Beacons: The New Black? | Footmarks

Beacons: The New Black?

Last night, the fifth annual Fashion 2.0 Awards honored the fashion industry’s tech-in-fashion trailblazers. British ecommerce powerhouse ASOS took home the Top Innovator and Best Facebook awards. Nike’s Fuel Band was awarded Best Wearable Tech, and New York startup Warby Parker took home the coveted Visionary Award. (Click here for the evening’s full list of the winners).

With the spring shows officially a wrap, we’ve comprised our own list of tech-related brand and marketing innovations from the runways. There were Fendi drones in Milan, Moschino let viewers live-shop their show, our R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator deskmates RingBlingz made their first public appearance, and Karl Lagerfeld gave his blessing to good old fashioned brick and mortar grocery shopping.

While the use of beacons at the spring shows would have been the ultimate fashion statement, we’re highlighting the technology’s applications and advantages now — with hope they’ll make their Fashion Week debut this fall.

Drones: Deliveries are so last season

Per a Moschino press release from the event, theirs was “the first fashion show ever seen through the eyes of…drones” (and we’re guessing it won’t be the last…). At-home live-stream viewers had the option to customize their experience by choosing between a classic live-stream view and the drones’ perspective, labeled the “Drone Cam.”


“Watch It, Taste It, Shop It”

Moschino made a definitive bid for omnichannel retailing with its live-shopping event. “Watch It, Taste It, Shop It” was heavily promoted on the brand’s social media channels leading up to the Milan event, with followers prompted to sign up for an access code prior to the show. By making the event exclusive, consumers were made to feel valued and part of the brand’s inner circle.


Like Moschino, other brands are also disrupting traditional supply chains and giving new meaning to fast fashion. Online retailer Moda Operandi, for example, launched an iOS mobile app just in time for New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to shorten the time from runway to retail. The app gave designers a platform to showcase their collections in a mobile commerce environment right after their runway shows.


Innovators in the realm of social wearables, Ringblingz debuted their first product, a smart ring, at MBFW in New York. The rings, targeted at teens, keep their wearers connected to people that matter to them the most, sending them visual, glowing notifications when their favorite contacts on different social media channels want to get in touch. RingBlingz, which has since diversified its product offering to also include pendants, wristlets and clips (for men), use Bluetooth LE and connect to an iOS or Android app. For those eager to sport their line of wearable wearables, the company’s Kickstarter will begin next month.


Grocery Shopping Never Looked So Good

While beacon deployment would have been the ultimate fashion statement, Karl Lagerfeld did give his blessing to good old fashioned brick and mortar supermarkets (and scored Bill Cunningham’s fashion and style nod for the week). Rather than walk the runway, models roamed the aisles during the show, filling grocery baskets (trimmed with Chanel’s signature bag chain) with Chanel packaged goods and produce. The supermarket stock was so desirable security guards had to pry the Chanel items from over-eager show attendees’ hands.


Maybe that’s the secret to getting customers through your doors — Chanel-branded Pain Grillé. (CPG brands — take note.)


Wearable Wallets

While not yet a runway reality, wearable payment devices (suggested in an article published coincident with the spring shows) present a huge opportunity for today’s designers (particularly in light of mobile wallets’ struggles to gain traction). As the author of the article writes, “Why should I have to whip out my phone when I can just touch a contactless ring, watch, button, cufflink or bracelet to the point of sale to make a payment?”

Are you listening, Karl? A Chanel-branded wearable wallet please.


Beacons: Walking the Runway in Fall 2014?

Beacons have proven transformative technology at events, as well as in retail environments. At a time when retailers are struggling to keep up with ecommerce juggernauts, beacon technology and experience platforms can greatly leverage a brand’s reach, as well as its omnichannel strategy and customer analytics.

Fashion runway shows — in many ways the apogee of experiential retail — are prime candidates for beacon-afforded innovations. As events in New York, London, Milan and Paris have shown, brick and mortar retailers should also be shopping ideas from the runways, in their own bids for experiential retail, omnichannel marketing, loyalty programs, and the re-wrangling of supply chain dynamics.

Beacon deployment throughout the increasingly dispersed New York Fashion Week locations would provide significant operational and logistical improvements. Events organizers, press, and patrons would have access to real-time, location-specific scheduling and ticket information, improved event navigation and secure check-ins. A beacon infrastructure throughout MBFW’s multiple event spaces would also improve marketing opportunities for sponsors and designers, as well as for MBFW’s greater ecosystem of events, parties and promotions, with convenient provision of behind the scenes media, and time-sensitive discounts and promotions to designers’ wares. (Fashion’s Night Out — prior to last year’s hiatus — could have been similarly amplified for both event-goers and retailers through a large-scale beacon experience platform).

Meanwhile, beacons in the event spaces themselves could afford highly geo-targeted messaging and experiences for show attendees. Beacons, which in most cases are only slightly bigger than the batteries they house, could also be hidden on the models as they walk the runways — providing a truly augmented experience for attendees. So too, mobile payment integration within a designer’s or brand’s own app — in conjunction with beacon technology — could also speed retailing of a collection as it debuts on the runway, as well as leverage loyalty marketing and reduce purchase funnel friction.


Visit our site to learn more about Footmarks and how our technology could make Fall 2014 the most fashionable season yet.

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Fashion 2.0 Awards and our own nominees — and here’s to Google Glass not making another appearance at MBFW this spring.


Join our communities on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn to share your thoughts on tech’s future in fashion, marketing, and the reinvention of brick-and-mortar retailing. We’d love to hear from you.




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