Festival Frenzy: Retailers Tap Coachella
Now a major marriage of music and fashion, the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California – held over two consecutive weekends in April, 11/12 and 18/19 – renewed its reputation as a prime hotspot for retailers to seduce a relatively captive audience. Beyond the festival, too, retailers are remotely trading on the event's buzz to boost sales before and during the festivities.
- Pre-Event Momentum: US department store chain Nordstrom has launched an online and in-store temporary pop-in shop called Magic Hour selling festival-inspired goods including sunglasses, sandals, T-shirts and flasks. The product edit was curated by Nordstrom's director of creative projects, Olivia Kim, who also commissioned an exclusive soundtrack, which is being streamed via the pop-up website. Luxury fashion e-tailer Net-a-Porter has also launched a Coachella hub collection of festival-ready items.
- Sparking Social Conversations: Tapping into the largely millennial crowd who attend the event, luxury brands including British footwear brand Jimmy Choo, US footwear label Stuart Weitzman and US fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg have all taken to social media to highlight Coachella essentials. More involved still, New York-based label Alexander Wang handed over its Instagram account to Canadian PBR&B singer Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) during the first weekend.
- Anywhere Retailing: California-based fashion e-tailer Revolve Clothing is offering same-day shipping to the festival. Website and mobile orders (mobile sales now constitute approximately 15% of Revolve Clothing's total turnover) made before noon are being delivered by vans to the site and the surrounding area. See New Gen Fulfilment in our Roaming Retail Industry Trend for key deliveries innovations.
- Instagram Moments: Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M, which is an official sponsor of the event, is hosting a tent equipped with a 360-degree mirrored selfie station for taking and sending the now-ubiquitous self-portraits via social media; an 'aura camera', billed as capturing the user's aura colours (the electromagnetic fields that surround the human body); and the chance to try out Oculus virtual reality headsets – immersive gaming technology capable of virtually transporting users to other environments. For more on Oculus Rift, see Virtual Immersive Commerce.
Three weeks before the event H&M also launched the first fashion collection to be officially co-branded with the festival, online and in stores globally.
- French beauty retailer Sephora is hosting a do-it-yourself make-up bar with its private-label beauty brand, together with a vending machine that dispenses free products to people that post images to Instagram with the hashtag: #SephoraCoachella.
- Mag-Tail Pop-Ups: Following a successful pop-up at the 2014 event, the US edition of Harper's Bazaar magazine is hosting another ShopBAZAAR pop-up retail experience at Coachella. For the initial weekend US lifestyle website Popsugar is partnering with multi-brand e-commerce site ShopStyle for a three-day takeover of the Avalon Hotel (in neighbouring Palm Springs) to offer styling experiences with US designers Mara Hoffman and Cynthia Vincent, flower crown making, a braid bar, make-up station, and custom screen printings.
For more on key strategies for embracing festival season, see Branded Festival Experiences.