience for our customers.’
3 Vetements moves in at Harrods
Taking over four windows at Harrods, Vetements gave some new fire to its ongoing conversation about the fashion industry’s problem of overproduction. Asking consumers to donate unwanted clothes that would form the window displays of mountains of clothes, CEO Guram Gvasalia told Vogue: ‘For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand.’ Both window display and donations continue until March 2nd.
4 Snapchat hypes Nike
Are we about to see a resurgence of interest in brands working with Snapchat? For exclusive e-commerce opportunities to be precise? During a Nike-hosted concert after a NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles, guests could use their Snapchat cameras to scan and shop the new Air Jordan III Tinker sneaker without leaving the platform. This seems like a clever move towards ‘hype-commerce’ for brands who want to offer exclusivity and limited edition sales via Snapchat and could, according to L2, help the social platfoerm reverse its waning popularity.
5 Glossier gets a(nother) cash injection
In retail terms, Glossier is the modern day, digital equivalent of Avon. Hailed as a beauty brand for networked millennials who are bored by perfection and want a product line that complements, rather than covers up, it is this connected community of customers as advocates that has added another layer of value for investors. Four years since its launch, Glossier is still buzzing on the beauty start-up industry radar and has just secured its latest round of investment – a cool $52 million, (total to date is $86m) for its founder, Emily Weiss to spend on making more ‘meaningful connections’ direct to its customers, says Forbes. This is shaping up to be the e-commerce business model of the decade and it’s largely down to the brand’s army of Glossier Girls – reps who receive advance notice of new products and are often asked to participate in feedback sessions, or host their own community events as well as talk about Glossier’s new products on their social media channels – who as a community, are a huge theme for today’s top new brands says Lean Luxe.
6 L’Occitane merges beauty with gastronomy
I love a touch of convergent retail and L’Occitane’s new flagship store on Regent Street combines luxurious skincare rituals, floating botanical decorations, a wellness spa and a treat-inducing café in collaboration with French macaron king Pierre Hermé. As Wallpaper notes, the store design is the work of UK- and Amsterdam-based design firm Futurebrand UXUS. George Gottl, the co-founder, set about ‘creating a contemporary Provençal landscape in the middle of London’.
7 A Muji Life hometail space pops up
Like Ikea and John Lewis before it, Muji has started to experiment with hometail retail environments. A couple of weeks ago the Japanese retailer opened its first pop-up ‘apartment’ – a miniature store completely furnished with Muji’s range of products. For three days only, visitors could browse the utilitarian-style bedroom furniture and bedlinen as well as shop for the new season fashion collections. There was also a fully operational kitchen, showcasing the brands new snacks and hot foods. Muji scored extra points for the series of digital events in-store (organisation/mindfulness/sleep/skincare workshops and the one I liked, an Instagram flat-lay styling class) firmly targeting the Insta-interiors and home decor crowd. As property consulting firm JLL puts it, Muji is taking one step closer to blurring the lines between retail and hospitality, and this trend is moving from Asia to Europe.