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business digital snippets product Retail social media sustainability technology

Amazon 10 years ahead of UN Paris agreement, Nike’s first hijab ambassador, Facebook’s AI styling

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

Top Stories
  • Amazon plans to meet UN Paris agreement 10 years early (CNBC)
  • First Nike hijab ambassador on breaking barriers for women in fitness (Evening Standard)
  • Facebook experiments with AI-powered styling program (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images (The Verge)
  • L’Oreal’s Color&Co adds AR hair color try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • The quiet robot revolution that can unlock a trillion dollars in retail efficiencies (Forbes)
  • Starbuck taps Alibaba’s Tmall Genie for voice ordering (The Drum)
  • Facebook teams up with Ray-Ban on smart glasses (Mobile Marketer)
  • Google opens a new AI research centre in India (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Moncler tops Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Drapers)
  • Waste2Wear presents world’s first collection of ocean plastics verified with Blockchain (Fashion United)
  • Ikea invests in solar farms (Fast Company)
  • Nike opens distribution center fully powered by renewable energy (Highsnobiety)
  • Toast launches clothes-swap scheme (Drapers)
  • Salesforce is building an app to gauge a company’s sustainability progress (Tech Crunch)
  • Green money: AmEx joins fight against plastic waste (Stylus)
  • Avery Dennison teams up with plastic bank to further the circular economy (Sourcing Journal)
Retail & E-commerce
  • Body Shop opens refillable concept store (The Guardian)
  • Sandro opens first US flagship store in New York (Fashion United)
  • Psyche launches standalone childrenswear site (Drapers)
  • Quinn Harper opens first store on the King’s Road (TheIndustry)
  • Pandora unveils new store concept in Birmingham (Fashion United)
Business
  • Ocado and M&S’ new joint venture enjoys double digit growth (Charged Retail)
  • H&M to test selling external brands in strategy shift (BoF)
  • Thomas Cook collapse leaves thousands stranded as bailout fails (Bloomberg)
  • Burberry appoints non-executive director (Drapers)
  • In London, fashion takes a break from Brexit (BoF)
  • Toby Bateman steps down from Mr Porter (Retail Gazette)
  • Bluemercury founders depart Macy’s (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • The danger for luxury brands that fail at story telling (Jing Daily)
  • Urban Decay dishes out makeup samples to Bumble app users (Mobile Marketer)
  • As Gucci trips up on social media, sales fall (WSJ)
  • Louis Vuitton launces LVTV (Fashion United)
Product
  • Caspar jumps on the CBD bandwagon with sleep gummies (Retail Dive)
  • HP debut first computer made with ocean-bound plastics (Adweek)
  • Victoria Beckham launches beauty line at LFW (Fashion United)
  • Italy’s Opera Campi to launch stretch hemp apparel (Sourcing Journal)
Culture
  • Instagram adds new restrictions on weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures (Adweek)
  • Banana Republic looks to skin tone and size inclusivity for turnaround (BoF)
  • Refinery29 and Eloquii team up to create a crowdsourced plus-size collection (Adweek)
  • Gucci faces backlash for straightjackets at Milan show (BoF)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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Comment Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

Why retail is betting on virtual try-on for growth

Virtual try-on technologies are having a moment in retail this year. Interest with our clients is off-the-charts and adoption is growing everywhere.

It all started with augmented reality mirrors and apps reshaping the way beauty consumers discover and try on products in the past five years. Now, fashion and accessories brands are finally subscribing to virtual try-on in a variety of ways with the hope of driving engagement, increasing sales and fighting back returns.  

Some of the most recent examples include Nike’s try-on shoe app launched this past May. It measures the shape, size and volume of feet in order to recommend to people the best size to buy in the sneakers they’re interested in. According to the brand, the accuracy is within two millimeters and the whole process takes less than a minute.

Gucci followed suit a month later with a try-on that enables users of its app to see the Ace Sneakers on their feet in real-time. Shoppers can look at the shoes from different angles, and take pics to share on social media. This pilot is powered by one of Current Global’s core technology partners, Wannaby – a Belarus-based startup that specializes in “augmented commerce”.

In the eyewear category, Ace & Tate launched a feature on its website where users can see what they look like in its sunglasses on screen. Michael Kors has also done this via Facebook. 

