wspace, Author at Whitespace | Brand Driven Design

Is Social Distancing the ‘New Normal’ for Retail & Hospitality?

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Contagious disease epidemics have come into popular consciousness several times in recent decades, but the covid-19 pandemic is the disaster epidemiologists have been warning of. The rapid devastation of public health and economies will not be soon forgotten– and preparedness for the next wave, or the pandemic of the future should be a part of every strategic business plan.

Just as 9/11 permanently changed global travellers airport experience, the Covid-19 pandemic will likely permanently change the retail and hospitality industries in ways unimaginable just a few months ago. Surely, some businesses will fail, while others discover new, disruptive paths to adapt and thrive.

Retailers with strong e-commerce platforms complementing their physical stores will be much better positioned for success whatever the future may hold. Restaurants and bars with social distancing planned-in– perhaps with smartly segregated, cozy and intimate seating areas will gain loyal customers. Hotels that adopt self check-in/out, app-based access keys, rooms with HEPA air filtration, contactless room service, and finishes allowing housekeeping to truly sanitise rooms for the next guests will win over virus-conscious guests.

With decades of experience in strategic retail and hospitality design consulting– the experts at Whitespace stand ready to help businesses think-through and implement pandemic adaptation strategies and solutions. Not only to get your businesses re-opened from lock-down, but to help you to thrive in an uncertain future. Learn more about our pandemic-adaptation services

There’s an App for That…Position 😉

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What feels like an hour to men, is generally a couple of minutes to women, and now we finally have the technology to prove it! That’s right, there’s a new app that tracks your movements in the sack and one things for certain: it’s a far-cry more exciting than smart diapers. So, make sure you take plenty of caution when taking care of business, otherwise your once booming sex-life will be swiftly replaced with Bluetooth nappies! 

There are several types of app’s that have sprung into action recently, one of which is a sex-tracking wristband named “Geeksme” by a Spanish mobile phone company, Geeksphone. The company’s director Ángel Sánchez says: “Sex is healthy, and we want to associate that comfort with having a healthier lifestyle.” 

It’s a handy little wristband that like most other fitness trackers, monitors your physical movements and tells you how many calories that you’ve burned in the process. So, the app will track how many times per day / week / year (if you’re married) you get down and dirty, and just how well you’re performing. Naturally, this information is entirely private and designed to give you an idea as to how your sex life is impacting your health. 

A well “conceived” idea 

Apple’s take on the sexual activity app phenomenon is focused less on performance, and more on results. For those of you who are trying to conceive a child, the reproductive health tracking system can be incredibly useful. But, is there a downside to bringing technology into the bedroom? Let’s explore it further. 

Pros & cons of sex apps 

More sex & for longer

Who doesn’t want more sex? For the most part, it’s a positive, as these applications will certainly encourage couples to have sex more frequently. However, will it change the way that we have sex? For men, it will become more of a game, with a high score that needs beating. That may well have a negative impact on the way that couples are intimate with one another. For one thing: women aren’t all that fussed about how long a sexual encounter lasts, so long as they “get what’s coming to them”. As a rule of thumb, 5 minutes tends to be the optimum time for sexual intercourse to last—any longer than that can become boring and often painful. So, we’re potentially looking at a lot of bored faces and sore private parts while men strive to beat their friends high scores.  

The battle against obesity  

A huge positive factor in the digi-sexual movement, is the battle against obesity. There’s no denying the benefits of having sex regularly as it does indeed burn more calories. 

Mood-enhancer 

Sexual intercourse is an instant mood enhancer, so if we can be encouraged to have more sex, then overall, people are going to be happier and healthier. Again, it all depends on the effect that it has on the sex itself. It’s all very well if couples are being more intimate, if they’re doing so for the wrong reasons. Sex should be about connection, intimacy on a deeper level, and the bonding of two souls. Turning sex into a simple health exercise could have potentially negative connotations in terms of making it more of a chore to be ticked off the daily schedule, as opposed to a spontaneous act of mutual desire. 

