The most recent buzz talk dealing with technology is Apple buying Twitter data tools. According to people familiar with this subject, around 2 million dollars total was spent within the issue As state in the Wall Street Journal, its tools can decipher how often a term is tweeted, find an influential person on a specific subject, or measure the exposure of an event or campaign. It has been also stated that Apple occasionally buys other forms of technology and social media to develop something newer and more integrated. Nothing more has been stated or released on what Apple’s intention are with Twitter.

Newest fashion startup apps are blowing up.  The latest fashion-centered apps and websites do more than just rejuvenate your shopping habits, they can do near-like magical things like get tax deductions and show up all of your enemies at the upcoming Christmas parties by wearing (rented of course) Lorraine Schwartz jewels.  New innovative fashion apps are in high demand and continue to soar in this day in age.

Every online apparel shopper’s tribulation with fit is very real. It is an issue many sites like Virtusize, True Fit, and Clothes Horse have been aiming to resolve through complex algorithms and user-submitted body measurements. In this article ThirdLove’s Ios app utilizes computer vision and leverages sensors in its quest to find the perfect fit it states the newest answer for the right fit is in an iOS app and the power of selfies.  The app ThirdLove gains information’s through analyzing photos of your body down to the pixel. ThirdLove captures the personalized mobile experience, nixing all need for another lingerie salesperson with a measuring tape to trail you into the dressing room ever again.

In the article Why emerging technologies May Hold the future of fashion it explains how the company Decoded Fashion wants to bring emerging technologies into the fashion world. Decoded fashion is the future of fashion lies in a marriage with technology. One major theme was the importance of content marketing. Many in the fashion industry are still loath to engage on social media. They did this by embracing Instagram to “fill the cravings” of fans looking for insight into creative process.  Decoded Fashion used supermodel Coco Rocha, known for her dedicated use of social media who has two million followers on Google+ and half a million followers on Twitter to help promote their company new vision towards fashion and technology.

One thing that we have consistently focused on is the future of technology and the fashion industry merge. The Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts left the company to join Apple. This is a sign as to what the future holds. The article discusses the reasons behind hiring Ahrendts as well as the former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent. It is been rumored that Apple is developing an ‘IWatch” which would be competing with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. Apple explained that understanding fashion will be just as equally important as the engineering behind the watch.

Keeping with the technology theme, a new product is emerging. They are called ‘Concept clothes’. They are constructed by using CGI and actually not mean to be made or created. Some say the ‘Concept clothes’ are the ultimate haute couture clothing. It is impractical and improbable clothing that are show in haute couture lines. The ‘Concept clothes’ is even more elaborate than them.

Cellphones in the last decade have definitely changed the world in a positive way, especially for communication. However, police encourage the public to use landlines incase of emergency. There is one problem; most young people no longer have landlines. Police have said that in most emergency cases, it is almost impossible to find the actual location of the caller. This can be very dangerous in many situations.

Look out celebrities high-end retailers are now testing technology that scans customers against a database of celebrity and alerts store stylists and associates when there is a match.  According to NPR the software is being tested in dozens of undisclosed top-rated stores and hotels in the United States, United Kingdom and the Far East.  The software has been proven to work even if the person is wearing sunglasses or a hat to keep a low profile.  Furthermore, the new technology still recognizes celebrities even if they have aged, gained weight, has changed hair colors, or has grown facial hair.  After the matching has occurred the clerks are alerted via computer, iPad or iPhone and is given a list of customer’s preferences.  Retailers aren’t just focusing on celebrities, currently many US retailers’ track shoppers via smartphones and mobile apps.  By following these customers habits stores are able to gather data and information about the individuals.  For instance, how long a customer spends in the candy aisle and how much time they spend looking at merchandise before purchasing it.

In the article Wanelo: Social Commerce Site Is Big with Young shoppers it states the upsides and downsides of using social media to shop online. Avoiding small dressing rooms and skipping long checkout lines are defiantly a huge upside for online shopping. But it can also be challenging to find things to put in your cart if you do not know exactly what you’re shopping for.  Social media sites such as Fashion Tumblrs or Pinterest are certainly adept at displaying dreamy pictures of items you may want to buy but does not provide information on how to purchase an item. Deena Varshavakaya wanted to fix this problem by creating a fashion app called Wanelo.  Wanelo has the same aesthetic as the other trendy shopping sites but has one huge important different. Wanelo allows you to click on an image that you interested in and it will take you directly to the place where it’s available for sale. This site became very successful because it was not another like another horrible shopping site such as an image blog or Pinterest.  Wanelo became the No. 1 app in the lifestyle category in the Apple App Store.

