Hello and Good Afternoon everyone. I’m really excited to be here today to talk to you all. The main focus of this presentation will be around our online shopping event ‘Shop One Night’ which is in its second year. I will also be covering a few of the concepts behind the night, and our platform ‘Shop What’s New’ which is in it’s now third major iteration. So, thank you to the organisers for inviting us here today and allowing me to take up some of your precious time with my rambling. If anyone gets bored by what I’m saying feel free to tweet me and hashtag it #stfual
So, firstly. A little bit about myself (always one of my fav topics of conversation) My name is Alastair Haigh, and I’m a Co-founder of Shopwhatsnew. I’ve been designing things for the web for over 10 years and I think it’s safe to say I’ve got a wee bit of an obsession with all things tech and startup. The online world of technology with a focus on fashion and consumer startups is something that I’m really passionate about. I really feel that the global fashion industry is at the forefront of some really exciting revolutions in online retail. There’s a huge amount of innovation in this sector. In New Zealand we still have a wee way to go to get up to speed with some of the overseas trends, but I think we’re heading in the right direction. If you a designer, brand or retailer hopefully most of you have an ecommerce store right? Well, if you do then that’s great. If not, I guess you’ve picked the right conference!
So, before I get into the real meat & potatoes of this presentation, I thought, since it’s quite late in the afternoon, it might be a nice idea to just quickly divert away from the subject of online fashion success for a moment. And since my talk focusses on something which happens in one night, I thought “hey, why not run through a couple of other things that also happen in one night”. (Don’t worry this is all pretty hashtagSFW)
In one night, across the globe, many children will be born, and subsequently humiliated by their parents, the result of which will then be immortalised on the internet. That baby sandwich is actually, really really wrong. Baby in a bun.
In one night, hundreds of new (and amazing) tumblr accounts will be created, and Yahoo will somehow make money from them. ( Onetinyhand.tumblr.com is a personal favourite of mine, but I’d also advise you to check out littlefacemitt, even though we’re no longer hearing much about him. We will always be able to laugh at his tiny little face.
Over the course of one night, Adobe Photoshops incredible image editing abilities will continue to be abused, with hundreds of bizarre and yet somehow fascinating images produced for professional or personal reasons. (I’m really struggling to explain the dog/human image, there must be some good reason for this? please? let there be?)
...and in one night, many, many bad hair decisions will be made (although I’m pretty sure that image on the left of the screen belongs to the previous category)
Anyway, onto the actual topic of this talk! I thought I’d start out by giving you guys a little history on shopwhatsnew, which is the platform that “powers” Shop One Night Since the initial version of the site was launched, we’ve come a long way and gone through a number of major changes. You can see on this slide behind me a few of the major versions we’ve gone through. I wasn’t quite game enough to plaster high res images of our old designs up there, but you get the picture! As with any product on the web there’s a lot of experimentation and iteration. A lot of the original features of the site have been retired. We’ve spent the last 18 months looking at what features were popular on the site, and what wasn’t working, and tried to make changes based off of that. Whatever changes we have made though, the site is still grounded in the same principles as when we began. The aim is still to provide a place for consumers to discover the best of New Zealand and overseas Men’s and Women’s fashion, apparel and footwear, all in one place. We’ve just grown up a little in what we’re doing to achieve this goal.
So, where are we now. As I said, I feel like we’ve grown up a bit. The quick pitch is this: Shop What’s New is a now designed to be a personalised shopping experience. We let users follow their favourite brands, stores and people for instant updates that arrive in their own ‘feed’. We also let users collect the products they love on a profile page, and get instant sales alerts on the products they’ve saved. We’ve partnered with a number of Australasia's leading brands, boutiques and retail stores, so consumers can follow their favourites all from one place. We provide a full shopping and browsing experience for customers who can discover products and then click away to our partner websites to complete the transaction. The goal has always been to develop a platform which allows retailers to extend their reach across the web, and maximise the potential of their e-commerce offers, with the motto being ‘Create once, publish everywhere’. At the moment we’re only offering this service in New Zealand, but I’m happy to announce that we’re about to launch a .com.au version of the site for the Australian market. With this idea in mind, to bring together dozens of different retailers & brands we felt like an online shopping event would be a great way to extend our offering for retailers and customers. As several of the speakers have already pointed out - we’re just at the start of an e-com revolution in New Zealand. We felt like an online shopping event would raise the profile of e-com stores and retailers in New Zealand, and get people more comfortable with buying fashion online.