We could benefit from learning more about sex 

Provided that our data is kept anonymous, we could certainly benefit a lot from the data collated through such applications. As mentioned in the introduction to this article, women would certainly be pleased with proof of how long their men last! And it would do well to encourage men to hold out that little bit longer for the sake of their other half! 

Conclusion 

We live in strange and exciting times. Whilst these sex apps are still in their infancy, there is much that can be gained from their introduction. We believe that for the most part, these are positive changes that will bring about a healthy sexual revolution. However, it’s still fair to say that we should tread carefully and do whatever we can to preserve the foundation upon which sexual relationships thrive: trust, safety, and mutual gain. 

Sharing Economy Meets High Fashion – Lending is Trending!

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Who’d have thought that consumers would be satisfied with renting their outfit for a special occasion, as opposed to buying it, wearing it the once and leaving it to collect dust in their wardrobes for several years before throwing them out? Well, that’s the way it has been for a long time, but now the renting revolution has arrived, that’s all going to change. 

When we explore this in greater depth, we learn that renting garments isn’t exactly the greenest of solutions, given the amount of shipping and dry cleaning involved. However, there is a huge plus side to it, and that is the amount that will be saved on discarded clothing. For example, in the US alone, they create over 250 million tons of waste every year—a great deal of which is a direct result of the fashion industry being so wasteful. Most people will only wear a garment one, twice at the most before throwing it away. This simply has to stop. 

By renting, as opposed to buying, we will be cutting back on the millions of tons of waste that we create each year due to discarded garments, ultimately reducing our carbon footprint. This is an incredibly positive movement and one that should be celebrated. 

Who’s on board with the renting revolution? 

There are six major retailers of note leading the renting revolution:

  • Rent The Runway
  • Le Tote
  • Armoire
  • Gwynnie Bee
  • Glam Corner
  • Style Lend 

How does it work? 

The process is incredibly simple: you visit any one of the websites listed above, or the hundreds of other businesses following suit. Then, you’ll have access to hundreds-of-thousands of different outfit options for your special occasions. Some websites offer an individual rental fee for garments, others offer a monthly subscription where you pay a fixed monthly fee and then you can have unlimited access to outfits, delivered directly to your door. So, you simply find a method that suits you the most, select your favourite garments, place your order and voila! You have a gorgeous new outfit ready to show off at the next event. And the best part about it all? They’re high-end garments that you’d expect to see on the runway or red carpet. Now, you can look and feel like a star, absent the hefty price-tag! 

Is this the future of retail? 

As the global mindset leans towards a cleaner, greener way of living, we can certainly expect this renting revolution to take off on a massive scale. But it’s not just about cleaning our act up. In fact, by putting luxury goods in the hands of the masses, it could really be a huge net win for the bigger, more expensive labels, making them more accessible to modern consumers. For example, by catering for the younger and less affluent individuals, they will increase the likelihood of those renters converting into buyers in the future when they’re in the financial position to do so. However, in the meantime, they will still be receiving an awful lot of business through this lending trend! Everybody wins! 

80% of Clothing is Purchased in Store. Is That About to Change?

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The digital revolution has brought many exciting changes to the way that retail works. The convenience of online shopping today is remarkable when compared with recent years. However, the one industry that has remained relatively unchanged, is the fashion industry. 80% of clothing is still purchased in store, as opposed to online. But why is that? 

Well, for one thing, you cannot deny the benefits of going in store and being able to try clothes on before you buy them. Yes, most online clothing retailers offer reasonable returns policies for garments that don’t fit. However, who can really be bothered with all of the hassle? Isn’t it easier to simply head to your local clothing outlet, try on a number of garments and then buy whatever fits the best? 

Well, some digital distributers are trying to change all of that and to increase the number of people buying clothes online. Amazon is one of them. As you well know, Amazon is dominating the digital retail market and has been for some time. However, the one industry that they’ve been struggling to lead with is fashion retail. So, what are they proposing to do about it? 

Ever heard of Stitch Fix? 

Stich Fix is a $27 billion personalised clothing start up which has single-handedly revolutionised online clothes shopping. Their customers simply fill out a quick survey where they identify what clothes & styles that they like, and what they don’t. Then, they will provide information about their budget and lifestyle, so that Stitch Fix can find the most appropriate clothing solutions for them. Then, for $20, they get sent a box of clothing and accessories, and they keep what they want and send back what they don’t. It really is as simple as that! 

