The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Team TCC are back with another monthly round up of news and views from the world of retail and beyond.
This time around, we’re diving into some good news around the UK economy (spoiler: it’s on the up), some page-turning pride activations and cross-category collaboration from fashion & retail giants alike.
As always, we’ll keep you updated on the latest sustainability stories, and the ever-expanding world of frictionless retail, plus we’ve got the low down on a life-sized gaming experience like you’ve never seen before…
Retail renaissance: huge growth in UK economy since lockdown relaxed
After stores re-opened on 12th April and lockdown was relaxed, the UK economy has shown rapid growth. With an estimated £150billion saved by the British public since the start of the pandemic, it appears they’re starting to spend some of it now with physical and online sales increasing by 9.2% in April, which is twice the expected level. However, it’s still sobering to note that 530,000 retail employees are still on furlough and the industry needs to maintain this momentum to return to healthier and sustainable levels of business moving forward.
Big data, little effort: staff-less Seoul convenience store
A convenience store that recently opened in the Hyundai Seoul Shopping complex, marries retro design cues with the latest frictionless technology (see, we told you it would only get bigger). The bands of illuminated shelving running around the store are inspired by 1960s cinema design and are coupled with some of the latest Amazon Web Service technology, which means that AI gathers data on customer shopping habits and feeds back data, as well as monitoring stock levels for optimum replenishment. Clever stuff.
Go big or go home: Hasbro plan a life-sized Monopoly experience
The multiple UK lockdowns probably did board game giants, Hasbro, a few favours over the last 18 months; a captive audience looking for something to do! Well, now that life might be starting to get back to normal, Hasbro are set to create the world’s first life-sized Monopoly game experience. They’re taking over the former Paperchase store on Tottenham Court Road in London to host a 4D experience will combine aspects of the classic board game with a hybrid of escape rooms and team challenges.
LEGO Pride: video call backgrounds
To celebrate Pride month, LEGO have created a series of backgrounds that can be downloaded and used for video calls. Users can choose their preferred image, select the video software they use and download it to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community on their next call. This is a fantastic initiative and we’re surprised we haven’t seen more branded video call backgrounds floating around over the last year!
Impact and inspiration: brands with purpose
After a year of social upheaval and a global pandemic, consumers are increasingly looking to brands who are putting social purpose at the heart of their operations and brand positioning. Essentially walking the walk, as well as talking the talk. This is no more apparent than in Nike’s understanding of the value of their athlete roster beyond showcasing the performance elements of their products and instead focusing on their social initiatives. It’s essential that brands support their communities with actions that genuinely contribute to peoples’ well-being and not just a PR agenda. Just ask Brewdog.
Branching out: Dior terrace restaurant opens at Selfridges
The Alto roof top restaurant at Selfridges has been converted into a Dior inspired terrace. Running as part of a Dioriviera pop-up campaign by Dior in store, the terrace is available until September 30th, although it’s already fully booked through July. The menu combines established Selfridge options, along with some selected by Dior themselves. From in-store spin classes with Peloton to live bee hives on the roof, Selfridge’s recent diversification and cross category collaboration has been fierce as the need for relevance in retail heightens
Step in the right direction: Foot Locker opens sustainability store
Foot Locker has joined the growing trend to open a flagship sustainability store. The store in Barcelona showcases Foot Locker’s eco efforts and uses a raft of technology to enhance shopper experiences. Local artists have been employed to contribute to the space and, as you’d expect, a range of recycled materials have been used to bring it together , including mannequins manufactured from recycled sneakers. Dedicating an entire store is a fantastic way to educate consumers on a brand’s commitment to the planet, but what about the rest of their stores?
Pride Month: Page turners from Aesop
Australian skincare brand Aesop has created an in-store Queer Library in their North American stores to celebrate Pride month in June. To give the featured authors the prominence they deserve, all shealves have been cleared of Aesop products and stocked entirely with books elevating the voices and stories of LGBTQIA+ individuals from around the world. The library consists of cherished works of queer literature chosen by Aesop’s retail and office teams across the US and Canada. Over 3,000 books were purchased from Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, and a further 2350 books were donated by Penguin Random House. This fantastic initiative aims to uplift the underrepresented voices of queer communities around the world, with a particular emphasis on BIPOC and trans authors.
Concrete jungle: IKEA’s new urban retail strategy
IKEA have been in advanced talks to buy 214 Oxford Street in London; the iconic address that has previously been used by TopShop. This is a huge public show of intent, as IKEA considers a shift in its physical store strategy towards town centre locations. They already have a Kitchen Studio store on Tottenham Court Road and last year purchased Hammersmith’s Kings Mall in West London. It will be fascinating to see how IKEA utilise this space, what products they showcase and how their consumer journey will differ in a more urban setting.
Up to speed: Ferrari launches lifestyle concept store
Ferrari launched their lifestyle concept store last week in Maranello to coincide with the launch of a fashion range designed by Rocco Iannone. A traditional terracotta clay façade contrasts with the curved contemporary interior, where curved glass walls combine with acrylic and brushed metal to present products beautifully, whilst also echoing the racetrack. Brands with the awareness and loyalty level of Ferrari are always bound to branch out of their core offering to give fans more and more of what they want, but the creation of a lifestyle concept store speaks much more to that of the increasing necessity of tangible brand experience as we emerge from the pandemic.
Thanks for joining us for another monthly round up… Make sure to catch up on our Sustainability special edition of InsighTCC if you missed it, see you next time!
Written by Daisy Sollis
June 30, 2021