The Online Shopping Revolution

As many of you have seen, ASOS have launched a new trial tool on its site called ‘See My Fit’ and personally I think its genius…

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See My Fit

This tool lets shoppers see what an item of clothing would look like on 16 different body shapes ranging from sizes 4-18 and heights 5’1” to 5’9”. According to Tim Carey, senior content manager at ASOS Studios: “the tool uses AR technology to put the power in our customers’ hands, so they can choose to view a dress on the model that they most identify with in a way that wouldn’t be possible using traditional model-shooting techniques”.

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An example of the ‘See My Fit’ app

Can’t please em’ all

ASOS are always one step ahead and the product that it built will change our shopping experience for the better. However a lot of people have made comment on the fact that the model isn’t actually wearing the item. Step into the 21st century hun….imagine how long it would take if ASOS was to shoot every item of clothing on its website onto 16 different models (eye-roll)

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My view on ASOS

DISCLOSURE: In 2019 I paid a £9.99 one off payment to avail of ASOS’s free next day delivery for a year. Yes this investment was great value for money as next day delivery usually costs £4.99 per transaction. But, believe it or not there are pros and cons.

A major CON being the fact that I get an ASOS parcel delivered to my work every other day if not every day. Due to the fact that it’s free delivery, I hold the mindset that “Oh well, I may as well order it, sure I’ll probably send it back” (truth be told I usually don’t)

(9 times out of 10 I return things that I don’t like- I do however return things a lot more for a different size or if it doesn’t fit properly, even if I LOVE the item)

Have you noticed that I’ve began with the cons…

I usually do so as by the time that I’ve listed the positives I have forgotten the cons, selected my size, moved the items from my wish list to my bag, pay now…you get where this is going.

There are major pros to ASOS, the main one being that if I have last minute plans and it’s raining outside I can order an outfit or 2 or 3 (for selection purposes…obvs) from the comfort of my bed and it will be there the very next day. ASOS are miles ahead of the game when it comes to time management and selection. It really is like walking into a huge shopping centre with a shop just for you filled with your favourite brands in your size.

BACK TO THE POINT…

Like many people I am not ‘textbook size’. I take a different size in tops than in bottoms and I am usually tripping over the mile trail left on the floor when I put on my jeans. I am what many websites brand petite and as a result I have in many situations been the perfect example of #ExpectationVSReality.

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Expectation vs Reality

ASOS do have a pretty good petite range, but it is what I would describe as ‘the best of a bad bunch’.
They still fall guilty of one size fits all shapes in many of their products.

The Revolution

The new tool ‘See My Fit’ could possibly revolutionise the future of online shopping. This tool allows shoppers to see what the item of clothing would look like on various different shapes. In my case I could select a small petite girl with my build.
This would have many benefits for ASOS and of course its shoppers. I may be pleasantly surprised with how an item of clothing looks on someone my height and purchase, where as before I would have never considered buying it. This could lead to a lot more sales for ASOS eliminating the self doubt aspect or it could do the opposite and prove that they need to up their game and provide more size variations in their products.

Returns

Simple online returns are a major part of any consumers shopping experience as it gives them a choice, however it costs the industry BILLIONS! This year on Black Friday returns alone predicted to cost UK fashion retailers 1.6 billion pounds , according to returns management platform ReBound Returns. With returns predicted to rise by 27.3% in the next 5 years, this could have a catastrophic impact on our favourite brands.

Could ASOS’s new app be the solution?

Well if customers can see what the product would look like on someone like them, they are more likely to be confident with their purchase. The fact that ASOS are being upfront with its customer again may affect sales but it should definitely have an impact in reducing the quantity of returns.

ASOS have set the standards as far as online shopping goes and it wont be long before the other large retail competitors are forced to keep up. Even though this tool is seen as a unique selling point for ASOS in a few years time we will see this level of customer service as an essential, something we expect.

So for that …THANK YOU ASOS!

 

Kayleigh Tinney is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently doing a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on: Instagram – @Kayleightinney and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayleigh-tinney-76b240161/.