So, the concept! What was the concept. Well, it wasn’t all that new.. I’m sure many of you in the audience today have no doubt heard of Fashions Night Out, and perhaps many of you have also heard of Fashions Night IN. Starting with a bricks-and-mortar foundation, fashion giant U.S. Vogue began their own ʻVogueʼs Fashion Night Outʼ; an evening event where all of New Yorkʼs fashion design houses were encouraged to celebrate fashion with sales, in-store appearances and treats for their customers. This was soon adapted to the online environment with ʻVogueʼs Fashion Night Inʼ. After seeing the excitement generated by these events internationally, we felt there was an opportunity to start S1N and give New Zealand designers, brands and retailers an opportunity to have their own big night of exclusive offers, discounts and one-offs and get Kiwis excited about online shopping. Our partner in bringing the event to New Zealand is PR firm showroom 22 headed up by Murray Bevan, who with their extensive knowledge of the New Zealand fashion industry has really helped push the idea within the industry and media. Shop One Night was to be an event designed to bring attention to the online offerings of retailers and brands and show how convenient and accessible online shopping can be. It’s not exclusively for retailers who are on Shop What’s New, it’s open to any quality fashion & lifestyle brand, designer or retailer.
So, the first Shop One Night was planned for 23rd Feb 2012. It was timed to coincide with what is traditionally the month that summer sales finish and the first autumn garments are delivered to stores. To help SHOP ONE NIGHT really come alive, we also planned a physical event around the idea of ‘the Shop One Night hub’ which was held at the Nathan Club in the Britomart precinct. The event was attended by the ʻStyle T.R.I.B.E.ʼ which included Trend-setters, Influencers, Bloggers, retailers and designers who helped to create a social buzz on the night. The physical hub also helped to translate that social buzz online with customers and fans feeling like they were part of fun event. The response to the announcement of the first online event was fantastic. In 2012, Shop One Night brought together over 30 fashion labels. Offers on the night ranged from a special discount, gift-with purchase, a limited edition product or an exclusive collaboration. Several also partnered with a media outlet, complementary brand or celebrity to endorse their offering
Collaboration is one great aspect of Shop One Night. The idea behind media & bloggers collaborating with retailers & brands, is not only for the positive brand re-enforcement but also that these already very savvy social media marketers will do much of the event promotion through their own channels. Also, the resulting partnerships can often extend for much longer than just the one night. It’s a fantastic way to forge relationships of mutual benefit, and create strong brand advocates for your business within the media & blogosphere. Some of the amazing partnerships from the 2012 event included: -Kimberley Crossman collaborting with Miss Wilson with an amazing gift-with-purchase -Viva and Deadly Ponies collaborated on a exclusive handbag -Bloggers Katherine Lowe and Isaac Hindin-Miller teaming up to create limited edition t-shirts for their fans. -More FM host Amber Peeples teaming up with Coop to offer an exclusive 30% off online sales-Blogger Bronwyn Williams collaborated with Nick Von K to create a unique limited edition bracelet -ZM’s Jay Reeve teamed up with clothing store Thanks with a hand-picked outfit offer.-FourEyes blog & Rag-Pony blog teamed up with Black Box Boutique to offer special gift-with-purchases on the night. .. and many more.
So, what were the results of the first Shop One Night? Within 15 minutes of going on sale, the five pairs of exclusive Kathryn Wilson shoes in collaboration with Boh Runga had sold out. Within the first hour the ten limited edition Deadly Ponies & NZ Herald Viva bags had sold out (at a value of $700 each!) During the 2012 event, the S1N portal received over 11,000 unique browsers generating 50,000 page impressions in just 7 hours. #S1N was also the top trending topic on Twitter in New Zealand throughout the night. As a result of the extensive partnerships and collaborations with brands & media, S1N 2012 had an estimated reach of 70K impressions on both Facebook and Twitter. The photo you see behind me is from the Style TRIBE event at Britomart, which was a lot of fun. All the bloggers, media and influencers got truly into the spirit of the event. We also attempted to run a Live video Stream, which was an interesting undertaking. Suffice to say we didn’t try it again for this years event!
Oh and we of course can’t forget the appearance of the amazing cornetto bear. Unfortunately the bear wasn’t able to appear at this years event. I’m a little bit worried for him, the life of a retired icecream mascot can often be a difficult one. So with the success of the first event, we of course naturally felt like a second event in 2013 would be a great idea.
Shop One Night 2013 was held just last week, and we saw a big increase in every aspect of the event from the previous year. This year we had over 40 retailers, brands and designers involved. Many of the brands were offering huge discounts for the night, and there was some incredible partnerships formed. Some of the key partnerships for Shop One Night 2013 were: -Deadly Ponies and Viva presented a limited edition release of the Mr Clapback Tote exclusively for SHOP ONE NIGHT. -Black Box Boutique partnered with Courtney Sanders from Always | Sometimes | Anytime to offer big discounts and gifts with purchase and also colaborated on some unique editorial pieces around the event -Four Eyes blog collaborated with Good as Gold and also promoted a competition through Instagram for the event. -Glassons partnered with Oyster Mag to release an ultra limited edition Tee-shirt -Ruby partnered with Cleo magazine to release ten customised classic Vans Authentics hand painted by the Talented illustrator Henrietta Harris. -Taylor partnered with Stuff.co.nz to give away an absolutely incredible gift with purchase. - Pat Menzies teamed up with Girlfriend mag - Juliette Hogan teamed up with Charlotte Ryan for ShopOneNight to offer an exclusive pre-collection release .. and many more incredible offers and colabs that really helped the night to become such a fantastic event again. So what were the results this year?
