World Retail Congress daily recap: Phygital retail futures
Barcelona – On the closing day of the show, there was a battle between the digital and the physical, as well as a push for purposeful retail.
Mango revealed its sustainable supply chain and announced the imminent introduction of digital passports for its garments. Stephan Pretorius, chief technology officer at communications multinational WPP, championed the benefits of generative AI for the advertising industry, and commerce strategy consultancy Mula Digital mapped out the hype that retailers should be jumping on: privacy and TikTok are in, the metaverse is out.
Moving from e-commerce to the hyperphysical, John Ryan, managing director of omnichannel platform Newstores, shared his top 10 recently opened spaces. Making the line-up was the Freitag store in Shanghai, which the Zurich bag manufacturer designed to look and operate like a factory, with consumers able to design their own bag from used truck tarpaulins. Another innovation came from mobility brand Lynk & Co’s experiential showroom, which is reminiscent of a concept store or a members’ club rather than a showroom, and paves the way for disruptive automotive retail spaces providing sensorial awe-inducing experiences to attract a new wave of consumers.
3D-printed self-driving ferry to make debut at Paris Olympics 2024
France – A new micro-mobility concept will be deployed for the 2024 Paris Olympics and will be the largest 3D-printed and autonomous ferry to date.
In line with efforts to slash carbon emissions, organisers of the event initiated a call for entries in search of a passenger boat that won’t harm the planet. The winning project by the collective Roboat will transport athletes and visitors to and from the Olympic venues. The prototype is a 3D-printed, autonomous, electric watercraft and one of the largest 3D-printed boats ever built. The ferry must be built, tested and shipped in time for the games in summer 2024. The self-driving boat promises to ease transport logistics and can also be recharged wirelessly when moored.
Roboat says its ferry will enable athletes and visitors joining the 2024 Paris Olympics ‘to fulfil their mobility needs in a new and environmentally friendly manner’. Knowing that large-scale events like the Olympics attract attendees from all over the world and tend to have a high environmental cost, micro-mobility solutions are a step forward and can help to seamlessly introduce disruptive concepts for future living to the public.
Large-scale global events are increasingly scrutinised for their environmental footprint, but event organisers are using the occasion to push innovation and give visibility to new mobility solutions, which will be worth taking note of
Foresight Friday: Gabriela Białkowska, creative foresight analyst
Every Friday, the Future Laboratory team offer an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, creative foresight analyst Gabriela Białkowska discusses ugly aesthetics, Roblox’s updated potential and iconic goodbyes.
: A mesmerising blend of ASMR, macro-photography and CGI experience, Spora at Downstairs at Mother in London is a must-see, revealing the hidden, alternative beauty of the microbiological world of the female form. It captures the growing trend for discomforting, ‘ugly’ aesthetics, which we highlight in our Grotesque Grub microtrend
: As we continue to explore alternative fashion collaborations, I am struck by Gucci’s and Vans’ joint scavenger hunt on Roblox, marking the first time two fashion brands have collaborated by linking their existing digital spaces. As Roblox shows us again and again, it remains a great tool to connect with new generations of consumers
: Paper magazine, the once-blossoming counter-culture publication known for breaking the internet, has shut down. Let us take a moment to remember its most iconic and controversial cover: Jean-Paul Goude’s re-creation of the Champagne Incident with Kim Kardashian from 2014. Goodbye, Paper; you will be missed. With more publications facing financial difficulties, which magazine will we have to bid farewell to next?
Quote of the Week
‘Take care of yourself, and each other’ – US talk show host Jerry Springer, signing off
Nearly half of Americans want AI-generated recipes
US – A new survey of more than 2,200 American adults conducted by Morning Consult in February 2023 reveals that 48% of respondents are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ interested in AI-generated recipes. The highest reported interest was in AI-powered online search (49%), recipes and roadside assistance (48%).
The research hints at multiple opportunities for the food and drink industry, given the promising results with regard to interest in AI-generated grocery lists (42%) and menu recommendations at restaurants (40%).
In our Generative AI Market, we previously highlighted how an emerging wave of consumer-facing generative AI platforms, such as AI Advisors, are redefining the nature of creative work, including innovations in the food and drink industry.
As consumers continue to warm to artificial intelligence, professionals in the food and drink industry should ask themselves how to automate some of their processes, from offering endless recipes accessible via QR codes printed on a product’s label to chatbot booking services in restaurants