It’s not often that you walk away from a conference with a sense of wonderment and wanting more. The FashionForward ‘anti-conference’ in NYC last week had that effect on me and I’m sure several others of the 100+ that gathered to hear some of the most forward thinking, innovative conversation around the future of retail.
Highlights included Susan Feldman the Co-Founder of One King’s Lane sharing the origins of her disruptive start up journey, which launched during the height of the recession in 2008 with her desire to find unique furnishings for her new found home in LA.
A leading panel on innovation discussed the nuance of developing a corporate culture of curiosity with Johnna Marcus, the Director of Innovation from SEPHORA, sharing how their team creates for the future by staying close to the consumer. She gave a real world example of how their makeup-coaching app came to be. They were addressing a big pain point of their consumer wanting to learn more about how to apply product to their face shape in a way that supports the look they are going for.
Between the real world examples of how retailers are developing for the future were meaningful presentations from some of the brains and business that will help guide those retailers forward.
Pranav Yadav, the Founder of Neuro-Insight gave a riveting, often hilarious demonstration of how neuroscience is having an influence on our understanding of how messages affect our consumers. The main take away being that our current measure of advertising is prejudice towards our conscious understanding of the world but often will miss the mark by not understanding the true subconscious decision making power.
This was followed by research and perspective from Pernille Bruun-Jensen from NetBase around brand health and profitability and a mobile wake up call from Jonathan Pelosi from Google’s mobile team. Jonathan reminded us to look outside or own competition circle to help lead in the space and take a few cues from Amazon and eBay who have mastered the ecommerce journey.
The Fashion’s Collective produces Fashion Forward to help provide perspective and insight into the unknown future. Their event is highly curated and takes us on a journey through the most meaningful topics of today and tomorrow.
The GRIN led a panel with experts that essentially live in the future of retail.
Beth Ann Kaminkow, the Global CMO from Westfield shared with us a customer centric view of the future that is looking to transform the mall experience. Throwing away the old notion of omni-channel and looking to a consumer centric experience that is developed for the right channel for that particular person at that particular time (or if I can borrow from Jonathan Pelosi from Google – a specific micro moment).
Another forward-looking company on that participated on the panel, Public Factory, is solving a huge current and future pain in the market. From High Street, to Hong Kong, retailers have over spent on leases and the barrier to entry is prohibitive. “We are developing a shared retail space economy and community that is helping bring affordability to retail.” Said Yazid Aksas, the CEO of Public Factory. “Our co-retailing model brings flexibility and affordability in a market that has none, it resonates very well with emerging brands.”
The final panelist, Marko Bon, VP of eCommerce at Assembled Brands, is helping to flip the idea of how we shop, “With the opening of The Apartment by The Line we are launching two innovations grounded in the principal of The Line: to create refined and seamless experiences across online and offline environments while making luxury more intimate and personal.” The Apartment takes the street level store and places it 3 floors up. This provides for a unique shopping event that allows the consumer to view and experience items as if they were trying on clothes with friends at home. The transformative space is re-imagining a brands interaction with their consumer and providing a highly specialized touch to help develop a special relationship with their passionate fans.
Overall this was an event like no other. The Fashion’s Collective selection of speakers and content was clearly led by a strong desire to understand our world of retail and provide insight into the direction we are headed.