Retail

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

Need to Know
26 : 07 : 19

Toys R Us relaunched with retail-as-a-service model, Superfrau transforms waste whey into fruit drinks and why brand loyalty continues to decline.

Bic disrupts grooming with gender-neutral razors

Made For You, BIC

US – The brand has launched a new direct-to-consumer line designed to be used by both men and women.

The Made for You razor is Bic’s first product to be launched exclusively on Amazon. The refillable razor system offers a modern design, featuring a premium metal handle and five flexible blades to adapt to the contours of the skin. Retailing at £7 ($8.99, €8), the razors are available in four colours: nickel, teal, navy and white.

‘We developed the Made For You brand to disrupt the grooming category and redefine how consumers shop for personal care products,’ says Mary Fox, general manager of Bic North America. ‘We know consumers have choices, but the Made For You razor system combines everything this consumer is looking for: exceptional performance, terrific value, an inclusive platform and the most seamless shopping experience; thanks to our relationship with Amazon.’

Tapping into evolving consumer mindsets, the launch shows how shaving brands are adopting a more inclusive approach.

The future of hair colour could be programmable

Spectrum by April Hsu Spectrum by April Hsu
Spectrum by April Hsu Spectrum by April Hsu

London – Spectrum is a hair colouration system that allows users to change their hair colour simply by combing it.

Designed by Royal College of Art graduate April Hsu, the concept is a response to the fact that more than 5,000 chemical substances are used in the hair dye sector, with many of these harming the environment.

Spectrum contains electrochromic hair colourants which are derived from natural ingredients, binding to keratin on the surface of the hair to form a semi-permanent surface coating. By attaching a hair brush, users can change their hair colour simply by combing. ‘In addition to enhancing self-expression, this system opens the possibilities for dynamic hair colour change via remote digital interactions,’ says Hsu.

As innovators such as Hsu elevate the at-home hair colour market with technology, the hair dye sector is demonstrating its approach to Algorithmic Beauty.

Toys R Us returns to the high street

US – The iconic toy retailer has partnered with retail-as-a-service company b8ta to launch a store experience powered by discovery.

Tru Kids Brands, the parent of the Toys R Us brand, will open a series of immersive, smaller-format spaces in Texas and New Jersey. The stores will be highly interactive, allowing children to play with toys before making a purchase, visit various branded stations and encouraging them to learn about STEM subjects.

By transforming the stores into a playground, the brands can offer more engaging physical product discovery. ‘The new Toys“R”Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world, and we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come,’ says Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta.

As explored in our Storefront Salvation macrotrend, retailers are reconsidering the purpose of their bricks-and-mortar shops, turning them into hubs of inspiration.

Toys R Us Toys R Us

This drink brand brings dairy trash to your table

Superfrau, US Superfrau, US

New York – The startup partners with cheese and yoghurt makers to upcycle their fresh whey.

Superfrau is made using fresh whey, a calcium-rich by-product of the cheese and yoghurt making process that often goes discarded, and makes the ingredient more palatable by blending it with fruit juice. Co-founders Melissa Martinelli and Michael Hagauer created the Austrian inspired beverage as an way to creatively upcycle food waste from the dairy industry. The ready-to-drink beverages are available in flavours such as cucumber lime, peach mango and lemon elderflower.

‘Fresh whey is not a powder, or a smoothie, or drink meant for bodybuilders, but rather a natural and refreshing liquid co-product of cheese and yogurt making. In the Alps, they drink it because it is naturally packed with electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and lactic acid, which is great for that gut,’ says Martinelli. ‘In the US, however, the most prolific cheese producer in the world, we treat it as a waste product.’

Food brands are addressing the global food waste crisis by exploring the concept of Trash-to-Table in more creative ways.

Stat: Brand disloyalty is growing

When it comes to brand loyalty, consumers are proving to be increasingly fickle. New data from Nielsen shows that only 8% of consumers are committed to the brands they purchase, compared to 42% who actively search for new brands and products.

Driven by a desire for newness, nearly half (46%) of consumers are also more likely to try new or different brands than five years ago. Interestingly, price is no longer the most important factor in purchasing decisions, with value (39%), quality (34%) and convenience (31%) all playing a significant role in influencing consumer choices.

As consumers become less loyal, brands must redefine customer retention. For more, read our Loyalty Market.

Thought-starter: Can deep fakes empower consumers?

Utilising Microsoft’s Azure technology, MSc Strategic Fashion Management graduates Helen Wang and Joanna Lanceley propose that AI can empower individuals to create personalised influencer marketing.

Swapp was developed as a way to level up the emotional response to adverts. ‘Harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence, our technology realistically swaps people’s faces into brand content, in the form of short fashion films, advertisements and GIFs,’ say Wang and Lancely. ‘It creates a fun and hyper-personalised experience for the consumer, encouraging social sharing.’

‘We see this technology being used at events such as brand launches, catwalks, and in-store events. We would work with brands and businesses to create videos and content optimised for our technology,’ they continue.

‘Inclusivity and diversity are central to our ethos, so our next steps are to develop a way to allow users to insert their whole body and skin tone into advertisements, as a way to help tackle this issue within the fashion industry.’

For more on the branded potential for deepfakes, look out for the full Q&A here.

SWAPP SWAPP
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