Need to Know
22 : 07 : 21

Charlotte’s Web is selling CBD topicals in remote locations, Klarna courts Gen Z social shoppers and consumers want data to back up hygiene claims.

Far-flung CBD vending machines that target extreme athletes

Going the Distance: The Charlotte’s Web Vending Machine, US

US – With physical retailers facing ongoing challenges to reach audiences, CBD brand Charlotte’s Web is experimenting with offering its hemp-infused topical formulas in extreme locations. To target high-intensity outdoor athletes, the brand installed five vending machines in remote locations such as the top of a giant rock spire in Utah and on a road biking route in Arizona.

As these products are intended to soothe muscle inflammation and promote recovery, the presence of Charlotte’s Web topicals on treacherous terrain allows the brand to demonstrate the use of CBD in-situ. And while the vending machines are only likely to reach a small number of consumers, the surrounding marketing is likely to generate buzz for wider audiences.

Pop-up brand activations will be a familiar strategy for many retailers seeking to unshackle their operations from flagship-only trading. But this extreme location outreach provides new avenues for the kinds of Nomadic Brands we identify in our Eco-venience Retail macrotrend, especially as outdoor recreation continues to become a feature of travel.

Strategic opportunity

Tune into the ways that your products are being used and consider how you could take up space – either through products or advertising – in unexpected locales.

Moonflowers saffron celebrates Afghan heritage

Moonflowers, US. Photography by Anne Kim Moonflowers, US. Photography by Anne Kim
Moonflowers, US. Photography by Anne Kim Moonflowers, US. Photography by Anne Kim

US and Afghanistan – Saffron brand Moonflowers is repositioning the ancient spice through a visual identity that celebrates Afghan land and culture, the women who harvest it and its remedial benefits. Reflecting the colours of saffron flowers, Moonflowers employs purple hues and bright oranges alongside earthy, mountainous tones. Its crescent moon and crocus flower logo also touches on central Asian design cues.

Through this vibrant branding – by design consultancy Polonsky and Friends – Moonflowers reclaims the rich history of saffron while supporting the local communities who source it. Tahmina Gaffer, founder of Moonflowers says: ‘I began Moonflowers Co as a celebration of women in Afghanistan, who harvest saffron with love.’ By taking this approach, the brand challenges outdated notions about global cuisine.

While many global flavours have been stereotyped or Westernised, such visual identities allow food and drinks brands to better communicate personal stories and product authenticity in a way that remains accessible to diverse audiences.

Strategic opportunity

Global food brands can engage new audiences through enticing messaging and bold visuals that provide cultural inspiration associated with particular flavours.

Klarna merges real-life and social shopping experiences

London and New York – As consumers tentatively re-embrace physical stores, buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) service Klarna has acquired social shopping platform Hero. The acquisition will empower the in-store teams from Klarna’s 250,000 retail partners to become content creators – offering reviews, real-time advice and product information.

By merging in-person customer service with the convenience of e-commerce, Klarna is setting an example on how to maintain relevance in bricks-and-mortar retail after a period where consumers have had to rely on digital shopping experiences. Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, comments: ‘This will unlock growth for retailers by creating a new hybrid shopping experience that enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions as part of an engaging and personalised shopping journey.’

This initiative particularly reflects the shopping behaviours of Generation Z – a cohort of coterie consumers who enjoy both physical and digital retail experiences. And with buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) services proving popular among this demographic, Klarna is appealing to both the discovery and transactional preferences of Gen Z.


Strategic opportunity

Bricks-and-mortar retailers hoping to lure customers back in-store can take inspiration from the online behaviours of their target demographic, creating personal experiences that reflect their digital interactions.

Stat: Consumers want more transparent hygiene claims

Fountain of Hygiene Sanitiser Design Competition, Bompas & Parr Fountain of Hygiene Sanitiser Design Competition, Bompas & Parr

As heightened hygiene concerns prevail in the inter-Covid period, consumers are seeking greater transparency on the efficacy of products such as anti-bacterial handwash and hand sanitiser. According to a study by TSG Consulting, there is an ongoing need for consumer education in this area.

The research showed that 81% of consumers would like data substantiating hygiene claims to be more readily available on the websites of manufacturers or online retailers. And while 70% said they trusted claims made by brands, 67% said they found it difficult to find evidence of efficacy on product packaging or in online descriptions.

With the advent of Covid-19 having prompted more companies to create hygiene-focused products, brands must maintain clarity about the truth of such claims. As we explore in Recuperative Living, a greater awareness of contamination through touch is driving innovation.

Strategic opportunity

Looking ahead, beauty brands aiming to introduce sanitising products to their existing offering should provide dedicated product categories with clear ingredient lists and testing information to reassure consumers.

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