The digitization of former physical goods such as music, movies, books or magazines have extensively eroded traditional business model structures. Some branches of the Creative Industries had to radically rethink their creation of value. These days CI-companies are deeply engaged in the experimental use of technologies to establish new products and business models. State of the art technologies are combined to create new business opportunities. This forms novel ways of lifestyles, entertainment or information reception for both users and consumers.
The fashion industry serves as a best practice to underline these observations. Luxottica, the world’s largest eyewear company and owner of Ray Ban sunglasses, has started an innovative digital project five years ago or so that impacts Ray Ban’s marketing, supply change management and production.
Let’s assume you are in dire need of new sunglasses. Traditionally, you would go to see a retailer nearby and try on available models in front of a mirror until you have found suitable sunglasses or not.
Ray Ban has transformed the usual way of shopping experience. With its Virtual Mirror webpage or Try On app respectively, Ray Ban combines 3D technologies with a web or smartphone camera. It is possible to make a pre-test before purchasing the product. Therefore, the camera scans your face and matches the chosen model with your facial structure. This provides all of the designed models with a suitable look and feel that comes close to real-world experience. Until this day it is a tough challenge to handle the transformation of physical goods such as fashion goods into the digital world. Who knows which style or requested size that looks good on a computer is really matching one’s real-world criteria where you really try on the desired wear?
Launching the Virtual Mirror/Try On has benefitted Ray Ban in three ways:
- Marketing: Due to printing, saving or sharing (via social networks) options for users to pick and present their favourite models, Ray Ban is able to evaluate which models are particularly in demand. These insights give marketing activities a data-driven grounding.
- Supply change management: Sales window is usually seven months. Additionally, fashion is bound to seasonal changes. Fashion changes quickly and new wear is already getting in line for the next season. A four-month lead time in sunglasses manufacturing gives the opportunity of responding to customer demand and influence the product life cycle. Once at the beginning of the season and once after a few months in.
- Production: Since new designs can be pre-tested via printing, saving and sharing options several months before market launch, manufacturing can be adjusted to demand, too.
Ray Ban’s approach shows to which extent creativity and developments in technology can mutually push product development. This highly productive combination leads to optimization of manufacturing processes. Furthermore, it keeps an eye on the use of resources. Users are an integral part of the value chain: they try and test the digital sunglasses interactively before these sunglasses see the light of the day if desired.