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

Microsoft’s $1bn carbon reduction investment, ASOS’ AR tool, men’s makeup at John Lewis

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

Top Stories
  • Microsoft will invest $1 billion into carbon reduction and removal technologies (MIT Technology Review)
  • Asos trials augmented reality fit tool (Drapers)
  • War Paint and John Lewis launch first ever men’s makeup counter (Fashion Network)
Technology
  • The tech driving next-gen customer service (Vogue Business)
  • Revolve integrates Snap+Style technology for digital communication (Fashion United)
  • How luxury retail can become a tech accelerator (Jing Daily)
  • Google Cloud launches new solutions for retailers (TechCrunch)
  • How Starbucks uses AI to counter mobiles isolating effect (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart expands robots to 650 additional stores (Retail Dive)
  • Stein Mart introduces ‘smart button’ for BOPIS shoppers (Retail Dive)
  • Augmented reality contacts are real, and could be here sooner than you think (Mashable)
  • Robots are changing retail, but not where you can see them (Modern Retail)
  • Gaming dominates the $120bn spent on mobile apps in 2019 (Warc)
  • Amazon is reportedly developing a hand-scanning payment option (Adweek)
  • Walgreens is training staff in virtual reality (Charged Retail)
  • How digital garment printing answers the call for customization (Sourcing Journal)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • What’s your fashion footprint? ThredUp’s quiz will tell you (Adweek)
  • Stella McCartney introduces biodegradable stretch denim (Fashion United)
  • Walpole launches its British luxury sustainability manifesto (Retail Gazette)
  • Your e-commerce addiction means delivery emissions could increase 30% by 2030 (Fast Company)
  • H&M’s AI operation helps make its supply chain more sustainable (Supply Chain Dive)
  • Jacket Required dedicates third of show to sustainable brands (The Industry)
  • Dyehouses are cleaning up their act (Vogue Business)
  • Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
  • Fast Retailing signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (Retail in Asia)
  • Quorn introduces carbon-footprint labelling (Stylus)
  • Lush’s Mark Constantine: the retail rebel fighting climate change before Great was born (Retail Week)
Retail & Commerce
  • Walmart opens cashierless store in Florida (Grocery Dive)
  • Shiseido opens ‘beauty innovation hub’ in Shanghai (Retail in Asia)
  • Bose is closing all of its retail stores (The Verge)
  • Dior, Rimowa take over Harrods (WWD)
  • Opening Ceremony to close all stores (Drapers)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram begins hiding photoshopped images (Hypebeast)
  • Burberry launches online game to celebrate Lunar New Year (Fashion United)
  • Facebook rethinks plan to insert ads into WhatsApp (Campaign)
  • Segmentation is dead! (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Ugg launches monthly product drops (Drapers)
  • New Under Armour sneaker will offer connected coaching (Sourcing Journal)
  • Hermès launches beauty (Fashion United)
  • Nike’s Vaporfly marathon shoes face a potential ban from competition (Quartz)
  • Is 2020 the year men’s makeup will go mainstream? (Evening Standard)
Business
  • Louis Vuitton buys the second largest rough diamond in the world (Fashion United)
  • Old Navy will stay under Gap umbrella (Adweek)
  • Pitti Immagine CEO on the future of trade shows (BoF)
  • Casper files for IPO (Retail Dive)
  • Off-White operator acquires Opening Ceremony (Drapers)
  • Amazon ramps up counterfeit reporting (BoF)
  • Boohoo to surpass forecasts after 44% jump in quarterly revenues (Retail Gazette)
Culture
  • The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, its more inclusive than ever (National Geographic)
  • How the gaming industry is changing across the world (Quartz)
  • Redefining plus size – dressing the ‘average’ woman in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Why this community of hypebeasts only buy fakes (Dazed)
  • Comme des Garçons accused of racism in AW20 menswear show (Fashion United)
  • A-COLD-WALL* isn’t making streetwear anymore (i-D)

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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business data e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

2019 highlights: The year in innovation news

2019 was a big year for innovation and the Current Daily has been tracking it all throughout – from the rise of 5G-enabled experiences to the continued push towards a circular economy. 

Here, we highlight some of the most interesting stories from the year, outlining why they are an important indication of where the industry is moving in 2020 and beyond.

5G will drive 100m people to shop in AR

Augmented reality took center stage this year as its user-friendly features meant a growing number of brands – and social media platforms like Instagram – started adopting it as a core engagement strategy.

