Our insights into brands’ newest ventures and innovations across both physical and digital platforms. From new e-commerce channels through to in-store re-design, we take a look at how brands are bringing creativity, convenience and connectivity to shoppers against the backdrop of COVID.
TikTok’s New ‘Small Gestures’ Gifting Feature Proves a Hit with Beauty Brands
On the 27th of April TikTok debuted its gifting feature ‘Small Gestures’, which allows users to virtually send promotional ‘gifts’ from brands to their contacts through the app. L’Oréal’s Essie and NYX have been quick to get onboard, with NYX allowing regular users to send a $5 gift card to their contacts via TikTok, and Essie giving away 8,000 units of its Speed Setter topcoat (a best-seller, starting on May 7). This quarantine-driven revolution has seen NYX growing its following seven-fold following its #ButterGlossPop campaign. Definitely a trend to watch.
Pinterest and Shopify’s E-Commerce Collab Offers Brands New Ways to Sell
Last week Pinterest announced that it has integrated with ecommerce platform Shopify Inc. to turn client catalogues into shoppable “pins”. These will allow retailers to update availability, price and product descriptions on their Pinterest account, upload their product catalogues and publish in-stock products, all from the Pinterest app. This will provide fantastic convenience for shoppers, who’ll be able to purchase products directly from browsing.
Dixons Carphone Innovate Drive Through and Zero Contact Stores
The ‘ShopLive’ service developed with Go Instore will allow customers to connect with Currys PC World employees via a video link. Though the initial plan is to have a pop-up video link beside a limited range of products on the Currys website, the long-term goal is to expand the service and enable live-streamed product demonstrations where customers can ask questions. Meanwhile drive through pick-up points are on their way, which are more fulfilment centre than store. Doubtless a reaction to the current climate, they will none-the-less have a long-standing impact on the way we shop post-pandemic.
Shein Hosted Its First Ever Digital Entertainment Festival
This weekend Shein hosted its first ever digital entertainment festival: ‘Shein Together’, live streamed via their app. It featured exclusive music performances from the likes of Katy Perry and Lil Nas X, in addition to celebrity segments, influencer appearances and TikTok guests. The aim of the venture was to raise awareness and donations for the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation (WHO), powered by the United Nations Foundation, to which Shein said it would donate $100,000. A brilliant way to support a cause and create engaging, innovative digital content during a difficult time.
Waitrose Invests Big Online
Waitrose announced its plans to open a six-acre fulfilment centre in the middle of London on May 7th, in the hopes of doubling its local online grocery orders. This was a £100million investment and will initially create 370 jobs, which will rise to 850 when at full capacity. Waitrose online service has increased by 50% recently to more than 120,000 customer orders per week. This vast investment is a sure indication that the retailer foresees the online shopping trend to continue in earnest post lockdown.
Outform Outstrips the Competition with Temperature-Reading Tablets
The Shopper Agency’s partner and retail innovation agency Outform has recently designed a product to provide a sense of safety to consumers post COVID. Its iDISPLAY thermometer utilises infrared thermopile and facial recognition technology to detect fever levels in customers at a store’s entrance or threshold. Anyone registering a temperature of 37.8° Celsius or above will be alerted discreetly on-screen that they may have a fever. The device also works when people are wearing face masks and has optional add-ons including hand sanitiser dispensers and ticketing functions. This will be fantastic in easing understandably nervous shoppers back to the high street.
Nike’s Tech Mastery Reaches New Heights with Cloud-Gazing AR Campaign for New Air Max 2090’s
Displaying yet again their outstanding ability to utilise new technology, Nike has unleashed a masterpiece AR campaign for its new Air Max 2090s, that encourages Brazilians to point their smart phones at the sky to find an augmented reality cloud in the shape of an Air Max Sneaker. Once found this will unlock exclusive content. This includes unlocking a new song and music video from hip hop artist Djonga, along with interviews, tracks and videos from other artists such as McSofia. Yet another inventive way to get mobile and desktop users alike to engage with the brand.
Next is given a makeover
Next has signed new flexible leases to take over existing beauty halls in Debenhams. The new concept stores will initially launch in five Hammerson-owned shopping centre locations, from Birmingham to Croydon. After a successful online collaboration with Fabled by Marie Claire, Next has realised the opportunity for a premium beauty business. The re-purposing of Debenhams space started in March this year and could herald the start of great retail innovation across the board. It will certainly be interesting to see how Next elevates the Debenhams beauty halls of old to make them unique and profitable.