Categories
business e-commerce Retail sustainability technology

From holograms to responsible packaging: 10 must-read retail innovation lists

This year has seen continued breakthroughs in retail innovation, with brands exploring new ways to interact with consumers, whether that’s through the physical store, virtual spaces, or new touchpoints like vending machines. 

2019 has also been an impressive year for sustainable innovations, with everything from creative store design and technological transparency, to responsible packaging solutions and the rise of rentals.

Here, we reflect on 10 of our must-read retail innovation articles from the year.

8 brands deploying vending machines as smart retail solutions
Mulberry x Current Global Vending Machine

Artificial intelligence, social media buzz and customer acquisition tools are just a few of the strategies behind vending machines being used as a key part of today’s retail experience. In this story we explore how the technology has been applied to brands including Mulberry and Adidas.

4 technologies aiding in-store navigation
Gatwick’s in-app navigation

Big box retailers including Walmart’s Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target are using a variety of interesting wayfinding technologies to improve customer navigation inside the physical store. This piece dives into the role of innovation for more efficient customer journeys.

5 brands pushing conversions through virtual storefronts
Lego’s AR-activated experience

Brands including Macy’s and Lego are using virtual experiences in physical locations to provide shoppers with the benefit of an interactive in-person experience without needing to carry inventory. Here, we look at how these “invisible” or augmented reality storefronts are driving sales, collecting data and boosting branding efforts.

7 ways fashion brands are harnessing hologram technology
Alexander McQueen’s hologram show

The fashion industry has been experimenting with holograms for some time, using them as both elaborate marketing techniques, as well as more immersive in-store opportunities aiming to drive brand engagement. In this piece, we take a look back at some of the best use cases from the likes of Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren.

9 brands pushing sustainable store design
Ganni’s sustainably designed store

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. Here we explore how the likes of Stella McCartney through to Ikea are approaching it.

4 innovative retail fulfilment methods to know
Ford’s delivery robot

With the on-demand economy continuing to fuel consumer desire for instant gratification, innovation in delivery continues to rise, from crowdsourcing to the latest in robotics. Explore how tech solutions are shaping efficiency in the last mile, here.

7 brands regaining consumer trust through transparency
‘I made you clothes’ campaign

Enabling transparency is a key focus for fashion businesses today, but with rising concerns of greenwashing – from misleading PR-led campaigns to the increase of fake news – consumer trust is at an all-time low. As a result, brands are having to work harder than ever to prove their authenticity in the matter.

5 brands using gamification to drive shopping
Nike’s React Land game

Brands and retailers are jumping on the growth of the gaming market and increasingly using ‘play’ mechanics as a way to encourage shopping. Here we dive into why gamification is estimated to be a $40bn market by 2024 and explore those making the most of it already.

4 effective ways brands are tapping into the rental market
Ba&sh’s NY store

The rental market boom is sending a clear signal to brands struggling to survive in the current retail climate: it is time to adapt to changing purchase behaviors, or risk losing market share. In this piece we look at the varying benefits of stepping into this space, from sustainability to data capturing.

8 brands turning to responsible packaging solutions
Toad&Co partnered with LimeLoop

The rapid rise of the e-commerce era has seen an equally colossal increase in plastic packaging used by brands around the world, something those at the forefront of sustainability are now looking to change. Check out some of the best alternatives introduced by the likes of PVH to MatchesFashion.com.

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.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick Retail sustainability

8 brands turning to responsible packaging solutions

 

The rapid rise of the e-commerce era has seen an equally colossal increase in plastic packaging used by brands around the world, something those at the forefront of sustainability are now looking to change. 

US residents alone use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A large portion of those go into the ocean, polluting the waters and damaging wildlife with nonbiodegradable materials. 

Those facts, and many more beside them, are resulting in a desperate need for change. What’s key is that the public is paying attention. A 2017 survey shows packaging professionals and brand owners hear the most complaints about unsustainable or excessive packaging. 

Meanwhile, bans on things like plastic bags are starting to pay off in certain markets – in the UK, over 15 billion of them have been 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. 