In April, a Gartner report highlighted that 100 million people will shop in AR once high-speed 5G mobile services roll out more extensively. This means the experience is going to be more seamless than ever, giving it better real-time rendering, shorter download times and reduced latency. Retailers seem to be on board, as 46% of them plan to deploy either AR or VR. Check out our piece exploring what other benefits 5G will bring retail.

Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020

If there’s one thing to be sure, there’s no escaping the growing momentum around shifting to more sustainable practices as an industry. But is there really progress being made? In July, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) launched its second yearly assessment of fashion brands and retailers to find that only reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets the industry has set for 2020 will be met. 

This means the 90 signatories of the GFA’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which includes fashion companies like adidas, PVH Group and Inditex, will have to hurry if they want to achieve more in the next year. We talked a lot about the need for action in this space when a further collaborative group was announced: the G7 Fashion Pact. If you ask us, it’s time to say enough to the pledges, rather give us some tangible outputs.

H&M to trial clothing rental for the first time

Talking of sustainability, one are where we have seen a lot of action and experimentation this year is in new business models. Rental is making serious strides at all ends of the market, but perhaps most interestingly within fast fashion just recently as the H&M Group announced it will trial clothing rental at one of its H&M Stockholm stores. Members of its customer loyalty program can now rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections.

Recently, its brand COS also launched a pilot where it is renting out clothes through Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset, which customers can access through a monthly flat rate. We also published a deep-dive into the different opportunities we see for the industry in rental, here.

Allbirds CEO calls out Amazon product copying

In November, Allbirds’ co-founder and CEO, Joey Zwilinger, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after discovering the e-commerce platform was producing its own wool sneakers similar to the brand’s most popular style.

Instead of going the usual lawsuit route, the founder took this as an opportunity to highlight his brand’s sustainability mission. In the letter, Zwilinger highlights that Allbirds’ sustainable philosophy is open source, and it has thus far helped over 100 brands who were interested in implementing its renewable materials into their products, suggesting Amazon might like to do the same. It was a bold move but one that sparked a conversation around the role of collaboration once more, and its critical place in true innovation.

Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too?

Gen Z quickly adopted Chinese social media platform TikTok as their app du jour this year for its bite-sized video content. Currently, 66% of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30, according to data analytics firm, Business of Apps.

Brands have started to follow suit, tapping the app to drive engagement and ultimately sales. Content varies from crowdsourced, as in a recent Burberry campaign that saw users challenged to create the brand’s logo with their fingers, through to more refined, such as in a snippet of an interview with singer Shawn Mendes for Calvin Klein. We explored various other brands setting TikTok precedent, here.

Lush abandons social media

While TikTok has been taking off, elsewhere social media is slowing for some. Vegan cosmetics brand, Lush, for instance decided to shut down all of its activity in the UK as it became “tired of fighting with algorithms” or paying to appear on news feeds. Instead, it suggested a hashtag where fans would still be able to speak to the brand.

Lush’s bold move speaks to fight playing out for anything still resembling organic reach. As consumers become jaded over being ‘sold to’, brands are having to find novel ways to reach them, beyond the influencer route. One other area we’re tracking here is those owning their own conversation channels, as with both Glossier and H&M of late.

Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business

2019 was the year of major acquisitions in both beauty and fashion. While LVMH recently announced it was snapping up Tiffany & Co for $16bn, other names included Farfetch buying New Guards Group, which operates streetwear favorite Off White for $675m; Shiseido acquiring cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845m; and more recently, Coty acquiring a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600m. 

The latter served as particular confirmation of how brands build and grow in this day and age. Jenner, who was 18 when she started a single ‘lip kit’ line, used Instagram to form a direct conversation with her audience. In 2019, this seems like an obvious strategy, but the reality star’s foresight to do so in 2015 has undoubtedly been her recipe for success.

How luxury fashion learned to love the blockchain

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of counterfeit goods, luxury brands also began to embrace blockchain as an important authentication tool this year. 

Earlier this year, we heard about how LVMH launched its own platform, Aura, which is currently being piloted with some of the brands in its portfolio and will further expand in the future. Kering and Richemont meanwhile are said to be exploring this too, while De Beers is using it to trace its diamonds. Once matured, the technology will undoubtedly make its way into the hands of the consumer, who will be able to better understand where their possessions are coming from. We also tracked some of the other innovations in the transparency space; an area that continues to heat up.

Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready

Automation was another big tech focus this year, particularly for its potential impact on retail, from supply chain management to last mile delivery. This shift is putting pressure on retailers to rethink their operating models, distribution centres and headquarters, with McKinsey warning that brands that fail to implement it into their strategy risk falling behind. 

Automation is something we’ve long been talking about for the sake of efficiency, but there also comes a significant ethics conversation to be had here, which the industry is exploring. We agree, now is the time.

