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Published: 13 Jul 2018

Casino & L’Oréal Launch New Convenience Store

Le Drugstore Parisien

Convenience stores – and, most recently, drugstores – are the latest retail category to undergo a reinvention. We highlight an innovative concept that’s the result of an unusual partnership between France’s Casino Group and beauty giant L'Oréal: a new urban take on the convenience store. 

Le Drugstore Parisien stocks everything from beauty and pharmacy products to healthy snacks and treats. It also provides free wi-fi, phone-charging points, water fountains, shoe-shine machines, parcel pick-up points, sinks and dressing tables, and even a “light therapy area”.

The target market of the new retail concept is the urban young, for whom “the lines between work, culture and fun are being blurred, creating a new way of living”, according to Jean Paul Mochet, chief executive of convenience banners at the Casino Group. Around 55% of products are priced at under €10.

The first two stores opened in late June in Paris on rue de la Chaussee d’Antin (360 sq m) and rue du Bac (150 sq m). A third is planned for the city, with a view to roll out the concept to other European locations and possibly even Brazil and Colombia, where Casino Group has subsidiaries.

Jean-Charles Naouri, chairman of Casino Group, hailed the launch as proof “that major companies are able to come together to invent and create unique, original places in line with contemporary lifestyles”.

For more on the changing face of convenience retail, read Corner Shop as Wellness Haven, while Nordstrom’s New Local Concept gives a glimpse into service-led retailing.

Published: 11 Jul 2018

MakeUp in Paris 2018: Top 5 Trends


From extreme colour to unisex make-up, the 2018 edition of annual cosmetics and packaging trade show MakeUp in Paris (June 21-22) highlighted strong beauty directions, with brands and formulators prioritising sustainability with sex appeal.

Here are the top five trends from the show:

  • Advanced Colour Cosmetics: Some of the most exciting launches showcased make-up with added skincare benefits. Italian cosmetics developer Ancorotti launched an entire eye collection with products that tapped into this. Mascara Electra, for example, boasts a formula containing an active ingredient called Blue Lock to protect the lashes against damage from the blue light emitted from smartphone and laptop screens.

    For more on pollutant-protective product and the growing importance of this category in both make-up and skincare, see Agile Beauty and Pollution Protection Update.
  • Extreme Colour: Colour cosmetic developers were keen to showcase new launches that tapped into extreme and dynamic colour. A standout product line came from German brand Weckerle. Its UV Collection of lip liners, lipsticks and a mascara offers bold colours that glow bright blue under UV light – ideal for young, music-loving consumers.

    Bold metallics also fall under this category, with brands like US pharmaceutical company Merck, international chemicals producer BASF, and US cosmetics business Presperse showing advanced pigments with holographic and enhanced light reflection. An example of finished product showing the appeal of molten metallics was German brand Gotha Cosmetics’ award-winning Metal Foil Eye Cream.

    Holographic visuals were also seen in beauty accessories, such as the bright make-up bag showcased by German developer Geka.
  • Sustainability Push: Unlike previous years, sustainable and ethical credentials were key drivers for new product development, in line with growing consumer demand for eco-friendly beauty. More simplistic initiatives, like French manufacturer Alkos’s solid shampoo and perfume bars, tap into the success of British natural brand Lush’s solid products. And Italian packaging manufacturer Mktg Industry launched its Gea Collection of cardboard beauty packaging featuring minimal, but nonetheless recyclable, plastic.

    More technically impressive examples of sustainability were seen in French developer Cosmogen’s new sustainable raw material PCR, which behaves like plastic and can replace most, if not 100%, of the material in the brand’s packaging portfolio.

    German brand Schwan Cosmetics showcased its eco-friendly range of beauty pencils. They’re made from renewable wood using an industry-first technology that allows high-quality formulas to be encased in wood without degrading quickly. For more on the latest in eco beauty, see The Great Beauty Green-Up.
MKTG Industry
  • Velvet Allure: From a formula perspective, the texture of choice this year was velvet. Numerous raw cosmetics developers highlighted the appeal of velvet finishes that combine the pigment payoff of matte with the comfort of gloss or cream finishes.

