The History and Future of Mobile’s Role in Fashion
“Moving Targets: How To Connect and Engage Lifestyle Customers Via Mobile Devices, Games & Apps” is a three-part mobile series on mobile sponsored by Fresh Concept Lab, creators of Stylmee, the fashion and lifestyle industries’ first 3D fashion iPad App.
Mobile marketing is something that can’t be ignored. Lifestyle brands, retailers and products are actively and artfully trying to master the medium in order to catch their customers’ attention and loyalty. In a five part series, we will be exploring the process in which retailers can successfully leverage all mobile channels and devices for online success.
A brief history of mobile
The marketing industry is going mobile, and the fashion industry going with it. In May, FMM told you about 11 apps the fashion industry should covet. Today, there are 50 apps in the fashion section of the App Store on iTunes, with more being created and released every day.
U.S. marketers will spend about $56.5 billion on mobile advertising and promotions by 2015, according to Mobitrove. That figure is more than six times the almost $9.3 billion spent on mobile advertising and promotions in 2010.
Why are marketers so hot to reach mobile consumers?
Because more than 72.5 million people own smartphones. ComScore reported that figure in March 2011, which was up 15 percent from the preceding three-month period. If the owners continued to grow at the same rate, that means that more than 100 million people are now using smartphones.
Even better? About 50 percent have made purchases with their smartphones, according to data from Prosper Mobile Insights.
Getting the message to the masses
The best brands in fashion and the top publications in the industry have created mobile applications to put their content in the hands of this key and constantly growing demographic.
Conde Nast launched its Style.com app in 2008. The app tailored core content from Style.com, including fashion show photos, Style File blogs, reviews, couture shows and video feeds, to take full advantage of the mobile medium.
“Fashion devotees will now be able to view their favorite runway shows from New York City and Europe in the palm of their hand just hours after they happen live,” CondeNet editorial director Jamie Pallot said when the app was unveiled in 2008. “Style.com has always been about the point where fashion meets technology, and this new application for iPhone and iPod touch lets us deliver on that promise in a whole new way.”
This trendsetting app has remained top-of-mind in the media, named one of the top 25 mobile apps for the fashionista by Mashable in 2010. In addition to the fashion media elite, top brands are using mobile platforms to deliver their message directly to their customers.
A stellar example of branded mobile content and a functional catalog app can be found in the mobile apps for iPhone and iPad created by the Canadian brand Dace.
Originally launched for the brand’s 2010 spring line, this the application features brand videos, a store finder, social sharing via email and Facebook and designer Dace Moore’s Twitter feed. “As well, we thought that it would be fun to give something back to our shoppers,” Adele Tetangco, marketing and accounts manager at dace, Vancouver, BC., said when the app was released in 2010. “Now they can carry a little bit of dace with them in their pockets where ever they go.”
So there are apps for fashion magazine content, and apps for brands. There are also apps that are both of those things–hybrids of content and brand promotion. The trailblazer in this third category is Louis Vitton’s NOWNESS.
In February 2010, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy launched the online magazine offered as an “information reference” highlights luxury brands, seamlessly blending editorial content into brand promotion. Programmed in HTML5 and optimized for mobile devices, this crisp, clean and starkly beautiful site offers branded content that feels creative and fresh. These are only a few of the stellar examples of branded content from the fashion industry. You can read more about them here and here. While branded content is key, but the fashion industry is discovering that mobile shopping is truly where it’s at.
Let the shopping begin
More and more people are buying things on their phones. Oracle reported a 123 percent year-over-year growth in mobile purchases from 2009 to 2010. Most of those shoppers are young. The same report reveals that last year 40 percent of the shoppers were between 18 and 34; 27 percent were 34-54–an increase of 154 percent from 2009. Mobile retail users are younger and wealthier than people who simply own mobile phones, according to data from “Mobile Intel Series: Retail” from Millennial Media and comScore. In fact, 34 percent of mobile retail users earn $100,000 or more annually, and 18 percent of mobile retail users earn $75,000 to $99,000, according to the report.