My top PR Campaigns of 2019

Creating an eye-catching PR campaign for your business can be the key to increasing brand audience, sales or fuelling  conversation. Our world is now saturated with creative people, coming up with innovative ways to promote themselves and their business. In order to stand out from the crowd, PR companies are being pushed to the limits to think of something unique and creative that will grab the audience’s attention and direct them towards your brand. Thats why, when a particular campaign stands out from the rest, you know that it’s done the job! I have compiled a list of four of my favourite PR campaigns of 2019.

  1. Cadbury Loneliness Campaign

One of the inevitable things that is set out for us within our lives is that we will continue to grow older. It is commonly known that elderly people constantly feel a sense of loneliness and as if they are cut off from society. This year, Cadbury’s teamed up with Age UK to combat the loneliness and isolation amongst our older generation. They came up with the “donating words campaign,” in which they removed all the lettering on their chocolate bar packaging to reveal a blank package. These limited edition bars where being sold in supermarkets nationwide, with 30p of every bar being donated towards Age UK, to help tackle their mission of reducing loneliness. This campaign was an incredible way to not only raise funds for Age UK, but show how a few words or a conversation can mean so much to the older generation. The campaign sparked a lot of conversation online, encouraging people to reach out to their grandparents. So not only did Cadbury’s effectively raise money for the charity, they also increased awareness on loneliness in the older generation and made people more aware of trying to reduce this.

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  1. Tinder bully = ASOS Model

Tinder. A perfect depiction of modern day dating. What more could you want than a complete stranger deciding whether you are worthy of them, based solely on your physical appearance. Thea, who had been using the site like most people, received a message from a boy who believed it was his right to inform her that her picture was awful and her dress looked like something for a ‘charity shop,’ the perfect way to charm a woman, don’t you think? After being shocked by the comments this stranger made to her, Thea decided to share her story online, and encourage people to be less cruel online.

Well, ASOS took part in an incredible piece of reactive PR, by taking this horrible experience Thea endured, and making her an official model for that particular dress on their website. They used the image of her in a beautiful purple dress, which was on her Tinder profile and used it as the promotional picture for that dress of their website. Not only was this extremely effective at communicating and empowering woman, but it also garnered a lot of supporting from the public online.

  1. Ikea furniture or historical exhibits?

The dreaded phrase, “can you build this Ikea desk for me.” Sure, we may need a degree in product design and engineering to understand the instruction, but for the quality and the price we always go back. To try and combat the “Ikea haters”, as they are better known online, Ikea came up with a new interactive PR campaign to show how their furniture could blend in with high class, expensive furniture. They decided to partner with the Museum of Romanticism in Madrid, and strategically placed their furniture amongst the 18th Century furniture that existed in the exhibit. They then challenged their fans online to pick out what pieces where Ikea, and what were historical pieces. This campaign garnered a lot of support at the museum its self and online. More than 70% of people were unable to differentiate the Ikea pieces from the history pieces. This allowed them to creatively show their customers that their products are great value for money, but can also fit in to the most fancy . They have since went on to win many awards for this campaign. Could you spot the Ikea furniture, or did you just feel nauseous at the thought of building it all?

4. Master-cards “Acceptance Matters” Initatives

Just recently Master-card in the US ran their acceptance matters campaign, which ran to celebrate Pride Month in America, to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Their campaign called the “True Name” campaign which allowed individuals to use their true names on their credit/debit cards, without the need for a legal name change. Mastercard and undertaken a study and found that nearly one in three individuals ID’s names or gender do match with what the identify as and therefore reported having a negative experience. They realised how complex and expensive it can be to legally change their name or gender, so they wanted to find a way that they could improve their customers experience.

They wanted to promote personal identification for trans and non binary people to let their bank cards truly reflect them. With the way that our current society is, especially in America, this was an incredible way to promote inclusion and acceptance for everyone in their daily lives. This campaign received a lot of support, not only from the LGBTQIA+ community, but also from the rest of the public who are aware of the inequality the people face on a daily basis, due to the political environment in America- and want to support a cause that can improve peoples lives.

In conclusion, it is clear to see that to stand out from the crowd, a well formulated, innovative PR campaign is needed. Sometimes this may be well planned, carefully crafted campaigns such as IKEA’s, or it can be the case of reactive PR just as ASOS where able to achieve. A good campaign can not only benefit the business and increase sales/reputation, but it can always promote an important message within society and hopefully move towards and better and more inclusive world.