    The beauty division of German pen and pencil manufacturer Faber Castell introduced Velvet Delight – a glide-on lipstick with a velvety, matte finish that is pigment-rich and lasts for up to six hours.

    According to the brand, it doesn’t dry out the lips as many long-wear matte formulas can, but still retains their non-feathering, transfer-resistant appeal. Enriched with Panthenol (a form of vitamin B5 used as a moisturiser and lubricating compound), the product glides on like butter, but stays put.
  • Unisex Appeal: As we explore in The Male Beauty Moment  and Asian Beauty Now: New Markets, New Ideas, men are becoming more open to the idea of using make-up. But there is still only a handful of brands creating product that’s aimed at them, or marketing their offerings as unisex.

    In response, Ancorotti is introducing an entire unisex range of make-up products that could appeal to all genders, with the aim of inspiring men to express themselves. The Skin Wears Silk powder, for example, can be used by women to finish off their make-up look, while men (who tend to have oilier, and therefore shinier skin) can use it on its own to mattify.
Faber Castell
Published: 9 Jul 2018

Is Smell-O-Vision the Next VR Frontier?

VR smell-o-vision

Virtual reality (VR) is plunging consumers into multisensory environments, impacting industries from product development to entertainment. Now, Swiss scent and flavour house Givaudan has added scent to the equation with its new 'Smell-In-A-Box' technology.

Launching at San Francisco conference Food IT in June 2018, Givaudan has created a smell emitter that releases fragrances that align with visuals projected through a VR headset. The version showcased at the event placed wearers in a virtual kitchen, with the scent emitter releasing the smells of different ingredients as they appeared within the space. These included bananas, strawberries, onions and garlic.

This technology, which has scope for cross-industry impact, is exciting for several reasons. In terms of food and drink, it further validates thinking around VR-enhanced dining experiences and product development first put forward in our report Sensory Edibles. It could also be used in the entertainment space – allowing gamers and film viewers to become even more fully immersed in virtual worlds via the addition of olfactory stimulation.

For further examples of how product developers are using scent to enhance the consumer experience, see New Fragrance Worlds and Scented Cup Simulates Flavour. See also Tribeca Immersive 2018: The Art of AR/VR and CES 2018 x Retail: Emotion-Tracking VR Headset to discover more on the rapid and evolving growth of VR products across the industry spectrum.

Published: 9 Jul 2018

Lush Launches Inclusive, Packaging-Free Foundation Worldwide

Following the opening of Lush’s packaging-free store in Milan, the brand has pledged to further develop its eco-friendly range with an inclusive twist.  

British naturals brand Lush is expanding its make-up line with vegan multi-tonal foundation sticks – set to launch in 18 countries. The compact Slap Sticks are available in 40 hues with cool, neutral or warm undertones. Hero ingredients Indonesian coconut oil, Turkish rose wax and Peruvian jojoba oil hydrate and brighten the skin.  

The development of shade-inclusive collections is becoming the norm for the colour cosmetics industry, as savvy beauty brands acknowledge diverse consumer groups. Cult US companies ColourPop and CoverGirl are good examples – both have recently relaunched their foundation ranges with up to 42 hues. 

In a bid to reduce plastic waste, each Slap Stick is housed in a biodegradable wax casing, encouraging wearers to forego traditional glass or plastic foundation bottles. This ‘unpackaged’ approach has been successfully implemented within the brand’s hair and bodycare ranges – currently, over 35% of Lush’s products are ‘naked’.

In addition, the sticks offer on-the-go usability. The easy-grip egg shape of the foundation stick – which resembles a make-up sponge – ensures consumers can apply the make-up with their fingers and blend the formula for an airbrushed finish, without the use of bulky applicator tools.

While currently a limited-edition run, if popular, they could be rolled out as a permanent feature, and inspire the brand to explore more packaging-free product development in other categories.