And in hard luxury, an experiential pop-up from Richemont in New York, called Arcadium, features a virtual try-on experience by Jaeger-LeCoultre that allows shoppers to try styles by placing a ‘marker’ bracelet on their wrist. 

So why is so much of this happening now? Three reasons:

1- Growing consumer expectations:  Virtual try-on was born in the cosmetics space – cutting its teeth with brands like L’Oréal through to Sephora. It gained ground as shoppers got used to the idea of being able to see their faces with all manner of filters on thanks to the realism on social apps including Snapchat and Instagram. What was once a tech-generated value that consumers took a while to understand, is now perceived as a right that is extending to footwear and eyewear. 

E-commerce is evolving to serve a time-stretched and more demanding shopper that is used to having everything they want at their fingertips. Included in that is the ability to see what something will look like specifically for them, before they hit purchase. It’s utilitarian. 

2- The tech has evolved: Behind this trend is the fact the technology has caught up to the expectation. It’s now smarter, more realistic and affordable. Five years ago, the artificial intelligence and augmented reality that was needed to provide realistic mapping to the human face or body, just wasn’t there. Many good teams tried and failed – mostly because market demand wasn’t enough to fund their growth. 

3- Reducing returns: The value of returned goods will rise from $350 billion in 2017 to $550 billion by 2020 in the US, according to forecasts from Happy Returns. A contributing factor to this worrisome growth is customers opting to shop from home instead of in-store. During our work sourcing solution partners for various retailers, we’ve observed virtual try-on solutions consistently delivering positive results – from a 20% increase in basket-size for Sunglass Hut to 120% increase in engagement in a brand app. The upside for brands lies primarily in driving conversions while reducing return rates since the more likely a product is right, the more likely the individual will both buy it and keep it. 

The human body, and the ability for virtual try-on of full clothing, has been developed in chapters. The challenge is to develop accurate visualization and mapping. We have dozens of tech partners with algorithms from the US to Eastern Europe to China that have accurately learned the face, flat feet (high-heels try-on is still in the works), and now are focused on the variations of consumers hands and ears. 

As accessory and footwear brands race to catch up on AR, it’s safe to say the next vertical to jump on board is sure to be jewelry. Tech companies are racing to develop realistic capabilities in that sector to establish themselves as category owners.

What about ready-to-wear? The technology is quite impressive and is already here, with two startups leading the way on mobile and in-store. But the high cost of the tech at the present moment has prevented widespread adoption. As the space moves fast with growing adoption of AR in consumer shopping behavior globally, we expect virtual try-on to be a staple in the corporate innovation toolbox for all retailers keeping up with the digital age. 

How are you thinking about virtual try-on? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: UK gov rejects sustainable recommendations, celebrating Karl, GenZ and TikTok

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • UK ministers reject plans for 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion [The Guardian]
  • ‘Karl for ever’: a joyful celebration of Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy [WWD]
  • Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too? [BoF]
  • How a £1 bikini revealed the changing shape of fast fashion [The Guardian]
TECHNOLOGY
  • The world is a mess. We need fully automated luxury communism [NY Times]
  • John Lewis to trial VR experience in shops [Fashion Network]
  • Amazon deploys ‘Pegasus’ robots in sortation centers [Retail Dive]
  • Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes [Technology Review]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • H&M called out on “illegal” sustainability marketing [Eco Textile]
  • Net-a-Porter has started telling customers which brands are sustainable [The Independent]
  • More than half of British and American consumers want a more sustainable fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • Prada sets goal to phase out virgin nylon by 2021 [BoF]
  • Ralph Lauren unveils new sustainability goals [WWD]
  • Banana Republic announces waterless dyed denim for 2020 [Fashion United]
  • Why we can’t relax about vegan leather [Vogue Business]
  • The North Face teams with National Geographic for upcycled plastic line [Fashion United]
  • Asos unveils ‘responsible edit’ [Drapers]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Verishop’s plan to be the Amazon of “affordable luxury” [Vogue Business]
  • Carrefour opens store with facial recognition and sensors [Retail Dive]
  • Pablo Isla defends ‘integrated model’ as a way to differentiate Inditex [Fashion Network]
  • Backstage and Story are very pretty. But, will they lure shoppers to Macy’s? [Retail Dive]
  • Gamification: the future of luxury retail in China [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The AI-driven social media network hailed as the next Tumblr [Dazed]
  • Mountain Hardwear launches AR app to bring outdoor gear to life [Retail Dive]
  • The future of marketing is bespoke everything [The Atlantic]
  • Mulberry bases new marketing campaign on British pub culture [Fashion Network]
  • MAC Cosmetics tries on YouTube’s newest AR ad formats [Retail Dive]
PRODUCT
  • Dolce & Gabbana becomes the first luxury fashion house to extend sizes [Fashion United]
  • Adidas and Ikea to develop products for home workouts [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Unilever acquires beauty brand Tatcha for a reported $500 million [AdWeek]
  • Chanel dispels rumors of sale after announcing a strong financial year [Fashion United]
  • Mulberry falls into the red [Drapers]
  • Kenzo parts ways with creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim [WWD]
  • Topshop owner’s fall is fastest in UK high street memory [Vogue Business]
  • Revenue jumps 39% at Boohoo Group [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Unilever boss warns of dangers of ‘woke-washing’ in ad industry [Sky News]
  • As drag goes mainstream, queer fashion designers reap business benefits [Fashionista]
  • It’s long overdue for fashion to think about people with disabilities [Hypebeast]
  • Streetwear’s big opportunity: women [BoF]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Sephora’s inclusion training, Farfetch teams with Gucci, fashion’s child labor risks