Since CommuniTech is looking to develop a shopping app it is relevant to understand why people uninstall apps so our future users will not be inclined to do so.  Getting an app developed is the first step.  The more difficult and unnerving problems facing developers is user engagement.  Basically, how do developers get users to install apps and keep them installed?  The most frequent reason people uninstall apps is if the app does not offer anything helpful or unique.  If the app is engaging enough, developers can increase the likelihood of users to download the next app they are looking to create, which forms a continuous engagement cycle.  Another good tip is to avoid asking users who just installed an app to ill out a lengthy form, which leads to a poor experience for the user.  Asking for ratings initially can seem intrusive, ratings should be timed precisely in order to avoid user burnout.  User friendliness is also a concern because if an app takes more than a few seconds to learn how to use, the majority o users are going to uninstall it.  These tips are helpful when developing our app “4LocalsOnly”.

Google Shopping Express allows consumers to shop for everyday items from a range of national, regional and local stores, and then have products delivered to your doorstep the same day. In this article, Google Shopping Express launches in San Francisco Peninsula, Debuts New Apps it informs consumers on different items they can shop for in the newly launches Google Shopping Express apps for Android and iOS.  The apps let you use your retailer loyalty program, as well, in order to get the same savings you would otherwise receive. Google is not charging a delivery fee for this app for product non-members but the services on the app offers a subscription-based membership.

Every online apparel shopper’s tribulation with fit is very real. It is an issue many sites like Virtusize, True Fit, and Clothes Horse have been aiming to resolve through complex algorithms and user-submitted body measurements. In this article ThirdLove’s Ios app utilizes computer vision and leverages sensors in its quest to find the perfect fit it states the newest answer for the right fit is in an iOS app and the power of selfies.  The app ThirdLove gains information’s through analyzing photos of your body down to the pixel. ThirdLove captures the personalized mobile experience, nixing all need for another lingerie salesperson with a measuring tape to trail you into the dressing room ever again.

With technology rapidly changing and new apps being developed hourly, there is one that has recently caught the eye of shoppers. Retailers are able to put their floor plans available on an app for customers to download and have easy access to certain stores. This is a huge advantage to retailers because customers are already aware of their store before even entering. Also, this helps customers want to shop at the same store repeatedly for easy access to what they are looking for.

Black Friday is normally considered the biggest shopping day of the year, however, this year was different than most.  Many believe that the shorter-than-usual window between Thanksgiving and Christmas had an effect on shoppers.  Most Black Friday sales and promotions began weeks before Thanksgiving Day but that did not seem to matter when it came to the actual spending habits of consumers.  Over the course of the weekend, consumers spent about 1.7 billion less on holiday shopping than they did in 2012 according to a retail trade organization known as National Retail Federation.  Chief executive of the retail federation, Matthew Shay, said, “There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face”.   He continued by saying “in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.  Many of the forecasters believed that sales this holiday season would grow 3.9 percent over last year.  These statistics are beneficial to CommuniTech because our plan is to help retailers increase sales.

In the article 5 tools to market your business using mobile social media apps its shows you steps on how to market your business on social media in a productive and efficient manner through your mobile device. The first step is downloading the app, Tweetbot. Tweetbot is an iphone app for managing twitter and it has a really nice user interface. This app is good for a business because you can get thousands retweets on your blog post and you can filter out this from your twitter stream. Glyder is the second app suggested to download to help with a business.  Glyder aims to simplify social media marketing particularly for the small business. Downcast is another good app to download because it s not purely about social marketing but we use it to catch up on our social media marketing podcasts.  Mention is the last app suggested to download for a business. The mobile app is a great app which allows you to keep track of keywords and respond to mentions at any time day or night.