For deeper insights into sustainable packaging solutions and diversity in the beauty industry, see A Sustainable JourneyThe Great Beauty Green-Up and Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons.

Published: 9 Jul 2018

Selling the Good Stuff: Changing Face of Convenience Retail

The Goods Mart

Convenience stores across the globe are undergoing a healthy transformation, becoming wellness havens that offer fresh, organic food and vegan alternatives. A new West Coast opening – The Goods Mart in Los Angeles – combines sustainability with activism.

Described as the ‘7-Eleven of the future’, organic home essentials are the key product at The Goods Mart – a convenience store that opened in May 2018 in Los Angeles.

The bright space with clean interiors carries 300 all-natural products free from artificial colours, sweeteners, flavours and growth hormones. Partnerships with local businesses result in high-quality items at lower prices, including eco-friendly boxed water for $1.25, and misshapen fruit and vegetables for 50 cents. iPads at the checkout educate consumers on the provenance of products, responding to concerns about transparency in retail.

This is a smart business opportunity, with 68% of US millennials willing to pay premium for organic food (Matchbox, 2017). “The fresh, organic and plant-based movement is not a fad by any means,” says Laura Swain, assistant editor of Food, Beverage & Hospitality at Stylus. “It’s a major trend.”

The Goods Mart also dedicates space to community events and donates food nearing its expiry date to the homeless. Consumers are also encouraged to support local charities by leaving tips at the till.

Serving as a test store, The Goods Mart plans to expand nationally in 2019.

For more on the changing face of the local grocery store, see Shoptalk 2018: Convenience Food Retail and Next-Gen Convenience.

Published: 6 Jul 2018

K-Design Awards: 3 Ways to Add Value in Packaging

Clockwise L-R: Rong Design, EKDP, Rong Design

Now in its seventh year, Korea’s K-Design Awards celebrate the best in spatial, industrial and communication design. We share our three favourite packaging projects and the key learnings they illustrate.

  • Chinese packaging studio Rong Design created a chocolate bar theatrically titled Chocolate the Planet. The top of each bar is moulded to mimic the surface texture of either Mars, Earth or the Moon, and a similar pattern is printed on the inside of the otherwise unassuming packaging.

    Using texture as a canvas elevates goods from the everyday to an experiential indulgence. For more ornate packaging examples, see Packaging Futures: Luxury
  • Also from Rong Design is the Fulu bottle, inspired by the shape of the calabash. In China, this fruit is celebrated as a symbol of good fortune, due to its tough skin making it suitable for use as a vessel. The form of the bottle cinches inwards in the middle, like the fruit, and is tied with a leather strap for easy carrying.

    Here, form is used to add functionality and reference culturally specific images. This creates both a modern and traditional quality that emphasises the product’s practical and symbolic relevance to the targeted consumer. 
  • Korean packaging company EKDP has developed a bottle cap that simplifies plastic recycling. When unscrewing the lid for the first time, rather than breaking away from the bottle top – leaving a small ring around the neck that needs to be cut off to be recycled – the entire cap splits off.

    This simple detail means that one step is eliminated from the recycling process. In a time where sustainability is a must and no longer a nice-to-have, brands need to really consider how design can influence the life of the product beyond consumer use. See Packaging Futures: Sustainability for more.
Published: 3 Jul 2018

The Beverage Buzz: Alcohol-Style THC Drinks

Legal cannabis poses a clear threat to alcohol brands. Now, several companies are developing THC-powered, alcohol-free beverages that look and taste like beer, wine or spirits – positioning cannabis as a direct replacement.

Brands are vying to leverage the newly legal status of recreational cannabis in nine US states and Canada (Canadian legalisation begins in October, but edibles/drinkables will be barred for the first year). They're promoting alcohol-inspired beverages infused with THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) as hangover-free booze alternatives and an easy format for social cannabis consumption. Because the effects of conventional edibles are normally slow to kick in but can last for hours, some producers are also designing their products to mimic the response curve of alcohol.

