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Ecommerce: London’s tech trends

Brands at LFW showed how they are taking the catwalk to consumers.

UK retailers seized on London Fashion Week to put the latest technological innovations to the test in a bid to catch the eye of, and better engage with, global consumers.

Launching LFW, British Fashion Council chairman and Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet explained that “fashion and technology are great partners” and called on designers to seize the “opportunity to harness the tools of tech to reach consumers worldwide and grow their businesses”.

This season, 43% of on-schedule LFW designers have ecommerce sites, up from 33% in February 2013. The BFC hopes to increase this to 100% in the next couple of years.

Here are the most inventive digital ideas from this week’s LFW:

Topshop

Topshop can always be relied on to lead the technology innovations during LFW, and this season proved no exception.

The retailer launched a ‘social catwalk’, which involved the unveiling of three looks from the Topshop Unique spring 15 collection exclusively on Facebook immediately after the Sunday show, rather than on the runway. Shoppers were also given access to the new collection, with six looks from the show made available instantly, both online and in the Oxford Circus flagship.

The flagship’s shop window was transformed into an immersive digital experience. Three screens were used to stream the Unique show to passers-by, while the business’s social media followers were encouraged to populate them with images using the #TopshopWindow hashtag. Shoppers could also take photos on a Topshop Unique red carpet inside the store and send them to the window using the hashtag. The images were combined to create a motion-sensitive mosaic that could be moved around by shoppers stood in front of the display.

Five Instagram users were also selected to help populate both the Oxford Street window and Topshop.com with alternative viewpoints from the live catwalk show.

To view the social catwalk, go to www.drapersonline.com/topshop

House of Holland

House of Holland partnered with virtual fitting room service Metail to offer shoppers what it believed was a world first: the creation of MeModel avatars to try on clothing from Saturday’s spring 15 catwalk before pre-ordering in the right size.

Clothing was presented on the tryonhouseofholland.com website beneath the live-stream video, with adjacent ‘try it on’ icons. After clicking the icons, shoppers entered their height, weight and bra size, enabling a MeModel to be created, which was said to be 96% accurate, according to Metail. MeModel outfits could be updated by clicking on items as they came down the catwalk.

Metail co-founder and chief executive Tom Adeyoola said the technology “enables all women to try on exclusive catwalk designs at the very moment they are revealed to the world.”

Burberry

This week the luxury label took part in a trial with Twitter to test the social media firm’s new ‘buy’ button, enabling US shoppers to purchase through Twitter for the first time.

During the Burberry Prorsum show on September 15 in London the company’s Twitter handle @burberry tweeted about the nail varnish shades worn by the models, enabling shoppers to buy the varnish instantly.

By tapping the ‘buy’ button, shoppers received additional product details and were prompted to enter shipping and payment information, with orders then sent to the brand for delivery. Personal details were encrypted and stored after the first transaction, enabling faster ongoing orders.

Hunter

For its second-ever show, Hunter joined forces with London-based tech firm Grabyo to take the YouTube live stream of its catwalk to the next level, providing what the brand described as ‘near-live’ curated highlights on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Grabyo captured the live action and instantly produced content such as catwalk images optimised for smartphones. To maximise the appeal of its latest ranges, Hunter geo-targeted its content on Twitter to ensure climate- and market-relevant content could be sent to consumers in its key territories, for example waterproof outerwear targeted at UK shoppers and separates for the US West Coast’s festival season.

 

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