As retailers continue to embrace an increasingly digital future, they’re looking for innovative solutions that tackle issues around sustainability, return rates, and consumer loyalty in the e-commerce landscape.
Given the challenge of improving the digital shopping experience, London College of Fashion’s MA Fashion Retail Management students were invited to a day-long hackathon at The Future Laboratory at the beginning of February. Facilitated by YOOX Net-a-Porter and Karinna Nobbs, founder of digital fashion concept Hot Second, the time-bound task meshed team skills with design-led thinking, and pushed the students to create outcomes worthy of presenting to a panel of industry judges.
The panel featured Jonathon Chippendale, CEO of digital studio Holition, Emma McFirth, a writer at BURO., and Kathryn Bishop, Foresight editor at LS:N Global. The judges assessed the students based on their ability to conceptualise retail solutions based on criteria including novelty, feasibility, consumer centricity and business value. They commended the projects most aligned with the values of Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter. Also in attendance was Kristina Brjazgunova, YOOX Net-a-Porter’s Business Designer, who set the scene for the hackathon by encouraging the students to embrace the power of storytelling to connect with their audience. Aware of the often-overwhelming potential for technological advancements in retail, she advised them to start with impossible ideas, take inspiration from a variety of industries, and arrive at a scalable outcome.
From AI-enhanced solutions to virtual try-on and voice-tech style advice from the YOOX virtual influencer Daisy, the task allowed students to question a retail future that is positively enhanced by technology. As we’ve identified on LS:N Global – The Future Laboratory’s editorial insights platform – retailers are increasingly experimenting with a variety of innovations, from SMS retail to virtual store concepts like Obsess. Considering the future needs of shoppers, we’ve also recently explored the nuances of creating physical retail fit for Generation Z, as well as future retail scenarios powered by 5G.
Working in the context of a hackathon allowed the students and YOOX Net-a-Porter to engage in creative thinking and conceptualise solutions inspired by trends and current industry shifts – with support from the retail behaviours we’ve identified on LS:N Global.
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