Retail

From groceries to placemaking, a wide-ranging exploration of the retail industry

Need to Know
04 : 02 : 19

The rise of serial returns in retail, synthetic spider silk is the latest luxury material and why consumers will cut back on leisure in 2019.

A luggage campaign that champions ancestral travel

What the Future Holds featuring Zoë Kravitz & Lenny Kravitz by TUMI

New York – Luggage brand Tumi has enlisted Lenny and Zoë Kravitz to show how travel can reconnect us with our ancestry.

The campaign is set in the Bahamas, the birthplace of Kravitz’s ancestors. The video follows the father and daughter as they explore the places and traditions that were significant to their Bahaman roots, and discuss the importance of passing on family values from one generation to the next.

‘To me, this campaign is about connecting with ourselves, our roots, and with each other,’ says Zoë Kravitz in a press release. ‘It was amazing to travel to the other side of the island for my first time to see where my family originated from and to pay respect to our elders and those who came before us.’ The documentary-style film takes a more enlightened approach to travelling than traditional campaigns, which tend to rely on stereotypes of white, Western tourists. As Bani Amor argues, there is a growing movement of conscious, diverse travellers who only travel when they are invited, or connected, to a country.

Storr facilitates peer-to-peer shopping

Storr, US Storr, US
Storr, US Storr, US

San Francisco – A new digital marketplace allows anyone to open an online store with their phone and sell new, brand-name products directly to friends or followers.

From sportswear to eveningwear, Storr is working with more than 150 brands including Adidas, Re/Done Denim and Jonathan Simkhai and plans to eventually feature thousands more in different verticals. The brands handle shipping and returns, while sellers make a 15–25% commission for each sale, which can be processed from Apple or Android devices, the web, or directly from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

‘Storr accelerates the transition from centralised, channel-first commerce to decentralised, people-first commerce,’ says founder and CEO Eric Senn. Brian Murray of Craft Ventures, which recently invested in the platform, adds: ‘As personal brands become larger, more relatable and more trusted than retail brands, Storr represents the logical next step in e-commerce.’ For more on the emergence of peer-to-peer retail, read our Shoppable Social market.

Retailers plan to blacklist repeat returners

UK – A number of retailers are taking steps to curb the rise of shoppers who regularly buy, wear and return clothes in bulk.

In a survey conducted by Brightpearl, more than a third of 200 UK-and US- based retailers said they had seen an increase in serial returns over the past year. As a result, 45% said they would consider banning consumers who return too many items. This included both Asos and Harrods.

The rise in returns is partly driven by the phenomenon of consumers photographing themselves in clothes before returning them. Asos has reported its security team has taken to scanning flagged customers’ social media accounts to determine if items have been worn before returning.

Although this strongly affects retailers’ margins, it suggests a potentially promising future for digital-only products. Retailer Carlings, for example, recently joined forces with digital influencer Perl.www to create an entirely digital collection of clothing. We also explore fashion’s digital future in our Immaterial Fashion macrotrend.

ASOS ASOS

Omega creates a watch strap from synthetic spider silk

Omega Nato watch with Biosteel strap Omega Nato watch with Biosteel strap
Omega Nato watch with Biosteel strap Omega Nato watch with Biosteel strap

Switzerland – Following years of biotechnology research, the textile is finally being used in a consumer-facing product.

Omega has teamed up with AMSilk, a German producer of synthetic spider silk, for a Nato watch strap that blends polyamide with AMSilk’s synthetic Biosteel. Although spider silk is renowned for its strength and flexibility, the man-made version has been chosen for its breathable, anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic qualities.

The collaboration marks the first time a commercially available product has been made with Biosteel. While various companies have used the material to create one-off, limited-edition pieces, Omega is the first luxury brand to scale up production of synthetic spider silk. The watch strap is priced at a premium £207 ($270, €235).

As luxury consumers become more aware of the damaging impact of animal products, brands have no choice but to develop alternative, often lab-grown materials.

Stat: Consumers will spend less on leisure in 2019

Some 48% of consumers say Brexit is their biggest concern heading into 2019, according to new research conducted by NatWest and Retail Economics. As a result, just under half of all UK households are expected to cut back on leisure activities, such as eating out or going to the cinema, in 2019. For consumers that expect their personal finances to be significantly weakened by Brexit, this figure rises to 60%.

‘It is perhaps unsurprising that Brexit has been declared the top customer concern,’ says David Scott, head of retail and leisure at NatWest. ‘Uncertainty always has and always will damage the sector. 2018 was a year of unprecedented change in the retail industry, and this change propels uncertainty – there is nothing more uncertain than what Brexit will look like.’

From Brexit to the US elections, we explore consumer discontentment in more depth in our An Uncertain Future vertical.

Thought-starter: Could dietary advice be an in-store service?

Foresight writer Alex Hawkins explores the grocery retailers that are assuming a new role as dietary advisers, helping to educate consumers and providing personalised health and nutrition guidance as an in-store service for shoppers.

Amid increasing store automation and the allure of convenient grocery e-tail, consumers have a new expectation of food retailers: a focus on wellness. According to the Food Marketing Institute’s 2018 US Grocery Shopper Trends report, 55% of consumers see their primary grocery store as an ally in their wellness efforts and this shift in attitude represents a new opportunity for retailers to step up their efforts to engage health-driven shoppers.

In Portland, Oregon, a new small-format grocery store makes a more literal connection between food and healthcare. Basics Market is located below The Portland Clinic health centre, with the store’s emphasis on cooking, nutrition and farm-to-table food education designed to help patients prevent or improve various health conditions.

‘When you have the skills to cook your own meals and a little nutrition guidance, you’re really taking your health into your own hands,’ says store manager Erin Leiker. ‘What’s important to all of us [at Basics Market] is fostering health and connections in the store, around the table and at the farm.’

Read the microtrend Prescription Supermarkets here.

Basics Market, Oregon Basics Market, Oregon
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