Technology has given the kiss of (new) life to the Fashion Week institution, with livestreaming from the hottest runway shows, real time shopping, bloggers gaining their seats among fashion editors and celebrities and of course tweets from the first row giving to us all a virtual seat.
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This February, for the first time, a premiere fashion tradeshow for designers and brands, WWDMAGIC in Las Vegas, is opening up to consumers through technology. The heart of WWDMAGIC will be beating at the Blogger Lounge hosted by Teen Vogue, having as guests up to 30 fashion bloggers. The emerging and celebrity fashion bloggers will participate in blogger panels, trend reporting, real-time video segments, buyer chats and style-offs and their coverage of the event will be aggregated at the WWDMAGIC Tumblr blog. WWDMAGIC aims to turn the social media spotlight not only on fashion bloggers, but also on-location and virtual attendees, with the help of Whrrl and Moxsie, which we’ve written about in the past.
It’s all about location, location, location.
Throughout the WWDMAGIC show, bloggers and show attendees can check-in on Whrrl to become members of the Whrrl WWDMAGIC Fashion Society, receive special check-in deals from restaurants, clubs, retails and entertainment venues in Las Vegas and enter a chance to win prizes from WWDMAGIC show brands. The check-ins, photos and “Whrrl Stories” of the WWDMAGIC geo-location society will be aggregated on TV screens placed on locations within the tradeshow area. We contacted Heather Meeker, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Pelago, makers of Whrrl, to tell us more about this partnership as well as how geo-location technology is transforming the fashion industry events.
What makes fashion societies on Whrrl stand out from the others?
Societies on Whrrl are communities of people with the same real-world interests that visit the same types of places. Whether you’re a foodie, wine lover or fashionista, there’s a Society for you! When you check in on Whrrl, you can opt-into Societies that fit your interests. There are over 5,000 Societies on Whrrl, and in the case of fashion lovers, we already have a Fashionista Society for people that love boutiques and trendy styles. We’ve also created the WWDMAGIC Fashion Society for fashion lovers of major brands, so anyone at the event can join and share their recommendations, photos and notes about what’s hot in fashion this year from the show floor.
Will someone not attending WWDMagic, and outside the U.S. be able to follow the stories and photos from the WWDMagic Fashion Society?
Yes. Anyone who attends MAGIC and checks in on Whrrl at the convention center, events, etc., has the option to share their experience on Twitter and Facebook so others can join in the fun. However, every Whrrl check-in can be made private, public, shared with friends or trusted friends- so the user controls who sees their check in.
How do you see geo-location shaping the future of the fashion industry?
I think the main aspect of geo-location that will resonate with shoppers is the ability to check-in and find tips, recommendations, offers and prizes at the retailers they love. What’s better than having the power of information at your fingertips when you’re making shopping decisions? And especially at your favorite stores? This will not only help inform shoppers, it will continue to build brand loyalty and spread word of mouth as shoppers share adventures from their mobile phone in real time.
The potential to reach out to shopping communities on the go seems huge, though so far most brands seem to exhaust this in merely making offers and discounts. Do you see a shift in brands’ approach? Do you think that the use of geo-location technology in big fashion events like this one will inspire them to explore other ways to mix the online with the offline world?
Since we’re in the early days of geo-location, I believe there’s a tremendous opportunity for the fashion industry to take a hold of this technology and find a meaningful way to integrate it into their marketing and social media planning. Geo-location goes far beyond offers and discounts- it provides a meaningful way for brands to connect with shoppers where it matters most – at the point of purchase.
With the case of MAGIC, using a geo-location service like Whrrl gives attendees the opportunity to check in and share the hottest trends and fashions as they are happening in the form of photos, notes and recommendations, and share with others in real-time to inspire them. For instance, imagine seeing a Facebook update with the newest leggings for the season. Or seeing an update on Twitter and learning about the hottest pencil jeans for the fall. Whrrl gives people not physically at the event the opportunity to feel as if they are there. And for brands, this is great, free viral exposure across social networks.
The power of hashtag
A leading example in social commerce, community-driven online shop Moxsie will host their innovative #BuyerChat Twitter event live from WWDMAGIC show floor. Bloggers and show attendees, as well as virtual attendees will participate in BuyerChat to vote and discuss the apparel that Moxsie will sell online following the show. We talked to Julia Kung, Director, Marketing at Moxsie, Inc to find out more on their WWDMAGIC event and the impact social media rhave on the buying and selling cycle for retailers.
Moxsie has really pushed the envelope with #buyerchat, could you share some metrics? Is there something that surprises you in the responses you got from your customers so far?
We’ve had over a thousand participants, and about 20% are regulars. We knew our BuyerChat participants are fashion-philes and outspoken with both positive and negative feedback, both of which we truly appreciate. What we didn’t expect was how educated and knowledgeable they are both about fashion trends and the industry. They really end up teaching us a lot too.
Do you think that actions like #buyerchat live from WWDMagic could make tradeshows more appealing to the greeater public and elevate their status and glamour to a Fashion Week level?
WWDMagic is an industry event with very little customer facing press coverage. Events like live BuyerChats from WWDMagic will make the events accessible to anyone who has an interest. The tradeshows are inherently appealing to anyone interested in fashion and retail. This is where the real business happens, unlike Fashion Week which is really marketing and showmanship. It certainly will also help to have glamorous sponsors such as Teen Vogue and fantastic bloggers in attendance such as Jane Aldridge from Sea Of Shoes!
How do you see social media revolutionizing the buying and selling cycle for retailers?
We’ve seen that designers make manufacturing decisions based on the feedback that they receive at our BuyerChats so we know that we can have an impact. Undoubtedly this impact will grow. The two limiting factors right now are creating bandwidth for social media efforts and getting designers and brand representatives educated on social media so that they can engage as well. This will happen soon enough- just as in other industries, the savviest marketers are using social media.
How do you envision the fashion and trade shows of the future?
I see full consumer coverage and interaction for tradeshows with increasingly advanced user interaction tools. This will only be good for both retailers and designer brands. The more educated the consumer is about your brand, the more likely it is that they’ll become your brand advocates.