We’ve already talked about the market opportunity that exists for refillable packaging solutions for those in the health and beauty space, but this challenge is also applicable to broader retail. The good news is brands across all manner of industries, are now doubling down on eco-friendly packaging alternatives as a result. From luxury retailers to online stores, check out these eight examples of those adapting to lower their use of plastics at the delivery stage of the supply chain…

PVH
Calvin Klein packaging

Apparel company PVH, which owns brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has ambitious sustainability goals that include using 100% sustainably and ethically sourced packaging by 2025. “As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group VP of corporate responsibility at the corporation. 


The company is already making strides; according to its 2018 corporate responsibility report, 74% of its packaging is now recyclable. Moreover, the PVH Dress Furnishings Group has saved nearly 200 tons of plastic by reducing the thickness of its packaging polybags. PVH also became the first apparel company to join How2Recycle, a project of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This initiative provides standard labels with clear instructions for customers on how to recycle packaging materials, such as whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

Toad&Co
Toad&Co partnered with LimeLoop

California-based sustainable fashion brand, Toad&Co, partnered with US startup LimeLoop to replace cardboard boxes and disposable mailers with recycled vinyl packages. Customers can request the new packaging at checkout. When the product arrives, the empty container can be dropped in the mail for return and reuse. 

Kelly Milazzo, director of operations at the company, estimates 2,500 LimeLoop bags – each of which supposedly last 2,000 uses – could supply the company’s entire e-commerce business for 83 years. “That saves the equivalent of 5 million plastic mailers,” she told Outside magazine.

MatchesFashion.com
MatchesFashion’s iconic boxes

Last year, London-based global luxury retailer, MatchesFashion.com, began developing a strategy and a timeline for reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. The retailer is known for the beauty of its boxes by its loyal customer base, meaning change comes with the additional challenge of maintaining the quality and aesthetic appeal for which it has become known. 

The company made three pledges: first, to ensure all packaging is widely recyclable; second, to introduce a half-size box with less material; and third, to incorporate sustainably-sourced materials including FSC-certified card and post-consumer waste.

PrAna
PrAna’s eco-friendly labels

Premium lifestyle clothing prAna uses recycled paper and soy-based ink for its packaging, tying its garments with strips of raffia palm tree. The company had to conduct an extended series of tests to make sure the raffia strips kept products in great shape during processing and delivery. The strategy paid off, with the company becoming 80% polybag-free by 2016. 
Quality control is everything however. “We have different guidelines laid out for each type of garment to show our factory how to fold, how to get the hang tag in the right position and how to put the raffia tie on”, explained Meme Snell, men’s product developer at the brand.

Amazon
Amazon’s brand Tide’s new eco-box

Amazon India is committed to eliminating single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. The first step is to replace plastic wraps like air pillows and bubble wraps with paper cushions, a recyclable material, by the end of this year. The company also launched Packaging-Free Shipments (PFS) last year and expanded the practice to 13 cities. By securing multiple shipments together in a reusable crate or corrugated box, Amazon can minimize the secondary packaging required for individual shipments.

Meanwhile, Amazon US began encouraging brands to change their packaging design to facilitate shipping, making the process more sustainable. For example, Tide is planning to switch from its existing bottle to a new “Eco-Box” with 60% less plastic.

Reformation
Reformation’s vegetable bags

Reformation is paving the way for other young, trend-led brands to be sustainable, implementing an environmental consciousness into every aspect of its business.  Reformation delivers its e-commerce orders in vegetable bags which are 100% compostable. Once the bag has been used, it was simply break down like organic waste, leaving no harmful chemicals behind. 

The packaging is plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper products and compostable bio-based films, with even the hangers being bio-based too. With the average lifespan of a plastic or metal hanger lasting only 3 months, Reformation has opted to use recycled paper hangers to minimise the demand for new materials and reduce landfill waste.

Asos
ASOS packaging

E-commerce giant ASOS has put packaging and waste at the forefront of its environmental policy. After a cradle-to-gate assessment revealed that plastic bags produce 60% less GHG emissions than cardboard, the company decided to reduce the number of cardboard boxes in favour of the former.

To mitigate the environmental damage of its plastics, ASOS uses 25% recycled content for the bags. The company has also reduced the thickness of the bags, which is saving approximately 583 tonnes of plastic annually.

The retailer is also working towards having a closed-loop system, recycling consumer packaging into new packaging. Having 10% post-consumer waste integrated into the new bags helps to reduce virgin plastic usage by 160 tonnes annually.

