Fashion retail is accelerated: from ‘ready to wear’ to ‘ready to buy’

Rebecca Minkoff at her Autumn/Winter 2016 show in New York in September | Source: Shutterstock

Is See-Now, Buy-Now: a Trend, or the Future of Fashion?

If there’s a trend that has excelled in practically every International Fashion Week, it’s the popular See-Now, Buy-Now that allows the purchase of garments at the same moment the collection is presented, with the aim of translating the interest and excitement generated by runway shows into sales.

Up until now, the common thing was to wait until the season arrived to get the collections into the stores. But the thought of immediacy that governs us and the threat of fast fashion has made luxury brands rethink all of their logistics. For luxury clients, it’s essential  to conquer the trend before it becomes massive.  The dècalage allowed fast fashion to adapt to trends and bring them closer to the public even before the brands took them to the stores.

The See-Now, Buy-Now trend was launched by Burberry a couple of seasons ago and it was quickly followed by Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Rebeca Minkoff and more recently by the fast retailer H&M. It is a new approach that has turned the manufacturing process upside down and altered the timing to clients and sales benefit.

Are See-Now, Buy-Now shows driving sales?

Very interesting data has been reported on this topic. According to Avery Baker, a Tommy Hilfiger’s representative, Tommy.com ’s traffic had incremented by 900% in the first 48 hours after launching.

The fashion immediacy strategy made Burberry exhaust 3 of the 175 pieces that were presented: a cashmere sweater, cashmere top, and a bowling shirt. Contemporary label Rebecca Mink off recorded a large sales increase after its shoppable runway show, which took place on the street outside the brand’s New York flagship. For that weekend, sales across its stores and website increased 168% compared to the weekend after its runway show last year. But the strategy doesn’t just benefit the brands, but also the retailers. Similarly, Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Group International, declared to Business of Fashion that “We had our largest Tom Ford day of the year immediately following his New York show”. He pointed out that “The immediacy of being able to buy immediately after the show, combined with the impact of seeing the whole collection on the floor at once, gave our customers a sense of urgency to buy now”. In turn, the new Burberry collection sparked “an instant uplift in sales”, according to Michael Kliger, president of MyTheresa.com.

At other retailers, however, the See-Now, Buy-Now shows did not trigger sales increases but it did trigger research about the brands. On the day of Burberry’s show, searches on Lyst for the brand increased by 400% compared to the daily average for the previous week. Searches for “Topshop” increased 75% after its show, “Tom Ford” searches increased 15% and Tommy Hilfiger searches increased 20%.

Tom Ford is over instant fashion

However, not all brands perceive benefits in the “See-Now-Buy-Now” trend. Such is the case of Tom Ford who has announced that the brand is stopping operations under the See-Now, Buy-Now format, since “from the point of view of collections’ basic programming, the industry is not prepared”. According to Vogue UK, Tom Ford was sure to have been unsatisfied with the See-Now, Buy-Now since it made him lose a month’s worth of sales because “the shipping calendar is not aligned with runway shows’ calendar”. According to the designer, the brand had to retain the new collection in the back of the stores from August until the day of the runway show, which made them lose the opportunity to store other garments that could have been sold during that period.

In spite of sales increasing immediately after the parade, the impulse wasn’t enough to counter the negative effects, said Ford, while the media coverage was less than in a regular runway show.

The truth is that beyond immediacy or sales increment, See-Now, Buy-Now becomes a noticeable fact for the brand, an excuse to call for attention in front of its competitors. But the real crux of the matter is not the sales rebound nor the popularity, but the leadership. To make an impact on the consumer and to solidify a position in the consumer’s mind throughout the season.

Rethinking the fashion system and shopping experience

The need for immediacy has not only made the fashion system be rethought but also the shopping experience and the way to access the products. The same way we have gone from the Ready To Wear to the Ready To Buy, the consumer claims the Shop the Look more and more.

Shop the Look is a process that can be reduced to a single click thanks to Wide Eyes Technologies AI Solutions. The integration of our Fashion Visual Search API allows the brand users and retailers to use their own pictures to look for exact products or similar products according to the available stock.

Can you imagine buying a look or garment only by uploading a picture? For this reason, the See-Now, Buy-Now is here to stay.

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