Fashion and lifestyle publication Refinery29 revealed this week that it is dedicating a ten-person team and full studio to Facebook Live. As of now, the site publishes 15 live videos per week across its eight Facebook pages (main page and sub-communities such as Short Cuts and Refinery29 Wellness). The team will make the videos more polished, and shoot with high-quality cameras in lieu of mobile devices. Refinery29’s chief content officer Amy Emmerich said the brand wants to do this “at the highest level we can” and mentioned 24-hour programming as a consideration for the future.
Retailers should follow Refinery29’s lead and strategize for existing apps or platforms rather than make their own, based on data from L2’s 2016 Mobile study. While the retail industry has constantly been debating the pros and cons of providing content or apps, consumers have been spending most of their mobile time on a singular app (most often Facebook). Signs point to app development on the brand level being a thing of the past, except for the few who do an exceptional job at attracting repeat visitors and in-app transactions. L2’s study finds that 40% of brands in the fashion industry have developed at least one version of an app, and many (e.g. Michael Kors, Pucci, Paul Smith, Prada, and Tod’s) are abandoning their efforts. Brands that are continuing their apps are moving away from lifestyle content and focusing on transactions (e.g. Nordstrom, Macy’s).
However, the solution is not to do away with branded lifestyle content that integrates with commerce. The place for that is Facebook, especially as videos on the platform become more popular, viewable and shoppable. Smart brands are catching on early. Lululemon, for example, sponsors lifestyle content posts on Facebook that direct to the brand’s mobile site. And Chanel, sponsors takeover posts with tutorials that direct to relevant products.