What Fortnite could mean for fashion

The global gaming market is expected to reach $180bn by 2021, and fashion brands are realizing the valuable potential in this. Free-to-play video game Fortnite has grown into a multi-million dollar business by selling clothing to image-conscious gamers, for instance. This monetization of player aesthetics, more commonly known as ‘skins’, has opened the door for retailers to cash in on the virtual world. 

Going forward, we expect more brands to invest in digital garments or utilize gaming to drive product discovery. We accordingly explored how gamification is being used in the shopping journey by brands like Kenzo and Nike to both increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

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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business Editor's pick Retail sustainability technology

9 brands pushing sustainable store design

With sustainability an increasing priority on the agenda for fashion and retail businesses around the globe today, attention is also turning to their brick-and-mortar stores – how they’re resourced, designed and constructed. 

According to Schneider Electric, retail buildings are the largest consumers of energy among non-residential buildings in Europe, contributing $20 billion each year. Factors such as electricity, air conditioning and lighting all contribute to a brand’s carbon footprint and emissions. 

The interesting thing is that going green is proven to not only help retailers reduce their impact on the planet, but significantly save them money. A 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales, according to Carbon Trust. 

Investing in sustainable store design, therefore, has a positive effect on profit, people and the planet. From locally-sourced materials, to energy saving light bulbs, and even the removal of any plastic packaging, there is an incredibly wide range of ways retailers can make their stores more environmentally friendly. 

Here we highlight some of the best examples of brands going above and beyond with their stores in order to do so: 

Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney London flagship store

Last year Stella McCartney opened a new flagship store in London that expands four floors and embodies sustainability throughout. The outposts of the store are lined with recycled foam and card that were made from waste paper from the London offices. The space is also the first to use biodegradable mannequins,  made from 72% sugarcane bioplastic, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions. To help combat air pollution, the store has a hidden ventilation systems that removes 95% of air pollutants and harmful gases, such as nitrogen dioxide. At launch, Stella herself said: “The store really tells the story of the world of Stella McCartney, seamlessly incorporating sustainability, fashion and luxury.”

Ikea
Inside Ikea’s Greenwich Store

Ikea opened a sustainable store in London’s Greenwich, built from a range of renewable materials in 2019. The roof is covered with 75% solar panels, which power the store, and rainwater is harvested to help reduce the store’s water consumption by 50%. The store not only helps the environment, but is also working towards improving the community around it. Ikea holds an array of classes such as bunting making, which utilizes off-cuts of IKEA fabric, helping spread the message of full utilization. The design of the store has been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM certification, which is the highest award for sustainable construction, covering areas such as energy, land use and materials. Efforts to incorporate geothermal heating, 100% LED lighting and textile recycling, have also elevated it to become the most sustainable retail store in the UK.

Patagonia
Patagonia Store in Victoria, Canada

Patagonia is not only leading the way with sustainability in manufacturing, but is going above and beyond with its store design strategy. Each outpost is uniquely designed to reflect the history and culture of its location, while simultaneously keeping the planet in mind. The Victoria store in Canada, which opened several years ago now, for instance, had three main goals when it was being designed: to use sustainable construction methods, utilize reclaimed materials and become the best retail space for outdoor activities in the area. It features a range of wooden details throughout, from wall decorations to shelving units, giving it a grounded earthy feel. The wood was wastage retrieved from the Pacific Ocean and leftover material from the local yacht club.

Country Road
Country Road store in Melbourne

Australian fashion retailer Country Road opened its flagship store in Melbourne this summer also with sustainability in mind. The space is made from recycled materials such as yoghurt containers, fishing nets and recycled paper. It is the first to receive a 5-star Green Design review from the Green Building Council of Australia. It also includes details like fitting room hooks that have been made using ocean plastic and tables from recycled plastic. The brand hopes this store design will be the first of many, as it continues to expand in the country.

Starbucks
Starbucks sustainable store design

Starbucks is leading the way in the coffee sphere by building LEED-certified stores, which stands for ‘leadership in energy and environmental design’. These green stores use LED lighting, recycled flooring tiles and wood products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship council. They are 25% more energy efficient and 30% more water efficient. In countries with solar and wind projects, the stores are run on   100% renewable energy. Starbucks already has 1,612 LEED-certified stores, but is intending to extend the framework to 10,000 by 2025, which could save $50m in utility costs over the next 10 years alongside reducing impact on the planet.