As explained in A Budding Opportunity: Commercialising Cannabis, different strains of the plant naturally serve as alcohol alternatives for both thrill-seekers and their opposing counterparts, moderate millennials. In Canada, 41% of current/likely recreational cannabis consumers regard it as an alternative to alcohol, according to a new study from Deloitte Canada, which concludes that "all alcohol categories could be affected". A 2017 survey of Californian millennials by local cannabis producer OutCo found 34% would choose cannabis over beer, while 18% would favour it over wine.

We initially discussed this concept in Fluid Flavours, part of our Future of Flavour Industry Trend, pointing to drinks like the alcohol-free sauvignon blanc produced by Rebel Coast Winery in California. Here are five 2018 launches worth tracking:

  • Lagunitas, the California brewery owned by Heineken, has announced an "IPA-inspired" sparkling THC drink called Hi-Fi Hops, described as "bubbly, aromatic, bitter, fruity and herbaceous". Unlike beer, the drink is zero-calorie and carb-free – key selling points. Lagunitas is partnering with cannabis-oil producer ABX, whose infusion method is designed to ensure even dispersion of THC. Packaged in childproof cans, Hi-Fi Hops will come in a 10mg THC version and another containing 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD (the non-psychoactive component). It's set to launch in California this summer.
  • Colorado-based Ceria was launched this year by Keith Villa, former longtime head brewmaster at US brewery Molson Coors' Blue Moon Brewing brand. Villa plans a line of THC drinks that will be brewed like beer and then de-alcoholised. He's working with Colorado cannabinoid research company Ebbu, which has developed formulations intended to produce specific results (from energising to chilling out). The water-soluble formats have the same onset time as alcohol. Villa says the products will be available by year-end. 
  • Toronto start-up Province Brands of Canada plans to launch a line of beers brewed from the cannabis plant itself, plus a non-alcoholic barley-based beer infused with cannabis oil. The drinks will incorporate an accelerant to speed up the onset of intoxicating effects, as well as a proprietary decelerant.
  • Two Roots Brewing, from San Diego-based company Cannabiniers, is preparing a beer that will be de-alcoholised and then infused with micro-doses of THC – enabling consumption of several bottles without overdoing it. The company says the electrolyte-filled non-alcoholic beer is healthy – akin to a sports drink – and that such products will help negate any fears still associated with cannabis edibles. The five varieties (a lager, stout, IPA, blonde ale and wheat beer) will launch initially in Nevada.
  • Toronto-based Tinley Beverage Company is producing alcohol-free, THC-infused coconut rum, amaretto extract and cinnamon whiskey extract, as well as a ready-to-drink “margarita” designed to deliver a level of psychoactive intensity comparable to a traditional cocktail. The drinks are currently sold in California.
Two Roots
Corporate-backed products will be joining these brands on the shelf. After taking a 10% stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth in 2017, Fortune 500 alcohol company Constellation Brands is now developing cannabis-based beverages. Molson Coors is reportedly exploring similar plans in Canada.

Expect more alcohol brands to follow. Americans already believe regular marijuana use is less risky health-wise than regular alcohol consumption (Marist College, 2017). In the recreationally legal era, as cannabis comes to be perceived as a natural wellness product, products like these are likely to supplement or replace their alcoholic counterparts.

Published: 2 Jul 2018

Deciphering the behaviour of all demographic groups is a vital part of our work, and the youngest generations – the connected consumers of the future – are the most crucial for brands to watch.

Aside from being the fastest to adopt new technologies, Gen Z (aged nine to 23) hold great purchase influence in their households. And in terms of personal and social diversity, they’re among the most open and accepting consumer groups we’ve seen.

We’ve just published 10 Youth Trends to Watch, which charts the impact these trends are likely to have on multiple industries. Looking at just three of Gen Z’s polarising behaviours paints a fascinating picture of an enterprising group who are resourceful, mindful and inventive – and looking for brands to support their development in relevant and meaningful ways.

