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

Gaultier’s goodbye to fashion, the fine line with ‘woke’ merch, BAFTA’s sustainable dress code

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

Top Stories
  • Stars turn out for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s final show (BBC)
  • Woke brands walk a thin line with ‘moral merch’ (Vogue Business)
  • Celebrities have been asked to ‘dress sustainably’ at this year’s BAFTA awards (Harper’s Bazaar)
Technology
  • Davos 2020: WEF unveils digital currency governance consortium (Finextra Research)
  • EE creates 5G-powered dress (Campaign)
  • Apple’s ‘finger device’: wearable computing’s next big thing? (CB Insights)
  • UPS is betting big on drone delivery and autonomous trucks (Business Insider)
  • How artificial intelligence is making health care more human (MIT Technology Review)
  • Digital supply-chain transformation with a human face (McKinsey & Company)
  • Realistic 3D apparel models can be shared anywhere online now (WWD)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Ikea builds eco-store with hanging gardens in Vienna (Retail Detail)
  • Aerie expands ‘real’ role model push with social contest, eight new ambassadors (Marketing Dive)
  • Gucci Changemakers Impact fund names first round of grant recipients (WWD)
  • Starbucks commits to a resource-positive future (Starbuck Stories)
  • The future of sustainable materials: milkweed floss (Fashionista)
  • Worn again technologies opens subpilot making step to industrialization (Fashion United)
  • Step inside an apartment from the climate change-ravaged future (Fast Company)
  • Bally reveals new mountain preservation efforts (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside Prada’s pop-up private club (NYT)
  • Tiffany & Co. to open a blue box cafe in London (The Telegraph)
  • Inside the Williamsburg penthouse made for Instagram influencers (Glossy)
  • Neutrogena offers skincare advice in salon pop-up (Campaign)
  • Is existential retail the next wave in fashion? (WWD)
  • E-commerce could kill 30k stores and half a million jobs by 2025 (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram deprecates IGTV button as mobile streaming bet fails to take off (Mobile Marketer)
  • Meet The Drum’s latest cover star: a virtual influencer named Floresta (The Drum)
  • Social Chain launches livestream shopping for Facebook videos (Campaign)
  • Foot Locker consolidates eight loyalty programs into one (Glossy)
  • Can fashion PR make cannabis a luxury good? (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Virgil Abloh channels brutalism for concrete efflorescence furniture series (Dezeen)
  • Nike to launch modest swimwear range Victory Swim (The Industry)
  • Thom Browne teases collaboration with Samsung (Fashion United)
  • Superfeet licenses New Balance brand for high-tech custom insoles (Sourcing Journal)
  • Redemption launches sustainable athleisure collection (WWD)
  • Happy99 creates futuristic clothing for a post-consumer world (i-D)
Business
  • Amazon becomes first to pass $200bn brand valuation (Campaign)
  • Gap’s Alegra O’Hare exits as brand ‘redefines CMO role’ (Campaign)
  • Fashion industry sets out post-brexit immigration priorities (The Industry)
  • Could Shopify be the new Amazon? (Fashion United)
  • Tailored brands to sell Joseph Abboud brand for $115m (Retail Dive)
  • Why DTC marketing is no longer about accessible price points (Modern Retail)
  • US to crack down on counterfeit goods (Fashion United)
  • Do US luxury designers have a future? (Vogue Business)
Culture
  • L’Oréal exec will lead initiative to end gender bias in ads (Adweek)
  • Louis Vuitton teams up with the NBA to influence luxury buyers (Quartz)
  • Banana Republic celebrates artistic visionaries in campaign for Black History month (Marketing Dive)

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 digital snippets product Retail social media sustainability technology

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

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

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

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

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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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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

6 loyalty activations driving customer engagement

Today’s consumers are increasingly spoilt by choice, meaning brands  have to work harder than ever to earn any level of loyalty. That hasn’t stopped many from trying however. 

