Doddle
Click and Collect
 
A new train station delivery service is bridging the gap between retail and eCommerce in London. 
 
Doddle is planning 300 click-and-collect outposts in railway stations and high foot traffic places over the next three years to provide game-changing service for millions of online shoppers looking to send and receive parcels seven days a week.
 
The new concept, which has received £24m in investment from Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman and Network Rail, has lured Amazon, Asos, and New Look to participate. The concept will also provide changing rooms for customers who want to try on clothes they've purchased from any online retailer on the way to or from work, a date, or Sunday supper.  
 
Captive venues have long been a growing segment for retail and we love this new take on augmenting the shopping experience with a solution that fits the needs of todays brand agnostic, convenience driven customer.
 
Think of Doddle as a personalized e-Popup. 
 
 
Holoroom
 
Ever want to visualize what your remodeled bathroom would look like? Lowe's thought you might. 
 
Soon, explaining your vision to a contractor, builder, or family will become little bit easier with the help of Augmented Reality. And, unlike a 3D CAD model, you can walk around and experience your future concept.
 
 
We love how technology is helping customers realize their vision. According to the Lowe's Innovation Lab website, the Holoroom "home improvement simulator" will be introduced to stores in Toronto later this year. 
 
It's refreshing when a large-format retailer makes the conscious decision to up-size the customer experience instead of down-sizing the store footprint. 
La Garçonne boutique
La Garçonne
{photo: La Garçonne}
 
TriBeCa has a new, darling boutique to endorse with the launch of the highly anticipated retail store from La Garçonne on Greenwich Street. This venture into brick-and-mortar from a pure eCommerce model features up-and-coming brands and an in-house private-label collection.
 
La Garçonne Tribeca
{photo: La Garçonne}
 
It's refreshing to see online independents embrace retail locations. La Garçonne describes the spaces as "a personal and physical manifestation of our refined, understated aesthetic." 
 
We couldn't agree more – those white walls, the high-gloss flooring, and simple pine plywood fixtures already speak volumes.
SmartCommerce
 
Smart Commerce has a new companion: The Inspiration Corridor.
 
France-based Klépierre and DigitasLBi Paris have created large touchscreens using facial and body recognition, as well as purchase history, to suggest personalized items within a store or mall. Watch the video to see a demonstration.
 
Using infrared Kinect cameras and video analysis, the system identifies age and gender, while evaluating the colors of clothes the shopper is wearing, to display recommendations.  The corridor also accepts barcodes from already purchased clothing for immediate tailored suggestions for styling and accessories.
 
If an item is selected on the touchscreen, Apple iBeacon and indoor GPS will give them directions to the item location based on real-time inventory by synchronizing with the Klépierre mobile app.  
 
While a walk-in wardrobe might not be for those who love to window shop, it certainly helps expedite the purchase process for customers on-the-go, while assisting retailers in cross-merchandising relevant products. We’d love to see Klépierre take the concept one step further by displaying multiple brands of one style so that customers can sort by price. 
 
 
Shared City
Portland
 
Micro-entrepreneurship meets a sharing economy with AirBnB’s newest concept in Portland, OR.
 
According to a post by Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of AirBnB, the company has launched a Shared City initiative to enrich “The City of Roses” above and beyond a rental marketplace. 
 
Mississippi Marketplace Portland
 
It's time to venture beyond the community tent at the Mississippi Marketplace food-pod on your next visit to Portland. Concepts for the pilot project include:
  • Working with Travel Portland on joint campaigns to highlight small businesses and diverse neighborhoods. 
  • Helping hosts donate the money they make to local causes and match those donations as a percentage of AirBnB’s fees.
  • Making smoke and carbon monoxide detectors free for hosts to ensure safety.
  • Cutting the red tape and collecting taxes to the city on behalf of hosts.
  • Monitoring corporate property managers who abuse the AirBnB platform.
  • Training programs to help hosts respond to crisis as part of a broader disaster relief and emergency plan.
 
Portland, OR
 
We love how this vision helps to foster community in a way “where space isn’t wasted, but shared with others.” It’s an idea that we feel comes at a right time – when communities are seeing alternative resources to maintain history, preserve infrastructure, and expand urban innovation. 
 
{photo: Merci.com by Enrico Conti}
 
Beloved upcycling concept store, Merci, as returned to Milan for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile tradeshow in partnership with Paola Navone. The designer's studio has been transformed into a popup full of Merci household furnishings and Aseop skincare  – alongside a collection of accessories designed by Paola Navone for Essent'ial.
 
