What Fashion’s E-Commerce and Tech Professionals Need to Know Today

Discover the most relevant industry news and insights for fashion’s e-commerce and technology professionals, updated each month to enable you to excel in job interviews, promotion conversations or perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distils business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events — to deliver key takeaways and learnings tailored to your job function, listed alongside a selection of the most exciting live jobs advertised by BoF Careers partners.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for e-commerce and technology professionals today:

1. Report: US Online Sales to Grow 4.8% in Crucial Holiday Season

Shoppers. Shutterstock.

Online sales during the crucial US holiday season are expected to rise 4.8 percent from a year earlier as retailers go all out to woo inflation-hit consumers with even bigger discounts and promotions, a report from Adobe Analytics showed on Thursday. The sales are also expected to grow at a much faster pace and hit $221.8 billion for the period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 which includes some of the biggest shopping days such as Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Black Friday. That compares with $211.7 billion a year earlier.

Adobe said the holiday season would see heavy discounts this year, especially in the toys, sporting goods and furniture categories, with markdowns peaking at 35 percent. Last month, Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report forecast a 6.7 percent rise in online sales during the holiday season. Retailers such as Walmart , Target and Macy’s prepare months in advance for the all-important season as it brings in nearly a third of the industry’s annual revenue in a good year. With Amazon.com hosting its second Prime Day sale in October, holiday shopping is expected to start as early as this month.

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E-Commerce Campaign Lead, Next — Leicester, United Kingdom

SEO Content Manager, Neiman Marcus — New York, United States

Online Merchandiser, Chalhoub Group — Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2. Big Tech Is Trying to Make Smart Glasses the Next Must-Own Device. Again.

On Wednesday, at Meta’s annual conference on virtual and augmented reality — and now AI — the tech giant and Ray-Ban announced the second generation of their smart glasses, called the Ray-Ban Meta.

Last month, at Meta’s annual conference on virtual and augmented reality — and now AI — the tech giant and Ray-Ban announced the second generation of their smart glasses, called the Ray-Ban Meta. They come roughly two years after the companies introduced their collaboration with the first-generation Ray-Ban Stories, which took Ray-Ban’s staple Wayfarer and embedded cameras and speakers into the frame, letting users take pictures and video, listen to audio and make calls.

However, while the glasses are meant to be a stepping stone in Meta’s journey to making the metaverse a reality, they don’t yet offer AR, which places a digital layer over the physical world. Meta and Ray-Ban say full AR glasses are, realistically, still five to 10 years away, at least in the form that they want. (Snap unveiled its first AR glasses in 2021 but portrayed them more as an experiment than a finished product at the time, and even today they have a number of limitations, such as their battery life.)

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3. Why Puma Sees a Future in Virtual Products, Despite the NFT Bust

A giant Puma sneaker floats in the middle of a futuristic virtual world.

For Puma, embracing the virtual world has been a learning experience. A year ago, during New York Fashion Week, it introduced Black Station, a 3D online space to showcase new products and ideas that Puma used to launch two new sneakers, the NFRNO and Fastroid, the physical versions of which buyers could only claim after purchasing corresponding limited-edition NFTs. Since Black Station’s launch, the NFT market, which was already struggling, has all but disintegrated. Metaverse hysteria has further dwindled. It would be understandable, maybe even expected, for Puma to pull back on those efforts.

But the company, which turned 75 this year, is among those trying to capitalise on the number of consumers today spending time in video games and buying cosmetic skins and digital items. It sees a long-term opportunity in virtual spaces and products, which according to Ivan Dashkov, Puma’s head of emerging marketing tech and web3, create new ways of interacting with the brand, help Puma to meet a new generation of shoppers where they live and eventually, could become a significant source of revenue.

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Digital Studio Application Specialist, Moncler — Milan, Italy

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4. Can TikTok’s Addictive Algorithm Get US Shoppers Buying?

This week, TikTok rolled out its Shop feature to all US users. Along with shoppable videos, the update introduces a marketplace where businesses and individuals can list items from yoga pants to slow cookers.

It’s a truism at this point that every big social platform will dream of becoming its users’ favourite place to shop, and every one will fail to make it a reality. TikTok, which has a reputation for getting users to purchase what they see on the app — a sentiment summed up in the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt — is betting it can buck the trend. This week, the company rolled out its Shop feature to all US users, allowing people who go to the social network for a regular dose of animal videos, lip syncing and influencer posts to also purchase products directly within the app. Along with shoppable videos, the update introduces a marketplace where businesses and individuals can list items from yoga pants to slow cookers.