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Sephora to close US stores for inclusion training June 5 [Retail Dive]
  • Farfetch teams with Gucci for ‘communities’ initiative [BoF]
  • The fashion supply chain is still high risk for child labor [BoF]
  • L’Oréal is launching a new skin-care brand with paper packaging [Allure]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Forget digital versus physical: The future is programmable [Vogue Business]
  • Robocrop: World’s first raspberry-picking robot set to work [The Guardian]
  • Sephora Spain is investing AI mirrors to mimic Amazon’s recommendation engine [Glossy]
  • I watched the NBA Playoffs in VR, and it’s going to change how you watch sports [Fast Company]
  • Facebook plans to launch crypto-currency [BBC]
  • What happened when I let algorithms run my life for a week [Wired]
  • The British companies pioneering AI that reads your emotions – and will revolutionise everything from shopping to sport [Telegraph]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Amazon employees are pressuring the company to become a leader on climate [The Star]
  • Vegan beauty: How conscious consumers are driving innovation in ethical cosmetics [Marketing Week]
  • Formula One champion Nico Rosberg launches new sustainable tech festival [Tech Radar]
  • This hedge fund superstar thinks climate change will impact all your investments—and soon [Forbes]
  • The cult of Eileen Fisher is recruiting millennials [Vogue]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • How Japan mastered the art of experiential retailing [Fashion United]
  • Lessons about the Chinese shopper from the country’s largest discount app [Vogue Business]
  • Retailers cash in on a ‘captive’ college campus market [Retail Dive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram Shopping used by 39% of UK Gen Zers, study finds [Mobile Marketer]
  • The North Face apologizes for Wikipedia marketing stunt [Highsnobiety]
PRODUCT
  • Nike’s new product drop has ‘Fortnite’ characters sporting signature kicks [Mobile Marketer]
  • The world’s most beautiful headphones are here, and they’re made of fungus [Fast Company]
BUSINESS
  • Revolve sets IPO range, sees $1.2B valuation [WWD]
  • Arcadia faces angry creditors in battle to stave off bankruptcy [The Guardian]
  • Canada Goose stock drops 30.9% [WWD]
  • 3 ways Millennials and Gen-Z consumers are radically transforming the luxury market [Forbes]
CULTURE
  • Nike and Virgil Abloh are opening a mentorship center in Chicago [Highsnobiety]
  • How music stars became fashion’s most bankable collaborators [Vogue]
  • Hunter celebrates Pride with special edition PLAY boot [Fashion United]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick Retail technology

Westfield to launch AI-powered pop-up stocking trending items

Westfield London is set to launch a pop-up powered by data based on what is trending online, as determined by an artificial intelligence (AI) system.

Every morning, Westfield staff will stock the brick-and-mortar space with 100 items from throughout the mall – across menswear, womenswear and accessories – that the AI has determined to be most popular online that day.

“We know that the UK is shopping online, but we’re also seeing and hearing from consumers that they crave the human factor that shopping in person provides – the ability to touch, feel, try and seek advice, to ensure the products are right for you,” says Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer for Westfield. “The Trending Store provides the best of both worlds via a unique shopping experience, one that we believe represents the way we will all be shopping in the future.”

