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16 : 06 : 21

Seoul’s Uncommon Store hints at frictionless retail futures, Black Cow’s wool-based vodka bottle sleeve and US cinema-goers drive sector recovery.

Hyundai's QR code store a teaser for next-gen retail

Uncommon Store, Korea Uncommon Store, Korea
Uncommon Store, Korea Uncommon Store, Korea
Uncommon Store, Korea Uncommon Store, Korea

Seoul – Retail conglomerate Hyundai is exploring the future of shopping with the opening of a hyper-connected and data-driven store, designed to test and inspire the future shopping behaviours of young consumers.

Uncommon Store is a contactless retail experience that operates using QR codes instead of cards or cash. The space, which doesn’t feature any staff, invites shoppers to scan a QR code on entry to receive a customised experience informed by stored consumer data. Designed by architectural group Atelier [email protected] and powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the store employs a cloud-based system to track buying habits and monitor stock levels and payments.

‘The system targets customers from the MZ [Millennials and Gen Z] generation, a Korean buzzword for those who are most familiar with the idea of the unmanned payment system at a very early age,’ explains Uncommon Store in a press release. ‘These young consumers will drive the dominant commerce system in the next few years. They can adapt to the new payment system as the new norm in commerce and exchange.’

This innovative retail approach showcases an evolution from the frictionless experiences we previously identified in the supermarket sector.

Little Black Door powers luxury wardrobe swaps

Little Black Door, UK Little Black Door, UK
Little Black Door, UK Little Black Door, UK

UK – The peer-to-peer app allows users to upload the content of their wardrobes for others to view, buy and borrow, tuning into increasing consumer interest in sustainable shopping behaviours.

Taking inspiration from the interface of familiar social media platforms like Instagram, Little Black Door invites women to add and share their own premium and luxury clothing collections via its Lookbook feature, as well as curate private wardrobes from other users’ collections for their own reference. Little Black Door users can also add links to new products they’ve just purchased, which automatically adds them to their Lookbook.

Within the app, women can see, style and share each other’s wardrobes, explains Little Black Door, along with the option to resell and borrow clothes offline. Co-founder Lexi Willetts says: ‘Most fashion can be easily dashboarded on our phones – we couldn’t understand why our wardrobe wasn’t. Equally, the effort required to list an item on resale was also super-hard.’

In this way, the app empowers consumers to take part in the sharing economy through a curated approach. Looking more local, we recently spoke to Loanhood about the peer-to-peer future of fashion rental.

By-product wool packaging keeps spirits cool

Black Cow Vodka and Bill Amberg Studio, UK Black Cow Vodka and Bill Amberg Studio, UK

UK – Leather maker Bill Amberg has teamed up with vodka distillery Black Cow to create a sustainable bottle sleeve for transporting spirits, showcasing a greener form of drinks packaging.

Made using natural wool felt and vegetable tanned leather, the sleeve provides a durable casing to protect spirits and keep them cool. Crafted in line with Black Cow’s sustainable approach to sourcing ingredients, the sleeve makes use of waste wool from the fashion industry and remnant leather from shoemakers. The choice of wool felt provides an alternative to the commonly used insulator neoprene, which has a non-biodegradable composition that uses petrol during manufacturing.

‘We have always striven to produce with purpose, in a way that represents us and what we stand for, particularly with our ethos around reducing waste,’ says Paul Archard, co-founder of Black Cow. ‘Bill Amberg has created exactly that, a beautiful cooler for our vodka and cheese which can be re-used in multiple ways, time and time again.’

To discover more sustainable packaging alternatives in the premium drinks market, delve into our dedicated big idea.

Stat: US consumers embrace cinema re-openings

Selfridges Cinema, London Selfridges Cinema, London

As public locations begin to re-open in America, the recent four-day Memorial Day weekend showed positive signs of recovery for cinemas.

CNBC reports that American cinemas took nearly £71m ($100m, €82.5m) in ticket sales during this federal holiday. Although the figure is less than half of the amount recorded in the same weekend in 2019, it suggests inter-Covid growth for the sector – in particular as many cinemas continue to operate under social distancing restrictions.

With this behaviour in mind, brands have an opportunity to tap into this return to physical entertainment locations and consider ways of ensuring positive consumer mindsets. While these figures suggest many consumers are keen to enjoy public leisure experiences, media companies must also find ways to connect with those feeling hesitant to fully engage with in-person entertainment.

After a year of relying on at-home content, the media and entertainment space is evolving to cater for changing consumer mindsets.

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