Kohl's couldn't bring all of its shoppers to the runway, so it brought the runway to them with a livestream of its fashion show featuring Lauren Conrad's new collection. The event kicked off New York Fashion Week on Wednesday.
"Not everyone gets to come to New York Fashion Week, so if you're able to share that experience with people everywhere it's pretty fun," said Ms. Conrad.
The fairy tale-inspired collection was streamed on Periscope, and the styles became available online for purchase after the show. Through a video on Kohl's website, shoppers can navigate the runway show by clicking on numbered looks that correspond to styles on the page. Consumers can then shop styles by clicking images to find the individual pieces the models are sporting, and buy them through Kohl's e-commerce platform. Viewers on Periscope are also able to mix and match the runway styles, according to Bevin Bailis, senior VP-public relations and communications at Kohl's, who said it is the first time the retailer has worked with Periscope in this way.
"We're so excited to be able to offer our customers, as well as people who may have never seen Kohl's products before the opportunity to experience a runway show," said Ms. Bailis. "We're able to use our advantage in the digital space to reach a much broader audience."
Kohl's has been beefing up its digital efforts as part of a comeback plan, called the "Greatness Agenda," laid out by CEO Kevin Mansell. The bid has prompted the retailer to improve its omnichannel shopping capabilities with services like buy-online-pickup-in-store, use customer data to create more personalized marketing strategies, and boost its social influence.
"It's about giving the customer that accessibility to shop whenever and however she wants," said Ms. Bailis. "It really is truly bringing the products that customer want to them in the way that they want it."
Kohl's used new digital tools to plug Lauren Conrad's collection because of her strong social media presence. The retailer wanted to leverage that in a way it hadn't previously been able to during its seven-year relationship with the designer.
"Lauren is so socially connected it almost begs you to do something a little different than you would do for a normal runway collection," said Arthur Lewis, exec VP-product development and head of Kohl's New York design office. "She's a forward designer and a forward thinker and that works with the clothes that we're creating for the future."
Kohl's also built anticipation for the shopping event with behind-the-scenes footage on how the collection and the runway show came together.
The elevated but affordable fashion line represents the breadth of styles Kohl's aims to bring shoppers. The effort at Fashion Week also attracted top style outlets like Elle, Vogue and Paper, which could bring more fashion-forward shoppers into the fold.
"It's accessible for many women, many different types of women, many different body types and it's a really great value for what you're going to see come down the runway," said Mr. Lewis.