Interview with Jonathan Chippendale, CEO, Holition
Holition (from London and Utrecht) delivers interactive digital experiences for (luxury) brands. Augmented reality, holograms and 3D are three main areas of expertise. Holition does projects like the Dunhill Shanghai fashionshow, Louis Vuitton’s Digital Atelier in Selfridges, Boucheron’s virtual jewelry, virtual mirrors for fashion and shoes, social media application for BMW and 3D store windows for De Beers.
Jonathan will talk at What's Going on in (R)etailing?! 2014 about store experience: Digital disrupts retail and that's great!. Prior to his talk we ask Jonathan a few questions about the succes of Holition and the future.
What makes Holition so successful?
Holition’s strength stems from the breadth of its extensive luxury background combined with a desire to explore how an industry emerging from traditional marketing and merchandising channels can start to leverage the power of digital marketing Coming from a non-technology retail environment with years of luxury brand experience we have sat on the clients’ side of the table and therefore completely understand the needs and objectives of a luxury brand. Holition’s clients include many from the emerging digital fashion and retail sectors, such as Dunhill, LVMH, Gucci Group, Richemont and Swatch Group. Having started at the upper end of retail and worked closely with those brands it has given us an element of trust among our luxury colleagues. Consequently Holition is in a strong position to push down and are currently talking to a number of high street brands. The emphasis for Holition is always on quality solutions. All brands are different and it is important to create and produce bespoke applications to reflect a brand’s individuality and personality.
How is Holition trying to close the gap between instore, online and mobile?
At Holition we believe the online and instore experience will become more integrated and work together in unison. The pace of change is so fast that it is difficult to understand where technology may be going but what we are seeing is that retail, e-commerce and mobile are now sharing the same platform equally. With a fully integrated marketing strategy brands can engage seamlessly with the consumer on all levels. The clients we work with really understand this omnichannel communication – the mashing together of all channels of marketing and communication and, as such, with Holition’s digital theatre-engagement, they can become tomorrow’s drivers of consumer demand.
“The customer becomes the retailer”, what do you mean with that?
I’m very interested in the idea of the consumer taking control. There are several processes consumers go through to make their purchase from browsing, comparing, deciding, selecting, etc. and before brands would dictate the what, where and how of a product. Digitalisation has now changed the way brands talk to their consumers. Consumers can comment on a product , model a product and even earn discounts for sharing a product with their friends via the social networks.sharing. Consumers now talk back to the brand and tell them what they like and don’t like. Consequently brands are putting mechanisms to make it a two way communication where the consumer has effectively become the retailer in their own right. What Holition does is create the initial engagement – a compelling reason why a consumer will stop and look at a product online, instore or on a mobile device.
What is the main goal of Holition in 2014?
Generating scale is an area we are keen to explore. To add value to a brand the technology needs to shift from being a commercial platform to a merchandising one. When this happens brands can really maximise the benefits of technology to increase sales. It is also important for us to keep pushing the boundaries and the innovative use of technology – a challenge we all enjoy.
How does the retail world look in the year 2015? And 2020?
Who knows? Technology is evolving so quickly. 10 years ago brands had simple websites and no e-commerce. 5 years ago brands started selling from their websites. Two years ago came m-commerce. We have come a long way in a short space of time and I don’t think anyone is doing it particularly well. I believe we are going to see more and more retailers industry integrating the online experience with the instore experience through digital technology. Consumers will visit a store and ‘try out’ different ranges of products such as clothing, furnishings, makeup, shoes, some of which may not be available instore, which they can post and share with their friends. We will see further use of social multiplication, the idea that personal experiences can be shared. One person’s experience of a product may differ from another and it is going to be about the stories behind the product.