News 12.02.2021

Need to Know

Tobacco Dock finds a second home in the virtual realm, an AI-led app transforming luxury resale and challenger banks prompt impulse spending.

Tobacco Dock’s immersive virtual events venue

Tobacco Dock Virtual Venue, London

London – Tobacco Dock events venue is creating a digital twin of its physical space to offer hybrid events for the pandemic period and beyond.

Tobacco Dock Virtual, developed in partnership with virtual reality (VR) platform Sansar, will present shows and events at the same time as the physical venue, drawing on gaming cues to give each guest an avatar that can navigate the dynamic virtual space. Accessible via the Sansar app or on any web browser, guests can interact with other attendees, discover new products, listen to a headline speaker or band and ask questions in real time.

The virtual double is not only a response to Covid-19 curtailing physical events, but will also open up attendance to global audiences or those unable to access the physical space. Jonathan Read, commercial director for Tobacco Dock, explains: ‘Tobacco Dock is excited to develop a cutting-edge, virtual venue that will enable remote audiences to have a truly immersive, rich experience with the attributes of being present without the travel.’

Venues around the world are creating digital twins as a way to enhance the public's enjoyment of or involvement in an event or project, pointing to a future of more immersive phygital experiences.

Covalent creates carbon-negative fashion accessories

AirCarbon by Covalent, US AirCarbon by Covalent, US
AirCarbon by Covalent, US AirCarbon by Covalent, US

US – Fashion brand Covalent has launched a collection of earth-friendly accessories produced using regenerative materials.

Each item in the range – including bags, laptop cases and eyewear – is made from a bio-positive material, dubbed AirCarbon. The material is created using carbon-capturing technology that extracts ocean micro-organisms from greenhouse gases. By mining natural resources from carbon dioxide, the brand claims its manufacturing process is carbon-negative. Tying this into Covalent’s marketing, each item listed on the brand's website shares its carbon-negative footprint, with the figures calculated by a third-party carbon accounting firm.

By using AirCarbon and disclosing each product's impact, the brand aims to differentiate itself from other fashion brands that claim to make eco-friendly goods but partake in greenwashing. ‘We think that to help empower change in the fashion industry, consumers should have actionable information about the carbon impact of the products they use,’ says Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight, parent company of Covalent.

As sustainability demands in the fashion sector continue, other bio-positive materials are emerging to counter fashion’s environmental impact.

Clair AI is an app expediting luxury resale

Clair AI by Rebag, New York Clair AI by Rebag, New York

New York – Luxury resell platform Rebag has created a free app, Clair AI, that allows users to instantly gauge the resale value of luxury items.

The artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the app can recognise and price the value of handbags across more than 50 brands. To activate the service, consumers scan their luxury handbags using a phone camera, before uploading to the Clair AI app or website for valuation. Alternatively, luxury handbag images from secondary sources like social media accounts or printed magazines can also generate resale data for users. Its software is powered by machine learning and takes reference from Rebag’s extensive bank of resale data and images.

Building on the company’s existing technology suite, the new AI software brings greater transparency and convenience to the luxury resale process. Charles Gorra, founder and CEO of Rebag, says: ‘Ultimately, we believe that accessible resale data points will redefine behaviours and move the luxury industry from a consumption mindset towards an investment one.’

As explored in Pre-loved Premium, luxury brands and retailers are stepping up to support consumers with more accessible resale schemes.

Stat: Digital banking triggers impulse spending

Microsoft rebranding by Microsoft and Tendril Microsoft rebranding by Microsoft and Tendril

A survey from YouGov analysing the behaviours of British customers of digital challenger banks such as Revolut, Monzo and Starling has unveiled a series of behavioural patterns.

The research reveals that over half of Revolut (55%), Monzo (55%) and Starling (51%) customers make impulse purchases, compared with 40% of the wider public. At the same time, they are conscious of combatting excessive spending: more than two in five respondents – 43% at Revolut, 43% at Starling and 45% at Monzo – moving money weekly into different accounts to trick themselves into spending less.

With this survey, YouGov examines the behaviour of customers banking with fintech challenger brands. The similarities in behaviour present an opportunity for fintech firms to diversify in order to differentiate from competitors. As these digital banks look to expand their services beyond offering spending and savings pots, understanding their current consumer base is imperative.

We question the spending behaviour that digital-first spending can encourage in our opinion piece, asking whether digital payments are luring consumers into debt.

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