Stylus no longer supports Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9. Please upgrade to IE 11, Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge. This will ensure you have the best possible experience on the site.
Clear All Filters
Filter By:
Consumer Lifestyle
Consumer Product
Food, Beverage & Hospitality (954)
Fashion (767)
Beauty (295)
Product Design (936)
Colour & Materials (704)
Consumer Engagement
Media & Marketing (1187)
Published: 20 Oct 2017

Neiman Marcus Taps Expo Retailing

Neiman Marcus & Indie Beauty Expo

US luxury department store Neiman Marcus’s new beauty initiative ShopTheExpo (October 20-21) embraces the trend for expo retailing, as detailed in Beta Blends: Dexterous & Dynamic Store Design. It’s a phenomenon where the insatiable social-media-driven appetite for newness and insider info is fuelling store concepts resembling micro exhibitions or incubators, both temporary and permanent.

The concept has been created in partnership with the Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) – an industry event founded in 2015 to support independent brands and their entrepreneur founders. Hosted at Neiman Marcus’s Dallas flagship, the two-day event will give consumers access to 15 little-known but potentially cult beauty brands from all over the globe. Shoppers will also be able to meet the founders, catering to consumers’ increasing desire for more candid brand connections (see Exploiting Insider Access and Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive: New Brand Spaces).

While the indie beauty segment is growing swiftly, it still only accounts for 10% of US beauty spending, according to IBE’s co-founder Nader Naeymi-Rad. This way, IBE and its chosen15 get to enjoy big-brand exposure without sacrificing their ‘outsider’ status, while Neiman Marcus can revel in the credibility of associating with less predictable brands. 

The genesis of the concept, which taps into a booming appetite for under-the-radar beauty and fragrance (see Indie Beauty Trends 2017), can be traced back to the B2C Retail Trade Show Trend, where industry-only events began opening to the public. The full list of participating brands is available here.

See also Beauty Flagships.

Published: 18 Oct 2017

Live Retail & AR Upgrades: Drapers Fashion Forum 2017

Mei Chen, Ali Baba at Drapers Fashion Forum

British fashion industry publication Drapers’ Fashion Forum took place last week (October 12). Focusing on bringing the in-store experience into the home, the allure of ‘live commerce’ and new ways to empower staff, we highlight key tactics revealed by three major brands.

Lush Cosmetics: Trading on AI & AR

British cosmetics brand Lush is exploring ways to reboot both its physical stores and out-of-shop services for digitally savvy consumers. Mike West, Lush’s finance business partner, discussed how it’s working with Google on developing smart shops.

  • Lush Lens: The company is currently building a prototype augmented reality (AR) app called Lush Lens (separate to its core e-commerce app), which uses image recognition to identify products in-store. The app conveys the brand’s eco-smart stance by minimising packaging –thanks to the way it registers products rather than on-pack visuals to give information on ingredients and tips for usage. A demo also suggested a potential gamified element. Clues for specific products appear on screen; when the user hovers their device over the correct item, points are given (presumably redeemable against purchases, although while still in beta mode, there is no facility to purchase).

For more on using direct image recognition in-store, see Amazon Go’s Checkout-Free Stores. 

Mike West, Lush at Drapers Fashion Forum
Lush Lens
  • Lush Concierge: It’s also working on a virtual shopping assistant named Lush Concierge, with different versions for staff and consumers. The bot-based service answers questions on products, stock levels and sales. Both apps are designed to be used in and out of store. See also Concierge Commerce and Tech Flex: Retail’s Omni-Era Workforce.
  • Trading on the Internet of Things (IoT): West revealed Lush is also exploring providing IoT-enabled home-based services to extend the experience beyond stores. For instance – in the future, if someone hovers their AR app over a product such as a bath bomb, their internet-connected lights would automatically switch to a relaxing setting, while their speakers would play a Lush playlist conceived to enhance the scent of that product.

For more on the growth of IoT-enabled retail services, see Wraparound Retail: IoT-Enabled Engagement.

Lush Concierge

Alibaba: China’s E-Boom & The Seduction of Live Streaming

Mei Chen, international business development lead at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, outlined the latest stats on the growing Chinese market, as well as its accompanying strategies.

