Need to Know
27 : 03 : 18

27.03.2018 Retail : Finance : Technology

The Phluid Project taps into the non-binary community, Samsung quantifies phone usage, Capital One makes it easier to be secure online.

1. The Phluid Project looks beyond binary retail

The Phluid Project, New York The Phluid Project, New York
The Phluid Project, New York The Phluid Project, New York
The Phluid Project, New York The Phluid Project, New York

New York – Billed as part retail, part community space, The Phluid Project is a new retail concept in Manhattan’s NoHo neighbourhood that focuses on inclusivity and community.

Founded by entrepreneur Rob Smith, the bricks-and-mortar space and e-commerce platform have been designed to cater to ‘a non-binary generation’, creating a space that is tailored to non-gender conforming and gender-fluid consumers.

Stocking gender inclusive brands like Kinfolk, Champion, Gypsy Sport and Dr. Martens, as well as its own in-house clothing line, the store caters to people of all ages and sizes. A series of talks and workshops will be scheduled in weekly to stimulate discussion on topics affecting both the LGBTQ community and society at large.

‘Since most of us crave human connection and dialogue, but have lost some of that through social media,' says Smith. ‘Phluid also provides ample seating for reflecting, socialising and special events to create a stronger sense of community.’

2. Google blurs the line between games and commerce

AdMob playable ads by Google AdMob playable ads by Google

Global – Google is expanding its AdMob advertising service to allow developers to create mini-games-cum-advertisements within their mobile apps.

The playable ads are an evolution of Google's rewarded ads, which give players in-app bonuses if they watch a short advert. Now instead of passively watching, consumers can voluntarily partake in mini-games in exchange for rewards such as unlocking another level or gaining another life. The playable rewarded ads offer an alternative to in-app purchases and micro-transactions that fuel much of mobile gaming today. Rewarded ads are already popular on the platform, with more than 45% of AdMob's top 1,000 gaming partners using them to monetise their apps, according to TechCrunch.

Turning games into ads, Google's AdMob offers a new medium for Subconscious Commerce.

3. Capital One streamlines virtual credit cards

Global – In a bid to improve online security, financial services company Capital One is making virtual card numbers more efficient.

While virtual card numbers – randomly generated numbers designed to protect consumers’ real banking details – are not in themselves new, Capital One is using its chatbot, Eno, to make them easier to access and quicker to use.

The extension, which can be added to any web browser, automatically creates a temporary card number when customers reach the check out area on a merchant’s site.

Each virtual card number can be attributed a nickname to make them more memorable and the numbers can be locked or unlocked from an online dashboard, or deleted when no longer needed.

In light of the imminent legislation around GDPR, read our Opinion on how brands can best initiate a conversation around consumer data and online security.

Virtual card numbers by Capital One Virtual card numbers by Capital One

4. Samsung wants consumers to Thrive offline

Samsung Galaxy: Thrive

US – In line with Morality Recoded, telecomms company Samsung is demonstrating its commitment to customers’ wellbeing by encouraging people to ‘have a [more] meaningful and better experience with technology’.

The brand has partnered with Thrive Global to launch Thrive app on its Galaxy Note8 smartphones. Users that turn their device to ‘Thrive Mode’ will be shielded from incoming notifications for a specified period, during which time any incoming texts or phone calls are automatically replied to with a message advising when the phone owner will next be available.

The platform’s dashboard also quantifies in-app usage, allowing consumers to be more aware of their digital consumption habits and set goals and limits accordingly.

‘It’s all about empowering people to disconnect, because we believe a balanced relationship with technology actually leads to a more productive, and more fulfilling, life,’ explains the brand in an online statement.

5. Businesses struggle with customer service

A new study by customer service provider Arvato has found that businesses tend to overestimate how well they execute customer service.

In a study of 500 consumers and business leaders, 84% of business respondents trust they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ offer excellent customer service experience. In contrast, only 9% of consumers think they receive an excellent customer service experience.

The study also found that technology is currently not offering a better customer service experience. The majority of business respondents have no plans to adopt technologies like chat bots (65%) and only 6% of the small sample size said they would use a chatbot service again.

Customer service is a crucial differentiator for brands in an age where customers can easily compare products and prices online. For more on how to develop more engaged services, download our free Future of Service report.

6. Thought-starter: How can e-sports provide access to male Millennials?

With exponential growth across Asia and North America, eSports has finally come of age. Senior foresight writer, Peter Maxwell, examines the opportunities for brands within this lucrative market.

‘When it comes to the global sports industry, eSports is now definitely a major player,’ claims Moritz Maurer, head of eSports at Genius Sports, a sports data technology specialist. ‘The exponential growth of its audience and commercial potential has made the eSports sector an unavoidable topic in the sporting world and beyond in the past two years.

The statistics back Maurer’s assertion. According to independent forecaster NewZoo’s 2018 Global eSports Market Report, the industry generated £465.7m ($655m, €533.8m) in revenue in 2017, representing 33% growth year on year.

The fact that information, data and measurement specialist Nielsen launched a dedicated eSports division in 2017 is a sign of the increasing commercial importance of this industry. Its research has provided greater insight into the demographics driving eSports’ expansion, namely male generation Y and Z consumers.

Read part one of the eSports market here.

Overwatch League by Blizzard Entertainment, Global Overwatch League by Blizzard Entertainment, Global