Bottletop
Bottletop’s London store

Sustainable accessories brand, Bottletop, opened the world’s first 3D printed store, created by robots using upcycled plastic, in London. Based on Regent Street, it is zero waste and home to the brand’s sustainable handcrafted collection of leather goods. The space embodies the company’s core mission to empower people through sustainable design and creative culture. The flooring of the store is made from reworked rubber tyres and the interior is made from 60,000 upcycled plastic bottles. Overall, the store aims to re-imagine the future of ecologically responsible construction through zero waste design.

Ganni
Ganni store

Danish fashion brand Ganni recently opened its new London store following a number of doors in Copenhagen and Stockholm. While it features bubblegum pink walls fit for every Instagrammer’s dream, it is also underpinned with a green strategy in mind. The store incorporates  sustainable features such as recycled plastic displays made from old plastic bottles, plant pots, food packaging and coffee grounds. Decorations throughout are either vintage pieces or upcycled products, including rugs that have been remade from old Ganni collections. The company also uses renewable energy across all of its stores, with the aim to have 100% green sources by the end of 2019. 

Lush
Lush’s plastic free products

As one of the sustainability leaders in beauty, Lush recently stepped up its game by stripping back several of its stores in Berlin, Milan and Manchester, in a bid to go entirely plastic free. The ‘Naked’ stores, as they’re called, are part of the brand’s initiative to tackle the plastic waste problem in the cosmetic industry. They all feature products like the brand’s solid shampoos, which don’t necessitate any packaging. Each of them further serve as an open space for NGOs and activist groups to educate and increase consumer awareness on the topics of zero waste and ocean plastics.

Reformation
Reformation store

Cult fashion brand Reformation puts sustainability at the core of everything it does, from local manufacturing and sustainable dyeing to green buildings and fabrics. Its Los Angeles stores and headquarters are all Green Business certified, meaning they implement strategies to save energy, improve water efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Reformation offsets its store build by 100%, by calculating the construction footprint. The materials in store are also sustainable with LED fixtures,  recycled fabric insulations and natural rammed earth materials.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovations? 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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

Robot photographers, questioning the new UK PM, is fashion-tech going to burst?

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

TOP STORIES
  • Are robot photographers the future of e-commerce? (BoF)
  • Industry questions new UK PM’s priorities (Drapers)
  • Is the fashion-tech bubble going to burst? (Vogue Business)
  • Don’t scoff at influencers. They’re taking over the world (NY Times)
  • The $400 billion adaptive clothing opportunity (Vogue Business)
TECHNOLOGY
  • This AI is helping scientists develop invisibility cloaks (Futurism)
  • Elon Musk’s robot surgeon will sew electrodes into human brains, starting in 2020 (Mashable)
  • The technology that makes the fashion Rental business tick (WWD)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How fashion is helping suppliers fight climate change (Vogue Business)
  • Bally reveals Mount Everest clean-up initiative (WWD)
  • H&M, Microsoft, PVH Corp collaborate in circular fashion initiative (Vogue Business)
  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation wants to redesign the denim industry (Vogue)
  • Lush debuts ‘carbon-positive’ packaging (Edie)
  • As Zara announces its latest sustainability goals, three of its design team weigh in on going slower and creating responsibly (Vogue)
  • YKK leads the way in sustainability with Natulon® range (Fashion United)
  • This site will show you exactly how ashamed you should be of flying (Fast Company)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon’s revolutionary retail strategy? Recycling old ideas (Wired)
  • The toys are back in town: A reimagined Toys R Us returns (Forbes)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How Tik Tok is changing beauty standards for Gen Z (I-d Vice)
  • Fashion doesn’t know what to do with YouTube. Derek Blasberg is trying to help (Vogue Business)
  • Why brands are sliding into your DMs (BoF)
  • How will fashion find validation without instagram likes? (BoF)
  • Hermès reveals behind-the-scenes to its craftsmanship via WeChat (Jing Daily)
  • Gucci gamifies house codes in retro-style mobile arcade (Luxury Daily)
PRODUCT
  • This jewelry is a brilliant shield against face-recognition intrusions (Fast Company)
  • L’Oréal is launching a new skin-care brand with paper packaging (Allure)
  • Napapijri to launch 100% recyclable jacket (Fashion United)
  • Alice + Olivia to expand beauty and wellness with CBD partnership (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Gucci growth slows but Kering still posts near 19% sales growth (The Industry)
  • Asos issues third profit warning in seven months as shares fall (The Guardian)
  • Charity shops, antiques behind surprise UK retail sales jump in June (Reuters)
CULTURE
  • Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial protesters are crowdfunding everything from doctors to legal fees (Quartz)
  • Forever 21 accused of body-shaming after giving out free diet bars with orders (Hype Beast)
  • Mr Porter commits to mental, physical health (WWD)

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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Editor's pick product sustainability

Sustainable packaging: The refill market opportunity everyone is missing

UK supermarket Waitrose recently announced a trial in one of its stores for refillable products. 46 items in total, including detergent, washing-up liquid, cereal, pasta and more, are being tested – inviting consumers to bring in their own containers for replenishment rather than buying yet more plastic packaging. 