  • Internet Use Growth: China now has 731 million internet users shopping online, more than double the entire US population. A further 60 million are getting on board each year – the equivalent of adding another UK market every 12 months.

  • Singles Day Maxes Out on Mobile: Chinese Singles Day – an annual Valentine's-style homage to single people held on November 11 – generated $178bn worth of sales for Alibaba in 2016 in just 24 hours. More than 80% of the transactions were completed on mobile phones, rising to 90% for fashion purchases. See also China & Beyond: Singles Day Goes Omni-Channel.

  • Live Streaming: Chen also highlighted the growing popularity of live streaming in China. She highlighted US cosmetics brand Maybelline, which partnered with Chinese celebrity Angela Yeung Wing (aka Angelababy) to launch a new lip gloss in 2016. The live stream – which involved the actress and other influencers trying and discussing different products – was hosted on Chinese video-sharing app Meipai. The broadcast attracted five million views, selling 10,000 units in two hours. For more on live commerce, see Reflexive Retail: Live, Emotional & On-Demand and State of Mobile: Global Youth Focus
Mei Chen, Ali Baba at Drapers Fashion Forum
Singles Day, Ali Baba

Matches Re-Engineers Customer Experience

British luxury fashion e-tailer Matches outlined its approach to customer experience, with a focus on staff training as well as providing a smooth phygital experience.

  • Upgrading Shop-Floor Software: Global customer experience director Ines Lareo said Matches had recently increased efforts to provide teams with better information and shop-floor tools. For instance, store associates can now access consumers’ purchase histories on store tills using contact details or the customer’s name. They can also communicate with associates in other stores while on the shop floor via iPads, speeding up the process of finding products or information. 
Ines Lareo, Matches Fashion at Drapers Fashion Forum
Matches Fashion
Published: 16 Oct 2017

Effort & Emotion: Shopper Brain Conference, 2017

Shopperbrain conference

Held in Amsterdam on October 5-6, the Shopper Brain Conference revealed some fascinatingly counterintuitive consumer insights. Unexpected emotional triggers, making things harder to boost engagement alongside brand perception, and the best ways to use scent, were among the key themes. We spotlight the top tactics. 

Introduce Effort: Hard Work Creates Satisfaction

Speakers acknowledged that consumers love brands that make things easy for them when ‘mission’ shopping. However, in the instant-gratification era, having to make an effort is increasingly accompanied by the perception of an elevated brand experience.

  • “Mindless” interactions bred by purely convenience-based commerce could lead to consumers devaluing products, said Andra Mageruson, senior business psychologist at UK insight consultancy The Innovationbubble. She cited a project where a loan company using this insight added more steps to its loan application process – leading to a sales increase of 15%. The extra effort was equated with brand rigour, making the company appear more trustworthy.
Shopperbrain conference
Effort in retail

Emotional Triggers: Go Against the Grain

Emotional brand-consumer connections are crucial to creating lasting bonds. However, several speakers highlighted how retailers are frequently missing the mark – because the triggers that work aren’t always the ones that are expected.

  • Frank Butler, founder of German marketing consultancy Success Drivers, cited a campaign by British antihistamine brand Clarityn. The expectation here, said Butler, was that the most effective emotional trigger to focus on would be the pain of experiencing allergies and/or the relief of the symptoms disappearing. But consumer associative tests (revealing subconscious reactions rather than outwardly held opinions) revealed the biggest emotional response was generated by an ad that made a joke of how symptoms can incapacitate sufferers, leading to calamitous situations such as walking into things or falling over.
  • Mageruson pinpointed British holiday agency Thomas Cook, which wanted to explore how people really felt about its brand. Psychological research similar to associative testing found that while people say they want adventure and excitement from a holiday, what they crave even more is security and comfort.

    Additionally, it was often revealed to be more basic factors – such as hygiene, quality of bed linen and towels, presence of lifeguards and friendly reception staff – that were critical to influencing customer satisfaction. The research also highlighted that the weeks just prior to holidaying are when consumers’ emotions run highest.

    As a result, Thomas Cook launched Shark Boy – an advertising campaign subtly focusing on basic factors such as a quiet pool and lifeguard presence without sacrificing the feeling of pre-holiday excitement. Such insights are key to subliminal messaging.

