On Tuesday November 26th, I attended a Decoded Fashion London meetup for the first time, which happened to be a Christmas themed event, held at BL-NK in Shoreditch. At first I was sceptical of a meetup bringing together professionals in the fashion and tech industry, and wasn’t sure how relevant the event would be for ecommerce analytics. But as soon as I entered the venue, I found a buzzing room with a very mixed group of attendees. With a glass of white in hand, I began making my way around the room and chatting with mobile marketers, new online retailers, social media managers and app developers. The theme for the event was tech trends for 2014 and featured a startup showcase from the best of Decoded Fashion’s Milan Fashion Pitch competition. The evening was focused mainly on app development, but the audience included a mixture of retailers, marketers, social influencers, ecommerce professionals, fashion bloggers and enthusiasts.
The highlight of the evening was a keynote presentation by Net-A-Porter’s Group Mobile Manager, Sarah Watson, who spoke about their highly anticipated Netbook project. Sarah explained how Net-A-Porter developed the idea behind their exciting new social shopping app, what sort of experience they wanted to give their users, and the functionality behind this image-based social platform. Sarah explained that by using the influence people have on each others' styles, and bringing a shareable profile, or diary, to their shopping history, Net-A-Porter is able to bring their customers and social following together into one place.
Their current invite-only strategy also speaks to a tech savvy development group who want to make sure their user base is built from the ground up to reach the right influencers first, and to iron out any kinks before their public launch. But wait their 'admirers' surely will, and the waitlist for signing up to the app numbers in the thousands already. I was lucky enough to receive one such invite from Sarah, and am looking forward to exploring all this app has to offer.
After Sarah’s presentation, we listened to three startups in the fashion tech industry. The first was a somewhat muffled Skype presentation by XYZE (pronounced ‘size-ey’), an Italian mobile and wearable tech startup that features a personalised measurement guide for both men and women. It acts as an advanced system for matching clothing to an individual’s measurements. The idea behind this startup is fascinating and I'll be paying close attention to their developments going forward.
Next up was Viewsy, winner of Decoded Fashion Milan 2013 and a British startup developing in-store analytics. Viewsy measures and manages foot traffic using anonymised cell phone signals in bricks and mortar stores, and provides a KPI dashboard for measuring traffic, return customers etc. Viewsy is taking the advanced tracking of web analytics to it’s physical counterparts, which is a novel and impressive understanding of omnichannel retailing. Although I’ve heard of Viewsy before, it was nice to hear from the CTO about how their analytics function, and what they had to say about the privacy concerns and anonymity of tracked signals. They also started their presentation with an interesting stat: “For every $1 spent on marketing analytics, retailers made on average $10.66 in ROI.” CFOs take note!
The last showcase was from Asap54, a visual search engine that has been built from a fashion perspective, with highly advanced image search capabilities and the ability to take images, find an exact item, and purchase it through an affiliate program. Genius! And since this technology is still in it’s early stages, Asap54 also has a team of personal stylists who can help you with your search when all else fails. There is also a social element included, so you can see what your friends have searched for in real time and get inspired.
Overall, Decoded Fashion was a great meetup, and one that I’ll be attending regularly from now on. I encourage everyone in the fashion tech space to come to the next meetup, and since they’re now expanding globally, the opportunity to find one near you and get involved is that much easier.
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