Magic, the UBM Advanstar-owned Las Vegas fashion trade show, is digging deeper into the topics concerning the fashion and retail industry with its new education portal, Magic University. Building on the popularity of its monthly newsletters, the free portal aims to be a one-stop shop for retailers, buyers, marketing professionals and fashion entrepreneurs to read up on industry trends, ideas and tools.
The program launched on Monday with five tracks: omnichannel marketing, social media, trend forecasting, consumer demographics and product design and sustainability. Each track, or “boot camp,” offers in-depth insight from Magic show presidents, exhibitors and attendees, as well as thought leadership from outside the industry. Content will be added on a quarterly basis.
In June 2014, UBM Advanstar president of footwear Leslie Gallin said the company made a corporate decision to invest time and resources into strengthening its market position as a leader in the business of fashion. She said, “When it came to fashion business media, we found it was easy to find information and opinions on B2B industry trends. What we discovered was really hard to find was tactical, actionable information that would help retailers and designers succeed in the ‘business of fashion.’”
By sharing best practices and tips from all areas of the industry, Gallin said the goal of the university is to provide value to retailers and designers of all shapes and sizes. She said the content is meant to, “Inspire others to think outside of their daily ‘box’ and connect them with tips, tools and real life examples of what is bringing others success.”
After all, the industry is changing at rapid speed. “The corporate advantages of yesterday are changing and our retailers are feeling it,” Gallin said. “This is a current and future state reality as the retail consumer continues to evolve and technology continues to thrust us forward, why not use them in a greater capacity?”
Not surprisingly, so far the social media and ominchannel boot camps have been the most popular. “I think that the dynamic evolution of social media and omnichannel consumption has been rapid and overwhelming for much of the retail industry, and for different reasons,” Gallin said. “The larger retailers are having a hard time delivering the nimble flexibility and transparency that our digitally savvy, socially driven consumers now require. While the smaller retailer is having a hard time keeping their ear to ground and adapting to quickly evolving best practices in the use of technology and operations – two things today’s consumer also sees as a must in order to earn their patronage.”
Gallin stressed that retailers and brands shouldn’t fear technology. “While it’s disrupting brick and mortar, it’s not replacing it – it’s complementing it,” she said. “Creating holistic marketing, merchandising and distribution strategies based upon data, technology and real-world consumer behavior will help them develop win-win business tactics that maintain their consumers affinity to their brands.”
The program is just a few days old, but Gallin said the response has been “phenomenal” and the industry has been eager to share its insight. Gallin said, “We have so many great relationships with industry veterans that were more than eager to help share their stories and advice whenever we asked … It was definitely a team effort.”