    The brand is also working on a pre-holiday planning and support tool, due to launch in multiple countries by late 2017.
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook

Sensory Stimulation: Capitalising on Scent

The importance of engaging multiple senses to boost the intensity of an experience (and positive reactions to it) is well documented. But it was scent – the least-explored sense to date in commercial terms – which was speakers’ key focus.

  • Andy Myers, a consultant at British consumer insights agency Walnut, described a 2017 experiment designed to understand the effect of scent on an experience. Participants took part in a range of virtual reality experiences: some went skiing or base-jumping, while others went for a walk through the woods or along the beach. Physiological responses were measured on a heart rate monitor. Half enjoyed a purely visual experience, while the other half had the addition of a corresponding scent.

    The experiment showed a 38% increase in the physiological response of those whose experience included the scent. This effect that was far stronger among those experiencing ‘calmer’ activities such as the beach visit, prompting a 91% increase in their physiological response compared to those without the scent. This indicates that when other sensory elements – such as visuals or movements – are more extreme, scent is less important in creating a fully encompassing experience. This renders scent concepts more important for brands seeking to create a calm, soothing atmosphere.

    See Enhanced Retail Realities and Virtual Added Value for more on commercialising sensory experiences.
Scent's role in experience
Scent's role in experience
Published: 13 Oct 2017

Contextual Immersion: John Lewis’ Live-In Retail Experience

With consumers increasingly responsive to the reassurance of trying products pre-purchase (see Contextual Commerce), the ongoing trend for selling within domestic settings continues apace. The latest and most extravagant example comes from British department store John Lewis, which has established a pop-up apartment in its London Oxford Street flagship, inviting visitors to sleep over or host 10-person dinner parties, free of charge.

Called The Residence, the open-plan apartment features a fully stocked kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom, indoor terrace and office equipped with relevant products. All are available to buy on the day (or night). To purchase, concierges help to locate products in store or guests complete the process themselves using iPads.

Participants are chosen at random after applying via in-store concierge teams.

Overnight guests choose not only the bedding, bedside table and robes they want for the space but also the books, newspapers, beauty products and even the items in their breakfast hamper the next morning. Similarly, dinner party hosts select the tableware and dishes, with food and cocktails then prepared on site by a private chef and mixologist. Five groups will test each concept.

Participants receive an additional hour-long after-hours shopping experience with a personal shopper.

While the flagship concept gives a full-spectrum taste of the brand’s entire proposition (food, fashion, beauty, homeware, technology etc.), truncated versions have also popped up in its Cambridge and Liverpool locations (UK), hosting a two-hour brunch for six people.

The concept, which echoes that of Ikea’s Warsaw apartment (see our blog), runs until October 18.

See also The Rise of the Shoppable Apartment.

Published: 11 Oct 2017

Beyond-Product Pop-Up Stores

Selfridges X Miranda July

Two UK department stores have recently launched pop-ups that seek to push beyond promoting products or even the brands behind the spaces. Instead, they’re making grander social statements – reframing the purpose of transient brand spaces in the process. 

  • Selfridges Rallies Around Religious Inclusivity: Selfridges has collaborated with US filmmaker and artist Miranda July and London arts organisation Artangel on an interfaith charity pop-up that comments on the need for inclusivity, integration and borderless support. It unites four faith-based London charity shops: Islamic Relief, Norwood Jewish Charity Shop, London Buddhist Centre Charity Shop, and Spitalfields Crypt Trust Charity Shop (a Christian organisation).

    The space resembles a standard charity shop, with plain white walls and jumble-sale-style merchandising. The store sells a mismatch of high street and designer clothes – all retailing at charity-shop prices. Committed to authenticity, the sales associates also come from the four original charity shops. It runs until October 22.

  • Harvey Nichols Celebrates ‘Hybrid’ Japan: Harvey Nichols has partnered with Japanese fashion brand Beams on a pop-up at its London flagship, conceived to give Londoners a flavour of Japan’s famously hybridised (ancient-meets-ultra contemporary) culture. Called Tokyojin and based on a “current and real-life perspective on Japan”, it offers a six-week series of live music events and Japanese art workshops. There’s also a Japanese-inspired café serving food and whisky cocktails, plus a handful of Beams-curated Japanese fashion labels in addition to its in-house brands. It runs until October 17.