The pop-up, dubbed The Trending Store, will open from July 3-7. The AI system, which was developed by NextAtlas, a company focused on using the tech to determine emerging trends, chose merchandise for it by tracking 400,000 of the hottest influencers, which the platform refers to as “trend innovators”. The platform then analyzed what these influencers were wearing, filtering out the 100 items that it deems to be most trending on that given day.

The data gathered by NextAtlas is then communicated to the in-house stylist team at Westfield London. The finished range includes pieces from across the price spectrum, from entry-level to premium.

The pop-up also supports Westfield’s humanitarian mission, helping to raise funds to support its long-established charity partner, Save The Children.

The Trending Store pop-up reflects the need for big retailers to adapt to a changing consumer that shops both online and offline. Activations such as this one are potentially effective ways of attracting customers to the store, as the physical retail channel has suffered from falling footfall in recent years.

British department Harvey Nichols, is another example of this. At the end of 2018, it created an installation that also combined online, offline and philanthropic elements in the spirit of the Christmas season. For the experience, a real-life choir assembled in the store whose looks were available to shop via Instagram, with proceeds supporting the Smart Works charity.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media sustainability technology Uncategorized

ICYMI: ‘Sustainability’ arrives in annual reports, Prada goes fur-free, a lack of female fashion CEOs

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week. 

TOP STORIES
  • Tracking sustainability’s rise as one of fashion’s favourite words [Vogue Business]
  • Prada is the latest brand to go fur-free [Dazed]
  • Fashion has shockingly few female CEOs [Quartz]
  • What’s stopping the fashion industry from agreeing on climate action? [BoF]
  • E-Commerce giant Alibaba to integrate blockchain into intellectual property system [Yahoo]
TECHNOLOGY
  • World’s first digital only blockchain clothing sells for $9,500 [Forbes]
  • San Francisco becomes the first US city to ban government facial recognition [Wired]
  • AI avatars could be the next generation’s favorite entertainers [TNW]
  • Driverless electric truck starts deliveries on Swedish public road [FashionNetwork]
  • Future smart clothes will keep you the perfect temperature at all times [Digital Trends]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How charitable are fashion’s biggest companies? [Vogue Business]
  • The young activists fighting to ‘rebrand’ air pollution [Dazed]
  • Walmart agrees to power more than 40 stores with solar energy [Bloomberg]
  • Kering sets new animal welfare guidelines [FashionUnited]
  • The Body Shop launches fair trade recycled plastic scheme [i-D]
  • Single-use plastics a serious climate change hazard, study warns [Guardian]
  • Scientists devise ‘breakthrough’ plastic that can be recycled again and again [Sourcing Journal]
  • Why Russia still loves fur [Vogue Business]
  • This clothing brand’s new repair program shows that the future of fashion can be circular [Fast Company]
RETAIl & E-COMMERCE
  • How department stores are using services to convince customers they’re still convenient places to shop [Digiday]
  • Urban Outfitters tries to stay relevant with an $88 monthly rental service [Fast Company]
  • Walmart’s ambitious plan to beat Amazon on free one-day shipping is here [Fast Company]
  • Why online fashion retailers are experimenting with invite-only access [Forbes]
  • Klarna announces first UK immersive pop-up [FashionUnited]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Calvin Klein apologizes following “queerbaiting” accusations for Bella Hadid & Lil Miquela ad [Hype Bae]
  • Nike runs shoppable Snapchat lens to support women’s soccer [Mobile Marketer]
  • How will in-game advertising change as Google, Facebook, Snap and Apple level up? [Mobile Marketer]
PRODUCT
  • So what does Rihanna’s first Fenty collection actually look like? [NY Times]
  • PrettyLittleThing launches recycled collection [Drapers]
  • Vivobarefoot launches plant-based shoe [FashionUnited]
BUSINESS
  • Body Shop owner to buy Avon for £1.6bn [BBC]
  • Topshop is closing all its US stores [Refinery29]
  • Farfetch revenue soars [Drapers]
  • Richemont profit misses estimates on online investment costs [BoF]
  • Nike, Adidas and others call on Trump to remove footwear from tariff list [RetailDive]
CULTURE
  • ‘I want to tilt the lens’ – Sinéad Burke’s fight to make fashion more diverse [Guardian]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
data Editor's pick product technology

O Boticário pioneers the launch of AI-developed fragrances

Brazil’s O Boticário cosmetics brand is launching two new fragrances specifically for millennials that have been developed through artificial intelligence.

