Wednesday, 19 January 2011

ARmchair shopping

Augmented Reality (AR) is tipped to transform the consumer experience. AR, also known as "interactive video technology" is on the rise. The FT cites predictions from marketing group ABI Research that the AR market in the US alone will grow to US$350m by 2014, from US$6m in 2008. Indeed a number of fashion and luxury brands are already getting involved:
  • Tissot ran an AR campaign with Selfridges in May 2010 enabling shoppers to virtually try on its watches using a screen in Selfridges windows.
  • eBay has recently launched an AR app which can be used to digitally try on sunglasses by superimposing the glasses design over the user's face.
  • Back in November 2010, H&M launched an iPhone app with GoldRun which allows shoppers to try on outfits virtually.
  • Hawes & Curtis have launched a virtual fitting room on its website in collaboration with FitsMe, who have developed an adaptable mannequin to ensure you get the perfect fit for your shirt or suit.
Some brands clearly see the benefits of investing in this technology early to further grow their online sales. While Fashionista marvels at the clever wizardry that means she can snap up a fabulous frock from the comfort of her sofa, she wonders whether it can replace the real-life experience of trying on clothes, feeling the fabric and working out if she can justify the price tag on the gorgeous heels to match!

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Tweets They Are A Changing

Christmas may have passed but bells across the social media sector are still ringing following the recent ruling by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which saw Handpicked Media publicly reprimanded for not clearly stating that published online content that endorsed certain products and brands had been paid for. The failure to disclose this was found, by the OFT, to be deceptive, misleading to the average consumer and in breach of UK fair trading laws.

So what does this mean for the fashion industry, celebrity affiliation with designers and online promotion of fashion labels? Will this see the end of the swag bag or prevent celebrities gushing about the latest must have fashion fad in tweets or blogs?

In short – no. Rather it is all about transparency. Any online blogs, tweets or editorials by the glitterati or the average Joanna, that promote products in exchange for payment or payment in kind must openly disclose these incentives so as not to mislead the public. You can read the Q&As issued by the OFT here.

So you think the latest Jonathan Saunders' Topshop collection is a must have? Well if you post this for any reason other than you are a lover of this Scottish designer - then it needs to be stated. Got a free dress out of it? Then say so. Now how to fit this all into 140 characters – that will be the test for many.