    For more on such concepts, see Retail’s Activist Brands, Next-Level Department Store Strategies and Pop-Ups Evolve: Cultural Collisions.
Published: 9 Oct 2017

Shoesie Updates E-Customisation


Brand new British software platform Shoesie is aiming to make footwear customisation such as that seen at NikeID or Australian label Shoes of Prey a realistic proposition for brands unable to invest in expensive proprietary tech or internal resources.  

The software, which launches today in tandem with Japanese sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu, is designed to deliver an easy-to-integrate solution for any e-tailer. It allows consumers to change the colour or material of component parts of the shoe (ie. the sole or the tongue) depending on the options the brand has enabled.

Giving brands entry-level access to the customisation phenomenon, there’s also an opportunity to add embroidered initials or letters to some parts of the shoe – with fulfilment in that instance only requiring a minimal change to stock products, not the overhaul of entire designs.

The accompanying digital dashboard supplied to brands also offers significant rewards by shining a starker spotlight on consumer behaviours. Every single interaction is logged.

“This is likely to create enhanced design decisions, better stock allocation and the data we’ll be getting from multiple brands will give insight on consumer demand and trends across a broad range of footwear,” says Shoesie co-founder Simeon Bird. 

With the global footwear market set to grow at a rate of almost 2% between 2017-2021 (Research & Markets, 2017), such concepts provide a major opportunity to make headway in the sector.

See also Customisation-Courting Flagships and Luxury Product Customisation Boom.

For more on the overarching need to liaise with consumers on a more flexible basis, see Reflexive Retail: Live, Emotional & On-Demand – part of our Liquid Retail Industry Trend.

Published: 3 Oct 2017

Dutch Cheese Shop Boosts Sales with Live Stream

Kaan’s Kaashandel

Tapping into the increasingly lucrative phenomenon of ‘live commerce’ (see Reflexive Retail: Live, Emotional and On-Demand, part of our Liquid Retail Industry Trend), independent artisanal Dutch cheese shop Kaan’s Kaashandel has launched a live-stream store in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.

The technology, which is being trialled for five days via the brand’s website, effectively brings online consumers into the bustling store and allows them to converse with assistants and buy cheese, as if they were there in person.  

Clicking on a designated icon enables customers to type a question into the live chat box, with staff then able to respond by talking to an in-store camera, providing advice on things such as taste or recipes. On-screen information about any of the cheeses on the counter is available by hovering a cursor over them during the live stream. 

To purchase a cheese on display, customers simply click on it on screen to add it to their basket, before going through e-checkout as usual. They can then watch store staff prepare their order for them (see also Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive: New Brand Spaces).

Dutch bank ABN AMRO is sponsoring the trial, which is designed to see what increased online visibility and service does for the store’s sales and engagement rates.

The project channels a growing demand for live and real-time e-experiences. Consumers increasingly want their questions answered on the spot: 63% of global consumers say they are more likely to return to a site that offers live chat (Skilled, 2016), but which still has the atmosphere and service associated with in-store shopping.

Published: 2 Oct 2017

Subscription Meal Kits for New Mums


UK healthy restaurant and delivery company The Detox Kitchen has collaborated with London-based nutritionist and food influencer Amelia Freer to launch a meal-delivery service for busy new mums called Mama.

For £39.95 ($54) per day, new and breastfeeding mothers will receive a meal box containing foods rich in nutrients such as iron, magnesium and zinc – which are typically low in post-birth mums.

The daily package includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and juices. Dishes include spinach and butter-bean dip with carrot crudités, and king prawns with coconut dhal and broccoli rice. Juices include beetroot, ginger, celery and apple. Subscribers can also add a meal for their partner for added convenience.

Detox Kitchen co-founder Lily Simpson was inspired to create the Mama home delivery service after discovering the mixed nutritional messages mums often receive after childbirth.

This package is a key example of how brands are recognising the potential of targeting new mums with a more integrated and holistic approach to self-care, as recently discussed in Natal Nutrition: Fertility to First Foods. See also Retail Concepts Nurturing New Parents, Marketing to New Parents and Bringing Up Baby: Beauty's Essential Role.

For more on nurturing young families, see Millennial Mums: Feeding Families and Meal Kits for Babies. For more on subscription retailing, see Membership & Tiered Retailing: Key Strategies.