How does Amazon aim to combat that? 

That personal stylist method seems pretty difficult to beat, doesn’t it? Well, Amazon have taken that business model and made it that little bit more attractive. Having said that, the idea is still in its infancy and only available to women, so it’s hard to say as to whether or not it’s going to take off in a big way, however there is great potential. Here’s how it works:

Amazon will include a similar survey, identifying which styles work best for you. The difference is, rather than $20 a box, they will charge a flat fee of $4.99 a month. In addition to that, shoppers will be able to see what is in the box before it is sent, thus significantly reducing the amount of returns made. In any case, shoppers will have 7 days to use their resealable box, complete with a prepaid return label should they want to send anything back. Easy! 

The personal stylist is the future of online fashion 

The fact is, it’s quite difficult to stay on top of fashion trends when the industry is forever on the move. As such, there’s never been a better time for a “personal stylist/shopper” model to appear on the market. Yes, women tend to be much better at following fashion trends, and there’s certainly no denying that gay men are significantly better dressed than straight men as a whole (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “You’re not leaving the house in that!”. So, this stylist curated subscription model will likely be aimed towards straight men. What could be better than being told exactly what to wear, looking great, and saving loads of money while you’re at it? Perfect! 

Another target would be children with busy parents! Kids are forever outgrowing their clothes and constantly having to find the time to take them in store (what feels like once a week) for a new outfit, simply isn’t viable. Having a steady supply of children’s clothing that will actually fit your ever-stretching sprout delivered to your door on the other hand, is much more attractive. Kids clothing retailers should take note! 

The Silver Tsunami: You’re Never Too Old to Go Shopping

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In this modern age, with the rise and availability of premium quality healthcare, coupled with diet-conscious people actively seeking out healthier lifestyles, it’s no wonder that the population of silvers (60 & over), is dramatically on the rise. So much so in fact, that by 2035, people over 60 will account for a third of the world’s population. That’s an awful lot of bad backs! 

But all joking aside, this is an interesting development, as people aged 60 and older will drive more than 45% of consumption growth in North America and nearly 60% in Western Europe, Japan and South Korea over the next 15 years. Thus, you’re never too old to go shopping. Which is precisely why retailers need to start doing their research so that they can better understand the buying habits of the silver tsunami that’s on its way. 

How is this going to affect the modern marketplace? 

Ultimately, it really depends on the industry. We can’t really see this having too much of an effect on the toy industry for example…actually, having said that, with more over 60’s there will invariably be more people with grand-children, and we all know how grandparents like to spoil their little rascals! 

Then of course, you have to consider the age demographic. By 2025, those who were born in the mid-sixties, will be in their 60’s! These silvers will almost certainly be able to keep up with the rise in technology, as many elderly people already are. 

Anyway, that’s enough speculation for now. Let’s take a look at what we know: 

Over 60’s spending characteristics 

  • There are less occupants living in an over 60’s household. The average: 2
  • Generally, over 60’s have a much higher net wealth than younger households
  • The majority of over 60’s in the west are “silver surfers” taking their shopping online
  • Many seniors are now working well into their 60’s
  • In general, they are behind the general population with regards to technology, though they’re certainly playing catch up
  • Whilst over 60’s households spend less on average, this can largely be accounted to the fact that the households’ are smaller, as opposed to silvers spending less money
  • In the west, over 60’s spend more on average per one person 
  • People 75 on overspend a significant amount less on dining out, clothing, and other luxuries; however, they do spend more proportionally on housing basics 

The biggest developments 

Home Delivery: The biggest developments that are taking place with the rise of silvers over 60 is home delivery services via e-commerce websites. In general, more over 60’s have their groceries delivered to their home, whereas millennials and the younger generation spend a significant amount more on food delivery services such as “Just-Eat.” 

So, retailers who aren’t currently focusing all that much on e-commerce and home delivery, should almost certainly start taking steps towards implementing a streamlined services for older consumers to take advantage of. 