Created in partnership with IBM, they are the result of a data-driven study by Symrise, a major producer of flavors and fragrances, that collected 1.7 million fragrance formulas – including scents sold to Coty and Estée Lauder.

This was combined with fragrance sales information, customers’ location and their age, human usage patterns and responses, to enable IBM to develop the scent AI tool called Philyra.

Philyra uses machine learning to create fragrance combinations that will match specific demographics. For Brazilian millennials, for instance, it suggests notes of fruits, flowers, wood, spices, and even caramel, cucumber, and condensed milk.

It’s not all algorithm however. The human element still exists on top with both perfumes ultimately tweaked by a master perfumer at Symrise to emphasize a particular note and improve how it lasted on the skin.

O Boticário is also known for being a brand that champions diversity and inclusion in their ads, so both AI-generated perfumes will be sold as genderless. “Fragrances are fragrances, and men and women should use whatever they prefer. We want to make our fragrance development process less bias,” said O Boticário’s marketing director, Alexandre Souza, to Exame’s publication.

Symrise’s perfumer working on fragrances created by IBM’s Philyra.

Now, Symrise plans to distribute this technology not only to master perfumers but also to its Perfumery School to help train students. Beyond developing fragrances, IBM believes the technology can aid in other uses, like flavors, cosmetics adhesives, lubricants, and construction materials, as reported by Engadget.

The two O Boticário fragrances will hit the market on Monday, May 27.

How are you thinking about product innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
digital snippets Events sustainability technology

ICYMI: Met Gala, sustainability progress has slowed, fashion’s love affair with podcasts

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Capitalising on the Met Gala moment is harder than it looks [BoF]
  • Progress in sustainable fashion has slowed by a third in the past year [Forbes]
  • What’s driving fashion’s love affair with podcasts [Vogue Business]
  • Fashion’s diversity problem has real costs [Vogue Business]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How augmented reality put five Madonnas on stage at once [Engadget]
  • Professor: Total surveillance is the only way to save humanity [Futurism]
  • Delivery robots will soon be allowed on Washington sidewalks [Engadget]
  • Your phone isn’t really spying on your conversations—the truth might be even creepier [Quartz]
  • Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future [Wired]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • After weeks of protests, UK becomes first country to declare ‘climate emergency’ [ABC]
  • It’s time we ended the ridiculous millennial trend of constantly buying new clothes [Independent]
  • ‘The consumer is pushing them’: How fast-fashion brands are responding to sustainability [Glossy]
  • Indonesia could be the first country to move its capital because of climate change [Global Citizen]
  • Why fashion doesn’t pay fair [BoF]
  • A.P.C. now allows you to exchange old A.P.C. pieces for credit [Highsnobiety]
  • Shunning bad luck, Hong Kong buys into ‘pre-loved’ fashion [Reuters]
  • Forever 21 ‘steals’ anti-fast-fashion art [BBC]
  • H&M stops the presses, shreds its print catalog after 39 years [Sourcing Journal]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba gets creative with three new Tmall genie speakers [Alizila.com]
  • Why the expansion of Nordstrom Local is important [Forbes]
  • Macys.com tops list of most trafficked retail apparel sites [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram will now let creators and influencers sell items directly [TechCrunch]
  • How fashion brands are tapping into the exclusive Reddit community [Glossy]
  • Will the future of shopping be livestreamed? [Mobile Marketer]
  • How Instagram transformed the fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • ‘This is for Men’ – L’Oreal Paris unveils clever ads calling for more women in leadership [The Drum]
  • Gucci and Snapchat offer taste of MET Gala [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Puma is working on a shoe featuring living microbes [Puma]
  • Allbirds moves away from sneakers with new launch [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • The future of Chanel [BoF]
  • Gucci on track to hit €10 billion in 2020 [Vogue Business]
  • Sonia Rykiel enters receivership [WWD]
  • High-end slipper brand Mahabis goes into administration [Independent]
  • Zalando still loss-making but sales and site traffic surge [Fashion Network]
  • Adidas profits climb 17.1% in Q1 [WWD]
  • Jason Wu acquired by Chinese firm Green Harbor [Fashion Network]
  • Valentino is luxury fashion’s fastest-growing company [Vogue Business]
CULTURE
  • The age of political correctness will kill great fashion [Highsnobiety]
  • Maria Grazia Chiuri on her inclusive vision for Christian Dior [Fashion Network]
  • Virgil Abloh is in the midst of backlash for lack of diversity on his Off-White staff [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Puma’s sustainable material goals, retailers team up to improve AR/VR, guide to ethical certifications

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Puma aims for 90% of materials to be sustainable sourced by 2020 [Fashion Network]
  • Retailers, tech companies team up to improve AR/VR [Retail Dive]
  • Fashionista’s complete beginner’s guide to ethical fashion certifications [Fashionista]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers are tracking where you shop—and where you sleep [Bloomberg]
  • How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’ [The Verge]
  • Japanese taxis are using facial recognition to target ads to riders [Futurism]
  • AI could replace 42% of UK wholesale and retail jobs [Drapers]
  • IBM, FIT to train future designers on AI [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Levi Strauss launches denim recycling program [Fashion Network]
  • UK retailers might have to pay all their packaging waste costs [WWD]
  • Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? [Quartz]
  • T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion [Fast Company]
  • True blue: Denim has to change to save the planet [Retail Dive]
  • Packaging is killing the planet—these start-ups offer luxe, sustainable solutions [Vogue]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba’s Tmall chief establishes ambitious 3-Year plan [Bloomberg]
  • The rise of live-streamer style [NYT]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
PRODUCT
  • Zozo’s experiment in customized clothing was too early [Quartz]
  • Lululemon bets on product innovation, expansion for 5-year growth plan [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Shares of US retailers drop following Amazon’s one-day delivery announcement [BoF]
  • Goldman Sachs says dragged-out Brexit is doing deeper damage to UK economy [Fashion Network]
  • Puma enjoys ‘best ever’ quarter as it ramps up stocks [Reuters]
  • Debenhams names 22 stores to close [BBC]
CULTURE
  • Patagonia has only 4 percent employee turnover because they value this 1 thing so much [Inc]
  • Tapping the men’s wellness opportunity [BoF]
  • How a niche designer brand won Coachella [BoF]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
Editor's pick Retail technology

Walmart “IRL” concept investigates the future of retail through AI

Walmart is investigating the future of retail with the launch of the Intelligent Retail Lab (or “IRL”), a concept store where AI will be playing a major role at delivering convenience and relevancy.

For this concept launch, led by Walmart’s tech incubator Store N8, the retailer transformed one of its busiest locations, in Levittown, New York, into a 50,000 sq ft space where features such as intelligence-enabled cameras and interactive displays aim to enhance customer experience.

“The scope of what we can do operationally is so exciting,” says Mike Hanrahan, CEO of IRL. “Technology enables us to understand so much more – in real time – about our business. When you combine all the information we’re gathering in IRL with Walmart’s 50-plus years of expertise in running stores, you can create really powerful experiences that improve the lives of both our customers and associates.”

IRL is set up to gather information about what is happening inside the store, and how consumers are behaving, through a variety of sensors, cameras and processors, all of which are connected through a powerful data processing center.

The initial focus is on product inventory and availability, says Hanrahan. In this instance, an example sees a combination of cameras and analytics that will automatically trigger out-of-stock notifications to an internal app when a shelf is empty, alerting staff of the need for restocking. Other applications will look at practical solutions that keep the store running smoothly, such as making sure shopping carts are available and registers are open.

This is because at this initial phase the main focus will be on data-gathering and learning about the technology and its potentials and pitfalls, rather than implementing it across operations in haste. “You can’t be overly enamored with the shiny object element of AI,” added Hanrahan. “There are a lot of shiny objects out there that are doing things we think are unrealistic to scale and probably, long-term, not beneficial for the consumer.”

Adding an element of science fiction to the whole experience, customers will be able to glimpse through a glass wall at the store’s large data center, which will process 1.6tb of data per second – which can be compared to downloading three year’s worth of music (27,000 hours) each second. They can also become better informed about the features being tested in store through information stations scattered throughout. Lastly, an AI-enabled wall adds an element of play by imitating shopper movements as they walk by.

The Data Center inside Walmart’s IRL store

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