Demanding Consumers Influence See Now/Buy Now Retail

Catwalk show

Many an attendee at the New York Fashion Week shows has seen runway pieces they wanted to buy that very day, but they had never been able to do so. After all, the shows are six months in advance of the season they’re showing: spring/summer shows run in September and fall/winter are in February. But in a nod to consumer penchant for immediacy, more designers are adding “see now, buy now” pieces to their fashion week events.

Designers have slowly started offering immediate delivery pieces, with more joining the trend during September’s NYFW shows.

“The immediacy of online and social media fashion show coverage is influencing consumer patterns,” says Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). “Many more people want to buy into trends as soon as they see them. We are seeing this impact designers and their presentations. Some have fully embraced the “see now, buy now” model, while others have incorporated such capsules on their runway. In the end, it’s up to each designer and brand to determine what works best for them.”

New research shows the majority of consumers (57 percent) say they wish shopping for clothing in-store or online was like streaming TV or movies on Netflix or Hulu, where they can get whatever they want, whenever they want it, according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey. This rises significantly among millennials (71 percent).

During fashion week shows, the speed of “see now, buy now” appeals especially to the younger shopper, who, even if not in attendance, could be viewing live feeds from the runways. Monitor research shows 67 percent of millennials love or enjoy shopping and 39 percent say they go online for apparel ideas.

Designers who offer “see now, by now” benefit from the fact that 86 percent of millennial shoppers browse for clothes on a computer, and 74 percent actually buy clothes online, according to Monitor data. And Boomers aren’t that much further behind, as the Monitor finds 76 percent of them browse online and 67 percent buy those clothes online.

During New York’s recent fashion week shows, a number of designers and brands brought “see now, buy now” to their events.

Some, like Banana Republic, offered fall looks as the immediate offering. Others, like Thakoon and Michael Kors, offered a curated selection of pieces that were ready for immediate purchase, but not the entire collection.

Other designers, like Ralph Lauren, sold his ready-to-wear directly from the runway, and Tom Ford offered full collections for purchase both in stores and online. Ford explained to Vogue that he presented the collection to buyers months before the show, so they would have it in stores immediately following the live event. Buyers had to sign non-disclosure agreements and could not leak any pictures. Ford’s approach hearkens back to the early days of Parisian fashion events, when exclusive in-house presentations of haute couture were held for private clientele.

Designer Malan Breton also made his full collection available for immediate purchase. While some may wonder if “see now, buy now” hampers the creative process, Breton says it won’t.

“We will always continue our creative process no matter what,” Breton says. “This is the sole reason I began designing in the first place. It’s mainly about researching the current market and reflecting those trends in our creations. We try and put our spin—design and concept-wise—on anything we produce.”

Directly following Breton’s Spring/Summer 2017 show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, an announcement was made inviting guests to purchase the pieces through the Markable VIP app.

“The immediate items we produce are manufactured in the U.S. and China, as the turnaround is quicker,” Breton says. “And we try to have them readily available for customers to buy upon seeing. It is important to offer them with a quick turnaround because people want to have access to these items immediately.”

Markable handled “see now, buy now” shopping for a number of other designers at NYFW, including Danny Nguyen and Nikki Lund. For designers that don’t have stock readily available for shipment, Markable VIP allows consumers to shop select NYFW shows and pre-order pieces directly on its app. App users pay 50 percent up front and the balance once the order is received a few months later.

On its site, Markable explains, “You could wait for half a year to shop the looks (and probably forget about them), or you could pre-order the looks immediately on Markable VIP and be guaranteed it will arrive at your door.”

Markable VIP also promotes that it works like “Shazam for clothing” in that app users can upload a runway photo and Markable will analyze it and find the exact item from the correct designer.

Designers who offer “see now, buy now” collections appeal to that segment of shopper who wants stores to offer new styles on a regular basis. The Monitor research finds that almost one in two consumers (47 percent) say they want their favorite apparel store to offer new styles once per month or more often. Women (55 percent) and consumers under 35 years old (65 percent) are significantly more likely than men (34 percent) and the 36 and over crowd (33 percent) to want such frequent deliveries.

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But not everyone is on board with “see now, buy now.” Designer Rinat Brodach says she sees the trend as encouraging more basic, seasonless apparel—which she says can take away from the value of a piece of clothing.

“The mission of my brand is to bring something new to the table, that hasn’t been offered yet, that you can’t just go to any low-end retailer and get a copy of,” Brodach says. “My pieces require a certain skill set in regards to the way I drape and cut my silhouettes. I think people are always going to want those special pieces that are unique and that they know they can wear and not see on anyone else. People are always going to want quality designed products.”

 

This article is one in a series that appears weekly on sourcingjournalonline.com. The data contained are based on findings from the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey, a consumer attitudinal study, as well as upon other of the company’s industrial indicators, including its Retail Monitor and Supply Chain Insights analyses. Additional relevant information can be found at CottonLifestyleMonitor.com.


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