It's a wrap for the #MustHave16 Fashion Design Competition

That's a wrap for this year's #MustHave16 Design Competition, hosted by Art of Fashion.
The competition is demanding of the emerging fashion designers who participate. They are required to submit a sketch and a sample. In addition, they must go through the 5 phases of starting a brand: including building a social following and marketing strategy, working with retailers to ensure their design meet customer's needs, and selling their design in-store.

"It is a challenging competition, but it is a challenging market for emerging designers", says Jennifer Pilkington, Managing Director of Retail Assembly, who is a competition sponsor. "The hard work pays off, as the designers have a real world toolbox at the end of the competition."

This year the competition offered mentorship and feedback from a variety of industry experts including Laura-Jean Bernhardson, CEO of multi-store retailer Fresh Collective, Elle Bulger of Pinch Social, Jennifer Powell of Hart and Galla, and Donna Bishop, founder of Green Beauty and FGI Board Member.

Browse the video playlist below and congratulate our winner Bulgun Puteeva of Bulia

Mobile shopping insights

Summarized and excerpted from the December 2014 article by Liz Ericson, Louise Herring, and Kelly Ungerman, "Busting mobile-shopping myths".

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  1. APPS ENGAGE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS - not generating traffic to engaging new customers.  "As the number of shopping apps proliferates, many people seem reluctant to use them: barely 30 percent of mobile shoppers have more than two shopping apps." and survey respondents were twice as likely to visit a mobile site than an app. 
  2. BASIC FUNCTIONALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT FEATURES - "Respondents said the three most important functionalities were smooth checkout, the ease of adding and dropping items from a basket, and site navigation."
  3. SHOWROOMING CAN BE POSITIVE - A customer showroom in your store will buy from you eventually - 58 percent of them do. 
  4. DIGITAL DEVICES SUPPORT IN-STORE SERVICE - "Shoppers view mobile-enabled sales assistants—particularly in showrooms and large-format stores—as enhancing the shopping experience, underlining the need for retailers to find and train motivated, well-prepared, and well-equipped employees."

Boku is taking carrier billing to new places

Boku.com

Boku.com

The mobile payments market has had big news in the last month – the release of Apple Pay, and PayPal’s announced split from eBay. Yesterday Boku announced that customers are able to pay for real world goods by adding the payment to their mobile phone bill. Internet access required, NFC (near field communication) technology not. 

 

This method of payment is called carrier billing. Previously carrier billing has been limited to digital wallpapers and ringtones, but with new deals with Vodafone, O2, and EE, Boku is expanding its role of e-Money issuer in the UK and EU.

 

Boku will negotiate limits with individual phone carriers (and merchants). They are operating using industry standard limits for now. £30/transaction £200/month will not facilitate an auto purchase, but does allow for magazine and convenience purchases, including movie tickets, parking, takeout, and public transportation.

 

“It may not yet revolutionize mainstream retail payments, but it could well see people using mobile to pay for cans of pop, newspapers and magazines and making other ‘micropayments’ in small retailers and the like, while the mainstream high street stores are still grappling with finding budget for beacons and other tech” commented Paul Skeldon at internetretailing.net.

 

Who would have thought that it would be corner shops and kiosks that got the first taste of mobile payments in retail?

 

Merchants will need to sign on, thereby allowing customers to use this method of payment. Consumers will not need to register. In most instances it will take only confirmation via text to process the transaction. No credit card information exchange, in fact, no credit card required.

 

The global m commerce market is set to grow from $116 billion in 2014 to $467 billion in 2019. The focus in North America has been on wallets and beacons, but carrier billing is likely to have a larger global impact in the end – serving regions where merchants and consumers have cell-phones but not NFC technology. “Suddenly, mobile payment has become simple to implement” summarized Skeldon.

 

ADDITIONAL | Has mobile payment hit its tipping point?

ADDITIONAL | VIDEO The 5 big benefits of ‘charge to bill’

Google site search: Hurdle for retailers or consumer service?

Google is in constant evolution, and it remains the number one search engine. It is important for retailers to follow the company’s updates, difficult to decipher as they may be.


In a move to keep users on their search page for longer, Google launched search within a site. The clumsy name simply indicates that below the header for a particular retailer, is another Google search box. Instead of immediately clicking on the retailer’s website, the user may enter a secondary search on the same Google page.

Search within a site searches are treated like other search result pages. Which means, relevant advertising is also returned. The organic results are from the specific retailer. The ads are from any company that has purchased advertising – including the direct competition. We searched ‘marc jacobs’ at Revolve Clothing (above), and Shopbop – another ecommerce retailer was the top return (below). The rest of the results were all from Revolve Clothing.

 

As Mark Ballard, director of research at Rimm Kaufman Group LLC articulates, “You’d end up generating ads for your competition on a search that otherwise would have taken place on your site”.

Google argues that the search feature on many commerce sites are plainly not very good, and the company is looking to fill that second query result on its own search pages.

 

There is a solution for retailers wanting to control the returned results, and eliminate any advertising. Google has allowed for the retailer’s own search results page, as long as it’s formatted correctly and submitted to Google. Amazon and Walmart have already opted-in.

 

 

GOOGLE TO HANDLE MORE QUERIES

The search within a site feature is one of the newest the company is using to keep retailers on the Google search page longer. Structured and Rich Snippets pull key product and site details (like a camera’s dimensions, resolution, etc.) from brand and retailer websites, displaying them on the search results page. Thus, delaying the click to a retailer / brand’s webpage.

 

At this point, search within a site doesn’t seem to be altering consumer behavior in a significant way, but Google is actively expanding both the Snippits and Site Search features.

Join the revolution

IKEA spoofs Apple ads

At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, the 2015 IKEA Catalogue comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas. Join the revolution at http://IKEA.sg/bookbook or http://IKEA.my/bookbook. Available in the IKEA store from 8 Sept (MY) and 18 Sept (SG).

Sometimes the best solutions are simple. This seems to be what IKEA is telling us. If you're looking for an intuitive device that answers all your home design questions, but NEVER needs to be plugged in, then look no further than IKEA's bookbook (aka catalogue). 

 

Christian Louboutin retrospective at 20 years

Louboutin has built one of the most successful shoe brands in the world.  Upon the 20th anniversary of his first name-sake shop in Paris, the Design Exchange brought in 250 shoes accompanied by commentary from Christian.  With each new collection the designer explores new themes and concepts, sources of creativity ranging from transparency, architecture, travel, fetish, and showgirls.  If you have the opportunity, do check it out in a city near you. 

Christian Louboutin is also one of the hardest working gentlemen in the fashion business. Projects with filmmakers, musicians, foundations, and brand extensions (menswear launched in 2011) abound.  We love his reflection on his life's work, "Life is a series of fortuitous coincidences".  Be grateful for the many personal and professional opportunities you've had thus far, and continue to work hard for them in the future.