Shopping is a popular activity on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, with the app growing into an e-commerce powerhouse over the past few years. But what works in Asian markets doesn’t always work in Western ones. For years social media companies have tried to integrate shopping into their US platforms with little to show for their efforts. Instagram, for instance, removed its shopping tab from the home feed earlier this year.

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5. Why Collina Strada’s Hillary Taymour Thinks Generative AI Is a ‘Game Changer’

A model in a gold top and pink shorts walks the runway at Collina Strada.

If you didn’t already know artificial intelligence was used to design Collina Strada’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, it would be all but impossible to tell. At their New York Fashion Week runway show, set amid a rooftop farm on the Brooklyn waterfront, the clothes betrayed no obvious hints that founder Hillary Taymour and her team spent weeks feeding images of past Collina Strada looks into the AI image generator Midjourney, guiding it with text prompts of varying complexity and diligently refining the results to produce the collection.

The use of generative AI tools has gathered momentum in fashion over the past several months, even amid concerns the technology could displace creatives and infringe intellectual property. Revolve released an AI-generated billboard campaign and capsule collection, backed an AI Fashion Week and is experimenting with it to design its lucrative private brands. Casablanca used it in the marketing campaign for its Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Others are turning to it for jobs like writing product descriptions.

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6. US Sales and Top Spending Customers Drive Sales at Mytheresa

Mytheresa yellow box

Strong US momentum and a growing pool of top-spending customers drove sales and profit at Mytheresa in the fourth quarter despite “a very tough market,” said CEO Michael Kliger. The luxury e-tailer’s North America business grew 40.8 percent in the three months ending June 30, following a ramp-up in marketing investment in the region with special events for clients. Mytheresa said the value of goods sold (GMV) on its platform rose 14.5 percent to €855.8 million ($912.3 million) for the full year ending June 30, while revenue rose 11.4 percent to €768.6 million. Adjusted EBITDA was up 40.3 percent to €41.1 million. Shares were up 16 percent in early trading.

Mytheresa’s focus on courting luxury’s wealthiest customers is helping mitigate the impact of broader slowdown in demand for luxury goods, said Kliger, as aspirational shoppers pull back on spending amid an uncertain economic backdrop, hitting peers like Farfetch hard. Mytheresa has ramped up investment in the US to drive brand awareness, staging a five week pop-up in partnership with Flamingo Estate in East Hampton, NY over the summer. It’s also dialled up the number of money-can’t-buy experiences for top clients in the market, hosting events in cities like LA, Nashville, Miami and Aspen.

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7. Nike’s Virtual Studio Is Dropping Its First Physical Sneaker

A man in a checked sweater dangles a pair of Nike Air Force 1 TINAJ sneakers over his shoulder.

Nike’s virtual studio is getting physical. On Tuesday, the sneaker behemoth announced the first physical product to come out of .Swoosh, the digital-goods platform it introduced late last year. It’s a black-and-white, low-top version of Nike’s Air Force 1 with .Swoosh branding and details, dubbed the TINAJ, as in “This Is Not a JPEG,” a slogan that also appears on the shoe. When it drops in Nike’s SNKRS app on Oct. 20, instead of having to compete against countless shoppers and bots, only those who previously purchased and virtually unboxed one of the digital Our Force 1s Nike released earlier this year will have the chance to purchase it.

Nike hasn’t said exactly how many people that amounts to, but nearly 53,000 .Swoosh members bought at least one of the tokens when they first went on sale. Still, exclusivity is currency in the sneaker world, and the release demonstrates how Nike is thinking about using its NFT-based platform to engage what it views as an increasingly important fan group while letting it promote membership, which remains one of the most powerful tools in its kit.

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8. The EU’s New Rules on Personalised Social Media Feeds, Explained

The latest regulations to come into force under the EU’s Digital Services Act mean platforms like TikTok and Instagram must give European users the option for a feed that doesn’t use their personal data to recommend content.

New changes are hitting social platforms in the EU, with possible implications for any brands that rely on them to connect with shoppers — which is basically everyone. On August 25, regulations came into force that require large online platforms including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat to give European users at least one option for a content feed that doesn’t use their personal data for customisation. A user who chooses that alternative could still get recommended content, such as what’s popular in their country, but using their online behaviour to determine what to show them would be off limits.

The new guidelines are part of the EU’s far-reaching Digital Services Act, which aims to regulate the way internet companies operating in the EU handle data and mitigate systemic risks. It began taking effect in a tiered system last year. The latest rules apply to what it calls large online platforms, meaning those with at least 45 million users. The category includes 19 companies, such as search giant Google, marketplaces Amazon and AliExpress, and Zalando, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer, which filed a suit contesting the designation.

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