Maggie Marilyn
Maggie Marilyn

New Zealand based womenswear designed Maggie Marilyn is focusing on an often forgotten part of the supply chain when it comes to sustainability, using compostable bags to ship wholesale items. The bags which are made from cornstarch and synthetic polymer, represent a 60% reduction in C02 emissions compared to traditional plastic bags. The bags are produced by The Better Packaging Company, who have achieved one of the toughest standard regulations in Australia, the AS5810 for compostability.

How are you thinking about sustainability? 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 Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Instagram’s new AR feature, France introduces anti-waste laws, BoF inclusion backlash

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

TOP STORIES
  • Instagram adds new AR experience to checkout (Mashable)
  • France to introduce anti-waste law to promote circular economy (Fashion United)
  • ‘Inclusion is a trend for these folks’: Kerby Jean-Raymond calls out ‘insulting’ BoF 500 Gala (Fashionista)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Microsoft debuts foldable smartphone for 2020 holiday season (Mobile Marketer)
  • Sky News is broadcasting on Amazon Twitch (Digiday)
  • Google shoppings gets redesign with price tracking and personalization (The Verge)
  • Levi’s and Google’s smart jacket upgrade (Wired)
  • Paralyzed man ‘walks’ using mind-reading exoskeleton (Futurism)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Evrnu raises $9million to close the textile lifecycle loop (Sourcing Journal)
  • The rise of hemp as a sustainable alternative to cotton (Vogue Business)
  • Zalando ‘boosts green credentials’ with sustainability initiative (Retail Week)
  • Vegan fashion week returns to Los Angeles (Fashion United)
  • Biogarmentry are clothes that can photosynthesise like plants (Dezeen)
  • Sketchers has reduced plastic use in packaging by 85% (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • America’s first cannabis cafe is open for business (Futurism)
  • Auxiliary opens augmented reality pop up at Selfridges (Glossy)
  • Banksy launches range of branded merchandise (Dezeen)
  • Kardashian Kloset takes on the resale market (Vogue Business)
  • The Row opens debut London flagship store (Fashion United)
  • Vagabond extends e-commerce site to the US (Glossy)
  • L’Oreal launches Hair.com in direct to consumer move (Glossy)
BUSINESS
  • Vivienne Westwood plunges into the red (Drapers)
  • H&M reports strong rise in Q3 sales and profit (Fashion United)
  • Stitch Fix expands beyond the ‘fix’ (Vogue Business)
  • Ted Baker swings to half-year loss (Drapers)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Adidas, Levi’s, Michael Kors test Instagram launch alerts (Mobile Marketer)
  • With Drest, digital clothing is one step closer to mainstream (Vogue Business)
  • E.l.f Cosmetics launches first TikTok hashtag featuring original song (Mobile Marketer)
PRODUCT
  • Reformation and New Balance partner for sustainable sneaker collaboration (WWD)
  • Saint Laurent unveils new contraceptive creation (Fashion Network)
  • Neiman Marcus introduces ‘clean beauty’ (Retail Dive)
  • Asos taps hip-hop artist Swae Lee for exclusive edit (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • Valentino’s ‘opulence of diversity’ (BoF)
  • Melinda Gates pledges $1billion to boost the ‘power and influence’ of women in the US (Fast Company)
  • Debenhams partners with National Autistic Society for autism hour (Retail Gazette)
  • Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty supports breast cancer survivors (Fashion Network)
  • Vans competition pulls sneaker brand into Hong Kong political row (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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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
Editor's pick sustainability

Calvin Klein encourages recycling of packaging with labeling program

Calvin Klein Underwear has partnered with standardized labeling system How2Recycle to provide customers with details on how exactly they can recycle the packaging that items come in.

Labels on each product will provide clear information to shoppers about the components of the packaging, and instructions on whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

“As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group vice president of corporate responsibility at Calvin Klein’s parent company, PVH Corp. “How2Recycle labels will make it easier for our consumers to understand how to discard unwanted items in the most sustainable way possible.”

Target and Walmart are also working with How2Recycle on similar initiatives. “PVH is blazing the trail by being the first company in the apparel space to commit to featuring accurate, consistent recycling labels on their packaging,” said Caroline Cox, project manager of How2Recycle. “The reach of their iconic brands will empower a new sector of consumers to recycle more, and more accurately.”