Three-quarters (77%) of 14- to 21-year-old Americans already earn their own money (White Paper, 2017)

Youthful Enterprise

This inspiring new generation of teens has an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit; more than three-quarters (77%) of 14- to 21-year-old Americans already earn their own money. These tech natives are trading cryptocurrencies and turning their social media platforms into mini e-tail economies. And they’re looking for media outlets – like Teen Boss magazine and social network Maverick, both of which provide practical advice for savvy teenpreneurs – to help them build their own brands and learn start-up skills.

16- to 24-year-olds in the UK are over three times more likely to be regularly lonely than over-65s (ONS, 2017)

Connecting Gen Lonely

A mental health crisis is gaining public attention across generations. Alarmingly, despite the perception that Gen Z is socially connected, the Office for National Statistics has found that 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK are over three times more likely to be regularly lonely than over-65s.

We believe there’s a real need for compassionate brands to promote self-care through a number of initiatives like wellbeing apps and products, and community hubs that bring young people together in real life.

Crafting Creative Identities

Further to valuing connection and commerce, Gen Zers seek new forms of self-discovery and ways to express their identity. The beauty sector in particular is responding well with teen- and tween-targeted products that promote creativity, experimentation and diversity – which is also prompting huge industry growth. Brands like Crayola are recognising young people’s self-confidence issues and responding with make-up that encourages them to explore and express their personalities.  

Crayola Beauty

In our Asian Beauty Now Spotlight Trend reports, we’re watching a wave of influence coming from the East in the form of clever teen sub-brands and new formats that cultivate inventive behaviour. From Shiseido’s teen brand Posme, with its addictive shareable make-up stickers of single-dose, multi-use colour for the eyes, cheeks and lips, to South Korean beauty brand Etude House’s in-store Color Factory for developing the ultimate in personalised palettes.

As July gets underway, we’re turning our focus to opportunities for engaging with an older market – ‘the middle-aged gap’. We’re also excited to continue building our psychographic landscape – the seeds of our next Consumer Zodiac. Watch this space.

Have a great month,


Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer

Future of Sneaker Drops: Nike Digitises Queueing Ritual

Waiting in line for limited-edition sneakers is ingrained in sneakerhead culture. However, not every enthusiast is in the city of the drop, or has the time to physically queue. Nike Korea has tackled this challenge by transferring the ritual to the digital realm – making it a global happening.

In April 2018 over the duration of two weeks, sneaker aficionados waited online using avatars in the first ever hashtag queue on Instagram to buy Air Max trainers.

Nike Korea decided to make use of Instagram’s latest feature, which allows users to follow hashtags, by creating #AirMaxLine as a digital waiting area. Fans were invited to visit a website to create and personalise an avatar using hundreds of exclusive characters and items inspired by Korean street culture.

To join the digital queue for the chance to buy, people were asked to share a picture of their avatar on Instagram with the hashtag #AirMaxLine – each avatar doubled as a ticket for an online draw. All avatars were displayed in chronological order on the Instagram feed, as if waiting in line.

More than 80,000 posts were uploaded to Instagram, generating over 15 million impressions, and the sneakers sold out within minutes. See also Monetising Social Media ’18: Five Trends to Watch to find out how to drive purchase via Instagram.

The sneakerhead phenomenon is far from cooling down with sneaker sales constantly growing globally. To get a better grasp of what it is, where it’s coming from and what it will evolve into, check out our spotlight trend Sneakerheads Unboxed.

Published: 18 Jun 2018

Ben & Jerry’s Tax Empowers Shoppers to Offset Carbon Impact

Ben & Jerry's

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about their social and environmental impact, and are on the lookout for brands that are active in those areas. To support its sustainability credentials, US ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s uses blockchain to enable fans to offset their carbon impact by paying an extra penny at the till.

Ben & Jerry’s has collaborated with Maltese non-profit organisation Poseidon Foundation on an ice-cream parlour spot in London. Using blockchain tech, the brand is able to calculate the environmental impact of producing and purchasing a cone of ice cream, and gives consumers the opportunity to rebalance their footprint and actively support action on climate change by buying carbon credits. Ben & Jerry’s has pledged to buy credits for each cone and invites consumers to do so too – when paying at the checkout, the cashier asks consumers if they’d like to add an extra penny to their balance.

Carbon credits are tradable tokens linked to projects which offset the greenhouse gases created by organisations and are usually only sold in massive quantities to corporations. Poseidon splits them up into micro transactions, making them accessible to consumers. Ben & Jerry’s credits are used to support a forestry conservation project at the Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru. Since opening in May, the ice-cream parlour initiative has been able to protect more than 1,000 trees – equivalent to an area the size of 77 tennis courts.

Our reports Retail's Activist Brands and Reframing Sustainability discuss how other brands are supporting action on climate change or educating consumers on conscious consumption.

Published: 14 Jun 2018

Domino’s Fixes Potholes in Pizza Protection Scheme

Fast-food chain Domino's is 'being a bit extra' with a roadworks initiative that ensures a safe final mile for its takeout pizzas – drawing branded attention to US infrastructure issues in the process.

On the Paving for Pizza campaign website, customers can witness what adverse road conditions can do to a pizza bouncing around in its box. To avoid such wasteful damage, they can then go on to nominate their own area for a visit from the Domino's road maintenance team, who will fill in potholes to create smoother rides for local deliveries.

"We can't stand by and let your cheese slide to one side, your toppings get untopped, or your boxes get flipped," said Domino's press release. "So we're helping to pave in towns across the country to save your good pizza from these bad roads."

Prior to the official campaign launch on June 11 2018, the initiative had already fixed more than 50 potholes. In Burbank (California), Milford (Delaware), Bartonville (Texas) and Athens (Georgia), where the brand worked with local administrations to fill holes in the roads caused by holes in public infrastructure budgets. Collaboration with local communities is key to ensuring the brand's assistance is welcomed and well-executed.

In our review of the 2018 D&AD Awards, we highlighted how brands can cut through the content clutter on media channels by surfacing their own platforms around community issues and spaces. Paving for Pizza is a great case study for turning a consumer problem into a point of brand engagement.

For more on proactive cause marketing, see Creating Shared Value: Sustainability Marketing and Tackling Taboos.

Published: 14 Jun 2018

Cocktails Evoke Shared Memories

Artisan Bar

The Artisan Bar at London's Langham Hotel has tapped into the increasing consumer desire for emotional connection by launching a crowdsourced cocktail menu that evokes memories of life's milestones.

The bar asked 500 people what flavours they associated with particular events such as birthdays, moving out of their parents' house and retiring, as well as more abstract concepts such as falling in love, reflecting, and discovering who you are. The resulting 17-drink Artesian Moments menu includes First Bike Ride (gin, citrus, gangnam tops, lavender and iron sorbet), Going Travelling (rum, papaya, noni, cardamom and monoi) and Retirement (Grey Goose vodka, melon, geranium and absinthe blanche).

Artisan's head bartender Alex Kratena said: "Our wish with Artesian Moments is to create a deeply personal menu for our guests; one that can be enjoyed collectively, but still inspire an individual memory. It was our customers' experiences and memories that helped create these drinks. You could say they were there all along – we just had to ask."

This is a great example of how alcohol brands and hospitality providers can reach consumers on a deeper level – particularly millennials and Gen Zers, who are drinking less and are looking beyond the buzz when they do decide to imbibe. See Alcohol's Healthy Future and Marketing Alcohol to Millennials for more on how alcohol brands are targeting this health-conscious and experience-hungry demographic.

See also Vodka Brand Launches Clean Air Bar, 360 Sports Nutrition and Mood-Boosting Cocktails. For a wider industry perspective on how nostalgia, memory and connection can play into your marketing and branding strategy, see Retro Reboot.

Published: 13 Jun 2018

New Biodegradable Wet Wipes Lessen Beauty’s Impact on Oceans


Following a number of microbead bans in the cosmetics industry, consumer demand for sustainable beauty has increased. Is eliminating environmentally damaging wet wipes the next mainstream solution?

Green beauty brands are creating eco-friendly wet wipes, responding to consumers’ concerns about the toxic impact of water pollution.

Estimates suggest that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by weight (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). The beauty industry is a major contributor to this. In the UK alone, there has been a 700% increase in the number of wet wipes found along the coastline over the last decade (Marine Conservation Society, 2017).

 Stylus explores two innovative products looking to tackle the problem:

  • Yes To: American skincare brand Yes To’s new Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Travelsize Facial Cleansing Wipes confront the problem head-on.

    The wipes are made from cellulose, a plant fibre that’s typically found in vegetables such as kale and broccoli. This core material is a biodegradable, compostable and renewable alternative to the plastic binders commonly used in the mass market.
  • Pacifica: US brand Pacifica is similarly tapping into this concept with its new biodegradable Pineapple Wipe Out Oil Cleansing Wipes. The wipes also offer an additional aspect of eco-friendliness, since users are not required to re-cleanse after using them, saving on water usage.

    With 18% of American personal-care users wishing their routine was shorter (Mintel, 2016), we believe this launch offers an efficient and sustainable solution for consumers on the go.

For more on eco-friendly beauty and sustainable design solutions, see The Great Beauty Green-Up, Material Direction: Evolving Plastics and Packaging Innovations 2018.

Published: 13 Jun 2018

AI-Boosted App Digitises Wardrobes

Save Your Wardrobe

Save Your Wardrobe, a London-based app launching in beta in June 2018, encourages consumers to document their wardrobes and build personal databases to help shape future purchases. It provides users with visibility of all the clothes they own, using AI to recommend personalised looks based on calendar events and wearing history.

To set up the digital dashboard of clothes, consumers have a choice: they can photograph each item with the app’s vision tech, identifying the style and brand, or they can opt-in to share digital receipts including style, colour and size information.

Inspirational personal lookbooks, categorised into clusters such as dresses, outerwear and tops, are generated by AI. Users can connect the app with their calendars to receive personalised playlists of outfits – such as a summer holiday playlist.

Besides wardrobe management, Save Your Wardrobe features shopping opportunities. Through a partnership with US shopping platform ShopStyle, which has a database of 1,400 brands, users can shop specially curated mood boards via affiliate links. It’s free to use for consumers, while brands pay for the insights, including preferences that can influence design strategy.

The app features services such as dry cleaning, repairs, resales and alterations, creating an opportunity for brands to extend product lifecycles and customer relationships. See also After-Care Commerce.

Another goal is to help consumers make better shopping decisions – UK consumers have £10.5 billion of unworn clothes in their wardrobes (Weight Watchers 2017). See Reframing Sustainability for eco-conscious brand initiatives.

For another retailer’s foray into personal wardrobe management, see Echo Look: AI-Informed Style Advice.

Published: 11 Jun 2018

Text-to-Buy: Walmart’s Simple Sell

Walmart’s start-up incubator Store No. 8 has launched new concierge service Jetblack in select New York City neighbourhoods. Jetblack fuses chatbot shopping with same-day delivery, allowing customers to order items from Walmart and rival retailers such as Sephora and Saks via text message.

Targeting affluent and time-strapped urban parents, the membership-based service ($50 per month) includes gift recommendations, free wrapping, speedy delivery and easy returns. To request an item, users send a message and then receive product recommendations (culled from Walmart and other retailers) via text. The option to shop across multiple retailers using only one interface and delivery partner differentiates the service from ‘one-brand-only’ suppliers.

Deploying artificial intelligence, Jetblack learns what consumers are buying and – if applicable – sends out push notifications (messages) to alert them when they are running low. The same technology in partnership with human experts is used for personalised gift recommendations. For instance, when texting “I need a gift for my 10-year old daughter’s birthday party”, it will respond with a curated product selection via text.

Founded by Jenny Fleiss, the co-founder of US clothing rental start-up Rent the Runway, the service is currently available in Manhattan and Brooklyn for consumers who live in buildings with a doorman. A US-wide roll-out is planned for later this year.

See also Concierge Commerce and Best New Brand Chatbots.