According to Greenpeace, the top 10 UK supermarkets produce 810,000 tons of throwaway or single-use packaging every year. The initiative at Waitrose therefore also sees all produce involved offered at up to 15% cheaper, incentivizing shoppers to do this and buy more sustainably as a result. 

The first thing it brought to mind for me, is why doesn’t this already exist? 

As a consumer, it’s increasingly frustrating to run out of shampoo, detergent, cleaning products, even moisturizer, and have no option but to throw the bottles or containers away (or in some instances put them out in the recycling in the vain hope their second life becomes a reality). I, for one, would love to be able to take all of such items with me next time I pop in store and top them up again instead. And don’t get me started on miniature travel items. 

I’ve talked to dozens of other people about this subject however, and the responses have always hung somewhere between a concerted yes on wanting to do it and a feeling that it takes a lot of effort to actually carry it out. 

Consumers are lazy, we know that. 

Yet many of us now take our ‘Bags-for-Life’ with us every time we shop – popping them in the back of the car or in our handbags when we’re out and about so we don’t get caught without one and need to purchase a new plastic disposable carrier instead. 

The barrier for these refill uptakes should not be that much bigger. It’s an achievable consumer behavior shift. 

The scheme to reduce plastic bag usage in the UK is evidence. It has seen over 15 billion being saved from going into landfill since it was introduced nearly four years ago. That stat is particularly significant when you think about the fact these items can take around 500 years to breakdown. It’s the same for plastic bottles. 

What’s more, since then, we as consumers have been increasingly exposed to numbers like the 28,000 tons of single-use plastic disposed into our oceans every day. Or that by 2050, there’s expected to be more plastic in the sea than fish. Whether verified in their entirety or otherwise, such insights have spurred us into action beyond just reducing plastic bags – resulting in adopting various other habits including reusable drinks bottles, keep cups, paper rather than plastic straws and more.

The fact supermarkets like Waitrose – and others – are exploring the opportunity (or necessity) here to look at such shifts within food and household goods packaging more broadly, seems a natural one as a result. 

The other way to look at it is through the emerging brands and startups stepping into the space. 

Loop is a new initiative from waste management company, TerraCycle, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, for instance. It is being supported and trialled by major businesses including Unilever and Procter & Gamble. It enables shoppers to purchase regular goods in new durable packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused. This is not about the consumer refilling it themselves, but the company doing it on their behalf.  

Eco-friendly household product brand, Ecover, by comparison, which is owned by SC Johnson, has introduced bottles that can be used more than 50 times directly by consumers. It has refill stations across the UK for products including washing up liquid, hand soap, laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaners. The company calls the initiative a “Refillution” and says it’s been experiencing higher demand than ever before over the past year. It is one of the companies trialling with Waitrose. 

Other examples are being experimented within the beauty and cosmetics market, which accounts for around 120 billion units of packaging each year, according to retailer Lush. 

Lush itself is constantly innovating so as to introduce products that come without any packaging at all, but also has things like a zero-waste lipstick that it announced at the end of 2018. These are refills that can be placed into any other lipstick container the consumer already has at home, or bought with a recycled case from Lush to be used over and over again. 

British health and beauty retailer Boots meanwhile, recently opened a new wellness concept store in London that includes refillable skincare products from eco brand Beauty Kitchen.

And skincare brand Olay has just announced it will trial a sale of refill pods for its Regenerist Whip moisturizer from October 2019. Those pods fit into existing jars, saving consumers from needing to get a new one each time they run out of the product. The team estimates one million lbs of plastic saved if five million jars worth are refilled instead. The pods themselves are also recyclable. 

The Olay test will run for three months with the aim of then evaluating learnings to inform future packaging. “It’s really important for us to get it right because only then can we bring this concept to market at scale,” said Anitra Marsh, associate director of sustainability and brand communications for skin and personal care at Olay’s parent company, P&G.

And test and learn is clearly the stage we are at here. There are inevitably many barriers for adoption in a broader sense beyond assumed consumer apathy. The logistics of pulling many of these initiatives off are notable, but so too are concerns around things like hygiene, which is particularly pertinent when it comes to skincare or beauty – hence the pods from Olay rather than a mass refill station that is more possible with the cleaning products of Ecover. 

