FashTech Digest


5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

1. Apple Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts on Turning Stores Into Town Squares

“The store is now the biggest product we produce,” said Ahrendts.

Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts has spent the past two years revamping the technology company’s retail stores, where it sells iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Watches. That’s no small business—there are nearly 500 Apple stores worldwide, and retail sales are responsible for some 18% of the company’s $233.7 billion in sales, amounting to $42 billion in yearly revenue.

But Ahrendts views the company’s newly redesigned retail outlets not just as stores, but as the company’s next big products, she explained at the Fortune Most Powerful Women conference in Laguna Niguel on Monday night, in her first public interview about Apple’s retail redesign. In fact, she and Apple view their stores as potential town squares within each of the cities they reside.

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2. Why Chat May Be King of The New Mobile Landscape

Like tens of millions of teens across the world, 15-year-old Emma rarely surfs the web or tries out new apps. Instead, she conducts her digital life through a collection of social apps, from Facebook to iMessage to Instagram to Snapchat. On all of them, she’s messaging. "There are always messages for me to check," she says. And though she picks up her phone every 15 minutes or so, her friends still complain that she’s slow to respond. We are all becoming like Emma that way: Recent studies show that Americans use their phones to message far more than anything else. Increasingly, companies eager for our attention online have to be part of these conversations. And increasingly, they’re doing it through chatbots.

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3. Charlotte Tilbury's New Virtual 'Magic Mirror' Serves As Active Make-Up Selling Tool

In just three short years, Charlotte Tilbury make-up has become somewhat of an obsession among its fans. Heralded by the celebrities and models the namesake artist has long worked with herself, it’s transposed into the consumer market at a rapid rate, popping up with counters all around the world and a second standalone store opening in Westfield London this week.

Core to the offering from a marketing perspective is a strong digital presence anchored by beauty tutorials, an eagerness to experiment with new technologies, like virtual reality for its Kate Moss-endorsed fragrance launch for instance, and a true sense of experience in the stores themselves.

Shoppers can book makeover sessions to recreate one of the 10 signature looks Tilbury products are built around – from Bombshell to Dolce Vita. Each takes around 45 minutes, and unsurprisingly, serve as an opportunity to sell the items being used, either as a package or individually.

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4. The Problem With Fashion Awards

Last spring, the British Fashion Council unveiled what it described as a plan for The Fashion Awards (actually, it called the event “the Met Gala meets the Academy Awards”): a glammier, glitzier, more global version of ye olde national industry prize fest.

In case anyone was wondering exactly what that meant, on Tuesday the council took its show on the road — to Los Angeles, with a simultaneous screening in London — to announce a shortlist of nominees for the prize, to be awarded on Dec. 5. Karlie Kloss, the American model and Swarovski ambassador, was on hand for the event with Natalie Massenet, the British Fashion Council chairwoman, and Caroline Rush, its chief executive.

So far, so international. So celeb-y! So fashion-y! And so on.

Except once the nominees’ names were revealed, it was hard not to think: So much for change.

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5. New Data Shows Surprising Ways This Holiday Season Will Be Different

As the holidays approach, retailers should be brushing up their stores, websites, apps and social media pages to make sure they are spick and span for shoppers. That’s because this year’s holiday sales are predicted to overtake last year’s -- with a 3.6 to 4 percent sales growth, according to a new study by Euclid Analytics. The recently released “Evolution of Retail, 2016 Holiday Consumer Mobile Usage” report polled more than 1,500 U.S. consumers, highlighting shopping preferences and behavior, while also uncovering how smartphones are changing the physical retail industry.

Ninety-one percent of respondents say they visit physical stores at least once a week, while only 49 percent say they shop online at least once a week. The experience of seeing and trying products, browsing stores and getting to have the product right away are of the top reasons consumers shop in-person. Waiting in lines, going to the actual store and having a limited selection are why some people resort to online shopping.

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