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Kohl’s showcases monetization potential of live-streaming apps

Kohl’s is monetizing mobile live streams for its apparel brand LC Lauren Conrad, exhibiting the potential of applications such as Periscope and Meerkat not just to connect with fans, but to drive sales as well.

The brand is offering fans a backstage pass and front row seat to its first-ever show during New York Fashion Week in September via a new mobile-optimized site featuring live-streaming of the event and ways for viewers to shop the apparel featured on the runway in real time. As live-stream apps are growing in popularity with marketers, Kohl’s has developed a method to bring this content into the commerce world.

“Linking marketing to sales is a study in consumer-enagement alchemy, a process that requires interlinking many capabilities, like consumer insight, advertising, SEO topical content and clear call-to-actions that direct consumers to take action, like opt-in, make a purchase and more,” said Michael Becker, co-founder and managing partner, mCordis, Sunnyvale, CA. “The Kohl’s runway campaign has all the hallmarks of modern day marketing alchemy.

“This program successfully manages the blurring of lines between consumer and brand marketing,” he said. “Consumers are invited to participate and be in the know, in real time as the news unfolds for the world.

“They can share their passion, and if and when the impulse grabs them they be able to make a purchase. The Kohl’s runway program is cutting edge marketing.”

Streaming lining retail
Live-stream apps are becoming a staple in marketing, but have yet to really establish a presence in commerce. Kohl’s could be eluding to a future for these apps in retail.

As buy buttons become more pronounced within social media, could Meerkat and Periscope be the next platforms?

The LC Lauren Conrad Runway dedicated mobile-optimized site recently launched, bringing content to fans regarding behind-the-scenes efforts leading up to New York Fashion Week. The Web site will share videos of Lauren Conrad and her team putting together pieces and planning for the show itself such as content on inspiration, formulation and designing the runway.

While the runway show is taking place, a live-stream can be viewed on the site of the direct runway, as if viewers are the show. While watching, consumers can purchase any items they see during the show, directly on the site.

Links to product pages will be located on the microsite, encouraging fans to shop their favorites.

Images of the pre-planning experience are already available to view on the site, with text explaining the thought process behind the designs, discussing how the team was able to take more creative risks and create a fantasy world. Ms. Conrad is featured throughout designing with boards, fabrics and staff.

During the day of the show a behind-the-scenes feed on the Periscope app will bring users into what it takes to put on a New York Fashion Week runway. The stream will encourage consumers to visit the aggregate site to purchase items they are interested in, instantly online.

Ms. Conrad is known as a cast member on popular MTV shows Laguna Beach and The Hills. She has a wide fan-base to tap in which, many of which loyally follow her products.

Brands drive sales socially
While live-streams offer a substantial amount of potentional, many retailers may not be ready to take it on. For instance, the Wendy’s Co. saw its microsite for new seasonal drinks become overloaded during a promotional day with YouTube stars Rhett and Link on Periscope, suggesting brands may not be ready for the viewing power that social media influencers can bring to live-streaming applications (see more).

Sephora recently drove sales similarly with its partnering with Clinique spokeswoman Hannah Bronfman for a takeover of its Snapchat, showcasing how retailers, brands and celebrities are teaming up for social media cross-promotion to drive sale (see more).

“Content is at the heart of the consumer experience today and NYFW is at the heart of fashion,” Mr. Becker said. “What is seen at fashion week will influence what everyone will be wearing, in one way, shape or form in the months and years to come.

“The NYFW content has the potential to drive the conversation of fashion and help the most influential and innovative designers delight the world,” he said.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily