News 05.12.2019

Need to Know

Trip in the Dark is a virtual audio city tour, Amazon streamlines orders for business clients and WeChat’s growth could be reaching deceleration.

A luxury eco-resort made using 3D-printed sand technology

The Kisawa Sanctuary Hotel, Mozambique
The Kisawa Sanctuary Hotel, Mozambique
The Kisawa Sanctuary Hotel, Mozambique

Mozambique – The Kisawa Sanctuary Hotel uses design to integrate itself into the natural environment.

The resort, built from materials including patented 3D-printed sand mortar, is setting a new standard in sustainable design. Set to open in 2020 off the east coast of Mozambique on Benguerra Island, the hotel offers 12 bungalows set across 300 hectares of private beach, forest and sand dunes. Each house includes a personal beach front, swimming pool, massage hut and electric vehicles to get around the island.

With prices starting at £4,200 ($5,500, €4,964) a night, the hotel encourages eco-tourism among high-spending luxury consumers. To connect culturally with the area, local designers were brought in to implement Mozambican weaving, thatching, carpentry and textiles within the 3D-printed sand structure.

Although eco-conscious hotels have long existed as a niche in the hospitality industry, HNWI consumers are increasingly looking to offset their impact.

Trip in the Dark is transforming the way we visit cities

Trip in the Dark, Russia Trip in the Dark, Russia
Trip in the Dark, Russia Trip in the Dark, Russia

Russia – The virtual city tour allows people to experience a city without visual stimuli.

Led by visually impaired entrepreneur and coach Vladimir Vaskevich, Trip in the Dark is a guided excursion around a city. Now, the project has launched a website that lets visitors explore a digital version of the city that merges art and technology, focused on sounds, touches, tastes and trust.

Users can explore the website through voice commands, audio marks and 3D orientation. The more they explore, the more the noise of the streets guides them through the digital city. ‘Today’s society faces super-abundance of visual stimuli of all sorts,’ reads the press release. ‘Being overflown with colours and pictures, people can’t keep track of their emotions any more.’

The project encourages people to experience cities in new ways, encouraging travellers to get in touch with all five of their senses. For more, read our microtrend Tourism Decelerated.

Amazon targets SMEs with intuitive shelving

US – The retail giant’s latest B2B solution aims to streamline the management of everyday business supplies.

Dubbed the Dash Smart Shelf, the weight-sensing, wifi-enabled smart shelf features a scale that tracks inventory for products – from pens to paper cups and Post-its. It recognises when particular supplies are low, instantly re-ordering them for company stock rooms.

The system, which uses Amazon Dash technology, was created to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Amazon Business customers spend less time monitoring stock levels and carrying out re-orders, and more on their operations. ‘It can place a replenishment order for you automatically, or it can be set to send a notification when supplies run low,’ reads a company statement. ‘You can also check on stock levels any time through the Amazon Shopping app.’

The Dash Smart Shelf also offers discounts on regularly ordered items from partner brands such as KIND snack bars, Bic pens and Scotch tape. In this way, the system taps into the trend for Office Stores, where technology is allowing FMCG brands to explore the workplace as a profitable retail opportunity.

Amazon Smart Shelf

Stat: WeChat becomes the world’s fastest-growing brand

The all-in-one China-founded app has grown 1,540% in terms of brand value in the past five years, according to the Fastest Growing 100 report by Brand Finance.

Examined alongside 5,000 other businesses, WeChat’s accelerated growth is aligned with its swelling user base of one billion people globally, and increasing appeal for Western companies as a platform through which luxury, beauty and fashion brands can reach Asian consumers.

According to Brand Finance’s research, Chinese brands dominated the Fastest Growing 100 list in 2019, claiming two out of every three spots in the top 30, with these companies’ combined worth equating to £654bn ($856.8bn, €773bn).

‘WeChat has successfully entrenched itself in Chinese society, a feat unmatched by any other brand. However… now the Chinese economy is starting to stall, it raises the question of whether Chinese brands can match domestic growth internationally,’ notes Alex Haigh, valuation director at Brand Finance. In this future, brands that want to reach Chinese shoppers must consider the innovations driving e-commerce in the region.

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