“If they see a girl wearing a red dress, they want to go out and buy that red dress and they don’t understand that it’s a season. For them, it’s just a red dress”. These words from Kate Phelan, creative director of High Street giant Topshop, exactly mirror the psyche of most fashion customers. More than the need, the fashion industry has always been driven by the desire to have that particular piece of a beautiful garment. Thus, the months-long delay between seeing a new collection and having it in your hands was always frustrating. But the industry has sensed this latent urgency and it is trying everything to drastically minimize this time gap between seeing and buying. Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger made their collections available for buyers as soon as they were displayed at New York Fashion Show. British luxury brand Burberry also traveled on the same path during London Fashion Week. Its entire September collection, 250 pieces, was available to be purchased as soon as it was previewed on the London catwalk. Unlike Ford and Hilfiger, Burberry connected this see now buy now debut to an immersive social media experience. The see now buy now approach is a more advanced form of a direct-to-consumer presentation. For a little while now, Burberry has been reaching out to digital fashion fans by broadcasting its fashion show and entire presentation via live stream on its website. But now it has decided to make full use of all the available social media and other platforms to reach out to the maximum number of people. For this season, Burberry live-streamed the show using Facebook Live. It allowed users to see the show in real time. Besides, to make the presentation as interactive and as engaging as possible, it also harnessed the potential of Facebook Messenger to answer any questions that customers generally have about the pieces shown. Promotional image for Burberry on Facebook Messenger Along with Facebook Messenger, the luxury giant used Chinese social messaging application WeChat for the first time. It used it as an e-commerce platform, as WeChat users were able to purchase directly from its live stream. Burberry introduced its ‘see now buy now’ collection on WeChat platform directly after it was shown on the catwalk. It included the purchase of its two new variations of its Bridle bag along with 83 looks for both men and women. Burberry’s Bridle handbag for September Collection 2016 Snapchat was another vital tool in Burberry’s see now buy now kit. It used Snapchat to engage with consumers in London during London Fashion Week as well as New York and Beverly Hills. Burberry launched geofilters about show’s content from 18th September for users nearby Makers House, where the London presentation occured. To symbolize its love for the craftsmanship and artisanship, Burberry joined hands with The New Craftsmen, a British brand that promotes the work of “makers” and “craftsmen” — ceramicists, potters, leather, textile and jewelry designers, woodworkers, silversmiths, and illustrators. Their works will be exhibited in the Makers House from 21-27 September. Apart from celebrating the love and respect for the craftsmanship, these installations will also reveal the creative process and other factors which have inspired this new collection. For an outsider, all of Burberry’s aforementioned undertakings are just ways to gain maximum viewership, which social media unquestionably assures, and thereby boost sales. Of course, that’s true…but that’s not the only truth. These trends of see now buy now and expert social media coordination go much deeper than this obvious benefit. Due to intense competition, luxury houses are finding it hard to retain their best creative directors. They are losing them at a rapid rate. With department stores in decline, fast fashion companies speedily updating their wares, and the advent of direct-to-consumer fashion businesses like Everlane and Reformation proving that customers love these models, the notion of fashion’s seasonal calendar seems to be outdated. Burberry reacted by paring down its offerings and amping up its marketing–it merged their men’s and women’s lines and thereby reduced its number of shows per year from four to two. Now, the fashion house can release seasonless collections twice a year. It can have a huge impact on the customers who live in numerous climates all over the world who may not experience fall or spring at the same time. Naturally, this is allowing Burberry to be in the reach of a global audience as it is breaking the barrier of the season. In short, see now buy now is tackling the gloomy problem of unavailability of skilled art directors along with the fine outlet to reach out to the world consumers. Also, as per Isabel Kieszkowski, paid media coordinator at Blue Moon Digital, correctly promoting the collection through digital channels can also meet other goals for the brand such as improving customer experience. With this being the first direct to consumer show, Burberry will have the ability to improve future collections with the help of data insights from its digital channels. Thus, it’s clear that pure sales are not the only goal which would be achieved by this live streaming!
To Wrap It Up: In an era of one-day delivery, making your customers wait for two or three months to buy a look just seems outdated. Luxury shoppers’ desires change as quickly as those of other shoppers, so the fever of instant gratification has infected the luxury clothing industry too. That’s why abandoning the long-established tradition of showing one season ahead looks like an intelligent act. And what better than social media to ensure maximum exposure? Burberry did nothing different than that! For more ideas on how to boost sales, recognition, and engagement with visual social content, take a look at our guides, “Sell Experiences, Not Clothes: Visual Commerce and the Fashion Industry,” “The New Wave of User Generated Content: 7 Concepts for 2017 and Beyond,” “A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words: A Visual Commerce Best Practices eBook,” and “Visual Commerce Permissions: Vital Best Practices for Using User Generated Content!“