5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

By Georgia Buchanan

1. The State of Luxury: A Digital Perspective

Check out the latest in-depth FashTech Summit report in association with Launch Metrics HERE

2. The Convergence of Offline and Online Shopping

With ecommerce and in-app shopping on the rise, bricks-and-mortar purchases could be seen to be in trouble of losing customers in the foreseeable future. However, the physical store is still the preferred purchase location for a large majority of luxury consumers, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the store will no longer stand alone as an experience in itself; consumers will expect it to harmonise with its devices.

For a brand to maintain its foothold in the offline world, it needs to be fully established in the online world as well. Consumers now often don’t distinguish between online and offline in the way that they have previously, as the two are becoming so integral to the workings of the other. All brands need to be prepared to engage with consumers with every kind of need at every touch point.

The rise of the smartphone has resulted in more and more purchase decisions being influenced by digital, with a McKinsey study showing that 75% of luxury purchases are influenced by at least one digital touch point. Our smartphone allows us to be connected 24/7, enabling constant, easily accessible brand interaction across all channels; hence why we are now that much more likely to research a product before heading out to buy it.

Google did a study of search behaviours and third-party research to identify the needs of modern, mobile, multi-channel shoppers, and they found that, in order to keep their consumers happy, a brand needs to be personalised and relevant, fast and useful, and use connected experiences. 90% of your shoppers will buy from you if you predict their tastes correctly based on who that person is as an individual; what they have searched and whether they are a returning customer etc. Half of the consumers searching for something on their smartphone will visit a local physical store within a day of searching, so you need to know where your consumer is and you need to provide information quickly. And lastly, as explained above, you need to have synergy across all platforms and devices in order to get the best ROI. According to a Google Think Insights study, one in four shoppers will avoid a physical store if information is not available online, and 24% of UK consumers research products online before purchasing.

Moral of the story? Get connected. The experience through the phone, whether on a social networking app or proprietary brand app, is integrated with the store experience. They are part of the same dialogue and the same engagement process.

3. Tech Goes Fashion Forward: A SMACK Agency round up of the FashTech LDN Summit

SMACK Agency Creative Director, Lubna Keawpanna, was one of the brilliant speakers involved in the “Advertising New Age: How publishers and brands are reaching a digital audience” panel at our London Summit two weeks ago, and after sharing her excellent insights with the audience, she went off to check out the exciting upcoming companies in attendance at the conference.

To read the low-down on the 5 that caught her eye, click HERE.

4. “Top Pitch”: Topshop’s Venture in to the FashTech Revolution

News broke this week that retail giant, Topshop, has teamed up with tech investment firm L Marks to launch an innovation programme for emerging tech companies. The programme, called Top Pitch, will be seeking out fashion-forward start ups with functional products and prototypes, such as wearable tech and smart accessories.

Applications are open until 22nd May after which point the selected companies will enrol in a four week digital scheme that offers mentorship, guidance and advice from top industry names, such as Rachel Arthur of Fashion & Mash, Maddy Evans, fashion director of Topshop, and Bethany Koby, cofounder and chief executive officer of Technology Will Save Us. At the end of the 4 week programme, the start ups will get the chance to present their product to Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, and the winning company will be awarded the chance to secure equity investment and the potential to see their product in Topshop stores in the future.

Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks, explained: “Top Pitch is such a great opportunity for entrepreneurs working on a wearable technology product. When presenting to buyers, it is always better to know them really well. What better way is there to learn about Topshop than work in collaboration with them for four weeks, developing your brand and strategy as well as the direction your product will take.”

Sheena Sauvaire, Topshop’s global marketing and communications director, added of the collaborative programme: “Topshop has long supported emerging talent in creative industries and this project serves to further this aim. As a brand we champion new platforms of innovation and we see wearable technology as an exciting area of further exploration. The merge of style and function has yet to have been seen in a true consumer-ready sense and our aim is to discover new-to-market, highly desirable product at accessible prices for our fashion-savvy customer.”

Even Green himself has been heard discussing the importance of innovation and new creation in the fashion industry, saying: “Every single day, there are people looking to reinvent, in some way, the consumer experience. You cannot sit idly by. People are always going to go shopping — they like going to stores, they like shopping, but there are other things that are happening that you’ve got to be up to speed with. We’ve got to permanently keep progressing, improving. [Consumer-related online tech is] a place we’ve got to be in, it’s something we need to be doing. We have got to be a part of that next generation.” Amen, Sir Philip.

5. What Are “Micro-Influencers” and How Can They Help Your Brand?

We’ve all heard of influencers. The Instagrammers with a million likes who are paid an ordinate amount of money to post just one picture on behalf of a brand because, well, they have huge influence over their followers. HOWEVER. New studies have shown that these follower-rich social media-savvy people may not actually be the ones you want to target with your latest product.

It turns out that, once a social media influencer reaches a certain amount of followers, their audience engagement actually starts decreasing from that point on. A survey of 2 million social media influencers by tech company Markerly showed that for unpaid posts, Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8%, whilst those with 1,000 - 10,000 have a like rate of only 4%. Half the amount of engagement.

Of course, if you want the biggest reach possible, with your product being seen by the largest audience possible, then big influencers are the ones to get the job done. But there is likely to be a very small percentage of authentic engagement; followers actually clicking through to your brand and being likely to buy. This is where the “micro-influencers” come in. These are the Instagrammers/Tweeters/Bloggers, whose following (closer to the 100,000 range than the 2 million) are more likely to react to said post thus creating more conversions for the brand. An example: When the Jenner/Kardashian gang Instagrammed a weight-loss tea, yes the brand received hundreds of conversions, BUT when 30 - 40 “micro-influencers” Instagrammed the product, the conversions were even higher.

It makes sense. It’s all about pitching to a targeted audience who are, on the whole, the right demographic for the brand and product. Hence why if you’re looking to sell a sports product, you’d more likely get better results from targeting athletes/nutritionalists/trainers/fitness models with a slightly smaller following of fitness-mad followers than by collaborating with a celebrity of no relevance with 2 million disinterested fans.

This targeting of “micro-influencers” can be seen as more work for brands, but the time taken to pinpoint the right targets will be worth it when they cost less to post and return higher conversions. Chico Tirado, Chief Revenue Officer of social ad platform Gnack, said: “More than 55 percent of our agency partners have incorporated ‘micro-influencers’ as a part of their [current] strategy. We’ve seen some ‘micro-influencers’ on certain campaigns get up to 25 percent engagement.”

With Instagram’s new algorithm, it is highly likely that the power of the “micro-influencer” is about to increase hugely as they have a more intimate relationship with their followers and content from family and friends is often prioritised on social networks.