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.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion