Retail Industry Trends : From groceries to placemaking, retail is becoming more immersive, expressive, dramatic and hyper-personalised.

Need to Know
08 : 06 : 23

Apple’s AR/VR headset Vision Pro, Nike brings branded digital creations to e-sports and why US online apparel retailers are losing millions over return rates.

Apple unveils highly anticipated AR/VR headset Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro, Global
Apple Vision Pro, Global
Apple Vision Pro

US – At its 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), US tech giant Apple announced Apple Vision Pro, its hotly anticipated augmented reality headset. ‘It’s the first Apple product you look through, and not at,’ CEO Tim Cook said of the device, which the company is calling a spatial computer.

Apple Vision Pro is predominantly controlled with the eyes; users browse rows of app icons in an operating system called visionOS by looking at them. They can also use their hands and voice. Apple Vision Pro positions itself primarily as an AR device, but it can switch to full VR at the turn of a dial. The headset will retail for £2,809 ($3,499, €3,269) and will be launched in early 2024 in the US before becoming available in more countries later in the year.

Apple’s VR headset has been highly anticipated as the tool that would bring VR and AR engagement to the mainstream. We previously highlighted in The Betterverse how consumers and businesses could create new progressive digital spaces thanks to VR technology. So far, the Apple Vision Pro has received accolades for its sleek design and user-friendly interface. But there are valid concerns about its high price, potentially limiting its availability to a wider audience.

Strategic opportunity

With the growing accessibility of VR and AR worlds to a broader consumer base, it becomes crucial for businesses to carefully consider how they want to express themselves in these digital environments. Consider how to train your existing team in this technology and hire new talents specialising in VR and AR

The Conran Shop opens ‘locally edited’ concept store in Tokyo

The Conran Shop, Japan The Conran Shop, Japan
The Conran Shop, Japan The Conran Shop, Japan

Japan – The Conran Shop has opened its new ‘locally edited’ concept store in Daikanyama, Tokyo, placing designers and artisans from Asia in the limelight.

One of the original concept stores where anything from furniture to flowers and books can be bought, The Conran Shop has opened the first in a series of retail spaces with an updated creative vision – focusing on locally edited spaces that are deeply rooted in the culture of the region. For the debut concept store in Japan, the shop follows the company’s ‘plain, simple, useful’ philosophy, carrying a hand-picked selection of items and decorated with pieces designed by about 60 Asian makers. The same careful curation is applied throughout the store, from the playlist created by a local record shop to the tea bar located in the basement, where a tea master serves organic brews, wagashi sweets and tea-infused cocktails.

The Conran Shop has imagined the store like a home, where visitors feel at ease and relaxed, a living space more than a retail space – what we call a fourth space, blurring home, retail and leisure, and engaging visitors at a deeper and non-commercial level.

Strategic opportunity

The Conran Shop shows how adjusting the experience to match local lifestyles can go a long way. Take cues from this approach, reframing the retail experience as a community-conducive local hangout

Nike to bring branded digital creations to e-sport platforms

.SWOOSH x EA Sports Games, Global .SWOOSH x EA Sports Games, Global

Global – Nike Virtual Studios and EA Sports have announced a new partnership in June 2023 with digital creations imagined by Nike making their way into virtual sports. Nike’s Web3 community, .SWOOSH (pronounced: dot SWOOSH) was created in November 2022 as a place where Nike members can ‘learn about, collect and eventually help co-create virtual creations, which are typically interactive digital objects such as virtual shoes or jerseys’.

By partnering with EA Sports, digital assets already available on .SWOOSH could be used within games as new tools for self-expression and creativity through sport and style. Although the project is similar to a non-fungible token (NFT) and gaming skin (an item that gamers can purchase or win within a game to change their character’s appearance) marketplace, EA and Nike both reject the designation. A spokesperson told IGN: ‘EA Sports is not offering NFTs. We’re collaborating with Nike to look at how we can bring their unique .SWOOSH digital items into future EA Sports experiences with unique player utility.’

We previously hinted at the gaming and e-sport opportunities for NFTs. The latter could open new revenue streams and audience engagement for any brand with a strong aesthetic like Nike.

Strategic opportunity

From fashion industry players to legacy food brands, consider how to invest in synergies between NFTs and gaming skins to engage with a growing community of Web3 enthusiasts while promoting your business on gaming and e-sport platforms among a global community of more than 2.5bn active video gamers (source: Statista)

Stat: Returns lead to big losses for US online apparel retailers

#CAPITAL by Alastair White for Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 #CAPITAL by Alastair White for Metaverse Fashion Week 2023

US – According to a survey by US-based research agency Coresight Research, online apparel returns in the US cost retailers a staggering £30bn ($38bn, €35bn). The study revealed that the average return rate for online apparel orders was 24.4% in the 12 months to March 2023.

The findings are based on data collected from more than 100 decision-makers at US-based fashion companies and retailers. Some 45% of respondents stated that over the past two years, apparel return rates had increased. The primary reasons consumers gave for returning clothing were size and fit.

As discussed in our EQ-Commerce report, it is important for e-tailers to take a more emotionally intelligent and intuitive approach to selling online by making product searches simpler, courting virtual tastemakers and offering more phygital interactions.

Strategic opportunity

Embrace emerging personalised technologies and use them to build new e-commerce eco-systems with customisation at their core to avoid recurring size and fit issues

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