Travel & Leisure: Over 60’s and the baby boomer population in general have never been shy about how much they love to travel, nor would they ever be afraid to spend their money. People aged 65-74 out spend the population on average when it comes to travelling and will almost certainly continue to do so. 

As such, you can expect travel and tourism companies to up their game and focus more on the aging market, as there is almost certainly going to be an even higher demand in the years to follow. 

Healthcare: Very soon, over 60’s will account for over 26% percent of the global populations spending on health care services. We will almost certainly experience in a rise in the amount of tech and gadgets being thrown into the mix, with the aim of keeping insurance costs down and reducing the need to visit a doctor so often. For example: wearable tech and Internet-connected service providers. 

And of course, whilst we’re on the subject of health care, it’s important to note the fact that a rise in silvers, means a rise in elderly people in their twilight years in need of regular support. This will invariably put a lot of pressure on governments public and domestic spending, so we can expect to seem some innovations in that regard, in order to accommodate the higher demand. 

We’re less worried about getting older 

And in some cases, we’re looking forward to it. Sure, most people don’t like the idea of growing old too much. However, the thought of having no financial worries, being able to travel around the world as and when you want and being able to enjoy a relatively healthy and active retirement is something that we can all look forward to. The rise in silvers and the average age limit being on the rise is proof that getting older, isn’t quite as scary as it used to be. 

Conclusion 

Retailers take heed: the silver tsunami is on its way. The question is, what are you going to do to accommodate it? Are you going to ride the wave and strive to understand the aging consumer in order to tailor your marketing to their needs? Or will you remain rigid in your oppose and be swept away with the tides? The decision is yours! 

Survival Tactics for Department Stores: Nordstrom Experiments with ‘Click & Collect’ 

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In this digital era, it’s getting harder and harder for retail stores to compete and stay afloat. More people are turning to online shopping as they strive for convenience & hassle-free solutions. This means that department stores will need to seriously innovate if they’re going to keep up! So, what can they do? Well, Nordstrom has an idea that they’re experimenting with and Walmart is following suit, this is what they’ve been up to:

Building physical stores that don’t sell anything

Yep, you read that right! Nordstrom and Walmart are both building physical stores that don’t actually sell anything. But why? Well, it’s all down to the new ‘Click & Collect’ movement.

Click & Collect 

Click & collect is exactly what it sounds like. Customers place their orders online, and then collect their goods & groceries at designated pick up points. Now, it might sound like a bit of a ball-ache when you can simply order your bits online and have them delivered to your door, however this method is indeed, more convenient, and it’s all about timing. 

When you have your goods delivered to your home, you have to wait around and be present for the order to arrive. This isn’t always the most convenient way to do things, particularly when your order can arrive any time between A and B. Who has time to wait around? What if something comes up and you want to head out? This is why Click & collect is so attractive, because you can conveniently collect your grocers precisely when you mean to, without having to bumble around the busy department store. 

You won’t have to leave the comfort of your car

You place your order and then you’re given a designated parking space to collect from. Following that, you park up and your dedicated assistant will load the trunk of your car up with your order. Then, you simply drive home and voila, you’re all sorted with your weekly shop and you didn’t even have to leave the comfort of your car, nor did you have to walk around a department store in rush hour, and waste your time queuing up at the cash register. 

“Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019.” 

It’s growing fast 

The new Click & collect revolution is growing rapidly. In fact, more than 15% of US shoppers are now embracing the innovation, and sales are estimated to hit an annual number of $35 billion by next year. This is a huge movement that is almost certainly going to throw a spanner in the works for digital retailers. 

Conclusion 

Online retailers that offer home delivery are going to struggle to compete with this new rise in convenient click & collect services. Unless they can offer accurate ETA’s on their home deliveries, as opposed to “anytime between A and B”, they’re going to seriously struggle. The ease of simply placing your order and having your car loaded up with everything you need is much more attractive. As such, you can expect to see physical retail stores competing with online retailers in a big way! Only time will tell. 

Whitespace creates first Thailand store for Danish fashion giant, BESTSELLER

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Bangkok is renowned for being home to many luxurious shopping malls that boast a variety of top-end fashion brands, among other prestige names—and that list has just got a little bit bigger. Whitespace is proud to announce the recent opening of the very first Bangkok store for Danish Fashion Giant ‘BESTSELLER’.

BESTSELLER is one of the largest fashion brands in Europe, as well as being incredibly popular in China. This recent move into the South-East Asian market is part of a new strive towards accommodating a growing tourist market. As we all know, Thailand has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. However, it has since become increasingly popular among Chinese tourists, as well as people from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. 

Where is the store located?

BESTSELLER has opened its first S.E.A store in Central Village, which was Bangkok’s very first luxury outlet. Central Village is located at Bang Na Trat – Suvarnabumi Frontage Rd., Samut Prakan, Thailand. 

This glorious luxury outlet is home to many big brands, with four more fashion outlets to add to it’s already thriving community. Bestseller main store is divided into 4 brands: Jack & Jones, Selected, Vero Moda, and Only. Also a stand-alone shop called J.LINDEBERG is located in a nearby zone in the complex.

Our approach was for each outlet to effortlessly emanate the individual brand in-store. So, Jack & Jones has favoured a more rustic, ‘urban’ approach, that will resonate well with young men; whereas ONLY—which is a brand targeting young women—has a much sleeker and more sumptuous feel to it.  

Clever lighting and optimal spacing allows for shoppers to browse at their leisure, being taken from one section of the store to the other, without anything being too ‘in their face’. In addition to that, the fitting rooms are spacious and luxurious, with a comfortable seating area for those waiting. We believe that BESTSELLER will be an excellent addition to the Central Village fashion family, and are thoroughly looking forward to watching them expand across Thailand in the future.

About Bestseller

Copyright BESTSELLER

Bestseller is a family-owned fashion company that was established back in 1975. During that time, they have expanded across Europe, The Middle East, North America, Latin America, Australia and India. With 2,700 branded stores, and 15,000 multi-brand stores, it’s fair to say that Bestseller are an incredibly well-established fashion business—which is big news for Bangkok!
In addition to all of that, in China alone, Bestseller Fashion Group has an independent company that designs it own collections for over 7,000 stores!

About the fashion brands available in BESTSELLER, Bangkok


Photo credit by BESTSELLER

MAIN STORE WITH 4 BRANDS

Jack & Jones
Jack & Jones is a quality fashion brand designed for young men. This quality brand was born from a love of denim and was established in 1990. Jeans are to this day, still the core of the business, though they have a wealth of other dapper products as well!

SELECTED
SELECTED is a unisex brand that is very much Nordic at heart, highlighting the premium taste that is rooted in Scandinavian aesthetics. The brand is split into two parts: HOMME & FEMME. FEMME focuses on the more elegant fashion for women, while HOMME epitomises every shape and form within modern menswear.

VERO MODA
VERO MODA was established in 1987, to accommodate young women who are looking for premium, on-trend clothing at realistic prices. This well-established brand was one of the first to join the BESTSELLER family.

ONLY
ONLY, is another premium fashion brand that targets young women, and are one of the largest, leading denim brands in Europe. The ONLY brand was built on the idea that women should be able to look and feel amazing in an effortless way, whilst staying true to an undeniably elegant charm.

STANDALONE STORE

J.LINDEBERG
J.LINDEBERG is a global lifestyle brand with the goal to become the most successful sport-fashion brand for an active lifestyle person. The colour of a big yellow wall and wooden cabinets make this shop looks more attractive also when you look closely you will see details of honeycomb around the wall.

Trend Watch: Grocery Stores Increasingly Competing with Restaurants

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Have you heard the term “grocerant” before? If not, you likely will, over the coming months, as more and more grocery stores are becoming hybrids. What this means is that, rather than simply offering produce to their customers, they’re offering prepared meals for the option to dine in or take-away (with a focus on convenience). This of course, is painfully close to the service that restaurants offer, which is why many people in the food and beverage industry are unnerved by this new trend.

OK, so perhaps the “grocerant” hybrid isn’t new. In fact, in places like Portugal, they have restaurants (or Taskinas) which operate as café’s during the day, whilst selling groceries such as local wines, cured meats and even pastries; then in the evening, the fine dining begins. This is something that has been around for many, many years. That said, these establishments are primarily restaurants, and certainly don’t stock enough in the way of groceries to compete with a supermarket.

