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Etailers join Vogue for a night on the net

Monday saw the launch of Vogue’s online initiative, Fashion’s Night In (FNI). Retailers from all sectors of the fashion industry - from pure-play etailers to indies to department stores - took part, with mixed levels of enthusiasm.

The event follows on from Vogue’s successful store-based event Fashion’s Night Out, the most recent

of which ran for one day in September. It was first held in 2009 to entice shoppers into stores during the recession by offering special promotions at in-store events to drive footfall.

The online event followed the format of Fashion’s Night Out, encouraging retailers to participate in the evening by offering customers an added reason to shop on their site between 5pm and midnight.

While a number of sites were promoted by Vogue as participating, few made a real impact on the actual night and the overriding feeling was that this event had been pushed live without much timefor planning.

Many retailers offered discounts on product or free delivery options, but when Drapers logged on to these sites there was little mention of Fashion’s Night In, meaning many customers were unlikely to be aware of the initiative.

However, a few retailers did stand out on the evening, most notably My-Wardrobe. By really embracing the concept and using the online medium at its best, the premium etailer used video, social media interaction and chat from industry figures as ways to attract shoppers throughout the evening.

Young fashion etailer Asos also used its previously successful mood board tool to create an online competition and designer etailer Net-a-porter launched its Party Boutique, a section dedicated to selling party dresses, but, disappointingly for etailers that are usually seen at the forefront of online, their efforts appeared to lack conviction.

Whether this was because of the short lead time from the announcement of Fashion’s Night In just three weeks ago, or other reasons, it is clear that retailers will need to up their game next year if Fashion’s Night In is to become an annual attraction for shoppers.

ASOS 8/10

What did it do?

Asos served up multiple offers, ranging from free standard delivery to cocktail recipes. Customers could download an Asos party playlist from Spotify and design a mood board. There was a Q&A on Twitter with designers Richard Nicoll and Louise Gray and Asos head of women’s design Sarah Wilkinson.

How effective was it?

The Q&A was a great way to engage with customers but it could have been streamed on the site for non-Twitter users. It was difficult to find the mood board pics on Facebook, although about 80 Asos fans did locate them. The range of offers was impressive, but Drapers expected more.



What did it do?

Suiting etailer A Suit That Fits ran a competition for users to design - and win - a suit. Between 5pm and midnight, users could create a suit from scratch or by using a selection of templates - essentially what this site does daily. The only difference was a free suit was up for grabs.

How effective was it?

Drapers created its own suit from scratch. The step-by-step approach was easy to follow. A zoom tool and virtual fitting room helped mimic real life. But the process became confusing at the end and no email response was received. Users couldn’t view other entries which was a letdown.




What did it do?

The My-Wardrobe women’s site was transformed with activities including videos looking into stylish women’s wardrobes and a click-to-buy fashion show. A live Style Surgery video on Facebook and Twitter let users pose questions, and blogger The Clothes Whisperer posted live. Shoppers spending more than £300 got a free cashmere eye mask.

How effective was it?

The continual activity, on both the main site and social networks, meant My-Wardrobe gave shoppers plenty of reasons to keep returning. The Style Surgery used contributors such as stylist Rebekah Roy and the click-to-buy catwalk show reminded them to head to the transactional area. My-Wardrobe really excelled.




What did it do?

In a word - loads. Liberty ran competitions and live chats in hourly slots to keep shoppers engaged. The department store posted its buyers’ must-have product and offered 10% off all orders. There was a blog-style micro site enabling shoppers to upload pictures of themselves wearing Liberty-bought scarves while designer Meg Matthews hosted a live chat on scarves.

How effective was it?

The constant tweeting was a useful way to push shoppers to Liberty’s many activities, as while the home page detailed the programme of events, it wasn’t always straightforward to find where initiatives were being hosted. Overall though, a stellar effort for a retailer that actually came late to the online party.



What did it do?

Premium handbag brand Anya Hindmarch offered an exclusive leopard-print bag - an update on one of its best-sellers. It also hosted a competition to win a ‘night-in kit’ including a washbag and clutch.

How effective was it?

There was no mention of FNI on the home page. To enter the competition, the customer had to answer five questions using information found on different areas of the website. Some answers were very hard to find. There was no update on the site the next day and the bag was still available, putting a question mark over just how exclusive it was. Drapers found there wasn’t much to engage new customers. The ‘exclusive’ bag on offer was £1,200, so likely to entice only diehard Anya Hindmarch fans.



What did it do?

Topshop combined FNI with the launch of its final Kate Moss for Topshop collection. Shoppers could buy six pieces from the 97-piece womenswear range ahead of the official Tuesday launch
in-store, and Topshop tweeted about the Kate Moss launch event at its Oxford Circus flagship.

How effective was it?

The website was anchored by a ‘7 days of Kate’ shoot that was flagged as part of FNI. It looked good and offered something exclusive without eroding margin like the discount offers seen elsewhere during the evening, but the Kate
Moss launch would have happened anyway. Next time, Drapers would like to see more creative shopper interaction from Topshop.



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