May 12th, 2016 Is ‘See Now, Buy Now’ the Future of Digital? By Dominic Stinton

I’m sure you will be watching M&S’s new launch keenly, to see if the new CEO’s insistence on re-focusing on clothes will pay off or not.

M&S is following high end fashion brands like Burberry in their move towards immediacy, with clothes that are available for online and in-store purchase immediately after they are revealed to the press, the guardian reports.

Is this a trend to follow?

Personally I think the ‘see it now buy it now’ approach is a triumph; in the same week that Radiohead for the third time chose to jettison the traditional media launch followed by a long gap before the music actually hits the market, M&S – like Netflix and countless other contemporary brands – are moving away from the old fashioned ‘pyramid’ approach to new product launches, where ‘opinion leaders’ at the top (traditionally the media and style gurus) are served up new product first, who in turn communicate it to the early adopters, before the late adopters and finally the mass market come on board several months later.

This used to be the traditional way of communicating fashion when I worked on Levi’s back in the 90s and 00s; it seems very antiquated now in a world where House Of Cards Series 4 is dropped on to the world in one go.

For the consumer, however, it represents a watershed moment in customer experience; how annoying it must be to read about new fashions from your favourite brand on the catwalk, and have to wait six months before you can buy them. Especially in a world of global warming and frequent overseas travel, where the concept and timing of ‘hot and cold’ wardrobes seems to be disappearing (I wore a jacket and shirt to work every day last December).

It seems obvious in hindsight, that any business that has built some kind of delay into its servicing of its customers, is ripe for review. It’s encouraging to see a traditional business like M&S rising to the challenge.