Saks Direct President Denise Incandela came from McKinsey & Co., where she consulted on Internet retailing, to launch Saks Fifth Avenue's Web store in 1999. The operation numbers about 400 people, including fulfillment and customer service. This year it will be Saks' second-largest store after the Fifth Avenue flagship. Here, Incandela talks about video, social media, the economy, and Saks' innovative multichannel campaign with Theory, which concluded Monday.
WWD: How is Saks using video online?
Denise Incandela: The editorial portion of our site in the last year has really changed the way people shop. Especially video. Ninety-nine percent of our customers are now on high bandwidth connections. So it's more like TV and it's much closer to the in-store experience. We've incorporated video into our trend coverage. One thing we're doing that we're really excited about is designer interviews. For example, we had an interview with Christian Louboutin up in December. It generated over half a million dollars in sales. Think of it as a store personal appearance, but in the store only so many people get to go. This concept is taking technology and using it to expand beyond what we could do in the store.
WWD: Video is a big piece of your campaign with Theory.
D.I.: We're doing a promotion with Theory that is a multichannel event, which is why it's so powerful. You tell us your point of view on fashion. The winner will win a $3,000 shopping spree. We held events in five stores last month in the Theory areas. People could make a video in the booths. About half of the entries so far were submitted through the stores. About half were submitted through our outside partner Brickfish. [Entries can be viewed at the Brickfish site.] We also used Facebook. You can send a link [an application that shows the user's favorite Theory outfit] in Facebook. It's viral, you can pass on the link. We also had Theory video in New York store windows.
WWD: What are the results so far?
D.I.: We absolutely saw a lift on the in-store piece. For us, it was also a question of how do we reach a customer segment we're not reaching today. There is social media out there that we think is cannibalizing our shoppers' time. We need to be involved. Our online customer tends to be 10 years younger than in the store. Shopping used to be a form of entertainment and now with social media there's competition for that form of entertainment. We don't see a lot of retailers partnering with social media companies or sites.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)