In 2017, expect technology to cater to — and imitate — humans, as robots get smarter and customers expect personalized, on-demand service.The past year was one for retailers to kick the tires of emerging tech such as chatbots, virtual and augmented reality, mobile payments and drone deliveries; 2017 promises more implementation and, hopefully, monetization.“This year will be about how to generate a return on tech investments — not creating them, but understanding them,” said Kimiko Thornton, who as senior director of innovation at Westfield’s Bespoke, works with retail-tech start-ups in San Francisco.Thornton foresees fashion companies increasingly behaving like tech firms with rapid prototyping and live testing (often in the form of a pop-up store). One pop-up at Bespoke, for example, saw a 400 percent sales jump online after opening a physical location in Westfield San Francisco Centre, the home base of Bespoke.Similarly, RocksBox founder and chief executive officer Meaghan Rose said that retailers will increasingly act like tech companies like Google in that they will acquire other firms to stay relevant while focusing on the core business. She has found that tech, and data, are evolving in a way that allows businesses to truly listen to what the customer wants, and to personalize and target advertising accordingly. She also sees it allowing brands to facilitate a community network among customers.This is especially important when the customer’s inspiration moment takes place at home, said Lisa Bougie, who is chief merchandising officer at Stitch Fix, which, like RocksBox, shares its data with retail vendors and has developed in-house brands based off of in-depth customer feedback.Rati Sahi Levesque, who is chief merchant at The Real Real, said that Facebook data increasingly allows personalization and targeting of advertising, and that the company, like many e-commerce pure-plays, will increasingly experiment with physical retail offerings.On the personalization front, Robin Chan, cofounder and chief executive officer of “Uber for fashion” service Operator, said that tech such as chatbots that use artificial intelligence will enable brands to deliver customer service, rather than just transactions, to build loyalty. “AI and chatbots so far have just scratched the surface,” he said. “They should know what you buy and add on to that. I think we’ll see deeper things that build brand affinity."He is also predicting autonomous deliveries from companies such as Uber and Amazon, which has begun testing drone deliveries in the U.K. “The biggest cost of on-demand delivery is human capital,” Chan said.The purchase path has become more diversified. “Consumers crave omnichannel shopping experiences with little resistance across the digital and physical,” said Doug Baldasare, founder and chief executive officer of in-store charging station provider ChargeItSpot. He predicts that the option to buy online and pick up in-store will flourish, and that retailers will follow the lead of Amazon Go with self-service kiosks and other streamlined checkout options. In the short-term, however, he said that fragmentation in the mobile payment landscape will hinder the speed of adoption. “Banks, retailers and credit card companies are all trying to control the mobile payment experience,” Baldasare said.Finally, 2017 might be the year in which contextual commerce, which means selling at the point of inspiration on platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter, might finally take off.Brian Marvin, chief operating officer and cofounder of contextual commerce platform Bringhub, highlighted media outlets such as NBC Today and Buzzfeed that have connected editorial content to commerce, and Facebook’s partnership with Shopify, which gives users access to product catalogues and purchases within Facebook Messenger. “In 2017, traditional digital marketing will begin to merge more drastically with commerce, creating the opportunity for marketers to merchandise their products at the moment of discovery. As publishers, retailers and brands continue to invest more in contextual commerce, marketers will see an uptick in return on investment,” he said.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews