It was once the case that items showcased on the fashion runways, were completely off limits to consumers until they hit the stores or websites. New season collections were never immediately accessible. This has over the years frustrated shoppers who crave immediate access to the latest trends and who don’t want to have to wait months for items to become available. Previously, consumers had to wait up to six months after various global fashion weeks, to buy the items of their choice. By this time these items would have been offered in many cheap nock off forms, causing them to lose their appeal in the opinion of many consumers. This is all set to change thanks to a new phenomenon known as “See now, Buy now.” So what’s the deal?
See now, Buy now, is a trend embraced by many high-end fashion labels, which involves making products available immediately after runway shows. A surprising amount of top fashion labels have adopted the see now, buy now approach. Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff and Tom Ford have all come onboard with the concept and made specific items available to buy online and in-store, right after their New York fashion week shows. Other cutting edge brands such as Burberry and Topshop- always ones to push the envelope when it comes to Digital Media, have disclosed plans to get in on the See now, Buy now experiment.
The See now, Buy now trend is the latest in a long line of attempts by the fashion world, to make things more immediate. But has this obsession with immediacy been fuelled by a changing attitude to clothes and consumerism, or is it more to do with digital culture and its constant need for things to appear current and and cutting edge? The digital culture we live in seems to be calling the shots. Digital media has turned fashion shows into a full-on content marketing opportunity for brands. It has transformed the way catwalk shows are broadcast, with consumers being allowed access to the front rows via Social Media and other online news sources. This has allowed brands to market their products in real time, live from the runways.
From attendees to the clothes themselves, consumers are given access all areas passes to the runway experience, in a previously unseen way. This has obviously opened things up and given brands the chance to start capitalising on all the new attention from their captive audiences. Still brands were struggling to make an effective pitch. Enter the See now, Buy now concept, which allowed the runway collections to become shop-able. Suddenly the frustration consumers had of being privy to all that was going on on the runway, but not being able to buy any of the gear, was dissolved.
The ways in which brands can make their runway shows shop-able is endless. Tommy Hilfiger for example came up with the genius plan to showcase his new collection via a live stream that showed all his new gear complete with a funfair pop-up and celebrity guests.
Some fashionistas would argue that this sort of experience detracts from the clothes themselves, but regardless of this Hilfiger’s approach saw his setup become one of the most talked about shows of New York fashion week. Which means great publicity and surely a spike in sales.
This whole new See now, Buy now experience is part of a new world of seamless shopping. VR technology is allowing consumers to view runway shows in the associated brands bricks and mortar stores, where the products can be bought. Interactive dressing rooms with touch screens and trackers, allow requests to be made straight away and items bought as seen in the live runway shows.
The See-now Buy-now phenomenon, is just one example of how fashion brands are re-thinking the consumer experience across all channels. A godsend for impatient consumers and a great way to increase sales, let’s just hope for the sake of the brands, it doesn’t damage their allure and rob them of their mystique and aspirational appeal.