The Glassons Oyster Mag tees sold out in 10 minutes
The Deadly Ponies bags were all gone before 7PM. Chaos & Harmony sold out entirely of their exclusive boot release for the night in a couple of hours. Retailers who offered big discounts on the night also reported huge increases in traffic and sales. Some partner websites even suffered under the load of dozens of customers scrambling to take advantage of their incredible offers.
Wellington boutique Good as Gold processed a huge amount of individual orders in the night. That’s a lot of swag right there.
We’re still receiving the full sales data from the event, but from an initial look at the results across the board, it was a big improvement on last year. The Shop One Night portal saw a huge influx of visitors. Our servers struggled to cope with the load, at one point we had 400 concurrent users, which when we compare it to our usual amount of simultaneous users, is a big increase! Once again #S1N was a top trend on twitter, and the buzz on social media was incredible all night. Social media itself is a hugely important part of the event. The retailers and brands who get involved and engage their social media audiences are the ones who get the best results on the night. Those retailers and brands who collaborate with media partners also get the added leverage from their social media followings also. Many retailers stagger offers out throughout the evening, such as Barkers who every hour released a new massive discount on a specific category. This definitely is a great way to keep an audience engaged through the night. Once again savvy retailers & brands are utilising basically only social media to promote these offers to their fans. We also look for ways we can engage the fans online ourselves. This year we ran a live blog utilising the cover it live technology, and for upcoming Shop One Night’s we plan to run Google Hangouts and include live Q&A with fashion bloggers, designers and media.
For Shop One Night 2013 we also once again held the Style TRIBE event. This time the location was the Stamford Auckland. This was attended by many of New Zealand’s top Fashion bloggers & media. It was again a super fun night, and it’s a great physical embodiment of the online event. We had great music from Red Bull DJ’s and an amazing atmosphere of busy bloggers and social media mavens. Thankfully we didn’t bother with the live video streaming also which made my night less stressful! (no cornetto bear though ) Shop One Night is about one night of offers, consolidated in one place, for customers to discover new favourites, interact with brands, influencers and media. This idea encompasses the first concept which I’d like to cover, an idea which we like to call ‘consolidation of e-commerce’
The internet is a noisy & fragmented place. It’s full of bewildered users desperate for an easy route to what they’re looking for. What concepts like Shop One Night and in turn Shop What’s New, allow us to do is to bring together what consumers are looking for into one centralised place on the web. It’s not so dissimilar to a mall. Customers know where to go, it’s easy to find a park, and they know they can trust that the brands and stores which appear in that mall are of a certain quality. (depending on the mall of course). With Shop One Night we bring together a group of retailers, brands and their collaborators into one place, allowing the customer a wide amount of choice. Whilst always maintaining a high level of quality. In the same way with Shop What’s New we bring together and consolidate a fragmented network of stores and e-commerce sites, into one place. This is a concept many of you may be familiar with which is called ‘Aggregation’ On Shop What’s New we aggregate products from over 25 retailers in Men’s and Women’s fashion. If you’re interested in the banal technology side of this, we basically aggregate products by ingesting XML feeds from partner websites and then tracking clicks to these sites with third-party affiliate network software. phew We then leverage these product feeds in various ways to help retailers and brands extend their reach and augment their traditional and digital/social marketing efforts. What we’d like to be able to do is make shopping for fashion online in New Zealand more convenient, accessible, and of course, fun.
Convenience means allowing the customer to shop the way they want, when they want, and where they want. It means allowing them to choose from a wide range of products, save or store those products, and access the products on any device, mobile or desktop. It also means we’re helping them choose. We are curating from a huge amount of possible options and presenting them with a filtered list of products from which to decide. The ways in which we do that are really important, which I’ll get to next. Fundamentally, consolidating e-commerce sites affects the customers experience, it creates convenience and usability. It makes for a desirable destination. But once they’re within the ecosystem, how do we influence purchase intent? As mentioned earlier, social media is at the heart of what we’re working on with Shop One Night and Shop What’s New. It underlies a concept which you guys may have heard bandied around a bit in the last couple years called “Social Commerce”.