It’s that time of year when shopping is out-of-control.  This holiday season there are three mobile apps that are both budget-friendly and don’t require you to leave your house.  The first is “Shop It To Me” an app which allows users to select their favorite stores and ecommerce sites, as well as brands, and you’re clothing or shoe sizes.  When something goes on sale in your fit and style, the site will send you an email.  The second is “Shopcade” which initially is much like Pinterest but with a special feature, the site will notify you if something you want goes on sale.  The third is “Perkla”, instead of listing individual items on its site; Perka offers a flat discount for various brands or stores.   The only catch is that the discounts are reserved for students and you must have an .edu email address to sign up.  It is important for CommuniTech to understand what competitors offer to help shape our app to be the best fit for our users.

According to the article 10 uprising social media statistics that will make you rethink your social strategy it lists surprising social media statistics this year if you’re managing social media for your business. The first statistic that was stated was that the fasting growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.  It certainly points to the importance of having a solid social media strategy if these age brackets fit into your target demographic. The second most shocking statistics was that 189 million of Facebook users are “mobile only.” Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. The last statistic stated that Youtube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. One video won’t necessarily reach more viewers than a cable network could, but utilizing a platform with such a wide user base makes a lot of sense.

A new mobile shopping app was just released in time for Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.  This app, “Scratch Hard”, is a location-based shopping app available through the iTunes store, which seeks to make holiday shopping a little easier and to help save money.  The app lets users explore deals by location and category.  “Scratch” he virtual stickers to reveal any special deals that are near to you.  This is a great example of a shopping app that can be compared to the features we are hoping to instill in our mobile app “4LocalsOnly”.

Tips and Tricks

The last few weeks we’ve repeatedly looked at how fashion and social media are almost completely integrated. It isn’t just trendy stores such as Forever21 or H&M who use it. Even top designers are now using social media to reach their consumers. I ran across an article that looked at fashion and social media in a whole different way. It explained that social media WAS a fashion business. We have all watched the different platforms of social media come and go. I’m sure a good number of us can still remember the days of MySpace and AIM chat. But MySpace has come and gone. Justin Timberlake purchased the site in hopes of revamping it and having it make a comeback. The attempts, from my point of view, have been quite unsuccessful. Facebook was the next big thing; however, over the last couple of years it has slowly started to become much less popular with the teens and young adults who once found it so fascinating. They are turning to things such as Vine, Snapchat or Twitter. The author in this article stated these same facts. Then he started comparing these trends to those in the fashion world, which I thought was actually a brilliant analogy. He stated that just as the fashion world works, whether it’s clothes, shoes, or accessories, fashion items come and go. He talks about the way fashion trends seem to work. The athletic shoe that originally home-sewn, then getting picked up by a boutique before Shia LaBeouf was photographed wearing them. Suddenly, these were the hot, new shoes. Not the ones that Emma Watson was photographed in the season before. Fashion items stem from this basic want or desire. It goes through a process just as social media sites do. First, they’re new and somewhat undiscovered by the masses, then almost overnight, they’re a worldwide sensation, and just as soon as they blossomed, they disappear becoming a distant memory and people are on to the next big thing. Social media is a way for people to stay connected. Communication is a basic human need. These platforms allow us to do just and are evolving at a rapid pace. One thing that’s important to remember though is that you cannot mistake a material innovation, such as Facebook, for technological innovation that creates real barriers to entry (Google, Amazon) and seeing the two as having the same value. They are not the same and you can’t compare them. It’s important to keep in mind that these material innovations, just as fashion trends, come and go rather quickly. 

            While on the topic of fashion trends, I found a study that had been conducted by a social intelligence company called NetBase. NetBase hired Edison Research to conduct a survey that was a representative sample of 18+ women in the U.S. who have one or more profiles on social networks. The basic concept of the study was to look at how social media influences a ladies’ fashion purchases. I found this particularly interesting considering our startup and the “For Locals Only” boutique coupon app we are creating is targeting 18-24 year old females. The study sampled 1.005 women in May 2013 and was modeled to the national U.S. population of adult female social media users. 17% of the sample, a total of 174 women were in the 18-24 age group, which are better known as the millennial generation. They found that 80% of millennials use social media “several times a day”, compared to the 59% of female social media users of all ages. Facebook was the most popular with millennials, 95% use it. Twitter came in 2nd with 72% and in third was Instagram with 64% using it. One interesting thing they found was that Tumblr, which has long been considered a millennial central ranked below Pinterest and Google+. Some other interesting things they found in the study were that 83% of millennials consult at least one social platform before purchasing in at least one fashion category. 28% of them are “social shoppers” whose buying is influenced by the brands /products that their friends use. Millennials are almost twice as liley to be social shoppers as other female social media users of all ages. Almost ¼ of female millennials are “trendsetters”, which were defined as social network users who were willing to pay a higher price to be the first to have a new product. They aslo found that when looking for a fashion inspiration, 58% of millennials will turn to Pinterest and 49% look to Instagram. At the end of the study, it was rather easy to see that the most socially influenced generation turns to social media for fashion tips, information, and inspiration. If the millennial generation is your target market, it is extremely important for you to have a presence on these social media platforms.

