The fashion industry is already reaping the benefits of digitisation, with online sales in the UK accounting for nearly 40% of total retail sales in July 2020. But now digital technology is transforming live retail events as well, with designer brands at this year’s London Fashion Week going online to stream the season’s offerings to their audience remotely. And, although real-life events are unlikely to be completely usurped by online alternatives, it’s likely retail will continue to incorporate digital elements into their events moving forwards; utilising a multifaceted approach to provide consumers with a more engaging platform on which to interact with the latest trends and products.
So, at a time when brands are experimenting more than ever with digital capabilities, let’s explore how interactive technology, in particular, can be used to optimise livestream retail events.
Get consumers closer to the action
It may seem dubious, but live stream events, if done right, can make audiences feel just as involved as if they were physically there. Hotspots, for example, give users the chance to interact with the brands they’re watching on the screen. When clicked on, hotspots reveal an overlay of information on the desired product or brand – including cost, make, design, etc – allowing users to learn more about what catches their eye. And this is all done without redirecting the user away from the video environment, meaning they don’t miss out on the action, and brands don’t lose out on valuable eyeballs. In this way, engagement levels are dramatically boosted.
Reinvent the consumer journey
Interactive hotspots do more than just provide additional information, however. Unique technologies can turn these digital ‘windows’ into effective calls to action. Tools such as direct cart integration – as well as deep-level integrations with payment platforms – allow consumers to move directly from inspiration to transaction, all within the video environment. As opposed to navigating away from the live event, users can access brands’ online shop fronts even as they engage with the virtual catwalk. Moreover, by making these hotpots ‘shoppable’, brands can give consumers the gratification of instant purchases, without having to go through an unnecessary number of steps. Not only do shoppable hotspots raise engagement and click-through rates, but they also increase views and conversions for designer profiles.
Keep them coming back
Sophisticated, AI-enhanced technology can also work ‘behind the scenes’ to deliver a highly personalised digital experience, generating deeper connections with consumers and building brand loyalty. As audiences engage with products from a live event, AI and computer vision tools are able to identify relevant offerings from a brand’s product catalogue, then offer uniquely tailored recommendations to users based on their interactions. Implementing AI technology is a seamless and cost-effective way to build interactivity into digital video content, especially as part of a live event. Its advanced recognition tools can auto-tag products using retail catalogues and ensure consumers can instantly access further information, costs, and complementary product suggestions via a single click. For brands looking to optimise their digital experiences, prioritising ease and efficiency is a must.
With a reported 240,000 UK fashion jobs potentially at risk, brands must adopt new strategies for engaging consumers from afar. Interactive technology holds the key to achieving this by creating a sustainable, digital-first business. Whether through an online catwalk or the latest brand video for a new collection, retailers can deploy enhanced interactivity to stay connected with their customers and deliver a much-needed boost to their revenues. By transforming live events into a truly interactive and personalised experience, fashion brands can revitalise the industry for even greater success.