Traditionally, the patient public would have to wait months for glossy mags to show them the latest looks to buy from Fashion Week but things have changed. Just as the catwalk went live, straight to its audience, so now have the clothes, as fashion houses roll out a ‘see now, buy now” model that lets customers shops straight from the runway.

At last year’s SS17 London Fashion Week, Burberry kicked off this new shopping trend with an approach that exquisitely integrated social and digital into its live show, whilst the likes of Alice Temperley partnered smartly with technology brands to create a seamless catwalk shopping experience.

More than half (56%) of consumers who follow brands on social media sites say they do so to view products, so fashion brands are certainly not the only ones who can take advantage of a need-it-now buyer behaviour. So how can brands, from any category, emulate Fashion Week’s ‘see now, buy now’ approach?

Timing
A launch event is no longer something shiny to show off exclusively to the press, it can be a brand’s sales event of the year.

In fashion, the shift in the catwalk’s purpose from showcase to shopping event has meant a change in the way that clothing is unveiled to the audience. It’s important to remember that the audience is no longer just those sat in the first few rows but is now a global online community, with wallets in hand, ready to spend.

Rihanna followed in fashion’s footsteps recently with launch of her Fenty Beauty range where the products went live at midnight as she partied with a host of fans in beauty store Sephora in New York’s Times Square. If she had taken this further and made the products available around the world, the event could have created a global sensation.

Seize the opportunity
Is it crucial to recognise the opportunities a brand has to join the conversation around big industry events. Previously during Fashion Week, the cost of running a show often renders brands out of the game or unable to create the kind of spectacle that the audience wants. Not everyone has the disposable income of Burberry or Apple.

Last year, menswear designer Oliver Spencer partnered with online retail partner Vero to hold a men’s and women’s show where the audience could shop live via the Vero app.

Partnering with a platform that can facilitate the shopping experience can enable a brand to reap the rewards of a new trend, and benefit from a calendar moment, without the extensive costs of a live show.

Function over fashion
There is no point in trying to sell straight from the catwalk, or any event, if the technology isn’t in place to make the buyer’s journey effortless or the website is littered with flaws.The drop-off from show to shop is dangerous territory and one that can cost a brand dearly, if the consumer doesn’t receive the seamless experience they’ve come to expect.

When Burberry launched its first ‘see now, buy now’ collection last year, its website and every other digital outlet was branded and marketed to the same level of perfection as the catwalk. Every detail of the brand’s new clothing was available to view, giving the at-home customer the same glorious experience they would have in-store.

Tommy Hilfiger has taken that one step further this year by allowing customers to make wish lists on their e-store, ready to shop when the collection goes live during the show at London Fashion Week.

This couldn’t be more applicable than with the case of influencer partnerships. Myriad lifestyle and homeware brands partner with influencers to curate selections or products but all too often the link though to store does not retain the same glossy interface. Ensuring that the branding you pay for rings true from influencer to checkout may be the difference between a bounce and a purchase.

As shopping behaviour becomes more impatient and consumers increasingly look to buy and own products instantly, the innovation offered by social and digital platforms will become more important channels to serve them. Be inspired by the pioneering example set by Fashion Week and fashion brands, continuingly leading the way in bringing together the show experience and the shopping experience. If brands want to truly capture the attention of the ready-to-buy audience, then they need to be ready when the consumers are.