Need to Know
09 : 01 : 18

09.01.2018 Beauty : Technology : Retail

Walmart taps into text commerce, Toyota offers mobile retail possibilities, OKCupid provokes change, and voice activated assistants gain America’s trust

1. OKCupid shakes up online dating with new ad campaign

Dating Deserves Better by Widen & Kennedy for OKCupid, US Dating Deserves Better by Wieden + Kennedy for OKCupid, US
Dating Deserves Better by Wieden + Kennedy for OKCupid, US Dating Deserves Better by Wieden + Kennedy for OKCupid, US
Dating Deserves Better by Widen & Kennedy for OKCupid, US Dating Deserves Better by Wieden + Kennedy for OKCupid, US
Dating Deserves Better by Widen & Kennedy for OKCupid, US Dating Deserves Better by Wieden + Kennedy for OKCupid, US

US – OKCupid offers more gravitas to the frivolous online dating scene, with a new campaign that plays on the acronym Down To Fuck (DTF). Masterminded by advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, Dating Deserves Better offers an array of playful alternatives to the widely used hook-up request, by replacing the F word with more creative, and often provocatively politicised, alternatives like Down To Filter Out the Far Right and Down To Fight About the President.

The agency enlisted creative duo Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, the creators of Toilet Paper magazine, to work on the campaign, which pairs the slogans with brightly coloured photographs, often of young couples. In a Backlash Brands approach, OKCupid offers a candid assessment of the current state of dating and the world at large.

2. Mindy Yang’s Perfumarie encourages an exploration of scent

Perfumarie by Mindy Lang, New York Perfumarie by Mindy Lang, New York

New York – Founded by Mindy Yang, Perfumarie offers customers a more serendipitous way to discover new scents. The array of 32 fragrances, which have been sourced from around the world, are encased in un-named bottles, obliging customers to appreciate the olfactory experience without being influenced by brand names.

Visitors to the store are led through a blind smelling of all the perfumes and receive two 5ml bottle of their favourite scents to test on their skin. At the end of each month, Yang holds a reveal night in which she announces which bottle corresponds to which brand, helping consumers on their voyage of sensory discovery. First featured by LS:N Global in 2011, Mindy Yang has helped to develop the playful side of scent, nurturing an emotional connection with fragrance that goes beyond the brand name.

3. Walmart’s text message order system supports busy mothers

US – Walmart's tech incubator Store No. 8 has announced that it is testing a new personal shopping service to streamline the shopping experience for busy 'high net worth urban consumers'.

Several news sources have identified the Code 8 project's targeted audience as ‘busy NYC moms’, a divergence from the brand's typical consumer base.

The service allows customers to text through their order with everyday household items couriered to their door free of charge within 24 hours and all other items delivered within two working days.

The incubator is also working concurrently on Project Kepler, a store concept which, like Amazon Go, uses computer vision to process purchases negating the need for cashiers.

Walmart, US Walmart, US

4. CES 2018: Toyota launches new mobile retail and logistics concept

e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas
e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas
e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas e-Palette concept by Toyota, Las Vegas

Las Vegas – Called the e-Palette, Toyota’s new mobile platform sees the Japanese brand – the world’s second biggest carmaker – placing ‘Automated Mobility as a Service’ applications at the core of its future business. The vehicle is essentially an automatous moving container that can be outfitted to carry not only goods and people, but also retail, workplace and hospitality facilities.

During the demonstration, Toyota aired animations that showed multiple e-Palette vehicles forming spontaneous urban marketplaces, whilst President Akio Toyoda also suggested that they could prove popular at temporary events such as music festivals. Indeed, the brand plans to debut the e-Palette system at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Toyota also announced the formation of the e-Palette Alliance, a group of partnerships with brands such as Pizza Hut, Amazon, DiDi, Mazda and Uber, who will collaborate on developing a range of application concepts for the platform.

5. Trust in voice activated assistants on the rise

The Voice Retail Market is set to become increasingly relevant this year as US consumers turn to voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Up until now, the perception of voice assistants as potentially invasive forces within the home has often slowed down uptake, but these figures from eMarketer demonstrate that people are becoming more accepting of these devices as they choose to prioritise the convenience aspect.

6. Thought-starter: How are robots revolutionising travel?

In light of advances in automation and artificial intelligence, as well as growing consumer familiarity with voice interfaces and smart assistants, senior journalist Peter Maxwell examines how robots are infiltrating every stage of consumers’ travel experiences.

From airport departures to room service, service robots are appearing in a range of contexts. Travellers flying from Seoul Incheon International Airport are liable to come face to face with a prototype of technology brand LG’s latest wayfinding robot.

The device acts as a mobile information terminal, roaming the airport in order to answer enquiries about directions, boarding times and terminal facilities. If users allow the robot to scan their boarding card, it can also lead them directly to their gate.

Furthermore, these service robots are being deployed within the hotel sector, providing on-demand assistance to customers round the clock. M Social Hotel in Singapore recently introduced AURA, a room service bot created by engineers Savioke. The bots can provide everything from hot food and drinks to toiletries and fresh linen.

To read more about the robots that are transforming the travel and hospitality sectors, see our listicle.

Troika at Incheon International Airport, Seoul Troika at Incheon International Airport, Seoul