This year’s Fashion’s Night Out was an unabashed 3-ring fashion event with cameras, huge crowds, fashion icons, champagne and a t-shirt to remember it all by. So it’s not much of a surprise that the event will return on September 8th next year, but should it?
In terms of foot traffic the event was an overwhelming, mammoth success. People turned out in droves and created lines that wrapped around (and around, and around…) the block for some stores.
The financial success though? Well, mum’s been the word for a while. The financial results from the first year were underwhelming for certain retailers, and this year no one would comment. It’s not just our emails and calls that went unreturned, there’s been no mention in the Wall Street Journal, WWD or any of the publications we’d expect to report back with the hard numbers.
On one hand, plenty of successful ventures take a while to find their financial footing. Big buzz can mean big profits if it’s sustained. Look at any number of popular tech startups: Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube – all are going through or went through a period where user adoption outpaced revenue.
On the other hand, with the economy picking up and shoppers getting comfortable with spending again, do retailers really need to keep spending money on an event that generates traffic, but not as much in sales? Without hard numbers, it’s difficult to argue for or against the event to continue, but anecdotally, something has to change if the event is to become the Black Friday of fall. For all of the people out and about, we didn’t catch much actual shopping going on.
Part of it, we suspect, is that the event has become too much of… an event, and not one that’s about shopping. Crazy as it may be for some, people are pitching tents, buying diapers and lining up outside of stores in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday to catch unbelievable deals and spend money. People on Fashion’s Night Out typically lined up to meet their favorite celebrity or watch the spectacle unfold, rather than shop.
If next year’s event is to be as beneficial for business as it is for buzz and branding, we have a few suggestions: