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

ICYMI: Farfetch’s Neves as the Bezos of fashion, DTC physical stores driving online sales

Farfetch
Farfetch

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

TOP STORIES
  • Is Farfetch founder Neves the Jeff Bezos of fashion? [Forbes]
  • ‘Shoppable billboards’: DTC retailers say physical stores are driving online sales [Digiday]
  • Amazon reportedly plans to open 3,000 cashier-less stores by 2021 [The Next Web]
  • Is renting designer fashion the future? [FT]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Walmart to put 1M workers in Oculus Go VR headsets [WWD]
  • Ikea’s think tank envisions self-driving cars as rooms on wheels [Quartzy]
  • Forget the new iPhones: Apple’s best product is now privacy [FastCompany]
  • Cryptocurrency is coming for the beauty industry [Fashionista]
  • Amazon launches Scout, a machine learning-powered visual shopping tool [TechCrunch]
  • RFID technology addresses consumer woes over out-of-stocks [WWD]
  • Six AI innovations that could change skincare and beauty [Dazed]
  • US and South Korea just performed the world’s first live 3D hologram call over 5G [IBTimes]
  • Teaching robots to predict the future [The Next Web]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • The environment’s new clothes: biodegradable textiles grown from live organisms [Scientific American]
  • More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the oceans [Vox]
  • Skechers delivers 15,000 pairs of shoes to children still in need in Puerto Rico [Businesswire]
  • Where Burberry waste goes now label isn’t burning clothes any more [SCMP]
  • Is certification the answer to fashion’s ethical issues? [LS:N Global]
  • New study shows that Gen Z will strengthen sustainability trend [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Storefronts is a new retail hub exclusively for US small businesses [TheVerge]
  • Container Store tracks appointments with voice tech [RetailDive]
  • Italy’s first Starbucks serves cocktails, ice cream, and a side of augmented reality [Mashable]
  • The future of airport retail is hyper-personalization [LS:N Global]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Victoria’s Secret’s Pink revamps loyalty with mobile app [RetailDive]
  • Gucci’s surprise new Instagram account truly revitalizes its beauty offering [i-D]
  • How Nordstrom reinvented its retail loyalty program [Digiday]
  • The epic ‘Game of Go’: a real-time experience showcasing Nike’s latest React technology [TheDrum]
PRODUCT
  • Bespoke tailoring in the athleisure age: how China changed Savile Row [SCMP]
  • How De Beers learned to love lab-grown diamonds [BoF]
BUSINESS
  • Walmart is borrowing luxury’s playbook to gain an edge on Amazon in fashion [Quartz]
  • Store investment pays off as Harvey Nichols profits soar [TheIndustry]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.

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

ICYMI: Fashion’s sustainability pulse, Gucci customization, is blockchain a bad move?

Gucci
Gucci

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

TOP STORIES
  • Sustainability in fashion is growing, but ‘systemic’ change a ways off [WWD]
  • Blockchain is crappy technology and a bad vision for the future [TNW]
  • Gucci introduces new ‘do it yourself’ customization program [WWD]
  • Nike patent imagines shoes with tiny treadmills built into the soles [Gizmodo]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple, Amazon and more vie for us drone pilot program [Reuters]
  • Facebook is launching a new team dedicated to the blockchain [Recode]
  • We were promised mind-blowing personal tech. What’s the hold-up? [WSJ]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain [Reuters]
  • Amazon’s new codes on boxes encourage re-use [RetailDive]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon reportedly could grab 10% of retail sales by 2020 [RetailDive]
  • Walmart’s head of e-commerce on the future of retail [Cheddar]
  • Aldo updates app to streamline trying on shoes in store [RetailDive]
  • Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar mall heralds new growth strategy [Nikkei]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ikea ‘bullied’ a potted plant while encouraging another, then showed schoolkids the impact [AdWeek]
  • The world’s most popular iPhone app isn’t Facebook or WhatsApp [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • How product customization is driving a new business strategy at Tapestry [Glossy]
  • Ikea and Savile Row tailor William Hunt partner up to create three-piece suits [FashionUnited]
  • $12,350 for a pair of adidas? [BoF]
  • Alexander Wang designs cooler bag with Magnum [FashionUnited
BUSINESS
  • Hudson’s Bay seeks to revive Lord & Taylor’s fortunes [CNBC]
  • Here’s why nobody wants to buy Birchbox, even after VCs spent $90m [FastCompany]
  • Apple’s retail boss will be joining Ralph Lauren’s board of directors [BusinessInsider]
  • YNAP shareholders say yes to Richemont purchase offer [WWD]
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Editor's pick product technology

IBM announces blockchain network to track and authenticate diamonds

IBM TrustChain
IBM TrustChain

IBM has announced TrustChain, a blockchain network that tracks and authenticates diamonds and precious metals from mine to market.

Working alongside a group of leaders in the gold and diamond industry – Asahi Refining, Helzberg Diamonds, LeachGarner, Richline Group and UL – the solution aims to bring transparency and provenance to the consumer by creating a trusted database that tracks every step of the supply chain.

“This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights.” said Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer of Richline. “TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry, designed as a solution that marries IBM’s leading blockchain technology with responsible sourcing, verification and governance by third party organizations, led by UL as the administrator.”

The technology aims to give consumers answers to common questions when buying jewellery, such as how the metal was mined and whether it was sourced from an ethical region. A participating brand will be able to pull up information on the full history of an engagement ring, per example, and that information is then available on a customer-facing web database.

At present, TrustChain is piloting the tracking of six different styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain platform.

A public-facing interface that would allow consumers to scan a QR code to pull up more information is in the works, Jason Kelley, the GM of blockchain services at IBM, told TechCrunch.

IBM TrustChain
IBM TrustChain

To add another level of security, the IBM network has a mechanism for the participants of that chain to check the validity of each transaction, every step of the way, as a consensus. If there is a dispute, Kelley tells TechCrunch, a participant can click on a trusted chain and see what has happened immediately, which reduces the number of steps traditionally involved in a process like this.

Besides the enormous surge of interest in blockchain, examples of the technology being deployed have thus far been scarce. Major retailers such as Walmart and most recently, Starbucks, have been piloting the technology in order to provide consumers with the information they crave, yet still on a smaller scale.

Diamonds and precious metals is clearly an industry with a large demand for this type of technology, as seen by De Beers announcing it is also working on a blockchain program earlier this year. For luxury in particular, the benefits that the technology brings to consumers will increase the pressure for brands to be more open about their production practices and, eventually, more sustainable in their choice of suppliers.

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Editor's pick technology

De Beers is using blockchain to authenticate its diamonds

De Beers is trialling blockchain
De Beers is trialling blockchain

De Beers is piloting a blockchain program in order to ensure all diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector.

The industry-wide initiative will take advantage of the very nature of blockchain technology – providing an immutable, permanent record for every diamond registered on it from the moment they are dug up from the ground.

It will then follow them throughout the value chain in order to validate them at each step of the journey, so every time they change hands.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “Diamonds hold enduring value and represent some of life’s most meaningful moments, so it’s essential to provide assurance that a diamond is conflict-free and natural. By leveraging blockchain technology, we will provide an additional layer of assurance to consumers and industry participants, with every diamond registered on the platform having a record as everlasting as the diamond itself.”

“We are very excited about this initiative and the benefits it could deliver across the diamond value chain, from producers through to retailers and consumers. We look forward to continuing to engage with industry stakeholders as we progress development of the platform over the coming months.”

Blockchain is largely known as the technology that underpins bitcoin, but has wider application beyond cryptocurrencies through its basis as a distributed and secure digital ledger. For the fashion and luxury industries, it also has application from a provenance perspective as well as an anti-counterfeit measure.

The De Beers pilot is underway with a small number of participants in the industry following the success of an initial proof of concept trial. According to the press release, during this development phase, key considerations are being addressed, including the protection of commercially sensitive data, streamlining processes at various stages of the value chain and providing further assurance for those that finance the industry. The aim is for a full launch later this year.