I think this quote nicely sums up the concept of social commerce, but in turn, it’s not just about recommendations from friends. We are attempting to integrate social commerce directly into the core of our product offering. A reminder, social commerce is NOT groupon or grabone. Social commerce lets consumers connect with their favourite brands and people so they can discover and buy more things they love. In other words, it drives discovery though personalised shopping experiences that consumers manage themselves. We feel that aggregation and consolidation of many online stores is merely the first step. Adding the social layer on top of this commerce engine is intrinsic to our goal of increasing sales for retailers, and adding incredible value for the customer. The focus of course, still needs to be on sales, so the shopping is in the forefront. The social layer is used to help drive the discovery and purchase process. Social discovery is all well and good, but it’s nothing without the commerce engine that lies beneath. We’re currently working on some fancy Facebook open graph integration which will allow users to more easily share from the site. And from what we’ve seen, shares equal sales! From looking at the data, we can also see that Facebook shares are 4x more valuable than shares to other social media networks like Twitter. When a user ‘wants’ a product on Shop What’s New, that product can be instantly pushed through to the users Facebook profile. The idea behind this is to influence purchase intent, by showing product refferals and recommendations from friends in a seamless viral loop.
This social layer is deeply connected to the idea of influence also. We’re all incredibly influenced by our friends, family, and the people around us. The same applies to purchasing. That’s why on Shopwhatsnew we’ve integrated the ability for users to follow not only brands and stores, but also people. The slide behind me shows a profile page from within the shop what’s new platform. It’s owned by blogger Bronwyn Williams aka Crazy Chic, whom many of you might be familiar with. It shows the products she loves, the brands and stores she follows, and those people following her. This idea of following profiles is not totally new to e-commerce, but we feel it’s a major feature to add which enables users to full express themselves, share and collect the things they love. We now let the consumer discover brands and products through three distinct ‘slices.’ People they know, their friends. Influencers, those people whom they look up to. And people like themselves. Users can discover products from within our ecosystem which have been wanted, or recommended by people. This concept is also tied to Shop One Night where media, bloggers and influencers form a connection with a brand, designer or retailer. This connection is a hugely efffective way to promote and influence sales. The linking of a product with an influencer, or a friend and allowing people to discover these links through social media creates an emotional connection for the consumer. This is the basis of a concept which was first described in a blog post from Fab.com co-founder Jason Goldberg.
It’s a concept he describes as ‘Emotional Commerce’ It kind of underlies all of the things we’re working on at SWN and Shop One Night. It incorporates personalisation, social commerce and consolidation. The idea which Jason expounds is that emotions, not reason, drive online behaviour. The limited time-frame of a one night shopping event is most certainly tied to this concept. Only having one night of which to get in on amazing sales and incredible offers creates an emotional response in the consumer, and this is super effective in driving purchases.
This is quote from Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten in which he says. “The internet is not a vending machine.” To him, the customer experience should be emotionally-driven and engaging. Fashion is by it’s very nature emotional - our style is inherently tied to our sense of self and how we express it - so it’s clear that the act of selling fashion online should be equally emotional. Our taste and style are very personal to us so we need shopping experiences that are equally personal. A fashion shopper who gets their own shopping experience, tailored to their own style, discovers more of the things they love – things that help them express who they are and how they feel. What’s more, through personalisation they also feel the experience they’re having is something special and unique, which has been made just for them.
Of course Emotional Commerce isn’t anything new – in the physical world it’s how fashion and design has been sold for hundreds of years. Apple does an incredible job of this in its retail stores. Even online, it’s not such a recent phenomenon - eBay was one of its pioneers. They understood the implicit entertainment value of asking shoppers to compete for products and the social value of allowing shoppers and merchants to interact with each other. This so-called third wave of e-commerce is all about getting lost in the moment. Emotional Commerce is about taking the best offline shopping experiences and making them even more amazing online. It’s about engaging through social media, and creating dialogue where we enable consumers to learn more about brands and what they stand for. At Shop What’s New and Shop One Night we’re excited to be innovating at the edge of emotional Commerce. We’re hoping to drive more sales and produce fantastic results for our partners through adding social shopping, discovery and personalisation features to Shop What’s New.
So those are the concepts which get us really excited at SWN. And it’s what we’re going to be working on in the coming months and years. If you’re in the business of selling fashion online, then we think these ideas of social and emotional commerce will become increasingly important to you and your customers in the future. We think events like Shop One Night help to raise the profile of online shopping in New Zealand, and contribute in promoting the idea to Kiwis that it’s not just overseas where you can discover amazing offers and buy incredible fashion. We’re planning to hold the next Shop One Night in November.
Thanks everyone for listening this afternoon. Hopefully the #stfual hashtag isn’t a trending topic on twitter! If anyone has any questions they’d like to ask. Nows the time!
The Inside Story
About MeAlastair HaighCo-Founder of Shop What’s New@alhaigh