Need to Know
26 : 04 : 19

7-Eleven gets experiential with its new store format, Sanctuary is the Talkspace of astrology and Fashion Revolution reveals the leaders in transparency.

​The Future Laboratory unveils Community Commerce

Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory
Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory
Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory

London – The Future Laboratory hosted its Retail Futures Forum yesterday at the Corinthia Hotel, where we presented the retail trends shaping the landscape in the coming year.

From Prescription Supermarkets to Refined Refillables, we discussed how service and sustainability have become front of mind for consumers. We also launched our latest retail macrotrend, Community Commerce, which looks beyond convenience and one-click customer journeys to explore how retailers can create a more interactive and social online shopping experience.

To bring the macrotrend to life, we created a live shop experience where our guests could access our Retail Futures Report by selecting one of three pathways. The experience was designed to highlight new ways to access and exchange products, representing the power of new retail strategies in action. You can also explore our creative activation online here.

Our next Futures Forum will be hosted at the Corinthia Hotel on 20 June, and will focus on health and wellness. Tickets are now available in The Future Laboratory Shop.

Everlane launches a low-impact sneaker

Tread by Everlane Tread by Everlane
Tread by Everlane Tread by Everlane

Los Angeles – Tread by Everlane is a collection of unisex sneakers made from recycled plastic, leather and rubber.

The brand is applying its transparent business model to the highly disposable, hype-driven sneaker industry. Its debut shoe is a carbon offset leather trainer with a sole that is 94.2% free of virgin plastic. For its leather, Everlane partnered with a gold-certified, eco-friendly tannery in Vietnam, while the shoe’s lining and laces are created from recycled water bottles.

Launching today at £76 ($98, €88), the shoes are more accessible than many eco-friendly sneaker brands such as Stella McCartney or Veja. Although the collection is not completely zero impact or virgin plastic-free, Everlane openly admits this: ‘it’s still far from perfect. But it’s the first step on a long path to changing an industry,’ reads the press release.

As explored in our macrotrend Uneasy Affluence, eco-conscious, inconspicuous objects such as sneakers and reusable water bottles are fast becoming status symbols.

7-Eleven reimagines the convenience format

Texas – The cult convenience retailer has launched a new store format focused on discover, freshness and local products.

Described as a ‘lab store’, it will sell regular convenience goods alongside made-to-order smoothies, cold-pressed juices and kombucha on tap. A separate craft beer station will allow locals to refill their own bottles, while South Texan brand Laredo Taco Company will offer street tacos made with handmade tortillas.

Currently the only store of its type in the US, 7-Eleven is also experimenting with Scan & Pay technology that allows customers to skip checkout and pay for their purchases on their smartphones.

‘Convenience retailing is…changing at a faster rate than ever before,’ says Chris Tanco, 7‑Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer. ‘This new lab store will serve as a place to test, learn and iterate new platforms and products to see what really resonates with customers and how we can use those learnings to influence future store designs.’

By supporting local brands and through its provision of health-led and artisanal produce, 7-Eleven is demonstrating the Convenience Stores 2.0 microtrend in action.

7 Eleven Lab Store, US

Sanctuary app offers one-on-one astrology readings

Sanctuary App Sanctuary App

US – The app is designed to be the ‘Talkspace for astrology’ for an anxious generation.

Sanctuary, which is currently in beta, moves the market for astrology apps beyond free daily horoscopes with a comprehensive membership service. For £16 ($20, €18), a month, members gain access to live, one-on-one readings with their own dedicated astrologer as well as access to an educational astrological library.

According to its co-founder Ross Clark, the minimal app design was inspired by Headspace and Calm. ‘The venture world has definitely been paying attention to everything that’s happening in meditation and wellness and self-care more broadly,’ he tells Wired. ‘No one has translated or reimagined the astrological reading for a mobile format.’

As well as enabling young people to find a spiritual community outside of their immediate culture, the digitisation of astrology shows how ancient traditions can remain relevant in the future. For more, read our microtrend Alternative Spirituality.

Stat: Transparency remains slow among fashion brands

Apparel brands including Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia have been named among the most transparent by Fashion Revolution in its latest Fashion Transparency Index.

The three brands each scored 64% of 250 possible points, evaluated through a process of reviewing and ranking how much information they disclose about their suppliers, supply chain policies and practices, and social and environmental impact.

Launched as part of Fashion Revolution week, the average score in this year’s Index was 21%. In 2019, no major brands scored above 70%, however improvements are clear: no brand scored above 60% last year, and none more than 50% in 2017.

Labels that made the largest gains in 2019 compared to last year included Dior, Sainsbury’s, Nike, New Balance and Marc Jacobs. Those scoring zero points included Tom Ford, Mexx and Youngor. For more on how brands can build more transparent supply chains, read our interview with Derek Sabori, Volcom’s sustainability analyst.

Thought-starter: Has sustainability become too moralistic?

Daniel Freitag, co-founder of sustainable fashion brand Freitag, examines how the brand’s thought-provoking presentation at Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile shows that nobody is perfect when it comes to sustainable practices.

In Milan, Freitag unveiled its provocative installation, Unfluencer – De-sinning the Designer. ‘We took a counter-intuitive approach and said we want to ‘de-sin the designer’ and play with this topic of confession. As brands and designers, we all have our design sins and you realise what is important to you by thinking about these. The installation has three phases to develop your own thoughts.’

When it comes to its own sustainable behaviour, the brand ‘always [tries] to be earnest but not too serious – there should be a certain element of playfulness,’ says Freitag. ‘This is often the problem. You lose a little of the fun and forget that this is still a lifestyle. You shouldn’t buy a Freitag bag or Freitag clothing because you feel sorry for the environment, it should be because you want to express positive things.’

‘Sustainability shouldn’t be a USP,’ he continues. ‘It should be at the core strategy of every brand, in every company.’

Read the full Q&A here.

Unfluencer – De-sinning the Designer by Freitag and Georg Lendorff at Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2019
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