MAGIC Tradeshow Partners with Pose to Indulge Attendee Experience
Today marks the beginning of the fashion industry’s largest international gathering, the MAGIC Tradeshow. This bi-annual event, held in Las Vegas each February and August, is not to be missed as it is attended by tens of thousands of industry professionals from over 80 countries. The per-day order volume from the show totals nearly $200 million and does business with 85% of the world’s top 50 retailers.
This meeting of the world’s most influential figures within the apparel, accessories, and footwear sectors, trades information, shares upcoming trends, and builds business. After this past February’s gathering, MAGIC joined the list of Trade Show Executive’s fastest 50 roster of rapidly growing events, due in part to its winning combination of veteran brands and start-ups with great potential and valuable opportunities springing henceforth.
At this year’s show, MAGIC will be partnering with Pose, an innovative fashion-oriented photo-sharing app to share attendees’ photos in real time. The two firms converged last February when WHY THIS WAY, an international, digital media consulting firm, was asked to handle the first blogger collaboration between Teen Vogue and WWDMAGIC.
WHY THIS WAY CEO Macala Wright explains, “We brought 40 bloggers to Las Vegas to start in hope of broadening the interest in other facets of the fashion industry other than Fashion Week.” In addition, the firm incorporated other startup websites to add to the digital presence and the result was astonishing. In total, the event generated over 1,000 tweets, 900 photos and 160 blog posts. Ms. Wright, also founder and publisher of FashionablyMarketing.Me continues, “This year, MAGIC asked us to take the initiatives across multiple shows, SOURCING, FNPLATFORM, WWDMAGIC, STREET and SLATE. It was kind of complex. The goal is to unify all the shows under the parent show of MAGIC, while maintaining the individual identities of each show.”
The app, which launched its beta platform in January, is free to download and unlike other photo-sharing apps, it encourages a focus on fashion and apparel. Users are encouraged to take a snapshot of a garment they have either purchased or are contemplating in-store and subsequently tag the price as well as the location. Then, users share the photo and receive instant feedback from friends, other users and industry professionals. In addition, users can share uploads via Twitter and Facebook and browse photos of friends.
MAGIC + POSE is the newest innovation to the show and is drawing quite a following already. Macala explains, “Bloggers will be moving around the show snapping photos of trends, people and anything that catches their interest.” The app offers an inside look at what is hot and important at this year’s show. Attendees can take a snapshot of anything that catches their eye and instantly upload it via Pose. By including the hash tag “#MAGICLV”, Ms. Wright explains that, “[photo] content will be aggregated two ways – one via a Facebook App on the MAGIC tradeshow Facebook Page– and also via Bumebox, another new technology that is helping retailers, brands and fashion companies create interesting social commerce opportunities within their own e-commerce sites”. Pose was the perfect partner in this case because users can upload photos directly from their iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. People can also incorporate filtered Instagram photos as well, while other features and options will be unveiled post Magic. Use on the Android platform is currently in development.
These advances in technology and their incorporation in media add another dimension to the tradeshow. Ms. Wright adds, “It enhances the onsite experience of everyone involved during the event… it builds excitement, increases engagement, and helps build anticipation much further in advance.” She explains that exhibitors love when bloggers attend the shows, and are inquiring about attendance beforehand so they can participate with their favorites and find new influencers to connect to. And the bloggers are not complaining either—this serves as an opportunity for them to make direct connections and establish their voices individually.
When asked if Pose is seeking partnerships with specific brands or those most popular among users, Ms. Wright explains, “We are not promoting specific brands at the show. The brands, people or activities featured are entirely organic. It’s up to the person taking the photos and uploading them. It’s really exciting and surprising, because you don’t know what they’re going to find.”
This is most appealing to attendees in that it is the most genuine way a trend can manifest. Items featured at the show won’t be available at the retail level for at least a year, giving brands a chance to tweak details, introduce new items, and provide even more offerings of specific products that people really gravitate to.
What gains popularity is what stands out within the enormous crowd and not what is promoted via advertising campaigns. Brands featured within the app pay nothing, and mentions are entirely driven by user opinions.
The service, which recently earned $1.6M in funding from True Ventures, GRP, and Founder Collective, with Angel investors including Dave Morin and Shawn Fanning, is currently focused on sharing data between friends. However, in an effort to expand its community, the firm has developed a group of fashionable authorities, designers and stylists it calls “POSErs”, which serve as friends to users who are new to the app. This complex task was taken on by identifying individuals and the needs of those technologies that would be most advantageous at each show, for both exhibitors and attendees.
Other technologies Ms. Wright organized and is incorporating this year include eBay Fashion, American Express (Open Forum), Stipplelt.com, MadisonBuyer.com, and. However, Pose certainly holds the most pronounced place within the show. In addition, Ms. Wright shares her firm belief in the future of the online presence of tradeshows as equal to their physical presence. She says, “I believe we’re also going to see trade shows look to digital to drive attendance, exhibitor participation and bringing in new, innovative sponsors.”
Follow the MAGIC shows on twitter @WWDMAGIC
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By Natalia Ignaczak