Data Emerging as Top Driver of Brands' Success

As pressure to see a return on investment mounts, customer data will become a key differentiator between those that succeed and those that don’t.

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Instagram generates the most value in terms of engagement, but as for sales on, Minkoff said Facebook is the main driver, mostly because there is no way as of now to drive users from Instagram to one’s site.

“For actual sales numbers, Facebook provides the best value of sales, but Instagram has done the best from a brand awareness and how that’s impacted the brand with retail. Once you can embed links on Instagram, it will take this to another level,” Minkoff said, adding that Rebecca Minkoff has also started to partake in Facebook advertising in the past three months. Because the competition started to advertise, the brand realized that even though they have high engagement with fans, advertising becomes “somewhat of a necessity.”

He detailed a recent digital collaboration with Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller that tied in with the push of the brand’s new jewelry category. A YouTube video featuring the blogger has garnered more than 126,000 views since going live Jan. 9, and coupled with cross-pollination on all the brand’s social media channels (as well as third-party sites that shared the content), January became the biggest nonholiday e-commerce month saleswise in the company’s history. January jewelry sales specifically have increased by 250 percent over sales from November and December combined.

Several solutions and sites, including the recently launched verified blogger directory Fohr Card, were founded to assist in the data-gathering process within the fashion and beauty industries.

Olapic is an 18-month-old technology solution that bridges the gap between content generated via social platforms and the e-commerce experience. According to Olapic cofounder Jose de Cabo, his team — now at 23 and expected to triple by year’s end — started working with publications like, The Daily News and Mashable in June 2011, and in August 2012, launched its first e-commerce and fashion client, Free People. The company counts Lululemon and Nasty Gal as clients, and each has implemented the solution’s technology into their respective digital flagships.

Olapic takes the content shared by fans on Instagram, for example, curates these images and links them to the actual product pages that contain the items featured in the photo. On’s homepage, there is a bar along the bottom featuring all of the Instagram images containing the hashtag #nastygal (approved by the site). A simple search on Instagram for images with the #nastygal tag will elicit almost 35,000 images — and de Cabo explained that this is the first time a link exists between shared comment and a direct point of purchase on an e-commerce cite. All images are shoppable, and if a user clicks on an item, she is directed to a product page where, at the bottom, a bar with images of users who have this same item in their photos are featured.

Olapic is already seeing a cost to conversion that is increasing by up to 5 percent on an e-commerce site’s overall conversion. For users that interact with a photograph, the average conversion is two to three times higher, and the average time spent on the site is more than double the average user, clocking in at about 17 minutes.

Fashion GPS, the arbiter of digital fashion week invites, will unveil a new feature next month targeted at the B2B sector.

The beta version of Fashion GPS Radar Pro (an official launch is expected in September) will start delivering data points in real time with what is actually happening at the show, according to Fashion GPS founder and ceo Eddie Mullon.

A few seasons ago, the company began testing how fast the platform could get images to its mobile platforms in preparation for the release of Fashion GPS Radar Pro. In February, brands that wish to partner with the tool can expect Fashion GPS to have images up within 10 minutes of the models walking down the runway. For nonpartners, images will be up within about two hours. For the first time, users can request samples (as early as 10 minutes after they appear on the runway), as well as social share images and retrieve data on what’s happening with respect to social sharing.

“Let’s say you have look one and it’s being requested 400 times. [Now] you know that you have to produce that. As soon as there is an action, it gives you a dashboard of what you need to do to react to that and what to focus on,” Mullon said.

Fashion GPS Styles, a destination where brands and clients can upload their content and press and buyers can have access to the content, is also being further developed to include superior data tracking of the images and will see a relaunch later this year. If a buyer wants to make an appointment with a showroom that works with several brands, they can request an appointment (it’s not an open platform) and get access to view the library digitally, Mullon said.


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