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Brief Published: 23 Feb 2015

Real-Time Retail: Topshop Uses Twitter to Tap LFW Trends

Topshop's digital billboards, spotlighting key LFW trends

Capitalising on the social media buzz around the biannual catwalk shows, British fast-fashion giant Topshop has unveiled a series of digital advertising billboards for the duration of London Fashion Week (LFW). Located across the UK, they use live, aggregated Twitter content to spotlight the key trends as they emerge on the runway – then crucially connect them back to Topshop's own product.

Created with Australian social marketing platform Stackla and operated by UK digital advertising specialist Ocean Outdoor, the six billboards are positioned in heavy footfall areas in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. They feature trends emerging in real-time over the course of the event, according to tweets tagged with #LFW (including its own Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Unique runway show on February 22).

Each trend is displayed as a hashtag, such as #pleats or #checks, next to a selection of corresponding Topshop items. Billboard viewers who tweet one of the trends to Topshop's Twitter account using the designated hashtags receive a direct reply with a fully shoppable link to a curated pick of the brand's relevant products.

Shrewdly maximising the pique in interest across all channels, all billboards are within 10 minutes' walk of a Topshop store, while the trends are also displayed on its website, as well as on a supersized screen on the façade of its Oxford Circus 'mothership', which relays the content from all 'satellite' billboards.

Fueling the frenzy, transforming the Oxford Circus flagship from retail destination to entertainment venue (see Evolution of the Retail Flagship: Hybrid Lifestyle Venues for more), a screening area allowed shoppers to watch a live-stream of yesterday's Topshop show – including behind-the-scenes interviews with attendees such as models Jordan Dunn and Cara Delevigne. The same content could also be viewed on Topshop's main e-commerce site. Twitter users who tweet @Topshop with a review of the show can also win tickets to its Spring/Summer 2016 presentation.

In a similar move, British outdoor footwear and accessories brand Hunter is using Ocean Outdoor's digital billboards in nine spots across the UK to live-stream its LFW show at 6pm this evening.

For more on using social media to offer unprecedented access to brands, see Exploiting Insider Access and Fashion Week S/S 15: Social Media & Tech.

For more on the ways in which smart retailers are harnessing data to inform business decisions, see Catwalk to Closet, part of our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend; Data Tracking & Human Response Monitoring, part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend; and Big Data & the New Privacy and Big Data & Marketing.

See also Shoppable Billboard Ads, Real-Time Red Carpet E-Commerce, and Shoppable Content: Entertainment for more on how to tap inspiration in real-time to boost sales.