Published: 2 Oct 2017

SoulCycle: Lessons in Cult Branding


Speaking at this year’s edition of the International Retail Design Conference (see our full coverage here), cult US fitness brand SoulCycle discussed strategies for success transferrable to retailers. Acknowledging the shift towards an experientially led economy and the value of ultra-supportive staffing systems, here are its four key guidelines.

  • Ignore Brand Guidelines: Its high-intensity classes are all different, with class leaders encouraged to shun brand guidelines; instructors curate their own music, lighting, dialogue and choreography. The same autonomy, it suggested, could be transferred to store managers.
  • Talent Agency: Understanding the Insta-era power of making staff your strongest brand advocates, it supports its instructors in becoming public figures, including helping them to get book deals. See also Superhero Staff.
  • Lead by Reclaiming ‘Dead Corners’: Its best-performing space (1,000 riders a day at $20 a ticket) is located on a dead corner on New York’s Upper East Side – a risk that massively paid off. The success has since initiated a wellness boom in the surrounding area, spurring juice bars and athleisure stores, which continue to fuel SoulCycle’s profits. See also Urban Revitalisation in IRDC 2017.
  • Fast-Revolving Retail: All of its spaces now include minimalistic retail areas for branded merchandise which, according to Alan Cooke, the brand’s vice-president of design, “is performing tremendously well”. Key to the success, says Cooke, is newness – three “waves” of product are introduced every month.

SoulCycle’s studios are designed by Californian agency Retail Design Collaborative.

For more on experientially biased retailing, see Rise of the Exploratorium, Samsung 837, Sonos Experiential Flagship and Nike’s Immersive Fitness Experience

Published: 27 Sep 2017

Internet Retailing Conference, 2017: Preview

Internet Retailing

This year’s Internet Retailing Conference, taking place in London on October 5, is set to tackle best practice and future strategies for successful e-commerce. A host of brands, experts and tech providers will discuss topics including consumer profiling innovations, future-scoping international retailing, and seducing next-gen shoppers.

The event will be split across four core areas: Analyse & Conquer, Adapt & Expand, Create & Innovate and Stand Up & Deliver. Here’s what’s on the horizon:

  • Building Long-Term Loyalty: Kieron Smith, digital director of UK bookstore group Blackwell’s, will divulge the methods of analysis being used to understand its consumers, and subsequent innovations to support their long-term retention.
  • Cross-Border Purchasing & International Insights: Georges Berzgal is vice-president and managing director of global e-commerce at British software company Pitney Bowes. He promises to reveal the latest trends in consumer behaviour, future projections for cross-border e-commerce (consumers from one country purchasing from a retailer in another), and what it takes for retailers to succeed internationally.
  • Tech Reshaping Retail: Alastair Stirling, industry head of retail at Google, will guide delegates through the technologies set to redefine the shape of retail as we know it, and how Google is feeding into those innovations. He’ll also pinpoint those brands already making headway in this area.  
  • Elevating e-Delivery: Edward Osborne, head of direct-to-customer operations at British department store John Lewis, will discuss the future of consumer service when it comes to fulfilment – increasingly a deal-breaker in brand relationships.

Stylus' head of Retail, Katie Baron, will also be presenting our brand new Industry Trend Liquid Retail for the first time in public (use the code STYLUS on booking to receive a 15% discount).

See also Retail Week Live, 2017 and Shoptalk 2017

Published: 25 Sep 2017

Tech Show 2017: Advanced Bots & Brain-Interfacing Retail

Advanced bots and brain computer interfaces

Spotlighting the growing importance of live, conversational and more intuitive forms of real-time commerce, UK trade publication Retail Week’s inaugural Tech conference took place in London last week (September 13-14). Tackling both here-and-now and futuristic concepts driven by artificial intelligence (AI), key developments include the prospect of brain-controlled interfaces and robots. Here are the highlights.

