Need to Know
21 : 11 : 17

21.11.2017 Retail : Health : Food

In today’s daily digest: Spire health tag tracks wellbeing, Asda introduces camel milk, coffee grounds become fuel for London buses, and other stories.

1. Vetements joins forces with DHL to offer kitsch memorabilia

Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng
Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng
Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng
Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng
Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng Pop-up by Vetements and DHL, Hong Kong. Photography by Stanley Cheng

Hong Kong – In keeping with Vetements’ tongue-in-cheek approach to high fashion, the clothing and footwear brand hosted a one-day pop-up event at luxury cruise ship terminal Kai Tak. Alpine-themed mugs, fridge magnets and souvenir dishes were among the items on sale, inspired by the brand’s relocation from Paris to Zürich.

The event, for which DHL provided vans and delivery staff, follows a series of collaborations between Vetements and DHL, which began when the delivery service granted Vetements permission to use its logo in the design of its now infamous DHL t-shirt. For more examples of disruptive campaigns, read our Hype Market.

2. Soul Machines introduces emotionally intelligent bot

AVA bot by Soul Machines, New Zealand AVA bot by Soul Machines, New Zealand

New Zealand – Start-up Soul Machines, which includes neuroscientists and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers among its team members, has developed a customer service bot capable of reading customers’ facial expressions and responding accordingly. Design software maker Autodesk has commissioned its own version of Soul Machines’ AVA bot, which is modelled on scans and recordings of actress Shushila Takao.

The artificially intelligent AVA bot is capable of scanning someone’s expression to ascertain how he or she is feeling and can even comprehend nuances in people’s tone of voice to better understand what kind of customer it is dealing with.

As we explored in our Future of Service report, it is not always possible to provide a human response to every enquiry, and as they have evolved, bots have become an increasingly useful way to ensure consumers feel like they are being listened to. For more insight on the future of service, download the report here.

3. Asda stocks affordable camel milk as a healthy alternative

UK – The introduction of camel milk brand Camelicious by supermarket group Asda makes what has traditionally been a premium product more accessible.

Until now, camel milk has only been available to UK consumers through platforms such as Desert Farms, which sells 500ml bottles of raw camel milk for £10.50 ($13.90, €11.84). By comparison, Asda’s long life version costs £2.85 ($3.77, €3.21) for 235ml.

In order to appeal to a new, more mainstream market, Camelicious is emphasising the health benefits of camel milk, which is easier for anyone with a lactose intolerance to digest, and contains higher levels of iron, vitamin C and protein.

In our Milking It microtrend, LS:N Global explored the increasing interest in the health properties of traditional dairy milk, in comparison to the lower calcium and protein content in plant-based alternatives.

Camel Milk by Camelicious, UK Camel Milk by Camelicious, UK

4. Spire Health Tag offers seamless health-tracking solution

Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco
Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco
Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco Health Tag by Spire, San Francisco

San Francisco – Wearable technology company Spire has developed a health and fitness sensor that users attach to exercise gear they use frequently. The machine-washable, water- and heat-resistant device does not require recharging and its battery lasts for up to 1.5 years.

Sold in packs of three, eight or 15, the sensor tracks metrics such as sleep quality, heart rate and breathing, and an accompanying smartphone app offers advice to help users optimise their routine. First identified by LS:N Global in 2011, the health-monitoring habits of Self-Quants are entering the mainstream as consumers turn to technology to track and improve their wellbeing.

5. London buses to be part-fuelled by coffee grounds

London-based company Bio-bean is converting discarded coffee grounds from coffee shops and instant coffee factories into a blended B20 biofuel, which will soon be used to help fuel the city’s buses. The move is part of a wider push by Transport for London to increasingly run its buses using biofuel from cooking oil and tallow from meat processing to help cut emissions. For more on how brands can help nurture a more sustainable approach to business, contact us to talk about The Future Laboratory’s Sustainability Futures presentation.

6. Thought-starter: Is Walmart’s Lord & Taylor move a mistake?

Following the announcement that Walmart is to open a Lord & Taylor online store in spring 2018, journalist Josh Walker asks whether it is a mistake for the brand.

Given the changes at Walmart over the past year, the move does make sense for the brand. The retail corporation has acquired Bonobos, ModCloth and Millennial-focused e-commerce website Jet to broaden its appeal and attract a wealthier and younger demographic.

But while the introduction of Lord & Taylor’s designer products will help Walmart continue to attract the attention of luxury consumers, is a partnership with a struggling, old-fashioned department store going to do it any favours in continuing its appeal to Millennials?

In our Digital Store Fronts microtrend, we explored the different ways in which brands are working to replicate the experiential element of physical retail into an online, e-commerce setting in order to push digital retail forward. As part of its collaboration, Walmart has stated that it will be launching a ‘specialised online experience’.

While it hasn’t outlined specifics on what that experience might entail, it may be the collaboration’s saving grace. By combining different elements to help replicate the multisensory characteristics of in-store shopping, it has the potential not just to continue Walmart’s push to a more affluent, younger demographic, but also to give Lord & Taylor a much-needed boost in the process.

Read the full Opinion here.

Adidas for Lord & Taylor, US Adidas for Lord & Taylor, US