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World Retail Congress 2023 daily recap, Kering launches AI-powered NFT personal shopper and why the WFH lifestyle includes ordering groceries online.

World Retail Congress daily recap: Economic recovery and hyper-personalisation

Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain Hotel Arts Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona – The World Retail Congress 2023, held at Hotel Arts Barcelona, opened by reflecting on the major global events that have rocked the retail industry since the last show back in 2019.

The overall message of the event was one of optimism. Deloitte’s chief global economist, Ira Kalish, delivered an economic update affirming that the US is unlikely to slip into recession in 2023 and if any occur in any of the major European economies, they are expected to be mild. More interestingly, Kalish dismissed the concept that de-globalisation has begun, stressing that, instead, climate change is the biggest threat to global trade.

Jennifer Woo, chairman and CEO of The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, Asia’s premier fashion retail, brand management and distribution group, explained how the pandemic had sparked creativity, leading to training of sales staff to live-stream as content-creators. Unpacking the Chinese consumer today, she explained that the growing mainland middle class expect a hyper-personalised and emotional retail experience, something we explore in our latest macrotrend, EQ-Commerce.

Bleisure destination Birch to open a second hotel outside London

Birch Selsdon, UK Birch Selsdon, UK

UK ­– Following the success of its initial lifestyle co-working hotel concept in Cheshunt, Birch will open a second location this spring.

Birch was designed for Bleisure travellers who want to combine escapism with productivity. Located a 30-minute train ride from the centre of London, the new Birch Selsdon offers just that ­– a suburban retreat to disconnect from reality and connect with like-minded people. Set in a 19th-century mansion and surrounded by greenery, the hotel has everything guests could need to reset, recharge, work and play. In addition to overnight stays for drop-in guests, Birch Selsdon will offer a membership programme unlocking access to the entire estate and to additional perks.

The premises are home to two restaurants, three bars, a lido, a wellness space, studios, communal spaces and even a green co-working concept with sheltered outdoor desks for a nature-filled working session. Birch’s concept, which puts the healing power of nature and of human connection to work to inspire and re-energise visitors, suggests how spaces can accommodate the nomadic and elastic futures of work.

Strategic opportunity

The changing nature of work calls for new spaces that better cater for the always-connected and nomadic workforce. How can third places entice guests to pause, to reconnect with themselves and others, and to have more restful downtime?

Kering embraces NFTs and ChatGPT with AI personal shopper

France – Luxury conglomerate Kering has launched KNXT (pronounced Next), a tech-first fashion marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The platform features personal shopper /Madeline, powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT, guiding customers through luxury goods available to purchase with cryptocurrency ETH and exclusive NFTs minted by Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen and Courrèges, among others.

KNXT’s visual identity is pop-coloured and humorous, using a cartoonish owl dressed as a fashion model as an ambassador.

The very basic e-shop has yet to be promoted by Kering, hinting at an initial testing phase.

In Digital Display Futures, we analyse how artificial intelligence can and will affect online merchandising, from personal shoppers like /Madeline to AI-generated models and more hyper-personalisation.

AI artwork by Samuel Davies for The Future Laboratory

Strategic opportunity

As Web3 wallets slowly go mainstream, consider how e-commerce platforms will be updated and UX adjusted in order to embrace payments with cryptocurrency such as ETH

Remote and hybrid workers in the US prefer to order groceries online

Kii Inc created a highly transparent space for video production company Lyonesse Pictures Office where the entire floor can be felt as one, Japan Kii Inc created a highly transparent space for video production company Lyonesse Pictures Office where the entire floor can be felt as one, Japan

US – Research conducted by Morning Consult on Americans’ changing work priorities has found that, despite having more time on their hands, remote and hybrid workers are more likely to shop for groceries online than those who attend work in person.

According to The State of Workers 2023 report, not only do remote and hybrid workers place online grocery orders more often, they also buy the bulk of their groceries online – 71% of remote workers and 66% of hybrid workers reported getting all or most of their groceries online compared to 44% of in-person workers. Remote and hybrid workers are also more inclined to use apps for grocery shopping and meal-planning.

This is partly a result of demographics. Remote and hybrid workers as a group skew towards those most likely to shop for groceries online in the first place: parents and high-income individuals. Those who work from home up to four days a week are more likely to be male, younger, middle- or high-income and to have kids under 18 at home. But the figures on online grocery shopping are also due to daily schedules and access to car travel.

As discussed in our Work States Futures macrotrend report, workers are adapting to changing work lifestyles, which is affecting other aspects of their lives, including their eating, food and beverage routines.

Strategic opportunity

These findings show how consumers often act differently from brands’ expectations as they strive to elevate their quality of life in a post-Covid, hybrid working reality

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