How David Jones’ digital fashion launch will change the way SMEs work online

David Jones launched its new autumn-winter line in Sydney last night, but the focus has since shifted away from the fashion and to the company’s new digital marketing strategy.

The once exclusive front-row view of the runway show was more open than ever, with fashionistas watching the show from all around Australia via web-streaming. And experts say it’ll be the next big thing.

“We’re having customers come to us who want to launch new brands and there’s definitely been a move away from traditional TV broadcasting,” says Chris Thomas, the chief executive of digital marketing group Reseo.

The show was live streamed to approximately 750 David Jones cardholders at “viewing parties” in their Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth stores. Another 10,000 customers watched online via computers, tablets and smartphones.

The company aimed to up its online presence, with viewers able to capture and share images through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Next year, customers will be able to buy straight from the runway by clicking on images of the outfits they like while they watch online.

David Jones’ digital marketing manager Lucy Mitchell told SmartCompany the first part of this strategy was introduced last night, although some products weren’t available.

“People could click on their favourite items on the screen and email it to themselves and check details like the price and availability of the item, if it was available online they were also able to buy it,” she says.

This new digital side to the campaign added around 15% to the total production budget, but Mitchell believes it will pay off.

“We still have to do a bit of analysis this morning, but we know the traffic was significantly higher than this time last year, in fact it was about triple,” she says.

“It’s definitely always a focus for us to drive our growth in our social and media channels, I think it’s a great way for the brand to reach people and engage with them. It gets people talking and sharing information,” she says.

The live stream was first available on the David Jones Facebook page, then the company blog and now its website.

Chris Thomas told SmartCompany David Jones has taken a huge risk, but if it succeeds it will be “enormous”.

“It’s going to come down to budget – if this works and they get sales and demonstrate that it’s viable, then there will be many others that will follow in their footsteps,” he says.

Thomas says this technology allows real-time feedback for companies, which could potentially change the industry.

“This technology allows them to test their products on a live audience. If something isn’t working, they can make changes and build on the products that rated well in the launch,” he says.

By going online, Thomas says, brands are able to better target their audience and “get the right people excited”.

“We use Facebook ads that match the demographic perfectly to the brand and what we’ve seen is if we hit people hard enough on Facebook, people end up going back to Google and searching for the brand and product name.

“There is a lot more emphasis now from industry to try new things digitally, but it’s still all going to come down to ROI at the end of the day with this strategy,” Thomas says.

The David Jones show opened last night with Miranda Kerr dressed in Ellery.

Designer Kym Ellery has recently been in a legal dispute with Myer over contract obligations and her working with David Jones.

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