As we talk about the intersection of new media with fashion, we tend to focus on platforms supported by a full web browser; however, as mobile technologies become more widely used, we will need to expand our scope. “The “Shopping” Mindset of the Mobile Consumer”, published March 2011, find that mobile phones and tablets are increasingly being used to make purchases both online and in-store. While various usability issues with mobile phone purchasing apps, the tablet is a particularly interesting device in which there seems to be a great amount of potential for design houses and their marketing/tech teams to get really creative while reaching new markets.
The study shows “utilization of smartphones within the retail store assumes a “early-adopter” mode” and that stores should take this opportunity to get in on the forefront of a new marketing venue as they anticipate it will become commonplace soon. As an extremely visual industry, tablets work particularly well for use at home, during events or fashion shows while mobile phones are seeing the largest influx of use in-store. For instance, Ralph Lauren bought out the NY Times iPad app ad space including live video causing the NY Times to suspend its subscription restrictions temporarily. The Cut on the Runway is an iPad app for use during Fashion Week events to provide support to the collections included in each. Research conducted in the previously mentioned study finds that mobile phone use is picking up but still lacking in the areas of usability and customer satisfaction. The perceived difference from the customer in delivery of images and user experience on the iPad versus mobile phones indicates that retailers should be focusing on this medium – as the people that utilize these types of tools are their desired and most knowledgeable customer base.
Diane Von Furstenburg is one brand taking this whole social media thing very seriously. They understand that mobile technologies are integrated with our daily lives and that fashion is an obvious next step. With a well-stocked and commerce enabled Facebook page, iPhone app, Twitter account, and a pretty rockin’ website, DVF is a shining example of a brand doing it right.