Why Rebecca Minkoff Is A True Digital Innovator
By: Lauren Kaiser
Rebecca Minkoff is best known for her casual, luxury handbags and downtown New York vibe. An industry leader and CFDA breakthrough designer, she has evolved beyond apparel design and is one of the few fashion designers who has truly embraced digital. Minkoff has also advocated for women to be at the forefront of the ongoing ‘technology revolution’, which is just one of the reasons why we love her. Below are some examples of how she is killing it in the digital fashion world.
1. See Now, Buy Now #SeeBuyWear
Rebecca Minkoff, a New York Fashion Week veteran since 2009, chose to ditch the traditional calendar and adopt the new “see now, buy now” strategy in February 2016. They showed their SS2016 collection rather than showing FW2016, as most other designers were doing, to provide customers with products that they could buy and wear immediately after the show, cutting out the 6-month wait period that the industry is used to.
Despite this strategy being incredibly risky, it worked wonders on their customers and sales flourished. After presenting their first “see now, buy now” collection they saw sales spike by 211%, and a whopping 264% the season after that.Eliminating the 6-month gap between presentation and in-store availability caters to the consumers’ need for something new. Previously, fast-fashion companies could create imitations so by the time the items hit stores, customers already felt bored by the designs.
2. In-Store Technology
When it comes to brick-and-mortar, Rebecca Minkoff constantly seeks to bring digital efficiencies into their stores to create a customer experience that sets them apart from competitors. Thanks to the implementation of RFID technology, the dreaded dressing room has been transformed via touchable, digitally enabled mirrors. Screens are responsive to what is being tried on due to RFID tags in the clothing, lighting is adjustable at the touch of a button, and shoppers can even order a drink. If another size is needed, an employee of the shop is notified and the garment is magically delivered to the dressing room, creating a tailored experience that works smoothly with the mobile app.
Waiting in long lines to pay a sales associate for your chosen items is no longer necessary at Rebecca Minkoff stores. Another way they’ve innovated is by creating self-checkout stations where RFID tables identify the items being purchased and payments are made via iPads.
3. #AlwaysOn Smart Bag
In February 2017 Rebecca Minkoff launched the first ever smart bag in collaboration with apparel solutions partner Avery Dennison RBIS. A series of limited edition #AlwaysOn Midnighter top handle handbags were made available at their pop-up shop in LA a few days before the SS2017 show. The lucky customers who got a hold of these bags could then scan the bag with their smartphones and they were automatically sent a VIP invitation to the upcoming fashion show.
All of Rebecca Minkoff’s bags are now digitized thanks to this #BornDigital concept. According to Forbes…
“The technology gives each of the items a digital identity in the cloud, which when accessed, will unlock exclusive offers, e-commerce services, private styling sessions with Rebecca, style recommendations, video content, an invitation to the following show, and elite experiences to enjoy with lifestyle partners. It will also automatically qualify the customer for a loyalty program.”
Other exciting wearable tech pieces that Minkoff has launched include the Notification Bracelet. This tech accessory is adorned with a gold chain-link and black pyramid studs, which uses bluetooth to connect to your phone and vibrate to notify you of calls or messages. Then there’s the #AlwaysOn keychain, which cleverly hides a USB and an iPhone cable so you can charge your iPhone on-the-go.
4. Rebecca Minkoff + Intel
In 2015, Rebecca Minkoff and Intel partnered with UN Women to support opportunities for women in tech, and connect women around the world to learn and lead within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. According to Intel, “Rebecca Minkoff, the largest global fashion label helmed by a millennial female, has a long history of creative and innovative uses of emerging technologies”.
5. Listening to Customers on Social Media
It isn’t the gorgeous curated feed on Instagram or their product placement strategy that we want to talk about here, rather Minkoff’s initiative to engage and talk to followers directly via social channels. One of the key aspects to the success of Rebecca Minkoff’s company is listening to consumers and paying attention to what they’re saying, in order to adapt their strategy and use tech in a way that makes sense for their customers. As Rebecca Minkoff said in her interview with CFDA “these days we get a lot of feedback on Instagram – our customers are very vocal and always have something to share with us.”
Rebecca Minkoff’s passion for merging tech and fashion is sure to bring consumers many more exciting products and experiences. Which of these initiatives do you find the most exciting?