In today’s retail climate, personalization is king, with customers seeking brands that tailor their products and services to their behaviors. When done correctly,  loyalty programs not only respond to that need, but can generate over 20% of a company’s profits, according to McKinsey

Retailers across the board – from larger names like Target and Nordstrom to standalone brands like Nike – are revamping their traditional spend-and-reward offerings to add layers of digital that respond to the modern consumer.

From tapping into an engaged community and encouraging gamified behavior, to pushing personalized spending in-store, here we highlight some of the most innovative loyalty approaches:

FOSTERING COMMUNITY

Victoria's Secret PINK NATION
Victoria’s Secret PINK NATION

One of the cornerstones of the Victoria’s Secret’s PINK brand, is its college ambassador program, which recruits university students across the country representatives. The role is not too dissimilar from a social media influencer, with responsibilities including promoting the brand on social, offering followers advice and organizing campus events and get-togethers. Ambassadors dedicate up to 10-hours a week to their roles for free, and see this as an opportunity to build a personal brand with PINK’s support.

The brand’s loyalty program, PINK NATION, has also received an upgrade and launched its very first app, aiming to emulate a girl’s club. This includes exclusive member perks as well as a dedicated Campus tab where customers can chat with ambassadors. Ultimately, the brand wants to scale to include more college-life related content.

Flipkart-owned fashion retailer Myntra also took a similar crowdsourced approach to loyalty when it launched the Shopping Groups feature in 2017, in the run-up to its  End Of Reason Sale (otherwise known as EORS). Shoppers could team up with their friends and families on the platform to shopping groups, where all purchases were tallied together to unlock further special discounts for the whole group. 

The retailer reported almost 100,000 shopping groups being formed during the sale as a result, contributing to around 18% of sales.

INCENTIVIZING ACTION

Nike Plus
Nike Plus

Starbucks boasts one of the most successful retail apps to date with 23.5m active users. In order to encourage loyalty and get more customers to join its booming loyalty program that sits alongside (15m users), it launched a gamification experience called the Summer Game Boardwalk this year. 

Anyone could play the virtual board game, which prompted users to tap a spinner and advance steps in order to tally points, similar to a game of Monopoly. At the end, loyalty members received points towards their accounts, while general app users were prompted to join the program in order to receive the same.

Meanwhile this year NikePlus added a number of interactive experiences for its members, extending the remit of physical activity into wider lifestyles. Nike collaborated with three key partners to do so – Apple Music, mindfulness app Headspace, and gym booking app ClassPass, to encourage consumers to be active in order to receive more rewards. For example, if the user completed and logged a workout within the app, it would unlock free Apple Music playlists.

With this program, the sportswear brand is hoping to triple its 100m user membership number.

DRIVING IN-STORE ENGAGEMENT 

Inside the Philosophy skincare Manhattan store
Inside the Philosophy skincare Manhattan store

According to research company Bond, 95% of loyalty members want to engage with brands via new technologies. In-store, deploying digital tools is an opportunity for brands to engage and acquire new loyal customers at the point of sale, when demand is at its highest.

At Coty-owned make up brand Philosophy’s flagship in Manhattan, loyal customers are recognized and rewarded via facial recognition. Upon entering the store, customers are asked to take a selfie with their own phones and send it to a designated phone number. Registered customers can then be recognized on screens, which offers them special discounts. Over time, customers are pushed more tailored notifications and one-to-one consultants based on previous behavior.

Also in New York, is Nordstrom’s new menswear store, which is offering a higher level of service for its newly revamped Nordy Club loyalty program members. Customers shopping online can receive items to then try-on at that specific location. When physically approaching the store, customers receive an app notification giving them precise information on the location of their reserved item.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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

ICYMI: Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods, the UN’s fashion climate charter, ASOS profit warning

