New York – Banzarbar is a new cocktail experience inspired by the 20th-century Antarctic expeditions by Britain, Australia and New Zealand (known as BANZARE). Located in the upstairs floor of restaurant Freemans, the weekend-only bar uses the idea of expedition and exploration as the theme of its five-course cocktail tasting menu.
The menu has an emphasis on low alcohol by volume (abv) drinks, where lower-proof ingredients such as vermouth, sherry, amaro and marsala wine are used rather than distilled liquors. The drinks are paired with small seafood plates. The entire experience is designed to control alcohol intoxication, allowing the guests to fully enjoy the five courses.
Similar to London-based restaurant Cub, the bar aims to give an equal weighting to food and drink by providing a combined menu. Both Cub and Banzarbar represent a new breed of cocktail menus that are meeting the changing tastes of consumers, especially those with a growing interest in low- or no-alcohol cocktails.
2. A debit card that prioritises security
US – Banking start-up Tide has unveiled a rebrand, which includes a new vertically orientated debit card design. Created by the company’s in-house design team, the card positions the user’s name and details on the back rather than the front, both as a way of creating a cleaner design and to improve security by hiding this personal data.
The new design has been devised to better reflect the way that people use their cards today, explains Tide’s head of design Caitlin Rich, where they might be incidentally on view to the public. Many people, for instance, now store their cards in the back of their smartphone cases.
3. Google battles Amazon with sponsored voice searches
US – Google is looking to cash in on voice-activated shopping by allowing retailers to pay for their products to feature more prominently on its Google Assistant, both on Google Home and on smartphones. In a bid to combat the pervasiveness of Amazon, the brand has collaborated with brands such as Target, Walmart and Home Depot, allowing them to push their products to the fore when consumers ask questions such as ‘where can I buy this?’.
Known as Shopping Actions, the service provides consumers with a single shopping cart, thereby integrating products from across retailers and creating the kind of seamless shopping experience previously commandeered by Amazon.
The launch responds to research by Google that shows that mobile searches asking where to buy a particular product have soared by 85% over the past two years, with many of these searches resulting in a default Amazon purchase.
As explored in Subconscious Commerce the omnipresence of mega-systems such as Amazon, and indeed Google, has reshaped the entire retail landscape. Through this initiative, Google is offering retailers of all sizes the opportunity to compete on a level with Amazon.
4. Carlo Ratti develops a writing robot
Scribit by Carlo Ratti
Scribit by Carlo Ratti
Scribit by Carlo Ratti
Italy – Design and innovation office, Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) has created Scribit, a robot that enables users to digitally draw and erase on any vertical wall surface.
The robotic system is connected to the web and allows users to source and download any online content to be printed. Once the interactive device receives the digital information, it immediately reproduces the image on the wall. The concept offers a new way of presenting and consuming digital content offline and moves away from the screen as our main interface. As Carlo Ratti, a founding partner of CRA, comments: ‘Do we really want to add more screens to our lives?’
The firm says Scribit can be used to draw on store fronts, in offices or even to display changing information such as a daily restaurant menu. Following its preview at Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile in April, the brand will launch a crowdsourcing campaign in June.
5. Resale set to outstrip fast fashion by 2022
New research by ThredUp suggests that resale apparel will continue to boom over the next five years, growing by 15% year on year between 2017 and 2022. By comparison, apparel retail as a whole is only predicted to increase by 2% annually during the same period. It is a trend that is being driven in large part by women, with figures showing that 44m females shopped in second-hand stores in 2017 compared to 35m in 2016. Visit our sector focus section to discover the shifts in the fashion landscape emerging in the near- and long-term future.
6. Thought-starter: Should businesses be more moral?
As awareness of our impact on the planet seeps deeper into our collective consciousness, consumers are beginning to make purchasing decisions based not just on financial or brand value, but also on ethical value. Strategist Olivia Stancombe explores what this means for businesses.
As a 2017 Unilever study shows, one-third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. This means that 33% of a potential market may be actively rejecting your brand if it is not acting in this way.
With the rise of this conscious consumer, morality is fast becoming a business imperative. Here, ‘morality’ means responsibility, transparency, inclusivity and proactivity, but not at the expense of profitability. Certainly, the challenge can feel daunting as it often involves extensive logistical and structural change, and return on investment is not immediately evident. But businesses must change their mindset and measures of success when it comes to investments, innovation and growth.