News 15.04.2020

Need to Know

A market for socially distant trading, Dyson’s engineer challenge for locked down kids and Chinese retailers tap into live-stream retail.

Covid-19: Shift’s market for safe social distance

Hyperlocal Micromarket by Shift,  Rotterdam Hyperlocal Micromarket by Shift, Rotterdam

The Netherlands – Shift Architecture Urbanism has developed a model for a street food market that allows people to buy fresh produce while remaining socially distant.

Created in response to current restrictions on market trading, the design studio’s Hyperlocal MicroMarkets concept provides a solution for a network of public markets. The design consists of 16 square grids that can be easily replicated in towns and cities to reduce the strain on supermarkets and enable the public to shop locally and safely.

Allowing customers to buy fruit, vegetables, meat and fish in an orderly way, the model is presented as a low-risk method of maintaining market trade. Thijs van Bijsterveldt, Oana Rades and Harm Timmermans, architects at Shift Architecture Urbanism, explain: ‘As urban planners face the current reality and the future likelihood of global pandemics, they are having to consider new ways of placemaking to suit both safety and economic concerns.’

Consumers and retailers are facing challenges in their ability to continue trading as normal. For more retail solutions in the current climate, read our Covid-19 Contingency Planning report.

Dyson’s engineering challenges for kids in lockdown

Challenge Cards by The James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards by The James Dyson Foundation
Challenge Cards by The James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards by The James Dyson Foundation

UK – Dyson has created a series of science and engineering tasks to help children stay entertained during lockdown.

The concept, consisting of 44 challenge cards, aims to provide stimulation for kids as families adjust to spending more time at home. Created by Dyson’s designers, the cards include activities such as making a marble run, building a periscope and designing a bridge made of spaghetti.

Each project comes with a brief, a list of materials – most of which can be found at home – and an explanation of the science behind the challenge. In this way, Dyson is helping to mitigate the need to spend on new toys and games during lockdowns, while also stepping in to ease the difficulties faced by families in place of formal education.

By focusing on hand-built tasks that use objects found at home, the brand is also encouraging people to step away from screen-based activities, with further potential to support families and children from lower income backgrounds.

Covid-19: An AR plug-in to support cosmetics brands

Global – YouCam developer Perfect is offering free augmented reality (AR) services to cosmetics brands to ease the impact of Covid-19 on retail sales.

YouCam's AR browser plug-in allows brands to easily integrate virtual make-up try-ons into their website. In addition, using the YouCam make-up app, customers can access on-demand beauty consultations from the app’s Beauty Advisor one-to-one service.

As beauty companies adapt their offerings to suit the new climate, YouCam has identified an opportunity to support brands in the transition to digital spaces and virtual consultations, becoming a long-term service for businesses.

Alongside this, it is offering training programmes to brands' internal teams to help them understand and promote its virtual try-on services and the use of AR as a tool in beauty retail.

With shoppers unable to access physical beauty counters, brands are amplifying their online activities, using AR and VR to upgrade employee training in the process.

Perfect Corp by YouCam

Stat: Lockdown boosts live-stream retail in China

According to research by Alibaba Group, its dedicated live-streaming channel Taobao Live has demonstrated notable growth during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With local retailers quickly rethinking modes of operation to retain sales, Taobao Live has attracted more than 800m monthly active users to Alibaba’s e-commerce sites. In February, during China’s coronavirus peak, the platform waived its fees for bricks-and-mortar retailers, resulting in an increase of 719% in first-time merchant users compared with the previous month.

In particular, car brands became some of the most active, using live-streams hosted by in-store employees at authorised dealerships. The platform says it has hosted more than 15,000 car-related streams to date.

With an increasing number of brands hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, retailers have been opting for live-stream opportunities as an alternative to physical operations.

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