            It is so important for someone going into the fashion industry to realize the power of social media. Like I said, if your wanting to target that millennial generation, you better have a social media presence. Well a new fashion startup is merging social media and fashion.  It is called Stylinity. Stylinity unveiled its revolutionary Style Stage in New York back in October. Their Style Stage combines portrait-quality lighting, state-of-the-art optics, and cutting edge software to take high-resolution photos of shoppers in stores wearing retailer’s clothing. The Style Stage allows shoppers to get instant feedback from online networks through Stylinity’s website or other social media sites about people’s opinions on the outfits. This Style Stage is enhancing in-store experiences, making them more fun and social. The Style Stage allows for instant feedback, tags the outfits, allows customers to share them privately or publicly, and enables the customer to easily purchase the outfit online at a later time if they so choose. We have previously talked about the way retailers are relying more heavily on technology than actual salespeople in the recent years and I believe that this new revolution proves just that.

            Sometimes it’s necessary to get back to the basics if you’re a fashion retailer, new or established. The fashion world used to be able to stay aloof and out of reach. Not anymore. If you’re an established retailer that seems to have dwindling sales or a new retailer looking to get your foot in the door, it’s important to look at how the fashion world has changed and you may have to revaluate your social media presence. First look at how other brands and designers in the fashion industry engage people. They all seem to be using the social media platforms as a way to go public with their thoughts, ideas and creations. They allow the every day person to get a sneak peek of fashion shows and new lines, a privilege that used to be held to the wealthy or the well connected. Second, look at why the fashion industry really needs social media. Diane von Furstenberg was quoted saying, “Ignoring the internet is madness. We decided to have a presence because it was a very organic way for us to communicate online.” People want to be able to communicate with the retailers or brands they are spending their hard earned money on and social media is a great way for them to do that. Then it is important to realize how social media can help your business. Everyone is using it to connect with customers, attract new customers with freebies and discounts, and keep existing customers around with giveaways. It allows these once unreachable brands and designers become relatable and transparent.  Lastly, you need to look at what social media can do for the fashion industry, specifically your business, in the future! Social media isn’t just a way for retailers or designers to showcase their clothing. It’s a place where they can learn from the customers. They’re able to read exactly what it is a customer wants or needs. If a customer is unhappy with a purchase and they voice that opinion on social media, it gives the retailer a chance to make things right with that customer, ultimately keeping them as a consumer. Looking at these basic things while evaluating your social media presence can really help you boost your business or keep you ahead of the game.

            A young jewelry designer is doing just that. He is using the power of social media to promote his new jewelry. His name is Georgy Rushev, a 24 year old who has made quite a name for himself in a rather small amount of time. He dropped out of college to pursue his dream. Rushev said he never wanted to organize a show of his own, he believed they’re too expensive. Instead he has used social media as a way to showcase his beautiful jewelry. He stated that if you are talented, you will get noticed. Rushev will be displaying a special collection at a trade show in Milan. The trade show will have a potential 40,000 buyers. This just goes to show you that the power of social media holds no limits.

            Rushev seemed to make breaking through on social media look easy. However, that is not always the case. The Wall Street Journal had a really interesting article, “Three Ways To Break Through on Social Media”. I read through it finding it very helpful and informative only to then realize who wrote it. It was Gary Vaynerchuk. I couldn’t help but laugh and realize why the article was so helpful. Vaynerchuk himself is an extremely successful entrepreneur. We’ve discussed him in our class since day 1. Needless to say, I found what Mr. Vaynerchuk said to be relevant to our startup and can see why Dr. Graybeal wants us to strive to “eat Vaynerchuk’s lunch”. In the article, Gary explains that the only way you’re going to break through on social media is if you bring some value to your followers. Also, the most important thing you have to understand is that value is subjective. The three ways he says you can break through are access, content, and curation. He believes that these three things will not only bring value to social media but also help bring value under any circumstances. 