Much of this was noted in a report by WRAP over 10 years ago – highlighting other things like contamination of product, no easy mechanism of transferring the ‘use by’ date on the packs, the stackability of bulk refills in store or at home, and more. Arguably, all of that still stands, which is why there hasn’t been huge uptake in this space, and is what makes this such an interesting discussion. 

All roads point to huge opportunity and need for evolution, and yet so little has actually yet happened. Frankly, disruption here is needed, and as with successful movements linked to sustainability and the circular economy in other sectors (the resell market, the sharing economy and more), there is a growing business case to do so as a result. 

Right now, brands are largely jumping on a marketing opportunity and benefitting from the halo effect that surrounds reducing single-use plastic consumption. In doing so, there’s a dodge of responsibility occuring. 

Which brings us to a need for regulation in this space to force companies to adhere (something that is being looked at more broadly in the UK for single-use plastic, as this legislation dates back to 1997). It wasn’t until this came in for plastic bags that it actually made a difference to the landscape. The ability for change to really happen often needs a good shove in the right direction. 

That coupled with innovation is what will move this space forward. Our company, Current Global, is one built on solving challenges, and strictly speaking there’s very little here that doesn’t have a solution in front of it waiting to happen. 

The question then is who is going to be the first to truly do it, and at scale, in terms of grabbing the enormous market opportunity it presents. Now is the time.

How are you thinking about new packaging solutions? 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
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Lush abandons social, buyers send sustainability message, learning resale from Nike

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

TOP STORIES
  • Lush abandons social media: it’s ‘getting harder’ to talk to customers [The Drum]
  • The world’s fashion buyers are sending a strong message to designers about sustainability [Quartz]
  • What Chanel can learn from Nike about the resale market [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon readies Alexa-powered earbuds [Retail Dive]
  • Ikea’s new smart speaker looks like a HomePod crossed with a lamp [The Next Web]
  • Everything you need to know about the Pinterest IPO [NYT]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • ‘Buy local’ seeks to reduce fashion’s environmental footprint [Vogue Business]
  • Salvatore Ferragamo promotes sustainability with art and fashion exhibition [WWD]
  • Galeries Lafayette launches second-hand fashion platform [Fashion Network]
  • Fur supporters plan to keep fighting New York City’s proposed ban on fur sales [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • According to Amazon’s new horoscopes, the stars want you to go shopping [Vox]
  • The line between social media and e-commerce is beginning to disappear [Fashionista]
  • Gucci opens doors to pop-up apartment [Campaign]
  • The new retail: today’s China is tomorrow’s America [Jing Daily]
  • Singapore’s $1.3 billion airport expansion is half botanical garden, half mega-mall [Fast Company]
  • H&M subsidiary to start trialing secondhand sales next week [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ermenegildo Zegna introduces new fragrances with special installations [WWD]
  • New Balance invests in gamified mobile ads to win over young, global customers [Glossy]
  • Asos ‘upweights’ digital spend as it puts focus on acquisition [Marketing Week]
PRODUCT
  • Rodarte unveils a collaboration with Universal Standard [Vogue]
  • Guess to sell vintage capsule via Fred Segal [Fashion Network]
  • How Cos is changing the way we think about design [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Asos pre-tax profits plunge 87 percent [Fashion United]
  • Why Tommy Hilfiger is selling better than ever [Vogue Business]
  • Sales surge at LVMH [Drapers]
  • Allbirds goes all-in on China [WWD]
  • Debenhams falls into administration [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Estée Laundry: the Instagram collective holding the beauty industry to account [The Guardian]
  • The shady truth about inclusive beauty (and how brands can improve) [BoF]
  • Virgil Abloh’s real value to Louis Vuitton isn’t about the clothes he can sell [Quartz]

How are you thinking about 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. 

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ICYMI: Tom Ford for CFDA, Neiman Marcus megastore, Louis Vuitton pulls Michael Jackson pieces

