Technology that already exists in stores can generate data to ultimately boost the bottom line.
Steve Russell, chief executive officer and founder of Prism Skylabs, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in understanding and optimizing offline commerce, said companies that are open to using technology can “create a better experience for customers.” He pointed to three “interesting” technologies that fit that bill: computer vision, computational imaging and data visualization.
The first, computer vision, teaches computers to “see, and mind the store in ways you can’t,” Russell said. Computational imaging is a process to “make pretty photographs of stores that combine imagery and data,” and data visualization allows a retailer to extract “interesting and relevant insights and tidbits of data in a form that us mere mortals can understand.”
He said using video is a no-brainer because there are cameras “virtually everywhere” around the county. “On YouTube, we make a big deal out of the fact that people are globally uploading 100 hours of video a minute. But a single retailer like Wal-Mart blows that away by uploading 30,000 hours of video every minute. Across the entire retail industry, over 2 million hours of video are being recorded, but the cameras are being primarily used for security. Yet, hidden within that video is valuable information such as how many people are walking into your store, the areas they go to, how long they spend there, what products they interact with.”
Such “fertile evolution of analytics” can also be used on conversion reports, to determine staffing levels, etc.
Turning to computational imaging, Russell said people use it every day when they hit the HDR key on their iPhones or apply an Instagram filter to photos they shoot to “create a better image than the original.” Similarly, the video cameras that capture images may not be that good, but computational imaging can turn these grainy surveillance images into high-res, well-composed photos to use for visual merchandising, audits and other purposes, he said.
He cautioned retailers that they should also employ privacy protection so as not to open themselves up to issues down the road.
Finally, data visualization allows a computer to “generate a course map to determine where people walk when they come in” and the “dominant paths they take.” It can also create a “heat map to see where people are standing in the store and what product they’re interacting with.” Knowing where the “hot zones” are can help retailers with merchandising and store design. These decisions, which traditionally have been “based on gut,” can now be “more data-driven.”
Overall, using these technologies for commercial applications “can really help retailers drive the bottom line,” he said. Russell urged stores to turn their cameras into “sensors that can begin to create data,” and use “computational imaging to bridge the gaps between people who are making decisions about stores but can’t always be in stores, and data visualization to take complicated data and bundle it in a way that is simple and easy enough to use to push down into the field.”
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)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion