Collaboration and activation: the nub of the merger of physical and digital retail

Last week I visited Melbourne Spring Fashion Week as a guest of IBM and the City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne’s over-arching vision for the annual Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is to position Melbourne as Australia’s premier fashion destination, and have a real economic impact by driving increased sales for retailers in the city.

MSFW

In partnering with IBM for the second year the intention was to extend the impact of the event beyond the week and to drive ticket sales and in turn sales by tapping the social currency of influencers.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is unusual in fashion shows in that everything on the runways can be bought at stores in the city. This contrasts to the traditional role of fashion shows as breaking new fashion, which may not be available for many months after it is launched.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week used IBM Social Media Analytics on Twitter and Instagram to uncover the top 50 relevant fashion influencers, used Watson Personality Insights to work out how best to approach them, and invited them to be MSFW “insiders”, asking them what content would be most useful to them.

Ticket sales have been considerably higher than last year, with 4 of the events sold out.

The initiative is particularly interesting in showing how social analytics and engagement can help drive shoppers into shopping centers and physical stores.

While individual stores can do a great deal to merge their digital, social and physical engagement, the real power comes in bringing people to a shopping center or area, or even an entire city center.

All shopping is becoming social. Retail strategies for merging physical and digital are best envisaged and implemented on a large scale, tapping collaboration and activating buyers.

Image credit: Eva Rinaldi

Consumer expectations continue to rise: advocacy reduces, antagonism rises, but trust enables value creation

The latest results from IBM’s annual Smarter Consumer Study provide interesting insights.

If consumers are smarter, they are expressing it with not just increased expectations, but an increasingly active expression of their displeasure if expectations are not met.

The following chart, provided to me by IBM in response to a request for more detailed information, shows that in all major countries advocates – those who actively advocate for their primary retailer – have decreased, while antagonists – those who would actively discredit their retailer – have increased.

IBM_advocates_antagonists
Source: IBM
Read more

Driving retail success through visible uniqueness

My wonderful wife, the talented jewellery designer Victoria Buckley, has had her boutique in Sydney’s historical Strand Arcade for 21 years.

The Strand is the best possible location for her in Sydney, with its classic Victorian architecture and rosta of leading Australian designers such as Akira, Alex Perry, Scanlan Theodore and sass & bide.

The Strand is producing a series of videos titled We Are The Makers, featuring the stores in the arcade. Below is the video of Victoria, which in less than 2 minutes successfully captures some of the vitality and creativity that is expressed in her jewellery. A very nice write-up of the interview is also available.


Read more

The age of self-creation: why ethics must be central to how we create the future

One of my flurry of media appearances over New Year was on the Sunrise show, talking about what to expect in 2014.

Click on the image to see a video of my interview.

sunrise301213_2

We discussed emerging consumer technology trends, shifts in retail, and the idea of “self-creation”, which was one of my 14 themes in our 2014: Crunch Time report.

As I wrote in the report about the theme:
Read more

“Shoezam” app mimics Shazam to image, identify, and replicate shoes on the street

This morning I attended the Innovation Bay breakfast on Where to for retail now?.

It was a fascinating discussion, which was definitely useful as I develop my forthcoming Future of Retail framework. (Still working on it, I don’t know when it will be ready for the public, more later.)
Shoesofprey
Michael Fox, founder of the highly innovative and successful Shoes of Prey, spoke about some of what they envisage for the future of retail.

One of their internal initiatives is an app they dub “Shoezam”, which acts like Shazam in that people can take an image of a shoe they like in the street, which the app analyzes so that users can immediately order that shoe for themselves.
Read more

The immense social media opportunity for real estate

The Weekend Australian last Saturday had an interesting article titled Facebook shakes up house hunt (subscription may be required).

It described how a couple had bought their dream home after finding it on the Facebook page of a real estate agent. They arranged to inspect it immediately after it appeared on the page and bought it the next day, before the for-sale sign had been put up in the yard.

The journalist writing the article called me for some comments and included this at the end of the piece:

Social-media expert Ross Dawson said Facebook had enormous potential, but many real estate agent’s efforts were “terrible”. “They just don’t understand it. It’s a completely different mentality. They just want to sell,” Mr Dawson said.

This is true, but I think what was more interesting was the rest of what I said to the journalist, which wasn’t quoted in the article.
Read more

The latest in 3D printing trends: guns, ears, body parts, and now in your local store

It’s been a busy day in the world of 3D printing. Below is a roundup of the latest developments, all announced in the last 24 hours or so. 3D printing is one of those trends that has been visible for a long time, is just beginning to have a real impact, and in the long run could transform many aspects of our lives.

Different issues are raised by each of these stories, showing the breadth of the impact of 3D printing. I have made brief comments under each story.

Anyone looking at the future must keep abreast of the growing scope of capabilities of 3D printing and what it could mean for industries and society.

First completely 3D-printed gun shown
Read more