News 01.05.2024

Need to Know

Universal Standard wants to alleviate size-related anxiety in fashion retail, Jack Daniel’s enters the hard tea category and the surprising surge in EV charging infrastructure in America.

Universal Standard is expanding its size-inclusive Fit Liberty initiative

Universal Standard, US
Universal Standard, US
Universal Standard, US

US – American fashion brand Universal Standard is enhancing its commitment to inclusive fashion with an upgraded clothing exchange initiative named Fit Liberty. Originally launched as a pilot programme in 2017, Fit Liberty allows customers to exchange items like tops, denim and athleisure for the same item in a different size within a year of purchase, at no additional cost.

The programme, which initially featured fewer than 40 styles, has now expanded to include 400 items, among which are best-selling products. While the Fit Liberty programme may not immediately drive revenue growth or encourage repeat purchases, Universal Standard sees it as a strategic move to enhance customer retention and increase sales in the long run. Co-founder and CEO Polina Veksler views the initiative as a way to empower customers through size inclusivity, while fostering loyalty and satisfaction. With a repeat customer rate increasing from 70% in 2022 to 80% in 2024, the company boasts over 1m lifetime customers.

In line with our findings in Inclusive Fashion Market, Fit Liberty answers customers’ concerns about investing in clothing due to potential size changes, aiming to ensure customers can confidently purchase premium garments that fit impeccably.

Strategic opportunity

Developing inclusive lines without sufficient data can be risky and inefficient. Instead, harness the power of AI to understand consumers’ needs and behaviours to create a more precise and diverse range of products that fulfil consumer requirements

Introducing a camera translating pictures into AI poetry

Poetry Camera, US Poetry Camera, US
Poetry Camera, US Poetry Camera, US

US – The Poetry Camera, a ground-breaking fusion of AI technology and poetry, is redefining the boundaries of creativity and innovation. The brainchild of designers Kelin Carolyn Zhang and Ryan Mather, this open-source device takes the concept of photography to new heights by generating thought-provoking poetry based on visual input.

Powered by a Raspberry Pi and OpenAI’s GPT-4, the Poetry Camera analyses images, identifies key elements and crafts poetic verses that reflect the captured scene. Initially conceived as a personal passion project, the Poetry Camera has garnered attention and struck a chord with audiences, sparking curiosity and delight. As a result, Zhang and Mather are considering the possibility of making it commercially available.

In a society dominated by screens and digital distractions, the Poetry Camera offers a refreshing departure, inviting users to engage with art and technology in a more tactile and immersive manner. As Zhang told TechCrunch: ‘It’s about making something entirely new with this new technology and bringing out that inner child again.’

For more insights on AI, head to our Artificial Intelligence topic.

Strategic opportunity

Explore opportunities to develop AI-powered creativity tools that use machine learning algorithms to generate unique content, such as poetry, artwork or music. These tools can cater for a wide range of industries, including marketing, content creation and entertainment

Jack Daniel’s introduces hard tea to Country Cocktails line-up

Jack Daniel's, US Jack Daniel's, US

US – Jack Daniel’s has expanded its line of Country Cocktails with the introduction of hard tea, featuring original, peach, raspberry and blackberry flavours. The move follows hard tea’s emergence as a rapidly growing segment in the ready-to-drink cocktail market, with a consumption surge of over 104% in the two years to August 2023, according to NIQ.

The new product is initially available in 13 states, strategically chosen based on research showing a strong overlap between Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails fans and consumers of non-alcoholic tea. Unlike other brands on the market, Jack Daniel’s is targeting Millennial and Gen X shoppers instead of Gen Z, recognising their dominant influence in this market and their alignment with the brand.

This expansion reflects the proactive approachof Jack Daniel’s to evolving consumer preferences, which aims to capture a broader audience seeking innovative drinking experiences. With its sights set on key demographics and strategically selected markets, Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails Hard Tea aims to carve out a significant share in the competitive ready-to-drink cocktail landscape, innovating new flavours we revealed in No-lo Taste Lifts.

Strategic opportunity

Developing drinks with easy and nostalgic flavours, as in the case of hard teas, will not only help brands expand their product lines, but will also capture new audiences early in their brand discovery journey

Stat: EV charging infrastructure is surging in the US

BMW i Vision Dee, Germany BMW i Vision Dee, Germany

US – Despite a slowdown in electric vehicle (EV) production by car-makers, the landscape of EV charging in the US is rapidly evolving, with nearly 600 public fast-charging stations activated in the first quarter of 2024. A Bloomberg Green analysis of data from the US Department of Energy revealed a 7.6% increase in these stations since the end of 2023. There are now almost 8,200 quick-turn EV stations across the US, or one for every 15 petrol stations.

Chris Ahn, head of electrification consulting at Deloitte, told Bloomberg: ‘EV demand has slowed, but it hasn’t stopped,’ emphasising the diminishing number of charging deserts. The surge in infrastructure deployment is partially attributed to the Biden administration’s £4bn ($5bn, €4.7bn) EV Infrastructure programme. As EV adoption continues, revenue from public charging is projected to soar. BloombergNEF estimates that annual worldwide public charging revenue will rise to £101.4bn ($127bn, €118.6bn) by 2030, with Tesla on track to account for £5.9bn ($7.4bn, €6.9bn) of that.

In Not Your Parents’ Car, we analysed how Gen Z’s interest in automotive and vehicle ownership is showing significant signs of growth as they age, especially in the US, where the automotive sector is using innovative design, EVs and technology to forge new connections with young people.

Strategic opportunity

From hospitality to marketing professionals, explore opportunities to collaborate with companies involved in the development and deployment of EV charging stations that could become a new revenue stream for your venue and a kind of billboard for advertisements

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