News 29.10.2021

Need to Know

De Beers begins selling loose lab-grown diamonds, ASICS champions mental wellbeing with packaging and the untapped potential of retail chatbots.

This zero-carbon superyacht is a luxurious biotope

Yacht Concept VY-01 by 3Deluxe, Germany
Yacht Concept VY-01 by 3Deluxe, Germany
Yacht Concept VY-01 by 3Deluxe, Germany

Germany – Design practice 3Deluxe is combining the luxurious tropes of superyachts with bio-positive innovation. Its VY.01 conceptual project presents a zero-carbon superyacht, featuring eco-conscious elements such as a greenhouse, an on-board vegetable garden and zero-carbon solar panels on the roof and exterior.

The creators intend for it to be used for both work and relaxation, as well as being made available for educational and training purposes. In a press release, the design practice describes VY.01 as ‘a modern, innovative school ship for new inspirational approaches for young people, students and innovative start-ups, as an unconventional place for summits, conferences and think tanks’. In this way, 3Deluxe aims to subvert the elitism associated with superyachts, instead positioning it as an open-access environment for societal discussions and bio-positive experimentation.

While this project has a clear environmental purpose, we’ve previously explored how such luxurious environments can serve as resilient residences for a future affected by climate change and disasters.

Strategic opportunity

The luxury sector has an opportunity to combine premium services with sustainable innovation that benefits wider society. Venues such as hotels, retail spaces and restaurants could take a similar, open-access approach

ASICS re-packages footwear to promote wellbeing

ASICS Movement for Mind, UK and The Netherlands ASICS Movement for Mind, UK and The Netherlands
ASICS ASICS

UK and The Netherlands – Taking design cues from medicinal tablet packaging, ASICS is ramping up efforts to encourage exercise and promote its Movement for Mind programme, an eight-week course designed to improve people’s mental wellbeing through physical activity.

Following independent research conducted by ASICS and clinical academic physiotherapist Dr Brendon Stubbs, which found that simple movement can enhance people’s mood, ASICS developed its oversized, novelty packaging to encourage influencers to sign up to its fitness programme. In turn, these new brand ambassadors were sent ASICS trainers in giant medicinal blister packs – resembling painkiller packaging – creating a clear visual link between feeling well and physical activity.

The campaign is an example of the company’s sustained commitment to mental health and exercise, with the founder of ASICS coining the tagline ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’ in 1949. As consumers take a more holistic approach to health, companies can delve into the themes of Synchronised Care, where we further explore the emotional fitness movement.

Strategic opportunity

As ASICS shows, packaging design can be reworked in novel ways, driving social media shares or to raise awareness about a social cause or key brand values

De Beers’ lab-grown stones empower personalisation

London – The luxury jewellery brand is democratising access to lab-grown diamonds through its fashion brand Lightbox, offering loose diamonds in various colours and at easy-to-understand price points.

As part of a purchase format called Lightbox Loose Stones, the brand is empowering its customers to choose and buy their own diamonds with ease. Available in one carat, 1.5-carat, 1.75-carat and two-carat options, all stones are priced by the same £585 ($800, 690) per carat standard.

While De Beers’ Lightbox stones were previously only available in finished jewellery designs, this development allows the brand to reach a wider range of consumers, positioning the service as accessibly-priced fashion jewellery’. Steve Coe, CEO of Lightbox, says: ‘Unless you hold a vast inventory of different designs to keep everyone happy, the best way is to sell the stones loose – it gives the consumer freedom.

We’ve been tracking the rise of lab-grown diamonds and how their sustainable and ethical credentials can future-proof the luxury jewellery industry. Now that such materials are becoming more widely available, jewellery brands can target new audiences with such cost-effective offerings.

Lightbox Loose Lab-grown Stones, UK

Strategic opportunity

Luxury jewellery companies can take cues from this initiative, recognising that individual gemstones or components of luxury goods could boost consumer interest and appeal to younger global audiences

Stat: Chatbots should go beyond customer service

Character Illustration IV by OmarAqil Character Illustration IV by OmarAqil

According to a small study by Lucidworks, 70% of Americans use chatbots often when shopping online, yet the research reveals that most services are not equipped to meet the rising demands of digital shoppers.

With some customers directing questions to retail chatbots that they might normally reserve for a search engine, Lucidworks reports that 48% of shoppers would like to use chatbots to receive product recommendations and request additional information about items. Since most chatbots are not designed to respond to these prompts, however, customers are forced to resolve questions by themselves, with 36% opting to call customer support centres and 25% abandoning their baskets entirely.

With Lucidworks also finding that 35% of customers plan to visit bricks-and-mortar stores less often than before the pandemic, chatbots need to be reformatted as tools that provide more personal connections, as seen with the Conversational Comrades, which are driving a new era of feedback.

Strategic opportunity

Companies should consider expanding the functionality of their chatbots by investing in machine learning and language processing, which can help chat services feel more human and relevant

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