I was just in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congressalong with 80,000 other people, a large enough population segment to start seeing some fashion patterns. Take footwear. While most MWC participants are men in plain black shoes, plenty of women are showing off plenty of eyecatching styles. Or should I say shai-ing which is how fashionistas in China refer to the heady pastime of demonstrating fashion sense and style. You may be sitting in one of the networking gardens in Gran Fira and see someone walk by in ruby red Dior pumps that remind you, yet again, that you're looking for a pair just like that! Wouldn't it be great if you could tap an app on your iPhone to bookmark that very pair for more serious consideration next time you're lazy browsing between meetings?
Fashionistas, rejoice! MyRunway is exactly that kind of an app, and it’s just been launched to fashion brand fans in China to great acclaim. While Westerners are more understated when it comes to fashion labels, Asians have no inhibitions about their eclectic tastes. Hybrid shopping is big. Just like it's common practice in some German circles to spend big on a high performance BMW while saving money at low cost markets like Aldi, Chinese consumers are cool hands at mixing Zara and Prada or Ralph Lauren with H&M. After all, who likes to be dictated to by big brands? Nowadays, fashion bloggers from the street have front row seats at the catwalk and are much more influential than any established brand influencer. Today's consumers prefer peer recommendations over branded sellers.
While fashion is more social than ever before, managing the relationship between shoppers and retailers until the moment of purchase can be a tricky business. Though the process is multichannel and can involve a lot of online browsing, over 80 % of shopping actually takes place in a store near you. Here's where MyRunway comes in handy, for consumers and retailers alike: it drives socially ‘liked’ fashion products to in-store shopping.
"Thanks to this app, fashionistas will know in which store those red Dior pumps are available and in which size!" says Elena Hartlieb, Director Business Development for MyRunway at SAP AppHaus, SAP’s next generation, flexible work environment enabling creative development based on design thinking principles.
The brainchild of the passionate fashion team at the SAP AppHaus located in Shanghai and Palo Alto, MyRunway is a mobile, social shopping network that pinpoints the current trends in the market. Users create the content themselves. It's the number of likes in a social network that nominates a fashion product for the app. What gets nominated tells the fashion brand a lot about consumer preferences, and the consumer is empowered by the knowledge that she determines which brands are featured. Preferences are shared in the social network and brands can respond more quickly to the early adopter mindset.
While MyRunway is currently available only in China, stay tuned. It's coming soon to the U.S. and other markets, too. Welcome to the new world fo fashion retailing, and happy shopping!