Retail

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

Need to Know
28 : 11 : 19

Challenging our perception of facial recognition, My Storytime empowers remote bedtime stories and the opportunity to better care for female business travellers.

Studs is an Instagram-friendly piercing parlour

Studs, US Studs, US
Studs, US Studs, US
Studs, US Studs, US

New York – The retail space is re-inventing ear piercing services for a new generation of teenagers.

Based in New York’s Nolita district, Studs was conceptualised after co-founder Anna Harman found piercing services in tattoo parlours didn’t fit in with today’s consumer tastes and expectations. As a result, Studs occupies the gap between mall brands, tattoo parlours and luxury studios.

To ensure a comfortable experience, Studs’ piercings are done in private rooms with a needle rather than a gun. Its selection of jewellery includes Earscapes, personalised combinations of earrings that can be mixed-and-matched to create unique looks, which are priced accessibly to appeal to Generation Z.

‘We tried to envision: what does today’s late teen to early 20-year-old want, so we did a lot of playing with light, materials and colours in a way that we wanted to feel fresh, but also a place that felt zen and spa-like, appropriate for what is effectively a small medical procedure,’ Harman tells Adweek.

As Generation Z approach beauty with the end goal of self-expression, not perfection, piercings offer a way to achieve this.

How to remain anonymous in the city of the future

Online On-Site, Eyes of the City, Bi-City Biennale Online On-Site, Eyes of the City, Bi-City Biennale
The Watched The Watcher, YangYang+, Eyes of the City, Bi-City Biennale The Watched The Watcher, YangYang+, Eyes of the City, Bi-City Biennale

Shenzhen – A new exhibition, Eyes of the City, aims to explore the societal concerns arising from cities that can ‘see’.

Opened as part of Hong Kong and Shenzhen’s Bi-City Biennale, the exhibition revolves around the question: ‘What happens when the sensor-imbued city acquires the ability to see – almost as if it had eyes?’ To show how public spaces around the world are changing from anonymity to spaces of constant data-gathering and monitoring, the exhibition is situated in a newly opened railway station that connects mainland China with Hong Kong.

To immerse audience members, Eyes of the City uses facial recognition technology. Unlike systems deployed in cities, however, cameras will be highlighted throughout the space and those who wish not to be recognised can wear a special mark on their face to remain anonymous. ‘It is vital that we have the ability to opt out, not only online, but also in the space of the digitally augmented city,’ explains Carlo Ratti, its chief curator.

For more on how the smart cities of tomorrow will operate in a digital-first world, read our Far Futures vertical.

Google Assistant becomes a digital storyteller

My Storytime, Google Assistant

US – My Storytime is a new service that allows parents to read to their children from the other side of the world.

The new Google Assistant Action allows peripatetic parents to build a library of stories by recording themselves reading book chapters. At home, another parent or guardian can say ‘Hey Google, talk to My Storytime’ to their Nest device, which will play back the recordings to the children. During set-up, parents can also record phrases and questions to guide children through storytime and make it more interactive.

With My Storytime, Google is acknowledging the increasing number of parents whose work commitments mean they travel or cannot be with their family as much as they wish. It's also designed for long-distance grandparents, night shift workers and the large number of military parents deployed every year.

Brands are using digital technology to help parents enhance the co-reading experience with children, building on our Neo-kinship macrotrend.

Stat: Sexism is rife for female business travellers

Safety is increasingly a concern for female business travellers, according to the results of a new SAP Concur survey across 19 markets. The study found that more than three-in-four (77%) female business travellers have suffered harassment while travelling, and 58% of travellers have changed their plans because of safety concerns.

Sexism while travelling is also rife, with 42% of these travellers asked if they are travelling with their husband and 38% ignored by service workers. Taking action on these issues, the company has launched new tools within its TripIt platform that address safety concerns for women, as well as LGBT+ travellers, including day and night neighbourhood safety scores.

With harassment and sexism prominent over the world, workplaces must prioritise the safety of their employees when they are out of the office. For more, explore our work on Female Futures.

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