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

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch acquires Stadium Goods: Why sneaker resale is becoming big business [Forbes]
  • Milestone fashion industry charter for climate action launched [UN]
  • ASOS issues profit warning as Christmas sales falter [The Industry]
TECHNOLOGY
  • China’s retailers turn to real-world surveillance to track big spenders [Wired]
  • Alexa wants you to answer questions [Cognition X]
  • Is the face-swapping robot with multiple ‘personalities’ cool or just plain creepy? [Mashable]
  • Racist, sexist AI could be a bigger problem than lost jobs [Forbes]
  • Is tech too easy to use? [New York Times]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Kering launches first ‘regenerative sourcing’ standard for fashion suppliers [Edie
  • Francisco Costa is back—with the chicest sustainable beauty brand you’ve ever seen [Vogue]
  • The first “plastic-free” supermarket aisle [BBC]
  • Lacoste joins list of brands banning mohair  [Fashion United]
  • Companies used to stay quiet about politics. In 2018, social causes became integral to their branding. [Vox]
  • Is online shopping better or worse for the environment? [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Here’s how Nike, Alibaba and Walmart are reinventing retail [Wired]
  • The future of fashion is made-to-order, according to Farfetch CEO José Neves [Fast Company]
  • Amazon Go eyes London’s West End for first UK store [Retail Gazette]
  • Why Starbucks is experimenting with experience-based retail [Digiday]
  • E-commerce is thriving in Africa despite hurdles to the “last mile” [Quartz]
  • ‘It’s a big data game’: Startups compete to reinvent the convenience store [Digiday]
  • Lululemon expands test for 1st loyalty program [Retail Dive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • You can try on the latest Adidas sneaker drop on Snapchat [Engadget]
  • Mall of America debuts holiday AR scavenger hunt [Mobile Marketer]
  • Mr Porter launches gift assistant with Facebook Messenger [Fashion Network]
  • Lululemon and Strava team up to launch a series of virtual races [Runners World]
  • Calvin Klein kills print ads — will other fashion brands follow suit? [Footwear News]
PRODUCT
  • H&M teams up with cult brand Eytys for unisex collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • Millennial consumers rule the luxury market – how are brands coping? [SCMP]
  • Samsung’s Supreme collaboration in China is with a “counterfeit organization,” Supreme says [Quartz]
  • LVMH expands portfolio with $2.6B Belmond travel deal [Retail Dive]
  • H&M says full year sales increased by 5 percent [Fashion United]
  • Alberta Ferretti under investigation by Italy’s antitrust authority [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Self-Portrait is growing in the age of streetwear — without flashy logos or sneakers [Fashionista]
  • Prada pulls monkey designs following outcry over racist imagery [Complex]
  • Diversity on magazine covers increased by a record double-digit percentage in 2018 [Fashionista]

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.

Categories
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.

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

ICYMI: Inside Magic Leap, no one buys through Alexa, Supreme’s covetable newspaper ad

