Retail

From groceries to placemaking, retailers are reinventing their post COVID conversation with shoppers as retail itself becomes more immersive, expressive, dramatic and hyper-personalised.

Need to Know
14 : 07 : 22

Football cards exposing the darker side of sports events, Delta unlocks personalised airport wayfinding, and why coffee makes customers spend more.

These football cards profile Qatar’s fateful migrant workers

Cards of Qatar by Blankspot, Sweden

Qatar – With excitement building about the FIFA World Cup, citizen-funded journalism platform Blankspot is working to raise awareness of its lesser-known, more harrowing background. Its project, Cards of Qatar, flips the script on traditional football cards to profile the stories of the migrant workers in Qatar who never returned.

Together with a team of local journalists in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Blankspot is collecting stories of migrant workers to capture on cards, with the goal of publishing one card each day until the tournament starts. The cards will also be followed by long-form articles and interviews with players, politicians and workers’ organisations. Through this project, Blankspot hopes to spark ethical change in countries that host similar large-scale events.

‘Cards of Qatar is a way to spread the stories to a large audience while putting more pressure on FIFA and other organisations that organise sporting events,’ says Patrik Arnesson, founder of football media platform Forza Football. By calling on football organisations to take greater responsibility, this project demonstrates how the sport can facilitate civic action.

Strategic opportunity

Sporting bodies and media organisations must take greater responsibility for the harmful impact of large events on people and the planet. Beyond raising awareness, how might your brand promote safer conditions for migrant workers?

Balenciaga’s couture speaker bag merges fashion and tech

Balenciaga and Bang & Olufsen speaker bag, France Balenciaga and Bang & Olufsen speaker bag, France
Balenciaga and Bang & Olufsen speaker bag, France Balenciaga and Bang & Olufsen speaker bag, France

Paris – The boundaries between fashion and technology continue to blur in unexpected ways as the luxury brand unveils a fully functioning speaker handbag. Arriving as a collaboration with high-end consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen, the bag fuses high sound quality with the sculptural design of Balenciaga’s signature handbags.

Revealed for the first time at Balenciaga’s 51st couture show in Paris, the speaker bags played music to the audience as they were carried by models on the runway. The creation is designed to reflect the attention both brands play to craft, delivering a hybrid product that delivers on both aesthetics and function. ‘Couture is custom, exclusive, culture creating and the art of making by extremely skilled craftsmen,’ says Miklu Silvanto, Bang & Olufsen's chief design officer. ‘This bag is a testament to what happens when two very special companies with an unparalleled heritage of craftsmanship join forces.’

The launch is part of ongoing efforts by Balenciaga to foster interest in couture for a new generation of luxury shoppers. We recently explored how the brand’s latest store acts as a gateway to couture.

Strategic opportunity

Experiment with cross-sector collaborations that can open up new avenues for boundary-breaking products, while bringing your expertise to a whole new audience

Delta trials hyper-personalised flight information boards

US – Recognising that airport navigation can be stressful and inconvenient, the airline is introducing personalised information boards at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Using new Parallel Reality technology, the boards can show up to 100 people their individual flight information at the same time, with the aim of making wayfinding more convenient and accessible.

Developed by start-up Misapplied Sciences, the boards are comprised of pixels that can project millions of light rays in different directions. Digital ID systems such as facial recognition technology then pair these rays to display unique information for each specific person. While many consumers are accustomed to personalised information on their own devices, this innovation demonstrates how such technologies can be useful in public settings.

Ranjan Goswami, senior vice-president of customer experience, says: ‘If this new technology can make finding your gate and departure information quicker and easier, we’re not just showing customers a magic trick – we’re solving a real problem.’ In this way, the information boards align with the shift towards human-centric airports.

Parallel Reality by Delta Air Lines and Misapplied Sciences, US

Strategic opportunity

In future, personalised wayfinding information could also be useful in malls, large sports arenas or even on highways. When developing such technologies, consider how signage can be made more legible and adjustable for viewers’ needs

Coffee encourages customers to spend more

Hypebeans café at the HBX flagship store by Hypebeast, US
Hypebeans café at the HBX flagship store by Hypebeast, US

Drinking caffeine before shopping has a significant impact on how much customers spend, according to a new study by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF). The experiment found that customers who drank a complimentary cup of coffee as they entered stores spent up to 50% more and bought almost 30% more items than shoppers who had decaffeinated drinks or water.

It also affected the types of products purchased, with those who drank caffeine buying more non-essential items including scented candles and fragrances. ‘Caffeine, as a powerful stimulant, releases dopamine in the brain, which excites the mind and the body,’ says lead author Dipayan Biswas, the Frank Harvey Endowed professor of marketing at USF. ‘As a result, caffeine intake leads to shopping impulsivity in terms of higher number of items purchased and greater spending.’

Coffee bars are becoming increasingly common in retail environments, and this study shows that they can have a real impact on spending. But retailers should be wary of encouraging excessive impulse-buying or risk a customer backlash. Delve into our Retail section for more insights about in-store strategies.

Strategic opportunity

As well as making customers feel welcome, consider how refreshment areas can help customers relax and increase basket sizes before they enter stores

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