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

TOP STORIES
  • Tom Ford tapped to head CFDA [WWD]
  • Neiman Marcus blends retail and tech at Hudson Yards megastore [TheCurrentDaily]
  • Louis Vuitton pulls Michael Jackson-themed items from collection [Reuters]
  • Burberry wants to go plastic-free by 2025 [WWD]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Lush demos visual search app and fresh ‘digital packaging’ at SXSW [Retail Dive]
  • Google lets YouTube creators add AR selfies to Stories [Mobile Marketer]
  • Google rolls out smart targeting for in-game ads [Mobile Marketer]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • United Nations launches Alliance for Sustainable Fashion in Nairobi [Fashion Network]
  • How big retailers are selling sustainability [BoF]
  • Ikea turns recycled furniture into adorable homes for wildlife [Fast Company]
  • Stella McCartney, Christopher Raeburn among winners of inaugural CO10 Sustainability Award [WWD]
  • Primark launches its first range of 100% sustainable cotton jeans [The Industry]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Rent the Runway and West Elm launch data-informed home rental collection [TheCurrentDaily]
  • Philadelphia just banned cashless stores. Will other cities follow? [Vox]
  • American Eagle targets Gen Z with sneaker resale pop-up [TheCurrentDaily]
  • Inspiration: Balenciaga’s new Sloane Street “warehouse” [The Industry]
PRODUCT
  • Hermès to launch beauty range in 2020 [Fashion Network]
  • CBD fragrance is here — and it can be absorbed through the skin [WWD]
  • Fashion brands are making stylish clothes for dogs, and millennials are spending plenty of money on them [Fashionista]
  • Supergoop unveils SPF eye shadow [WWD]
BUSINESS
  • Adidas Q4 net profit jumps 29% [WWD]
  • Shoes of Prey goes into voluntary administration [Fashion Network]
  • Furla’s turnover exceeds 500 million euros [Fashion United]
  • Zalando to end private business zLabels [Retail Gazette]
  • JD Sports to buy smaller rival Footasylum [BoF]
  • Prada shares tumble as China slowdown hits profits [BoF]
  • Here’s how the trade war could lead to a boom in counterfeit goods [CNBC]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The beauty of a billboard in the age of Instagram [The Fashion Law]
  • Will success spoil Diet Prada? [BoF]
  • Increasingly experimental Sephora introduces credit card program [WWD]
  • Benefit Cosmetics launches first voice-led campaign in the UK [Internet Retailing]
CULTURE
  • Evolution of man: the rise and rise of the male wellness sector [The Guardian]
  • Sephora ends beauty deal with vlogger after college admissions scandal [AdAge]
  • Exploring the politics of beauty in the world of VR and gaming [Dazed]
  • Why urban millennials love Uniqlo [The Atlantic]
  • Why do blunders like the Gucci blackface debacle still happen? [Quartz]
  • ‘Project Runway’s return to Bravo was diverse, relevant and touching [Fashionista]

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Editor's pick Retail sustainability technology

Lush trials AR product app in new package-free store

Lush Lens in-store in Milan

Beauty care brand Lush is trialling Lush Lens, a mobile app created by its in-house R&D team, that uses artificial intelligence and product recognition to allow customers to scan a product with no packaging to gain access to information.

The technology is currently being tested at the brand’s first ever “Naked” store in Milan, where all products are free of packaging.

Customers in store have access to four Fairphone devices loaded with the app. They can then point to any naked product – such as the brand’s popular bath bombs – to receive information, such as an ingredients list.

“With this prototype mobile app we’ve put new technologies (AI) to a good use in our mission to eliminate more packaging and further educate our customers on our unique cosmetics,” says Adam Goswell, who runs technology R&D at Lush. The app is expected to be rolled out globally and be available for download on customers’ own smartphones in the future.

In piloting this digital programme, Lush is hoping to engage with digitally-minded consumers in a way that both satisfies their mobile behaviors as well as their constant need for information on the products they purchase.

The innovation also ties back to the sustainability goals the brand has built its DNA upon – by creating solid products (such as shampoo bars, rather than in liquid form) it not only eliminates the use of packaging like plastics, but enables experiences that more easily involve image recognition.

As for the first Naked shop, which opened in Milan earlier this month, Lush is hoping to not only promote sustainable behavior with its lack of packaging, but also through a series of in-store events, such as workshops and film screenings that will allow customers to share and exchange ideas of living plastic-free.

Lush’s first Naked store in Milan

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film social media sustainability technology

What you missed: Amazon didn’t kill Macy’s, Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting bid, LVMH on sustainability

Macy's Amazon
Who really killed Macy’s?

So is Amazon the big threat to retail, or do retailers really have themselves to blame? There’s a great piece from Recode exploring the longer-term demise of Macy’s. No surprise to also see Neiman Marcus’ IPO has been stalled given current market conditions. The Limited is another US store announcing its closure over the past week.

Meanwhile, other big news to know about include a bid to fight counterfeit goods on Alibaba, PETA aiming to disrupt LVMH from the inside (as well as a separate piece on how LVMH is making luxury more sustainable), and yet more advertising updates on both Instagram and Snapchat. If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to also check out our list of the 8 top tech trends for fashion and luxury retail in 2017.


