London Fashion Week is building hype and solving problems with digital signage. Two digital out of home campaigns feature outdoor digital screens which help enable real-time shopping.
Imagine walking by a store and stopping to admire what the mannequin in the window is wearing, only to go inside and be told that the mannequin is dressed for next season. The outfit isn’t here yet, come back in six months. You probably wouldn’t leave with warm feelings toward that retailer. Plus if you do come back in six months, that mannequin is wearing another outfit that isn’t available yet.
Since it’s beginning in 1943, this is the problem Fashion Week has faced. Designers send models down the catwalk in looks that won’t be available until the next season (usually six months later). Burberry was the first designer to make some of their items available for immediate purchase in 2010. At the current New York Fashion Week Tommy Hilfiger made just two of the pieces from their runway show available for immediate purchase, but only in a limited quantity.
Hunter is using nine digital billboards to live stream their show in high-traffic retail environments in six of England’s major cities. A message next to the stream encourages viewers to go to their website, Hunterboots.com, where there is a special WiFi-enabled landing page for mobile phone users. Following the show, which takes place today, Hunter will run a three day campaign which will feature Fashion Week items shown next to similar items which are currently available for purchase. With a focus on the style and functionality of the items, they hope to use the future pieces as inspiration for more immediate sales.
Topshop is using six digital billboards all within a 10 minute walk to their retail stores, to show live Twitter content. The billboards will show trends that Topshop is featuring in their runway show, with an associated hashtag like #colourblocking and #pleats. By Tweeting the hashtag to Topshop’s Twitter account, the user will receive a curated list of current pieces available which are part of the trend.
I briefly worked at a mall retail store a few years ago. While the store didn’t require that I wear their clothes at all times, I had to wear clothes which were their style. The reason, according to my manager was if a customer came in and said they loved my top, I couldn’t send them to a competitor to get the same one. I had to say we didn’t have it in stock this season but I could show them a similar one.
Which brings me back to my mannequin example. The outfit the mannequin is wearing still isn’t in the store. But a store associate shows you to similar items in style and functionality, or which are following the same trend. A far better brand experience than being told to come back in six months.
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