Wrapping up Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2015

Let me share a story.  A story about two of my favourite passions – analytics and shopping!

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of working with the City of Melbourne and a talented team from IBM to make this year’s Melbourne Spring Fashion Week one to remember.

Celebrating it’s 21st birthday this year, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is not your typical fashion parade.  At the core of its mission is to bring the city alive with shoppers, inspiring them to spend time in the boutique retailers and department stores throughout the heart of the city.  It’s all about wearable fashion – see on the runway and buy it in store the same day.

Hosted over the course of a week, you can imagine how critical it is to get the right people to the event, making sure they are engaged, and finding new ways to maximise sales for retailers in the city.

This goal of providing the best customer experience and maximising outcomes for the retailers, is why Melbourne City Council selected us as their technology partner for the event.

This year we focused our attention on three key areas.

Firstly, we needed to make sure we got the right people to the event.  In the world of retail, fashion bloggers have a lot of influence on consumer demand.  For a successful event, it was critical we made sure the top influencers were present and engaged.  We used analytics to identify individuals that had generated the most social media buzz at similar events, and used this insight to make sure they were invited and had a positive experience.

We also leveraged our new partnership with Facebook to deliver targeted marketing campaigns via the IBM Marketing Cloud.  By analysing and understanding individuals that are most likely to attend, Melbourne City Council were able to be more specific about who they targeted in the lead up to the event.  This resulted in more shows selling out this year than ever before!

Our second goal, once we got them there, was to make sure they had the best experience possible.  Social media analytics was used throughout the event to connect people in the city with insight into what was popular on the runway and in the event hubs.  An event dashboard, created by our Interactive Experience team, analysed a range of social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter, and was broadcast live on screens throughout the city.  This year we also premiered the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Shoe Spotter – which captured the shoes people were wearing throughout the week and analysed the images to uncover which styles and colours were popular this year.

MSFW Event Dashboard

Our third goal was to help retailers and designers involved in the event learn how data and insight can help them to better understand their customers, and meet their growth objectives.  We ran a number of workshops to give them practical advice on how to get started with IBM Watson Analytics, using data from one of my favourite retailers as an example of how even startups that don’t have an army of data scientists can still tap into the wealth of data available to them.  We analysed over a million shoe designs, and leveraged our partnerships with Twitter and the Weather Company to add context to the trends in their data.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is an amazing event, and one that brought the best of IBM to the world of fashion.  A week of designer clothes, designer shoes, and designer data!

Now to start planning for next year 🙂