Last Sunday afternoon, Topshop
- the UK's most influential high street fashion brand - was at the centre of the fashion world for a few crucial moments as it revealed its Spring Summer 2013 collection at the height of London Fashion Week
The trend-setting retailer promised an unprecedented level of interactivity and delivered: the Topshop Unique Spring Summer 2013 catwalk reached two million people in over 100 countries. The event was designed to encourage viewers that were live-streaming the show to personalise and share aspects of the experience as it took place in real time in London's Bedford Square. The Customise the Catwalk feature allowed users to not only select and order key looks and accessories, but also change the colour to their preferred option before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Garments ordered from the runway were being made available with delivery 'three months ahead of industry lead times'.
Topshop also partnered with Facebook
to develop a Shoot the Show
function, a camera button embedded within the livestream window that let viewers click to snap pictures of their favourite looks, which were they were then invited to share directly with Facebook friends and the wider world. With over 2.6 million Facebook fans, the amplification of this intuitive feature was deemed a sure success from the start.
The importance of music and makeup has not gone unrecognised either; all the tracks from the show now available to download via iTunes
. The beauty products worn by the models are also available to buy online with 48-hour delivery. Online tutorials were on hand help customers replicate the makeup looks created for the catwalk show. Twitter
was a part of the mix too, with @Topshop
followers challenged to review the show in 140 characters in a 'Tweet-off' for the chance to win tickets to the next runway show.
Topshop's new CMO Justin Cooke - former vice president of PR at Burberry - was justifiably excited about Sunday's show: 'This show is all about the customer and creating what we call 'social entertainment' around our product. We want to take the energy and the excitement of our iconic Oxford street store to millions of people all over the world through Topshop.com. It's social, it's commerce and it's entertainment all rolled into one.'
But this is retail; Topshop is not innovating for the sake of it, and this is not about altruism or simple PR. The real point is earning through learning, as Cooke explained to Contagious: 'By putting our customers in control of the live experience, they show us what they love, how they want to consume information, the ways they like to share and more,' he says. 'We will be able to measure the engagement of the customisation pieces against the other looks and see exactly what it is that makes customers want to spend time with specific elements of the experience, and we will also have tremendous insight into the colours that they want, which is very powerful for a company that delivers newness at a speed that very few others can.'
The retail 'experience' is a hot topic right now, but the instances of brands really getting it right, and in fact really getting it
, are still pretty few and far between. The Topshop show on Sunday was certainly social entertainment, and offers a major heads-up for other retailers; consumer engagement - to a purpose. https://www.facebook.com/Topshop