In July 2010, Net-A-Porter launched a NOWNESS-inspired hybrid app, Net-A-Porter Magazine.
“We are extremely excited to be launching our iPad app,” Alison Loehnis, Net-A-Porter’s vice president of sales and marketing, said at the magazine’s launch. “With it we are giving our customers the amazing opportunity to shop through the Net-A-Porter magazine in a new and innovative way with the ability to interact with the product while on the go.”
Other retailers simply used the mobile app to help customers navigate the in-store shopping experience. Harrod’s, the iconic London department store, launched an app to help shoppers virtually navigate their way through the massive retailer.
Stylish Girl and its brother app, Cool Guy (both availabe on iPhone, iTouch and Android), launched in 2008 and offered stylish men and women an essential shopping tool, as well as a virtual personal fashion assistant.
The app helps shoppers browse multiple fashion retailers to compare items and prices. In addition, Users mix the new piece into their current wardrobe into their “virtual closet” and see how it will work.
How does one get a virtual closet? Stylish Girl allows users to upload pictures of their clothes and accessories so that to mix and match to create great outfits anytime, anywhere. In addition to the virtual closet, the app features a virtual suitcase, allowing a fashionista to virtually pack her bag before an important trip. Earlier this year, fashion startup Gretchy partnered with DDN Media, creators of Stylish Girl and Cool Guy, in order to host the first international, virtual pop-up shop.
Online retail giant eBay launched the eBay Fashion app in 2010, allowing shoppers to browse, buy and virtually “try on” items from the company’s website.
“With eBay’s Fashion app, we’ve created a unique shopping experience that consumers cannot get in front of a desktop computer, or even in a brick and mortar store,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of mobile platforms, eBay. “Shoppers can browse the millions of clothing items on eBay’s ‘racks,’ build outfits to share with friends and even virtually ‘try on’ clothing without ever stepping inside a dressing room.”
Yankovich brings up an important point about shopping. How good can it be if you can’t do it with your friends?
Get social with young consumers
Nearly two-thirds–63 percent to be exact–of mobile shoppers are under 35, according to data from Millenial Media and Comm Score. Of that group, 36 percent are between the ages of 25-34, 22 percent are 18-24 and 5 percent are 13-17. Even better? 58 percent of young adults recommend products using social networking communities compared to 35 percent of the general population that do so.
Fashionistas have taken social media and mobile and mashed them into some truly fun, must-have applications for the shopper on-the-go. One of our favorites is Snapette. The mobile, location-based app is an adorable social platform focused on bags and shoes. First and foremost, the app allows the tech-savvy to share photos of in-store products by location, give social recommendations and comment on their friend’s choices.
It’s the the first mobile fashion app that tunes users into products near their current location, allowing them to easily see what shoes and bags are in nearby stores. Women can also see what’s trending globally by viewing what users around the world. ShopHoller is a brand new social platform created specifically for users to get feedback from friends on items they are thinking about buying.
The app features easy-to-create polls and real-time feedback, allowing shoppers to get input on big ticket items from their close pals without leaving the store. The SheShops fashion app takes the Stylish Girl format and adds a social twist. The app allows users to share their virtual closets with their friends. A feature called “everyone’s Closet” allows users to dig through their friends’ wardrobes looking for items they might want to buy.
Just show me something pretty
Fashion has a power, and that power is beauty. The Pose mobile app features photos from fashionistas around the world showing off their favorite looks and hottest styles. It is, as its heart, a photo-based platform like Instagram, a wealth of eye candy for anyone who loves pretty things.
Recently, Pose introduce blog widgets for the platform, and fashionistas everywhere rejoiced. Before Pose, Instagram had the market on fashion photo sharing cornered. We covered the site when it launched in January, and since then it’s grown legs as fun, engaging photo sharing platform.