VS Fashion Show, Fashion Social Networks, and More!

The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is one of the most anticipated and popular fashion shows in the world. Both men and women tune in to the show to see the attractive models and the well-known artists who preform.  This year’s show was filmed November 13 in New York City. The show will not air to the public until December 10th but we were able to get a sneak peek of the outfits and some behind-the-scenes action on various social media sites. The VS angels tweeted multiple pictures of them getting ready along with photos of the after party. Social media has allowed consumers and fans of certain brands to feel as though they are getting a front row seat at the fashion show. It is obvious that not everyone has the means or ability to attend a fashion show of a designer they love. By giving the consumer these behind-the-scenes peeks, it allows the consumer to feel as though they are involved in the show even though they are not present at it.

The VS Fashion Show isn’t the first fashion show to include social media. Back in September, the Mercedes Benz Fashion week kicked off. However, the designers got the show started early. Pinterest for example, launched a fashion week hub. One of the designers featured was Michael Kors, which gained 90,000 followers even though the show was for another 5 days. These social media tricks are extremely useful and not just in the fashion industry. Some of the tips from the industry’s best social promoters can be helpful when trying to increase your businesses social media presence.

  1. Pictures are worth 1,000 Tweets.
  2. Tailor your message.
  3. Tell a story about your customers’ lifestyle
  4. Party with fans.
  5. Be yourself.
  6. Online is the new offline.

At first glance, it might be hard for people to make a connection between fashion and social media. And for a long time, it appeared that fashion was the exception to the rule. However, now it is obvious that brands, designers, and fashion houses are using various social media platforms. The fashion world is capitalizing on social media to help diversify their brands. Some of the new social media fashion ventures that have recently taken off are Instagram-inspired editorials, Social media-sourced models, low-budget couture editorials, and inspirational Instagram lookbooks. One of the more interesting ventures is the social media-sourced models. Diesel turned  to a social media site called Tumblr to find some models for a new campaign. They urged people to submit images of themselves and then after they picked 20 models, the campaign ran in an issue of Vogue. This is just one way that social media is helping the consumer and the fashion designers/brands interact with each other.

Although social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for fashion there are now certain social networks that are specifically for fashion. These sites may be the new way brands and designers start to reach their consumers in their environment. These sites can help people meet others that are deeply interested in fashion and new trends. Chictopia, Polyvore, Tumblr, Kaboodle, and Twitter. “Fashion is not just about magazines and pretty pictures any more.” It is important for fashion brands to engage their audience in new and inventive ways.

Even though social media has many positive advantages, if used wrong or carelessly it can have negative side effects. Eva Chen recently learned this lesson. Chen is the editor-in-chief for Lucky magazine. She has quite a large Twitter and Instagram following. Up until her recent sneak peek of the December/January issues cover, the feedback of her work had been extremely positive. Chen is not stranger to social media. She uses it frequently and shows her followers her favorite beauty products and clothing. Yet when she Instagrammed the cover of Lucky magazine featuring Kerry Washington, she wasn’t receiving much admiration. Some of the comments were “How did they maker her look so bad???”, “This is literally the worst cover I’ve ever seen and I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning.” There was the occasional positive comment but they seemed to be few and far between. Chen took the negative feedback in stride however.  She stated that she knows when using social media that anything posted is then up for debate and conversation, which she sees as a good thing.

An ex-Gucci executive spent a decade helping the world’s most successful fashion and retail brands maintain their edge. Enrico Beltramini is a venture investor and is now a managing director of Fashion Tech Accelerator. Fashion Tech Accelerator backs and advises startups who are involved in design, manufacture, sales and promotion of clothing, accessories, etc. Beltramini talked to Venture Capital Dispatch about what he considered were the biggest mistakes fashion entrepreneurs were making. Some of these he discussed were “without historical fashion experience, fashion-tech entrepreneurs inflate their perception of the potential impact of technology on the industry. Fashion tech is more than combining a skirt and a digital device. There needs to be an understanding of how the end product will dramatically improve a customer’s life. We advise companies to balance focus on customer experience, revenues, products and margins rather than hypothetical disrupting effects of technologies.” 

 

Mandy Glidewell