Myf Ryan, marketing director at Westfield.
There is little doubt that the global technological revolution is shaping the way we shop today. Not only is there a growing demand for in-store technology that inspires and enhances the shopper journey, but for a third of 14- to 34-year-olds, new technology actually encourages them to spend more. However, the most successful fashion brands aren’t just developing their own technological solutions. We have seen a growing number of fashion brands collaborating with tech companies.
During London Fashion Week, Burberry raised the bar by working with Twitter to allow instant purchases from tweets, making its show a key sales driver for the brand. Topshop brought technology to its customers by partnering with Facebook and Google to broadcast its show to millions, and revealed key spring 15 looks first on social media.
Technology is also being used to engage shoppers in the physical world. In the US this summer, fashion brands like Nordstrom and Michael Kors joined a trial of digital storefronts at our New Jersey centre. The new technology offers visitors an interactive display of retail products to browse and a map to guide the shopper to the right store to make the purchase. Through this kind of partnership, fashion brands are showing that the future of fashion retail is a world in which the lines are blurred between the physical and virtual and that, in our experience, will serve to enhance the consumer experience.
Last month, 20,000 shoppers got involved in the first Hackathon in a shopping centre - at Westfield London. The Fashion Hackathon was a Westfield initiative with Decoded Fashion that saw 60 hackers - entrepreneurs, designers and developers - compete to create a new way of enhancing the consumer experience for fashion and retail brands. Ideas included everything from wearable tech to immersive augmented reality applications that allow peopleto try on any type of virtual outfit. The winner was SkipQ, which created a solution to queuing using a system that allows a shopper to scan an item, pay for it using an app, take off the tag and leave.
We have seen the success collaboration with tech experts brings to both fashion retailers and consumers, adding credibility, excitement and innovation to the retail mix. A combination of in-house innovation and meaningful collaborations with high-profile tech companies will help fashion brands to meet consumer demand, enhance the shopper experience and keep the fashion pack flowing through the door.