Need to Know
14 : 11 : 18

Beauty retail gets social, Alibaba launches a satellite into space for Singles Day and consumers react to Iceland’s banned Christmas ad.

Hims launches a line for her

Hers, US
Hers, US
Hers, US

US – Men’s pharmaceutical brand Hims is applying its direct-to-consumer model to the women’s health market, addressing concerns around skin, hair and sex.

Rather than focusing on beautifying, Hers is a female wellbeing brand and e-commerce store for medical products that – as with Hims – support specific types of personal care. It will soon offer products such as acne cream, a treatment for melasma, a formula for women experiencing hair loss, and Addyi, the only FDA-approved medication for hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Hers customers can also order birth control following a consultation with doctors.

Similarly to Hims, which offers a fresh perspective on issues such as male baldness and erectile dysfunction, Hers focuses on affordable, medical-grade products that cater to a range of life-stages, from teens to women going through the menopause. Female consumers are increasingly looking to brands to guide them through the biological inconveniences that come with being a woman.

Glossier’s flagship store isn’t about shopping

Glossier Flagship, New York Glossier Flagship, New York
Glossier Flagship, New York
Glossier Flagship, New York

New York – The permanent retail space is populated by ‘offline editors’ who encourage customers to use the store as a place to experiment with beauty.

Opening last week, the store represents a new physical destination for fans of the digital-first beauty brand. The two-storey space in New York’s SoHo district was originally a shoppable showroom attached to its office, but Glossier and design agency Gachot Studios have transformed it into a brand experience and community space. ‘It’s encouraging people not to shop the space but use the space,' says Christine Gachot, co-founder of Gachot Studios.

The flagship offers a sensory way to shop and socialise. Its interior taps into Glossier's Millennial pink branding, while its Wet Bar and Boy Brow Room allow visitors to test out products without restrictions. Building on the hype for Instagrammable retail spaces, it also features a selfie-ready 23ft-long red sofa that doubles as a communal relaxation space for shoppers.

For more, discover the four retailers swapping return on investment in favour of return on inspiration.

For Singles Day, Alibaba put a satellite into space

China – To celebrate a decade of the e-commerce giant’s shopping event, Alibaba used a satellite to broadcast sentimental messages to shoppers from space.

According to various reports, Alibaba launched a mini space station dubbed Candy Tin and a communication satellite called Tmall Global in the days leading up to its Singles Day event, which took place on 11th November.

The satellite orbited Earth once every 90 minutes, broadcasting sentimental messages to Singles Day shoppers when the satellite passed over their location. Customers were able to access the feature using the brand’s Taobao app, enhancing their experience of the Alibaba brand, app and the day itself.

Last year, Alibaba launched its FashionAI platform in brick-and-mortar retail spaces, which boosted sales during Singles Day. Although many journalists consider this year’s initiative a publicity stunt, the act of communicating messages from space demonstrates how Alibaba is tapping into LS:N Global's five Human Needs, in this case Chinese consumers’ pursuit of belonging and purpose.

The Tmall Global satellite

Iceland takes a stand with banned Christmas ad

Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert 'Say hello to Rang-tan.' #NoPalmOilChristmas, UK

UK – When the budget supermarket’s advert was banned for being too political, frustrated consumers took to social media, calling for regulators to lift the restriction.

Amid the annual slew of festive tv ads, Iceland was reportedly planning to broadcast Greenpeace’s short film Rang-tan as its own Christmas offering. In line with Iceland’s recent commitment to eliminate the use of palm oil from its own-brand products, the animated film follows a young girl who finds a baby orangutang in her bedroom, relaying the story of how its rainforest home has been destroyed by humans harvesting palm oil. However, due to the political nature of the ad, it was blocked by regulation company Clearcast.

While blocked from being aired on tv, Iceland took a brandstanding decision to publish the No Palm Oil ad on its social media channels, encouraging followers to share it instead. It has since received more than 30m aggregated views via social channels. In addition, almost 700,000 consumers have signed a petition to lift the advertising restriction.

Clearcast’s decision to block the ad has resulted in mass publicity for Iceland as its viewers and followers react and share the campaign. To explore the impact of brands taking a political stance, subscribers can read our macrotrend Backlash Brands.

Stat: America’s fitness industry is growing, but so is obesity

Obesity has long been a major health concern for Americans. According to a report by IHRSA Global, the rate is still rising; prevalence of adult obesity in the US increased by 17% between 2007 and 2017. However, US consumers appear to be getting fitter. The report also found that there has been a 21% increase in gym membership over the same period.

The IHRSA Global report puts this discrepancy down to bad eating habits, citing that one in three Americans eat fast food every day, while only one in 10 eat their recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. In response, food brands must consider how they can provide healthier eating options for these consumers, whether this means creating a new breed of convenience store, or offering more Accessible Premium foods.

Thought-starter: Will a simple blood test shape our future diets?

The founder of Habit, Neil Grimmer, believes brands must not cut costs at the scientific testing stage, but instead drive down prices through economies of scale.

Habit is the world’s first personalised nutrition company. ‘We combine comprehensive lab tests with what we call ‘activations’ – essentially ways to incorporate those recommendations into life – so we work through from the lab all the way to the table,' founder Neil Grimmer explains.

‘Nutrigenomics is the study of genetic profiles in relation to nutritional need, but the reality is that looking at DNA alone is not enough to provide a personalised nutrition plan. What Habit does is also look at your blood work, so we get people to drink a large shake and then take a sample of their blood 30 minutes and 120 minutes after consuming it to see how their body reacts to carbohydrates, fats and proteins.’

‘One of our founding beliefs is that everyone deserves an owner's manual for their body and that it should be written in a language that they understand,’ Grimmer explains. ‘We really want to help consumers integrate these ideas into their daily routine, which is why we have also partnered with Amazon. Our customers can use the Amazon Fresh ‘buy now’ functionality to purchase their recommended ingredients with one click and have them show up on their doorstep the very next day.’

Read our full Q&A with Neil Grimmer here.

Habit, San Francisco
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