Meabh McMahon is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – Meabh McMahon https://www.linkedin.com/in/meabh-mcmahon-a89b25156/  Twitter: @meabhm6

A/W Fashion – Belfast Fashion Week 18-19

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a little fashion obsessed! So when I heard about the Ulster PR Student Blog, I couldn’t help but want to inject a few fashion and style posts into the blogosphere. I have previously enjoyed writing posts for my own blog & thought what better way to ignite the old writing flame inside me than to write a few posts for our own student blog!

I hope you enjoy! Dearbhail (@dervbrogan) xx

Belfast Fashion Week – The Runway Edit

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A/W Fashion Week in Belfast could not have come at a better time following the recent  fire at Belfast’s beloved Primark. The fire has produced a devastating impact on the footfall of shoppers in the surrounding area.

The fabulous spectacle that was ‘The Runway Edit’ took place in the beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral, right in the heart of Cathedral Quarter and showcased some beautiful on-trend pieces from both global and local retailers and was just what Belfast needed to encourage locals to ‘stay shopping’.

#OOTN (What I Wore):

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As it was my first Belfast Fashion Week you can imagine how hard it was for me to decide what to wear. Do I go ‘classic and chic’ or just plain ‘all out there’? I’ll let you decide on that one. My top, skirt and bag are all from Topshop, which I paired with with this AMAZING trucker jacket from Boohoo & these slick boots that I picked up on sale in Primark for £3 a few years back!

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What THEY (the gorgeous models) Wore:

The show, hosted by Cathy Martin (CMPR) & Tiffany Brien (Influencer), kicked off with a fabulous directors cut showcasing all of Cathy’s (@cathymartin10) top picks for this A/W season including pieces from River Island, M&S and one of my all time favourites Stradivarius.

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Left: Cathy Martin & Tiffany Brien host the Runway Edit

Right: Joy modelling Red Tartan Trench Coat – Stradivarius £69.99

 

 

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Left: Veronica modelling Topshop fuscia velvet suit jacket £49 & trousers £39

Right: Sophie modelling Lazy Oaf yellow fur coat £150 with ASOS yellow scarf

 

 

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Left: Rebecca modelling ASOS green puffa jacket, ASOS green scarf, Topshop tapered green trousers

Right: Nuala modelling ASOS lilac corduroy trousers £45, jacket £60, lilac pussy bow blouse

 

Some for the party girls (or boys, whatever tickles your fancy):

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Left: Joy modelling ASOS metallic pink trousers, Zara sequin top

Right: Ellen modelling Missi paillette body suit £26.99 DV8, River Island rose gold pencil skirt

 

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Left: Stefania modelling ASOS pink skirt, River Island pink faux fur jacket £85

Right: Maria modelling River Island floral pant suit

 

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Left: Thandi models ASOS fringe beaded sequin mini dress 3150, New Look faux fur jacket £49.99

Right: Rebecca models ASOS purple/silver paillette jumper and Topshop silver trouser

 

George @ Asda:

George at Asda surprised me so much this year as they are KILLING IT with their A/W pieces. Heres a round up of my favourites:

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Other retailers involved in the fabulous show included Debenhams, Oasis and New Look, along with pieces from local boutiques such as Blush (Lisburn Road), Serenity Ten (Maghera) and Lily Rose Boutique (Moria). If I could sum up what I’ve learnt about the coming A/W trends from this years BFW in three words, they would HAVE to be; blocks (colours), prints and sequins! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my fashion favs from the show and hopefully it inspires you to  go and treat yourself (or that special someone) with something fresh and fabulous this season. So go on! Go out and support your local highstreet and boutiques this Christmas, it couldn’t be a better time to go shopping!

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Lots of love, Dearbhail (CAM Student UUJ / Wannabe Blogger) xoxo

P.S: If you love fashion as much as me, be sure to follow me on Instagram @dervbrogan where I post outfit photos daily!

 

Photo Credit: Brendan Gallagher (Photographer)

Event Credit: Cathy Martin (CMPR)

Dearbhail Brogan is a Second Year BSC in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Instagram – @dervbrogan ; Twitter – @dailydeeblog