Monthly Retail Round-Up - April 2018

Some of the best articles from the world of retail and its supporting industries.

Monthly Retail Round-Up - April 2018

With lots of news to keep track of, Dressipi brings you this month’s best stories.

1) Drapers Publish Report on Artificial Intelligence

Drapers Report on Artificial Intelligence was released at the beginning of April, exploring how AI is changing the customer experience and how it can provide a fully personalised customer offer. PwC’s Total Retail Survey 2017 showed that 59% of consumers in retail stores want real-time, personalised offers. Pui-Guan Man, Senior Reporter at Drapers highlighted, “Shoppers want the ability to find specific items speedily, and to browse through products that are relevant to their individual styles.

Furthermore, Rachael Stott from Future Laboratory stated, “Technologies such as in-store face-tracking AI can be used to provide a hyper-personalised service based on metrics such as previous purchases, style preferences and even someone’s current mood.

There are many retailers currently using AI, including Farfetch, who are encouraging customers to use their smartphones in-store to create wish lists and to let shop assistants know how chatty they are feeling. Other examples include Tommy Hilfiger’s partnership with IBM and the Fashion Institute of Technology to identify upcoming trends, and Adidas’ Speedfactory which creates different trainers for London and 5 other cities based on the specific demands of that city.

You can read the full report here.

2) ‘Beast from the East’ Causes Easter Sales to Drop

Figures released by BRC - KPMG outlined poor retail sales in the run-up to Easter and over the Easter weekend. The ‘Beast from the East’ discouraged shoppers to visit the high street bricks and mortar stores, causing an increase in online shopping. The BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor reported:

  • Over the three months to March, In-store sales of non-food items declined 3.0% on a total basis and 4.0% on a like-for-like basis. On a 12-month basis, the total decline was 2.2%.

  • Online sales of non-food products grew 7.9% in March, against a growth of 6.6% in March 2017. This is above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 6.6% and 7.8% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 20.6% in March 2017 to 22.0% in March 2018.

Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG outlined, “Retailers with an online presence were far more fortunate, with a marked lift in all categories. The cold weather clearly persuaded shoppers to peruse from the comfort of their own homes, with beauty and clothing grabbing the most attention.

Rhian Murphy, Office for National Statistics told Drapers, “The snow actually helped boost online spending with department stores in particular seeing growth in their web sales.

In addition to online growth, footfall rose in retail parks and shopping centres, however, the overall result was still negative due to the greater number of high streets.

3) Farfetch Announces ‘Dream Assembly’ Initiative

Luxury online fashion retailer, Farfetch has launched an initiative known as ‘Dream Assembly’ which will support 10 technology startups over a course of 12 weeks, providing them with “a programme of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to early-stage funding.” According to Just-Style the programme will include workshops and meetings covering topics such as e-commerce, marketing, technology, fashion, logistics and operations. This scheme will “give startups direct access to Farfetch’s expertise in the luxury fashion and technology industries.”

Burberry is the first to partner with Farfetch’s initiative and will provide modules for ‘Dream Assembly’. This comes soon after Farfetch and Burberry’s announcement of their partnership in February when Burberry began selling their collection on Farfetch’s e-commerce platform.

José Neves, CEO, Farfetch reported in Just-Style “When I started Farfetch 10 years ago, we were a small startup. Back then, I needed exposure to boutiques, brands and customers to try my service, and I needed technology support and mentoring. Farfetch Dream Assembly is dedicated to supporting the best entrepreneurs and teams to scale to the next level.

Luxury e-commerce is growing fast and other luxury brands are using this idea of helping startups to help themselves, with LVMH also unveiling a startup accelerator in mid-April.

4) H&M Collaboration with Moschino

Since H&M’s first designer collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004, the brand has seen many other successful collaborations with Stella McCartney and Versace.

The Swedish high street chain’s most recent announcement is a collaboration with Italian fashion brand Moschino. A collection of Womenswear and Menswear is due to be released in November 2018 and expected to be extremely popular just as H&M’s previous collaborations were. Reported in Vogue, Jeremy Scott, Creative Director, Moschino announced, “I am so excited about Moschino [tv] H&M, my life’s work has been to connect with people through fashion, and with this collaboration I’ll be able to reach more of my fans than I’ve ever had the ability to do.

Collaboration between designers and high street brands can work well as it offers the designer a larger, usually younger customer base, and therefore many potential future clients.

We hope you enjoyed the round-up. Please feel free to get in touch with any stories you feel would be of interest.

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