Magic Leap
Magic Leap

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Magic Leap’s quest to remake itself as an ordinary company (with a real product) [Wired]
  • Surprise, no one buys things via Alexa [TechCrunch]
  • New York Post Supreme ad turns tabloid into impossible to find commodity [NY Times]
  • Adidas has a clever plan for staying relevant: withholding its biggest hits [QZ]
  • Toward a different language of size [NY Times]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How fashion retailer H&M is betting on artificial intelligence and big data to regain profitability [Forbes]
  • Wayfair unleashes mixed-reality shopping [RetailDive]
  • Starbucks may let customers pay with bitcoin [CNN]
  • Red Bull, Swarovski test Kik’s cryptocurrency rewards app [MobileMarketer]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Could rental fashion help us become more sustainable? [Harper’s Bazaar]
  • Walmart tried to make sustainability affordable. Here’s what happened [QZ]
  • Esprit and IndustriALL collaborate to improve workers’ rights [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Online retailers are using empty mall spaces to test products [Digiday]
  • Are retail stores now museums too? New beauty shop charges you to enter [Observer]
  • 9 tips for mastering the in-store experience [BoF]
  • Most consumers abandon online shopping carts due to lengthy checkouts [WWD]
  • Casper to open 200 stores across North America [RetailDive]
  • Levi’s unveils Project F.L.X. customization studio in Downtown LA [WWD]
  • Why isn’t Zara on every street corner? [Forbes]
  • Debenhams begins roll-out of in-store gyms [TheIndustry]
  • Store, café or art gallery? The rise and rise of the concept store [FashionUnited]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • L’Oréal brings AR makeup sampling to Facebook [MobileMarketer]
  • How the #VanLife movement is influencing car design [FastCompany]
  • ‘Stories’ was Instagram’s smartest move yet [Recode]
  • Snapchat expands Shoppable AR to its top creators [Digiday]
  • How Poshmark’s sellers made $1B off the ‘social mall’ [RetailDive]
  • You are not original or creative on Instagram [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • Walmart is reportedly launching an Everlane-like clothing brand [QZ]
  • Vans aims to inspire and educate with its Van Gogh museum collection [AdWeek]
  • Are fashion brands pivoting to focus on cosmetics and fragrance? [Fashionista]
  • Amphibio is a 3D-printed shirt that lets you breathe underwater [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Wrangler owner VF plans to spin off jeans business [WSJ]
  • How Benefit Cosmetics stays young [BoF]
  • Is Burberry’s simple new logo catnip to copycats? [Jing Daily]
  • Black designers have to work twice as hard – & are still ‘emerging’ [Refinery29]
CULTURE
  • Community, the missing ingredient in luxury’s streetwear pivot [BoF]
  • Bad taste is the best thing to happen to fashion [Vogue]
  • Black women are dominating the September issues [Evening Standard]

 

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.

Categories
Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

4 ways Asia is supercharging retail with tech-enabled physical experiences

Alibaba and Ford's car vending machine
Alibaba and Ford’s car vending machine

Much has been said about the death of the store at the hands of the digital era, but retailers and brands with physical footprints are increasingly harnessing technology to instil a sense of connectivity and immersion in their spaces.

Front and center within that is the Asia market, which is setting the standard by responding to consumers’ avid connected behavior and facilitating increasingly digitized physical journeys that perfectly blend both realities.

Here, we highlight four of our favorite recent brand examples.

Ford and Alibaba’s unstaffed car vending machine

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has partnered with automaker Ford on a cat-shaped car vending machine in China that allows potential buyers the chance to try-before-they-buy. The structure, located in Guangzhou, is completely self-directed and available only to Alibaba’s Super Members, the highest tier of membership in the retailer’s program.

Once users go through a background check on the Alibaba app, they can select their preferred vehicle and head to one of the Super Test-Drive Centers. Arriving at the location, they can use either facial recognition or a login code to trigger the test-drive experience, which they can do for up to three days.

Starbucks’ augmented coffee mecca

Starbucks Reserve Roastery AR experience
Starbucks Reserve Roastery AR experience

Starbucks meanwhile is focusing on augmented reality in its new Shanghai Reserve Roastery, where the coffee brand tapped into the Chinese consumer’s mobile-first behavior by creating a digital scavenger hunt.

Available through Taobao, consumers have to scan a code in-store and then proceed to scan coffee machines and brewers around the store to trigger content. Doing so with such physical objects activates animations on the mobile screen, and then offers the user more information on the coffee making process, such as how specific machines roast the coffee.

By offering consumers more branded storytelling through mobile, the company aligns with its Reserve Roastery concept ethos, which is to act as a mecca on all things coffee-making, and serve avid customers accordingly.

Shiseido’s smart diagnosis and brand content mirrors

Shiseido's smart mirror
Shiseido’s smart mirror

Smart mirrors might not be anything new within the ‘tech in-store’ discussion, but at Shiseido’s recently opened flagship in the Ginza Six shopping complex in Tokyo, the connected device offers more granular and personalized content than we’ve seen before, including around diagnosis.

Customers visiting the store can have their picture taken by a smart mirror, which results in a skin analysis and step-by-step guidance on screen on how to apply a curation of products. Afterwards, users can scan a QR code generated on the screen to put their counselling data on their own phone.