The move comes as more brands within the fashion industry are taking sustainability and waste more seriously. Packaging is one major focus as consumers increasingly look to recycle or reuse what their items come in and there’s a greater call for reduction in the amount of materials used. Just this past week, a number of consumer goods companies, including Procter & Gamble and Nestle, teamed up on a new packaging solution called Loop, which is focused on reusable stainless steel.

It also ties to PVH’s broader focus on sustainable packaging. The group has a commitment to reduce the overall amount of packaging used for products and work toward sending zero materials to landfill. Its statement on the matter says that 78 million tons of plastic packaging is currently produced globally each year, yet only 14% is collected for recycling.

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. 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
Campaigns mobile technology

Cannes Lions 2018: Ikea’s latest AR app creates ingenious way to reuse packaging

#IKEAtoybox
#IKEAtoybox

Ikea has launched another augmented reality app, this time one that enables its flatpack packaging to become real-life toys for kids.

The #IKEAtoybox initiative sees AR used to determine what potential toys could be made from the amount of cardboard available, and then gives users the instructions on how to do so. The result is everything from rockets to castles, butterfly wings, sharks and beyond.

Announced at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week, in partnership with Wunderman and Kantar Consulting, the project went from concept to delivery in just five weeks.

“It’s about creating endless amounts of imagination based on the actual size of the packaging you have,” said Daniel Bonner, global CCO at Wunderman.

The idea for it came off the back of over 15 years-worth of insights from Mumsnet. That data showed that one of the largest concerns from parents surrounds child development – second only to childbirth. Further research also highlighted that 50% of parents say they struggle to find the ideas to bring creative play into the home.

The app is still a prototype at this stage, but will be rolled out to consumers shortly. Ikea is also said to be looking at how to open up the project to a wider audience thereafter. Given its broader focus on sustainability and reducing waste as an organization, it’s considering how to open this AR app up so packaging from other retailers could also be utilized in the same way.

For more about Ikea’s sustainability mission, listen in to this episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast with Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainable and healthy living at the brand.

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

ICYMI: Facebook in crisis, AR unboxing from Adidas, ASOS’ new online sizing feature

Facebook

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

TOP STORIES
  • What the Facebook crisis means for fashion advertisers [BoF]
  • With virtual ‘unboxing’ site, Adidas Originals looks to shake up sneaker drops [Glossy]
  • ASOS’s new sizing feature just made shopping a whole lot better [Refinery29]
  • Everlane’s five tactics for winning at physical retail [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • eBay uses augmented reality to help sellers find the right box for their product [VentureBeat]
  • Blockchains could upend the fashion business [BoF]
  • Google’s new experiment lets you tag digital graffiti in the real world [Co.Design]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Wrangler’s suppliers to adopt new water-saving technology [WWD]
  • How fashion and beauty people really feel about packaging waste [Fashionista]
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t what you think it is [NatGeo]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The rise of experiential commerce [TechCrunch]
  • How 3 growing niche brands are simplifying e-commerce [AdWeek]
  • John Lewis offers in-app personal stylists and H&M a nailbar as part of a move to ‘experiential retail’ [InternetRetailer]
  • Walmart’s e-commerce CEO explains why its many acquisitions will help it reach millennials [AdWeek]
  • Starbucks launches ‘Tryer’ location to encourage new ideas [RetailDive]
  • Depop marketplace headed to physical retail in LA, NY [WWD]
  • India’s e-commerce market is exploding—and how [QZ]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Glossier’s customer obsession is about stirring up conversation [RetailDive]
  • Winona Ryder and Elizabeth Olsen dance in the streets of Buenos Aires in latest H&M ad [Campaign]
  • Pinterest thinks the future lies in visual discovery—and wants retailers to take notice [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat is doling out free stats to brands on how many users visit their locations [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • Zips. Toggles. Pumps. The end of shoelaces? [BoF]
BUSINESS
  • Is dry cleaning dying? [Racked]
  • Louis Vuitton names Virgil Abloh as its new menswear designer [BoF]
  • Kim Jones appointed artistic director at Dior Homme [TheIndustry]
  • Zalando entering the beauty market both off and online [WWD]
  • Rent the Runway’s “wardrobe in the cloud” is opening up to other clothing brands [FastCompany]