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Iconic store reopens, taps into vinyl resurgence
It was always one of London’s most famous music stores, and so the reopening of HMV on London’s famed Oxford Street is one of the biggest retail news stories of the year. The shop had been closed since 2018 and replaced by an American Candy Store. The local authority is seeking to discourage these shops as part of a drive to restore the reputation of London’s most famous retail destinations.
Tapping into a desire among shoppers to be part of events that make a retail experience feel special; hit band Madness welcomed the first shoppers back to the famous store. There were additional live music performances to mark the day.
The Times is reporting the new Canadian owners of the HMV brand are expecting a resurgence in the popularity of vinyl, particularly among younger consumers, to safeguard the future of the shop, which first opened in 1921 before being shut down five years ago.
Ikea launches mattress recycling
Ikea is tapping into a widespread growth in customer demand for sustainability. It has launched a mattress recycling service which, for £40, will pick up a mattress to save owners having to find a recycling centre that accepts used bedding items.
Once collected, each mattress is stripped into its component parts and sanitised so its materials can be used again. Recycling initiatives are hugely important to consumers, according to Mood Media’s Charting In-Store Trends research. It found two in three shoppers now pick which retailers to visit based on their sustainability work.
Personalisation at the heart of luxury fragrances
Luxury perfume retailer Creed has underlined how it believes personalisation is the key to a premium shopping experience. Its new store in Covent Garden, London, has an area dedicated to engraving bottles as well as personalising how they are wrapped if intended as gifts. This personalisation service extends to leather monogramming.
According to this year’s Mood Media’s Charting In-Store Trends research, this ability to try out products and then have them personalised is very popular. It is named as a major reason why one in three shoppers, 39%, will go on to make a purchase.
In a separate launch, The Fragrance Shop has opened a store on London’s Oxford Street, which uses personalisation with a difference. Rather than rely on the customer’s nose alone, it makes suggestions via AI. The company believes it is the first in the country to use the software to personalise a fragrance for each customer.
Virtual cosmetics on sale
L’Occitane is embracing the notion of making shopping more of an experience by bringing the feeling of its Provence early days to the web. Rather than simply show pack shots of products, it has launched a virtual world that shoppers can explore. The new launch is set to accompany the holiday season and was designed by Emperia. It allows customers to immerse themselves in the company’s roots and explore a wooden, traditional-looking store.
Cars for sale on Amazon
Amazon was famed for starting out by prioritising goods that could be posted through a letter box, but now the online giant is thinking a whole lot bigger. From next year it plans to sell cars.
A deal with Hyundai will let American consumers configure and then purchase their model via a variety of finance options. The car can be delivered to their door or picked up from a local dealership. Crucially, the deal does not cut out the dealer network because each sale is placed with the consumer’s local Hyundai dealer.
Can AI help Santa’s elves?
AI has been dominating the tech headlines, with commentators either praising or warning against its power. However, it could be facing one of its toughest assignments yet this Christmas in stores in New York and California.
Shopping mall operator Simon is using ChatGPT to empower its ‘HolidAI helper elves’ to suggest the perfect gift for shoppers. The idea is that helpers can ask a couple of questions about the recipient and then let the AI software do the rest.
Window shopping with a difference
If you thought shoppers could only try on items inside a store, think again. Coach has launched a new VR storefront service that allows passers-by to try on products via large screens. The intention is to pique the interest of shoppers who might otherwise have passed by and tempt them in to make a purchase instead.
The new technology is being made available in Boston, Atlanta, Austin, Miami and Toronto.
Tiffany makes bold ocean statement in Singapore
A new Tiffany & Co store in Singapore’s Changi Airport is turning heads for all the right reasons and not just for the jewellery on display. The storefront is not only stunning, it also makes an environmental statement. The domed façade is modelled to appear as if it were a coral reef, only with a difference. It is made from plastics and fishing nets reclaimed from the ocean.
The company’s overall owner, LVMH, has announced the protection of the seas is its major priority and that it has already made grants in excess of $100m to not-for-profit organisations who are committed to protecting the oceans. Its own foundation is dedicated to helping to co-protect around 11m square km of marine areas.
Starbucks community store launch
Starbucks is celebrating its tenth anniversary in Vietnam with the opening of its first community store. While it appears like any other Starbucks, a proportion of sales is put towards vocational training for young people in Vietnam. These are run by local not-for-profit partner Reach.