Need to Know
10 : 01 : 19

Using sound to ‘see’ emotions, India’s apparel market brings new opportunities and why cocktails are going hyperlocal.

Fleur Marché educates women about CBD

Fleur Marché, US
Fleur Marché, US
Fleur Marché, US

New York – The brand’s online retail platform is built to introduce newcomers to the wellness benefits of CBD products.

Fleur Marché offers a range of specialised starter kits that use CBD’s properties as a sleep aid, an antioxidant for the skin and a way to alleviate PMS symptoms. Rather than just offering CBD in the form of an oil, the kits include wearable patches, face masks, edible truffles and bath bombs.

Its website also takes an educational angle, with articles such as ‘CBD vs THC’ designed to help shoppers get clued up before making a purchase. ‘Whether supporting sleep, a healthy stress response, sexual wellness, glowing skin, uplifted mood or clarity of mind, Fleur Marché is rethinking cannabis, offering a perfect tincture, blend or salve for every woman on a beautiful and user-friendly e-commerce platform,’ reads the brand’s press release.

With the pharmaceutical industry under scrutiny for ignoring women’s healthcare needs, female consumers are turning to cannabis as a natural wellness aid.

CES 2019: Mui Lab designs a minimalist smart interface

mui by Mui Lab, Japan mui by Mui Lab, Japan
mui by Mui Lab, Japan mui by Mui Lab, Japan

Las Vegas – At this year’s CES Japan-based Mui Lab premiered ‘mui’, a technology-enabled wooden interface designed as a control pad for the home’s Internet of Things (IoT) devices. More closely resembling a piece of wall-mounted furniture than a screen, mui is able to display weather information, control the interior temperature, adjust the lighting, display Spotify music playback and open smart doors.

Citing the fact that mobile phones, which have traditionally been used to control smart appliances, are designed to be used individually and therefore encourage a sense of disconnection from one’s surroundings, the brand’s founder, Kaz Oki, explained that mui encourages people to forego their phone screens in favour of interacting with one another.

‘What is important to people hasn’t changed; preparing a meal, talking to someone or playing with kids,’ Oki tells LS:N Global. ‘But when you’re using a mobile phone at home you’re distancing yourself from people. It looks like you’re not focusing on your family.’ In our attention-based economy, in which our devices are constantly vying for our attention, designing for digital resistance is becoming an increasingly important way to help people regain focus.

Kroger and Microsoft trial data-driven grocery retail

Monroe and Redmond, US – The supermarket chain and technology company have joined forces to transform grocery shopping through shelving sensors and a Cloud-based system.

While the companies have previously worked together on a digital shelving system, which has been rolled out across numerous Kroger stores, they are now trialling a guided shopping experience at stores in Washington and Ohio. Alongside personalised in-store ads, the system will also help employees find products as part of Kroger’s kerbside grocery pick-up service.

Customers can create a shopping list in advance using the Kroger app, which synchronises with the in-store smart shelves to guide and inspire them as they move through the store. ‘Kroger is building a seamless eco-system driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalised food inspiration,’ said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.

This collaboration exemplifies how grocery retailers are deploying data-driven technology to improve the in-store experience and keep pace with grocery disruptors such as Amazon. For more, explore our Grocery AI-sles microtrend.

Kroger, US

This smartphone app lets the blind ‘see’ emotions

Facing Emotions by Huawei and Saatchi & Saatchi, Poland

Poland – Saatchi & Saatchi Poland and Huawei have created an app that allows blind people to 'see' the expressions and emotions of people they are speaking to.

The Facing Emotions app uses artificial intelligence (AI) and the camera of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone to translate seven universal emotions into seven unique sounds. Developed in collaboration with the Polish Blind Association, the app has been created to give blind and visually impaired people a richer experience when communicating with others.

Using the phone’s back camera during conversation, the app analyses the facial expressions of the person the user is talking to. As the AI identifies their emotions, the corresponding sound plays on the phone to add greater context to the moment. Blind composer Tomasz Bilecki designed the sounds to be short, simple and non-invasive. ‘The sounds I wanted to create needed to be specific for each emotion, and not distract users from their conversations,’ he explains.

Increasingly, brands are using technology to respond to the needs of disabled consumers. Instagram, for example, recently introduced new features to assist visually impaired users.

Stat: India is becoming a major global apparel market

A rapidly growing middle class and a powerful manufacturing sector mean that India will soon be one of the most attractive consumer markets in the world, according to a new study by Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co.

The Indian middle class is forecast to expand by 19.4% a year between 2018 and 2022, outpacing China, Mexico and Brazil. By 2022, India’s apparel market will be worth £46.6bn ($59.3bn, €51.8bn), making it comparable to the UK (£51bn, $65bn, €57bn) and Germany (£49.5bn, $63.1bn, €55bn). The study cites Sanjay Kapoor, founder of Indian retail conglomerate Genesis Luxury, who believes there is a new demographic emerging in the country: ‘We are moving on towards the ‘gold collar’ worker. It’s a term that defines the well paid, highly paid professionals, who are happy to look good, happy to feel good and are expanding the consumption of today.’

For more on why India’s high-end retail market must not be underestimated, read our report The State of Luxury: India.

Thought-starter: What’s driving the trend for hyperlocal cocktails?

Paul Mathew, co-founder of Blood and Sand, explains why its London bar, The Hide, no longer stocks international spirits and how provenance is changing for drinks.

The Hide has been open for more than a decade, but it only shifted focus to local, London-made spirits fairly recently.The drinks industry was changing rapidly in the UK and people were starting to want to drink more interesting things rather than just drinking for the sake of drinking,’ explains Mathew.

‘For bartenders, it’s a challenge to create things that are interesting, but with a smaller range of ingredients.’ But this hyperlocal approach has real benefits, too. ‘It makes it a lot easier for customers to make a decision. There’s more choice, but within a smaller range, [so] people are more confident about what to order.’

With the Hide’s best-selling Negroni, for example, Mathew explains he is making a familiar drink, albeit it one ‘that has local provenance and heritage, which our customers like’.

Read the full Q&A here.

The Hide, London
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