Last year, Badgley Mischka deployed the Runway Mobile App by SAP during its fashion show, which showcased product details and the model’s name, among other features. This season, the designer brand is using the technology again during its show on Wednesday. But this time, the app is equipped with an “order” and “preorder” function.
Here, Peter Akbar, global vice president and chief customer officer of fashion at SAP, discusses the technology and the ways it is changing how fashion show attendees interact with fashion designers and collections in a live setting.
WWD: How is the Runway by SAP app changing the fashion runway experience for retail buyers and influencers?
Peter Akbar: Runway by SAP is combining fashion and technology to revolutionize the industry, allowing fashion audiences, including retail buyers and influencers, to engage in real-time with collections as they debut down the runway.
For the buying team, the real-time feedback captured by Runway by SAP provides invaluable insights on the collection that can help them make smart and informed buying decisions and understand what items outperformed – or underperformed – during the runway show.
New functionality in this version of the app allows consumers to order and/or pre-order, allowing the designers to see both editorial favorites and what will likely end up being top sellers at retail four to six months from now, which are often different. The app is evolving to be more of a predictive business forecasting tool.
For influencers, not only does Runway by SAP provide a completely seamless experience allowing them to capture content and get detailed info on the runway looks, but they can actively participate and contribute to the feedback on the collection, sharing what they like, love, and even adding their favorite items to their wish list for future purchase.
WWD: With the app, consumers attending the show can also buy what they see. What are the benefits of “see-now-buy-now” and what makes it so appealing?
P.A.: Today’s consumer has higher and higher expectations when it comes to fashion and the speed at which items can go from the runway to their own wardrobe. Typically, looks from the runway require months of production before they are available in retail stores.
With the app, consumers are able to add specific looks to their “Wish List,” as well as have the ability to order and/or pre-order items directly through the app, depending on the season.
Not only is this an attractive feature for consumers to be able to purchase a look as it appears on the runway, as it speeds the time to purchase, but “see now, buy now” also provides valuable real-time data to the designers so they can have immediate insights on what looks are likely to be their biggest revenue drivers.
WWD: From a branding perspective, how does the app amp up a designer’s brand equity?
P.A.: Since the debut of the first edition of Runway by SAP at the Badgley Mischka show in February 2018, we have seen strong app engagement and downloads, and are expecting that to continue with this season’s show. In just the first week of the app’s debut at the start of 2018, the Fall 2019 collection was viewed thousands of times across 23 countries, providing a unique platform to extend the designer’s collection globally.
Since then, we’ve partnered with new designers, like Christian Siriano, to use the app around his February 2019 show. Plus, the addition of new features and inclusion of previous collections (Badgley Mischka fall 2019) only serves to increase engagement and encourage consumers to continue viewing designer collections, provide feedback on looks, purchase items now or later, and much more.