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon didn’t kill Macy’s. Macy’s did [Recode]
  • Alibaba forms anti-counterfeiting alliance with Louis Vuitton, Swarovski and others [WWD]
  • Bernard Arnault meets with President-Elect Donald Trump [WWD]
  • What happens when beauty, health and wellness products move from standardised to personalised? [Loose Threads]
  • These stores smell money inside your brain [Bloomberg]

BUSINESS
  • Neiman Marcus IPO will stay on the shelf [Bloomberg]
  • PETA is now a Louis Vuitton shareholder [Fashionista]
  • An inside view of how LVMH makes luxury more sustainable [HBR]
  • Diane von Furstenberg debuts hip new logo, website ahead of fashion month [Fashionista]
  • Expect experimental evolution, not revolution, at Valentino [BoF]
  • Jimmy Choo co-founder goes stiletto-first into the digital future [Fast Company]
  • Lessons learned from Neil Blumenthal, the co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker [AlleyWatch]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Asos, Nike and Airbnb first to use Instagram Stories’ new ad formats [The Drum]
  • Snapchat is about to get a major redesign – including search bar [Mashable]
  • L’Oréal Paris brought Snapchat Spectacles to the red carpet for the Golden Globes [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Sephora is ramping up its mission to empower women in 2017 via sustainability and technology [Fashionista]
  • Nike Women got FKA Twigs to creative direct this mesmerising new ad [AdWeek]
  • Film student’s emotional Adidas ad goes viral as viewers urge the brand to take notice [The Drum]
  • Chopard explains etiquette for 21st-century man in whimsical vignettes [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL
  • The Limited officially closes all stores, moves online [Retail Dive]
  • Matches CEO: Customers want speed and convenience [CNBC]
  • Lush evolves digital offerings to better connect with consumers [Glossy]
  • Kohl’s continued digital innovation drives loyalty [RIS News]

TECHNOLOGY
  • From gimmick to game-changer: How virtual reality will alter the fashion industry [Glossy]
  • Tanvas’ haptic feedback system lets you feel texture on a touchscreen [The Verge]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

What you missed: Virtual reality Window Wonderland, Amazon Go, free shipping and free returns

Google's Window Wonderland virtual reality tour
Google’s Window Wonderland virtual reality tour

Amazon, Google and Snapchat are the three top tech companies to look at for key stories over the past couple of weeks (and potentially the whole of 2016 in fact). From the launch of Amazon Go, which enables shoppers to just walk out of a shop while their phone handles payment, to the virtual reality “Window Wonderland” holiday tour Google has organised from a bevy of US stores – it’s all about more convenient as well as heightened experiential retail. Meanwhile, lots of brands are starting to experiment with Snapchat’s Spectacles too.

Also worth checking out from this past fortnight are a double-whammy of reports on free shipping and free returns, lots more about the uptake of chatbots, and a deep-dive on what the fashion world faces against the rise of extremism, populism and protectionism.


TOP STORIES
  • Thanks to Google, you can now take a VR tour of New York’s holiday window displays [Ad Week]
  • What Amazon Go means for the future of retail [AdAge]
  • Fashion world faces new normal [BoF]
  • Free shipping is a lie [Fast Company]
  • ‘Free’ returns aren’t free [The Atlantic]

BUSINESS

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Lush staff hit back at viral tweet with hilarious video [Stylist]
  • American Eagle Outfitters uses Snapchat Spectacles to film influencer ads in Hong Kong [The Drum]
  • Macy’s mixes shopping with social video to launch its holiday campaign [Ad Week]
  • Hype vs discovery: lessons from the Spectacles rollout [Loose Threads]
  • While we weren’t looking, Snapchat revolutionised social networks [NY Times]

MARKETING
  • Christmas ads deliver few real gifts for retailers, poll suggests [The Guardian]
  • How Target is taking control of programmatic [Digiday]
  • How chatbots will revolutionise holiday shopping [The Drum]
  • CoverGirl’s influencer chatbot is smart, funny and responsive [AdAge]

RETAIL
  • Experiential retail is key to Boohoo’s US expansion [Glossy]
  • Adidas just opened a new kind of store – and Nike should be terrified [Business Insider]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Has voice control finally started speaking our language? [The Guardian]
  • Rag & Bone takes on virtual reality with Google [WWD]
  • Is your T-shirt clean of slavery? Science may soon be able to tell [Reuters]
  • Technology can’t get rid of your cheap used clothes [Motherboard]

START-UPS
  • Amazon announces Alexa Accelerator to boost conversational commerce start-ups [Retail Dive]