Additional features in Shiseido’s tech-enabled store, include screens that change visuals whenever someone is within two meters of them, as well as smart tables that recognize when a specific product has been picked up, and generate information on a smart screen accordingly.

Jack & Jones and Vero Moda’s facial recognition payments

Jack & Jones
Jack & Jones

You can’t talk about Asia without mentioning WeChat, and in this instance the future of payments. Danish fashion brands Jack & Jones and Vero Moda, part of the Bestseller group, have recently opened smart stores in two Chinese locations that are powered by Tencent’s facial recognition technology, allowing customers to pay with their face.

Located in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the smart stores allow shoppers to shop without the need for cash or even their mobile phones. After completing the facial recognition registration at digital kiosks in-store, shoppers become members of the Tencent’s “AI Club”, which is powered by WeChat Pay. When checking out, they can then use the feature to complete the payment, which is debited through their WeChat wallets.

Beyond cashless (and mobile-less) payment capabilities, the entire store experiences can be automated. At the fitting room, the same technology is applied – once the shopper is recognized by a smart screen, they can receive recommendations based on past purchases.

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digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

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

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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]
Categories
sustainability technology

Why it matters: Starbucks is piloting blockchain technology

A Starbucks farmer in Rwanda
A Starbucks farmer in Rwanda

The new ‘Why it matters’ content series from TheCurrent Daily highlights cross-industry innovations and analyses why they are relevant to the fashion and retail space. 

Starbucks has announced the launch of a pilot program working with a select number of farmers to develop real-time blockchain technology that follows the coffee bean’s supply chain journey.

This will help encourage a sense of familiarity between supplier and customer, which in turn enables brands to forge a deeper sense of trust and loyalty within their consumer base. This is something we are starting to see emerge in other industries also and can easily apply to fashion and luxury. Here, using technology to understand the supply chain holds similar benefits to that of Starbucks’ new model – showcasing transparency, making brands accountable, and creating more emotional connections.

It is therefore a great example of a cross-industry initiative that can be applied to fashion at a time when everyone is looking to respond to increasing consumer demands around transparency.

Last year, Starbucks worked with over 380,000 farms, meaning the traceability technology has the potential to have exponential impact on Starbucks’ operations in the years to come.

Working with farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia and Rwanda, the aim of the program is to drive positive impact to its suppliers, and further cement the coffee giant’s ethical sourcing commitment. “Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. “We’ll leverage an open-source approach to share what we learn with the rest of the world.”

With this program, Starbucks is hoping to demonstrate how technology and data platforms can give farmers more financial independence and confidence – although details of this are yet unknown. The company is working with Conservation International, which is already their partner on other sustainability initiatives, to measure the impact of the traceability technology and better understand how it will benefit its suppliers.

According to Arthur Karuletwa, director of traceability at Starbucks: “This could be a seismic change in an industry that hasn’t had much innovation in the way coffee moves across borders and oceans,” he said. “At the same time, I’ve met farmers who have very little by way of possessions, but they have a mobile phone. Digital has become the economic engine of this century, and traceability preserves the most valuable assets we have as human beings – our identity.”

Karuletwa believes that beyond transparency the tool will give farmers and coffee drinkers an “authentic, seamless, dynamic” one-to-one connection. “Elevation, process, entomology, soil composition, terroir, nutrients, rainfall – it carries little meaning if I’m not also talking about the rest of what makes the coffee possible, and that’s the people,” he said. “The taste of coffee eventually disappears off the palette, but what never leaves you are the stories of a people and the places. My hope is that this project will create familiarity between farmers and customers and enhance empathy, a commodity we have great need of today.”

The fashion industry is beginning to develop ways in which it can adopt traceability technology too, both from a sustainability perspective and then within the huge potential for combatting fakes. Designer Martine Jarlgaard London has experimented with the former in the past, while earlier this year, diamond company De Beers announced it is piloting a blockchain program to ensure its diamonds are kept ethical and conflict-free.