Each year, the City of Melbourne is proud to showcase the best in Australian fashion through the internationally recognised Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW).
Audiences both local and global engage with the event online and offline, and increasingly we’re seeing the impact of their conversations on the retail industry over the course of the event. From the rise of bloggers to a surge in e-commerce, fashion is going digital and for an iconic event like MSFW, the opportunity to lift our share of voice online was too compelling to ignore.
Our goal for the event this year was to amplify MSFW online, create a unique experience for Melbourne locals and businesses alike, and in doing so gain some invaluable insights into our audience.
Each year, we need to cater for thousands upon thousands of guests that come through all of the fashion shows and events over the course of the week – and we know our audiences are tech-savvy consumers. We also know that the retail and fashion sectors are grounded in trend-setting and innovation and would look to technology to propel it further.
To understand our audience and industry stakeholders even better, we looked to Big Data and analytics to not only enhance the consumer experience throughout MSFW, but also understand how trends on the catwalk translated online and in-store.
At the heart of our strategy was a smart, mobile-friendly microsite for MSFW’s opening night event- “Shop-Hop”; a site that consolidated social sentiment, online conversations and played host to real-time, consumer-facing analytics. For the first time in the history of MSFW, Melbourne residents and visitors could embrace the event, access exclusive in-store offers and activities, interact online, and plan their evening on an interactive, virtual map.
During the Shop-Hop event and throughout the week, the City of Melbourne used social media analytics technology to analyse MSFW conversations across Twitter and Instagram and give consumers a snapshot of social engagement, sentiment, and the reach of the event online. The explosion that ensued on Twitter in particular, provided fashion enthusiasts from around the world with a crowd sourced, digital MSFW experience.
Consolidating this readily available data also meant that by conclusion of the event, we’d attainted invaluable insights into our audience and a greater understanding of who our real influencers were in the space.
Across 15,000 tweets and Instagram posts, we’ve been able to understand exactly where, what, why and how consumers engaged digitally, how this will inform the next event, and what this means to participating retailers.
We know that consumers interacted with MSFW online from 12 countries around the world, that 97% of social media traffic came from Facebook, and that sentiment across all platforms was 98% positive-neutral.
We know that 50% of site visitors were using mobile devices and those businesses who actively engaged shoppers during opening night saw up to 25 times more Instagram posts throughout the week.
There’s little doubt that data has a significant role to play in improving customer experience. From predicting purchase behaviour to personalising online shopping, our audience knows what they want, and they expect a service that emulates this. For MSFW, our digitisation has generated insights that we couldn’t have foreseen. Insights that can, and will continue to have a transformative effect on the fashion and retail industry- beginning with our event next year.
At the heart of our project and our three-year partnership with IBM is a need to better understand our audience and innovate with them in mind. What we’ve discovered is that despite shifting trends and what the bloggers write, one thing remains constant, and that’s the fact that without an audience, our event doesn’t exist. If data is our secret weapon to keep them coming back, year after year then it may just be the new black.