Shoe Companies Turn Up Buzz on Video Apps, Periscope

The buzz behind live-stream video apps has reached a fever pitch this spring with the debut of Meerkat and Periscope.

Fashion brands seeking to capitalize on consumer hunger for video content have embraced the platforms. Unlike with many other social accounts, which allow for curated content, this a very public experiment.

Burberry was among the first to hop on board with Periscope, which is owned by Twitter. The brand announced in April that it was using Periscope to live-stream its fashion show in Los Angeles. Saks Fifth Avenue has highlighted its in-store flower show, called Saks Glam Gardens as well as other meet-up type events on Periscope, and Selfridges took audiences behind the scenes of its design collaboration with Gareth Pugh.

Rebecca Minkoff, which has been a pioneer in using technology both online and in its stores, also has enlisted the platform for the brand’s sample sale as well as to showcase a personal appearance by the designer in San Francisco and provide a tour of the showroom.

Saks Fifth Avenue Periscope
Saks’s Livestream of a Periscope meet up
CREDIT: Periscope @saks

CEO Uri Minkoff said the brand is already finding value in streaming video but needs time to figure out what works best.

“The longer we allow content to run, the more people join and get excited. It takes a little while for people to turn off what they’re doing and engage,” said Minkoff. “It’s great to let people in and get live feedback on what you’re doing and see how it can alter the business.”

Dolce Vita used Periscope at Coachella and in the brand’s New York showroom to show off new styles. “We love how easily it fosters conversation — anyone watching can comment, and we can respond in real time. It’s like video-chatting with friends,” said a Dolce Vita spokesperson.

While there’s certainly an immediacy in connecting with consumers, a live stream can also be limiting in terms of audience size. Other challenges include distinguishing a Periscope moment from any other social video and pre-announcing stream times.

Social media marketing expert Sarah Smith-Robbins from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business said the best use of Periscope occurs when brands ask users how they want to see live video.

“As with all social media, is it worth watching? Is the content compelling enough that people want to pay attention? Not all brands have that capacity,” she explained. “The veracity and interactions you see on a Reddit [celebrity question-and-answer session] could do well on Periscope. Not all the brands are taking advantage of that.”

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