  • Individualised Fashion Advice Upgrades Service Bot: UK fashion e-tailer Very’s retail and technology director Jon Rudoe revealed that the company is working with IBM’s Watson AI software to upgrade its bot-based Assistant app, launched late 2016. The evolved service will respond directly to consumer’s questions to provide individualised fashion advice, such as which shoes suit a specific outfit. At present, the bot only deals with more basic ‘pick from a menu’-type queries such as the tracking of a parcel or handling returns, easing pressure on customer service staff. 
  • Shoppers Search, Brands Get to Look On: Tracy Issel, general manager of worldwide retail at Microsoft, shared its plans to launch interactive AI bot Cami with British electronics brand Dixons Carphone in November 2017. Cami will let customers check what’s in stock, help them research big-ticket purchases such as TVs or white goods by asking questions, and autonomously find and save specific products to their online profile. It will also allow store staff to see what each customer has been searching for, giving them a realistic idea of what’s building momentum.  
  • Dawn of ‘Brain-Computer’ Interfaces: Naji El-Arifi, head of innovation at British strategic marketing agency Salmon, discussed the more futuristic evolution of real-time retail. He flagged Facebook’s 2017 development work on a “brain-computer interface” that allows users to type 100 words per minute using just their minds, without invasive implants. Instead, the team plans to use optical imaging to scan the brain 100 times per second to detect ‘internal speaking’ and translate it into text.  It’s currently working on the project with universities including UC San Francisco, UC Berkley, John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Washington University School of Medicine.

    Facebook isn’t the only organisation exploring brain-computer interfaces. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Boston University are developing a brain-controlled robot  using data from an electoencephalography (EEG) monitor that records brain activity. The aim, says CSAIL director Daniela Rus, is to instigate actions instantaneously without needing to type or even speak a command – “a streamlined approach that would improve our ability to supervise factory robots and driverless cars, and other technologies we haven’t even invented yet”. Such concepts could fuel some of the ideas pinpointed in Retail: Workforce Tech Innovations, 2017.

    In spring 2017, US tech entrepreneur and PayPal founder Elon Musk founded Neuralink to explore this form of computing. Its first application is in medicine, helping people who are paralysed or have motor difficulties. But the technology could potentially unlock new possibilities in the growing realm of shopping via ambient interfaces – even transcending voice-activated concepts. For example, it could allow someone to order more coffee simply by consciously thinking it. However, while investment in the area is growing, the technology is several years away from being robust enough to operate in a commercial or home environment.

For more on conversational commerce and live retail concepts, see Reflexive Retail, part of our Liquid Retail Industry Trend. See also AI-First Engagement in our Invisible Marketing Industry Trend.

Published: 22 Sep 2017

E-Services Get Physical: Square’s Support-Centric Store

Square Showroom

US payment processing tech company Square is strengthening its relationship with growing businesses by giving its relatively intangible services a physical touchpoint: a support-centric showroom in SoHo, New York.

Called Square Showroom, the ‘store’ lets customers test new hardware and software products in an intimate setting alongside company representatives. Additionally, it provides on-site training, demonstrations and troubleshooting for specific products, plus one-on-one brand consultations to help prospective clients determine which payment solutions (both online and offline) best suit their needs.

It will also host sponsored events and business workshops to witness first-hand how retailers use its products, facilitating more comprehensive R&D (for more on this, see Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive and our forthcoming report Beta Blends: Dynamic & Dexterous Design, publishing September 25), while testing the waters for further showrooms.

Adding contextual weight to the concept, the flagship also carries a curated selection of products from eight partnered businesses – brands presently using Square, such as independent jewellery makers and product designers – which will be updated monthly. It’s open by appointment only on weekdays, and to the public on weekends.

It’s not the only concept to translate an entirely online experience into the physical realm this month. Japanese messaging app Line has opened a toy store called Line Friends in New York’s Times Square to promote the brand’s emoji-like characters and establish its presence in the US market. 

For more on the value of brands providing greater support systems for consumers, see Purchasing Peace of Mind in The Supportive Sell.

See also Tactics for Retailing Tech and Active Flagships.

Published: 20 Sep 2017

Benefactor Brands: Tiffany’s Studiomakers Plan Backs Artists

Tiffany's Studiomakers

US jewellery brand Tiffany & Co. has jumped into the growing pool of brands taking a socially active stance by launching an international artists support programme Outset, which is kicking off in London.

Seven London artists (all MA graduates from major London colleges) will receive rent-free studio space and may get an opportunity to work with Tiffany on pieces for its London stores. The move responds to London becoming prohibitively expensive for young artists to live and work in, despite its heritage as a hub for experimental creative talent.