The event ends on April 13th but you can view more photos from the event here
 
pastry mashup
DonutMuffin
Foodspotting: The hybrid DonutMuffin at the Ferry
Building Saturday Market in San Francisco. 
 
 
Six stories you need to know before you hit the water cooler...
  • Hybridification: Are pastry mash-ups a real treat or half-baked? NYTimes
  • Farewell: DailyCandy will shutter next week. Racked
  • Retail Intelligence: Bricks-and-mortar stores are looking like physical websites. Financial Post
  • Transparency: App lets consumers find out if cosmetics contain toxic chemicals. Springwise
  • SmartCommerce: Shazam for clothes finally exists! Racked
  • Design Diligence: Novel eye-tracking study improves label designs. Food Navigator
 
 
Cosmetics Heathrow
 
Why would a cosmetics brand open a freestanding store at London Heathrow when the same products are sold – steps away – at Harrods? 
 
New research confirms our captive venue reporting with robust statistics. According to FashionUnited and Verdict, the global airport retail market will grow 72.9% to $52.9 billion by 2019.
 
And, Generation Research reports that the duty-free and travel retail sales of perfumes, luxury goods and cosmetics increased by 28% between 2008 and 2011 and are predicted to grow another 25% in the next two years.
 
Those statistics, coupled with the world's busiest international terminals and direct to consumer margins, make this little empty Estée Lauder outlet financially enticing.
 
Spotted last year while connecting through Heathrow, our take on the merchandising is less than favorable. If only store and visual design would have taken a cue from the beauty concierge in Hawaii – and forgo the electric blue, modular displays, and faux-refrigeration "best seller" fixtures for a luxurious setting that encouraged pampering and solace. 
 
 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Healdsburg Shed
 
There’s a new breed of independent retail developing. Complexes, campuses, and marketplaces offering convenience for kindred spirits. An all-in-one indie mall of sorts.
 
Shed, in Healdsburg, CA is one of two concepts launched with this type of modern market flair in Sonoma County. Visiting the two-story café-meets-grocery, retail, deli, bar, workshop, larder, grange is like stepping into the pages of Kinfolk magazine. Including verbs such as Cook, Farm, Eat, and Make to identify individual sections. 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Signage aside, the spaces are superbly merchandised with all the vital necessities for any culinary-centric gathering. From farming essentials to packaged foods, the enthusiasm for quality and local products resonates.
 
Shed Fermentation Bar
 
The fermentation bar – with shrub beverages, local wines, and kombuchas  is the most talked about differentiator, but certainly not the whole story. The ingredient-driven menu, open kitchen, and wood oven are cornerstones of seasonal dining. The communal seating, both in the café and upstairs grange, sets the appropriate stage for Sunday suppers and social events. 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Design and community are give even-weight throughout each department in the expansive space. By our best estimate, the build-out could have been in excess of ten million dollars. 
 
We're pretty tired of the words artisanship and reimagined, but Shed has both in spades. We hope that ventures like this inspire more traditional spaces to evolve by serving a lifestyle instead of a menu or assortment. 
 
Does your business need a strategy pick-me-up, merchandising makeover, or real-life research from an archive of thousands of themes? Gain a competitive advantage with our macro or micro personalized reporting now
 
popuo weddings
popup weddings
 
Here's a novel idea from a former client in Seattle: Pop-up Wedded Bliss. 
 
Coinciding with Valentine's Day, this one-day event is meant to assist love-birds getting hitched or renewing vows in a simple, meaningful, and elegant setting without the cost and hubbub of a more conventional wedding. Seeing as we'd worked with owner, Jenny Hudak Klimenkoff, we had to learn more about why she's continually evolving her retail space with new projects
 
"I am excited by the idea of applying my curated approach and sensibility to a different aspect of people’s loves’ - an actual experience. I think a lot of people who shop in my store are often intrigued and now they have an opportunity to bring a piece of far4 into their lives, in a totally new way. I believe that the future of retail goes beyond a standard physical space that sells beautiful objects. Pop-up Weddings will help to alter peoples lives with an experience that’s useful and wonderful."
 
While eloping might not be for everyone, it's hard to argue that the various complexities and cost of wedding nuptials can disrupt what is meant to be a beautiful day. In an increasingly experiential world, it seems logical that Seattleites might prefer a charming boutique in historic Pioneer Square to a chapel in Las Vegas.