Need to Know
08 : 09 :17

08.09.2017 Retail : Food : Drink

In today’s daily digest: Selfridges’ charity pop-up, blockchain retail at New York Fashion Week, libraries prove popular among Millennials and other top stories.

1. Omakase Room offers diners a keepsake

Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New Yor Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York
Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York
Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York
Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York Omakase Room by Savvy Studio, New York

New York – The recently opened restaurant follows the Japanese ‘omakase’ tradition, which roughly translates to ‘to entrust’, with the chef choosing which dishes to serve to customers.

The interior of Omakase Room was designed by branding agency Savvy Studio, which collaborated with ceramic artist Perla Valtierra and perfumer Barnabé Fillion to create a scented ceramic disc, which is gifted to each diner.

The colour and scent of the plate-like pottery change over time, reflecting the cultural significance of the seasons in Japan. The Japanese acknowledge five seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter and doyo, a transitional period of 18 or 19 days that falls between each of the other seasons. For another example of a brand that is elevating the dining experience see our Briefing report.

2. SohoMuse offers blockchain-powered retail

Malan Breton by SohoMuse, New York Malan Breton by SohoMuse, New York

New York – The SohoMuse networking platform for creatives has partnered with fashion designer Malan Breton and open source Bitcoin wallet start-up Tokenly to create a shoppable e-commerce experience at New York Fashion Week.

SohoMuse members were able to watch the designer’s autumn/winter 2017 catwalk show on the brand’s website and purchase items from the collection after the event had finished.

Viewers also received a piece of digital fashion memorabilia in the form of a blockchain token, which enables the holder to access perks such as early access to sales and events. ‘Incorporating cutting-edge technology such as SohoMuse and blockchain into our industry, and the creative industries overall, is the future of fashion,’ says Breton.

First explored in our Blockchain Consumerism microtrend, blockchain technology is set to radically transform the fashion industry.

3. Stonerolled tea takes cues from the latté

Stonerolled Tea by Postcard Teas, London Stonerolled range by Postcard Teas, London
Stonerolled Tea by Postcard Teas, London Stonerolled Tea by Postcard Teas, London

London – Products in the Stonerolled range by Postcard Teas are intended to be mixed with warm milk in a process similar to that used to make a latté. The range, which includes a green, oolong and black variety, are roasted and stoneground to bring out their natural sweetness. The teas were trialled at café Prufrock in Clerkenwell over the past six months and are now available to buy online.

Where the tea sector is increasingly perceived among younger consumers as old-fashioned and resistant to change, the coffee market is booming. By taking cues from the coffee market, Postcard Teas is targeting Millennial and Generation Z consumers, offering a modern take on the classic beverage. LS:N Global will be exploring the future of tea at our forthcoming Food and Drink Futures Forum. To learn more about the event and purchase tickets, click here.

4. Selfridges launches interfaith charity shop

London – Artist and film director Miranda July has collaborated with Selfridges to launch a pop-up charity shop within the department store. All profits from the shop will be donated to four charities that represent different faiths – Islamic Relief, Jewish charity Norwood, the London Buddhist Centre and the Spitalfields Crypt Trust.

Despite its luxurious surroundings, the pop-up will be run like any other charity shop, stocking donated items that are sold at low prices. The concept was inspired by the Los Angeles-based artist’s visits to London, where she was struck by the abundance of charity shops and the tolerance they represent.

The partnership with Selfridges represents the next iteration of a shift in mindset towards a more high-end Philanthropic Retail model, which LS:N Global first identified in 2009.

Interfaith charity shop by Miranda July and Artangel for Selfridges, London Interfaith charity shop by Miranda July and Artangel for Selfridges, London

5. Millennials trust libraries to provide facts

In a world of fake news and alternative facts, Millennials are more likely to regard libraries as a source of trustworthy information than Baby Boomers, highlighting the importance of these institutions in an increasingly digital world. For more on the desire among consumers for trustworthy media outlets see our Veritas Media microtrend.

6. Thought-starter: Can Walmart and Google take on Amazon?

While Amazon’s Alexa platform dominates the nascent voice-based e-commerce market, senior journalist Peter Maxwell argues that a recent collaboration between Google and Walmart offers an alternative and more equitable future for such platforms.

ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches, while research by RBC Capital Markets suggests that revenue generated by consumers shopping through the Amazon Alexa platform could reach £3.9bn ($5bn, €4.2bn) in the same period.

Amazon’s approach to voice-based retail is predicated on the monopoly of its own platform and the big brands its algorithms champion. While this streamlines the shopping process, it also results in a smaller range of options for consumers. Google Express, Google’s alternative to Amazon’s voice-based offer, takes a different approach, highlighting a variety of retailers pushing different inventory.

As voice-based retail channels grow in significance, household consumers will need to consider whether choice or efficiency is more important when choosing between the two mega-systems.

Read the full opinion piece here.

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