“London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. There’s a big disconnect between the cost of living and being an artist here,” said Richard Moore, Tiffany’s British-born vice-president and creative director of store design and visual merchandising.

Moore inferred that more arts-backing initiatives are to come, continuing a core brand legacy. Louis Comfort Tiffany, the brand’s inaugural design director (1902), was a leader of the Art Nouveau movement, while in the 1950s its head of design, Gene Moore, commissioned then-fledgling artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to create window displays. Tiffany also sponsored the 2017 Whitney Biennial, spotlighting contemporary American artists.

Beyond illustrating brand generosity and artistic legacy, Outset also highlights Tiffany’s ongoing rebrand, from stalwart of the traditional jewellery scene to modern label. See Tiffany & Co. Rebrands Via Pop-Up and Same-Sex Tiffany Ad Fuels Rebrand.

For more on localised social advocacy, see Selfridges Launches Music Venue, Local Matters and Retail’s Activist Brands.

See also Jewellery Retail’s New Horizons

Published: 18 Sep 2017

Lego House Experience Hub & Fan Centre Leverages Play


Danish toy giant Lego is epitomising the rising trend for store HQs – brand hubs that blend internal practice with fan culture – with the impending launch (September 28) of its play-centric Lego House experience centre at its headquarters in Billund, Denmark.

Designed by acclaimed Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group, the multi-storey complex is a very literal visual manifestation of the brand – comprised of a stacking configuration of 21 white brick-like spaces with primary coloured tops.  

Echoing Adidas’ Runbase Berlin space (see Membership & Tiered Retailing), much of the venue requires tickets (€20/$24). These give guests access to six experience zones focused on four key play-focused learning competences: creative, social, emotional and cognitive.

The first floor’s Red Zone deals in creativity, with expert-led creative labs that encourage fans to submit product ideas (see Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive). The Green Zone is focused on social activity, allowing fans to co-direct films populated by Lego characters. In the Blue Zone, cognitive abilities are stimulated – with visitors able to engineer cities and robots. Emotions take centre stage in the Yellow Zone, prompting kids to scan Lego brick fish creations (devised to elicit a sense of empathy) and follow them in a digital fish tank.

Visitors without a ticket can still get involved, accessing outdoor playgrounds on nine staggered terraces, viewing fan-built Lego ‘masterpieces’ in the top floor gallery, or visiting the ground floor’s store, three restaurants, events atrium and 2,000 sq m public square.

Lego expects approximately 250,000 guests per year.

See also Kids-Centric Commerce and Beta Blends: Dynamic & Dexterous Design, publishing September 25.

Published: 14 Sep 2017

Scent, Emotions & the Subconscious: Shopper Brain Conference

Shopper Brain Conference

The Shopper Brain Conference, to be held in Amsterdam from October 5-6 2017, promises to explore the intersection between retail and consumer-centric neuroscience. Topics will include the hidden psychological drivers behind purchasing behaviour in a digitised, multichannel era, and the best ways to build emotional attachment.

Here are some of our most anticipated sessions:

  • Scent in a Virtual World: Andy Myers, director at UK neuro-marketing consultancy Walnut, will speak about the role of scent in improving retail experiences, including how it can be used in conjunction with virtual reality, and what a multisensory approach means for the future of physical retail environments. 
  • Psychology of Seamlessness: Ana Iorga, founder & chief neuroscientist of UK consultancy Buyer Brain, will delve into the psychology behind the growing demand for seamless, low-hassle retail experiences.
  • Motivational Levers: Frank Buckler, chief executive of German strategy consultancy Success Drivers, will discuss Artificial Creativity, a project deploying machine learning to uncover the best emotional levers for different consumer groups. It found, for instance, that the best way to sell products to mothers is to talk about their intelligence, rather than focusing on their children, as might be expected.

  • Emotional Intelligence: Liraz Margalit, head of behavioural research at US digital customer experience agency Clicktale, will focus on online shopping and the current psychology behind it. She will explain how to use data and non-verbal signals, including emotion recognition tech, to build a more cohesive, in-depth picture of a consumer’s state of mind.

Full coverage will be published on October 16.

TOPICS: Retail