If you love beauty, odds are you love color, which means that you will love the new Pantone app. An irreplaceable tool from website designers to fashion designers to the style-conscious consumer who wants to DIY the bathroom, this app offers color combinations and offers professional grade explanations about what goes and what doesn’t.
Location, location, location
In addition to showing you something beautiful, mobile apps have the power to show fashion lovers something close by. Location-based marketing is on the rise in all categories, and one of the things that makes mobile marketing unique.
Local mobile ads will grow to hold a 51 percent share of mobile marketing budgets by 2015, according
to a forecast by BIA/Kelsey.
In April 2011, targeted-audience campaigns, which includes local market, demographic, and behavioral audience , grew 23percent month-over-month, to reach 48 percent of total mobile campaigns, according to Millennial Media. Approximately 56 percent of those campaigns targeted a local market.
One app that is maximizing the location-based aspects of mobile marketing is Style Traveler, StyleSight’s first mobile app for travelers. The app includes city guides, maps and curated editor’s picks for 30 style-centric cities worldwide, available exclusively for Stylesight subscribers.
“Our subscribers love our Style Traveler section and voted a resounding ‘yes’ to making it mobile,” says Frank Bober, founder and CEO, Stylesight. “The style traveler has unique needs and requirements when they travel, and they have a need to know what is happening in the cities they’re visiting in real-time.”
Tablets are where it’s at
Compared to smartphone users, tablet users are an even bigger boon to retailers and marketers. “The Shopping Mindset of the Mobile Consumer,” a study published by the etailing group and Coffee Table, indicates that tablet users are more likely than smartphone users to engage in online buying and browsing than smartphone users. In fact, the same study reported that while 64 percent of smart phone owners reported that they had made no purchases on their devices in the past month, tablet owners reported making between three and ten purchases
This month, The New York Times introduced “The Collection,” a fashion app exclusively for the iPad that aggregates all the fashion coverage offered by The New York Times: Thursday and Sunday Styles, T Magazine, The Moment and The International Herald Tribune. The app is free to download, and offers readers the ability to filter content or view “All.”
Taptu, the news aggregation website, unveiled Taptu Fashion, a Nook tablet app that aggregates fashion news. It was launched in conjuction with two other apps, Taptu Food and Taptu Lifestyle. Taptu Fashion comes pre-loaded with more than 200,000 streams from major media publications, social media sites, websites and blogs including Fashionista, Jak & Jil, Nitrolicious and the Style Rookie. Aside from delivering more big spenders, the tablet is simply a gorgeous platform for fashion content.
The future of mobile is here…
As cutting edge as the fashion apps on the market now, they are only the beginning. Mobile applications will change the was that we shop in the next five years. Let me give you an example, last week we wrote about a partnership between CheckPoints and ShopSavvy to bring online shopping to brick-and-mortar retail. Customers will be able to get information regarding a product based on the item’s QR codes while standing in a store aisle and find the best price online or in another store. The customer can now go to their local Target associate and say, “Please match Walmart’s price” or I go there.
…now go make your own!
As always, FMM wants to empower independent brands and retailers to use the same technology that the major players are using. In April, we hosted a presentation at our retail camp on how to create a mobile fashion app for an iPad or iPhone. Here it is. Go forth and multiply.
Editors Note: In the next few weeks, you’ll be noticing a lot of changes to FMM as we ourselves prepare for the future of mobile. Currently, FMM’s design has been updated with a responsive design that automatically resizes our site to your iPad, iPhone, Droid or Laptop. Enjoy our optimized content.
“Moving Targets: How To Connect and Engage Lifestyle Customers Via Mobile Devices, Games & Apps” is a three-part mobile series on mobile sponsored by Fresh Concept Lab, creators of Stylmee, the fashion and lifestyle industries’ first 3D fashion iPad App. The editorial content is independent of this sponsorship, it’s with Stylmee’s support that we’re able to bring you an in-depth look at mobile, geolocation and gaming at no cost.