Retail Frenzy

  • Amongst American Apparel’s demise and rumors that Boohoo are to buy Nasty Gal, The Limited announced that it would shutter its stores.
  • Brands and commentators are quick to blame eCommerce (Amazon in particular) for the industry’s malaise, yet this article – which addresses the ‘woes’ facing retailers – inadvertently identifies the salient issue, many of these players are overwhelmed about where to focus their efforts.
  • Patagonia will soon offer store credit in return for submitting old – but usable – unwanted items. The millennial appetite for sustainable clothing is not new, as Bloomberg reported and brands like Everlane and these were quick to recognize. (It dovetails with a wider demand for brand authenticity.)
  • Uniqlo will launch a line of modest wear, including the hijab, in Canada this February.
  • This article believes that the beauty industry is doing more than any other to drive social change. To underpin the point, Maybelline have picked two male influencers / makeup artists – Shayla Mitchell and Manny Gutierrez – to be their ambassadors. Moreover, Sephora’s inclusive #Neverstop campaign focuses on 5 women, one of whom is transgender.

Social Mobility

Ford is to expand its ride-sharing ’Chariot’ service to 8 new cities in 2017. It is designed to support areas that are poorly-served by existing bus or rail routes. Next, whilst Uber has resisted information-sharing with cities in the past they recently released ’Movements’, a tool that aggregates data and lets anyone access information about inner city travel trends. It is based on historical data and is anonymous, yet it is interesting to consider whether it is a retrospective breach of data privacy; instead, should the company start collecting data, from this point forward (that it intends to share), having issued a new privacy update?

Others, like Waze, also compile stats – ostensibly to help people go about their lives – but could this signal a new version of privatization? It is not unimaginable that cities will struggle under the weight of data-compilation, town planning, and public service delivery: could they look to collaborate with companies, supplying the demand (people) but passing fulfillment to a partner like Google or Ford who can change routes based on customer demand – that their stats reveal – unlike rigid railroads).

Small But Important

  • This Nielsen report gives a number of fascinating trends, not least that Generation X spends more time on social media than any other.
  • L’Oreal have launched a connected brush that assesses your hair as you maintain it (such as brushing too hard). Interestingly, it features in this article about the worst connected devices at CES!
  • On a related note, JWT explore the role of phones in ’selfie healthcare’, where facial recognition identifies symptoms. (See here for a real life version a few years back.)
  • Similarly, Accenture has found that one in 3 people would move their banking to Google, Amazon, or Facebook if they offered it. The primary reason is ‘Robo-banking’, which has less human interaction. This piece believes that fintech will continue to change banking, especially for consumers who struggle with the traditional model, like immigrants and those in rural areas.
  • Under Armour have designed a sleepwear range (with Tom Brady) which aims to enhance recovery whilst analyzing your sleep, making recommendations about how to improve it.49.2% of all online purchases on the Monday before Christmas were made on Amazon. See here.
  • More Amazon love, this time for Alexa, which this piece believes is still the best voice offering around. (Lots of great examples in there.)
  • Quartz claims that sports has outgrown any other retail category for the third year in a row.
  • Founder and CEO of Trunk Club, Brian Spaly, has left the company three years after selling it to Nordstrom. It will be now be led by Nordstrom Rack’s Terry Boyle.
  • The bag maker Herschel will introduce men’s and women’s apparel.
  • Target will soon launch ’Art Class’ a range aimed at the 86m teens and tweens of Generation Z. It has been co-designed by 14 year-olds like Mercer Henderson (click here to feel like an under-achiever), and looks to tap into a $600bn sector.
  • The second wave of sCommerce has seemingly died as consumers fail to be enamored by the ‘buy button’, largely because the process is clunky.
  • Nike, Reebok, and adidas have each issued intriguing adverts. Nike are trying to move away from its ‘performance first’ stance, whereas Reebok is rooting itself entirely in that heartland (despite having a link to street through ‘Classic’). adidas continues to innovate, playing on its ‘Originals’ name to promote a series of cultural game changers. The link back to ‘heritage’ is created via the choice of music, ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra.
  • Wal-Mart have discontinued their ‘Prime’ style service, claiming that 2 days is what people expect, so they should not charge them.
  • This video might be quite low-grade but it outlines Intel’s vision for the future of in-store retail – such as knitting sweaters on-site in a printer-like fashion. Neat.
  • On the flip side, Google and BMW are investing in virtual reality shopping with VR showrooms.
  • Snapchat has had another redesign. FYI.
  • Facebook are trying to tackle fake news, including adding a self-regulation ’Flag’ option.
  • This is a great: Google’s Android app saves searches that you make whilst offline and runs them as soon as you get service.
  • McDonald’s have created an app, which, once downloaded, helps viewers find limited edition bottles of Big Mac sauce. They are given away on a first-come-first-serve basis, as long as you utter the words ‘There’s a Big Mac for that’ (to the server).
  • If you liked the animator who upgraded his son’s everyday adventures then you might enjoy this father’s effort – he used a tiny camera to create a virtual reality walk-through of his daughter’s doll’s house for her. It’s the little things…