 

It’s all about the convenience

The biggest driving force behind this emerging trend is the desire to create more convenience for customers. If a guest can do their weekly shop, whilst stopping for a spot of lunch, then they’re going to kill two birds which one stone. It’s not so dissimilar to the drive-through phenomenon which occurred decades ago. But of course, the numbers are staggering, which is causing many a restaurateur to panic. Clearly, this convenience trend, is not so convenient for them. The smart grocery stores, however, are working hard towards driving more foot-traffic through their stores to counter online grocery delivery, and it’s working!

 

You can’t beat a decent meal in a fancy restaurant

The important thing to note at this stage though, is that the likelihood of grocery stores replacing the demand for restaurants all together is extremely unlikely. Let’s be realistic! Can you imagine trying to take the wife to dinner at local supermarket on your anniversary? You’d have to have a death wish. The fact is, grocery stores simply do not offer the same environment as a restaurant. Certainly, stopping for a casual lunch won’t hurt, but it’s definitely safe to say that dinner is untouchable. That said, most restaurants rely on the lunch-rush in order to stay afloat. So, the next question is, what is the food and beverage industry going to do about it?

Perhaps we will see a rise in restaurants hosting regular lunch-time events in order to get more customers through their door. It would be unwise to turn a well-established, fine-dining restaurant into a mini-mart combo. However, they could-well benefit from embracing a specialist establishment. For example, a French restaurant that doubles up as a fresh bakery. Perhaps they could offer various bakery courses and sell baking “starter-kits”. There are many ways that restaurants can adopt this approach and it could work wonders with driving more customers through their doors during what would otherwise be a quiet lunch period.

 

If you won’t come to us, we’ll bring the food to you

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom for restaurants. In fact, most are fighting back by embracing technology and turning it to their advantage. In what we’re coining “the convenience wars”, restauranteurs are responding by using the likes of UberEats, and the other plethora of food delivery services that have sprung up in recent years. Simply put they’re going to where the money is, rather than expecting the customers to come to them.

In any case, it’s an exciting time for the modern consumer, as things really are getting easier with the rise of technology, and the demand for convenience. I guess all that we can do for now is to sit back and enjoy the ride!

Libra, Facebook’s Disruptocurrency

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That said, it seems to be up and down! Some sources say it’s the future, others believe it to be just a fad. But when a tech giant like Facebook begins working towards launching its own cryptocurrency (Libra), then perhaps it’s time to start taking it more seriously?

Facebook is arguably, one of the most influential tech companies in the world, second to Google of course. As such, there has been an immense amount of hype after they announced the production of their very own cryptocurrency. However, it’s not all positive hype of course! In fact, some people believe that this could be the beginning of the end of sovereign currencies. Could we really see the likes of Libra and BitCoin replacing the US Dollar? Or the Pound Sterling? It’s highly unlikely, but then again, stranger things have happened. Take Donald Trump as the ‘commander-in-chief’ for example, who on earth saw that coming?

Of course, pretty much everything that Facebook touches turns to gold, so their new Libra platform really does have the potential to legitimise crypto currencies; which could certainly disrupt big players like Amazon and Western Union, perhaps. One thing is for certain, it has a lot of people excited, and even more people feeling rather nervous!

 

What does it all mean?

At such an early stage, it is incredibly difficult to tell. However, there are many people who are dubious about cryptocurrencies as a whole, given how they have huge potential to facilitate money laundering, or even the funding of terrorist organisations. The internet is an immense platform with a lot of “grey areas” and regulating something as daunting and potentially dangerous as cryptocurrency might prove difficult.

Of course, it’s fair to say that Facebook has the best intentions and is merely creating the Libra in order to generate a huge revenue stream, by allowing their gargantuan user-base to complete minor transactions in a “closed-loop” system (You can only spend it on things available for sale through Facebook and its associated apps). However, with the recent privacy concern scandal, they’re going to have to be incredibly careful about how they proceed.

 

Who is in favour?

As it stands, Libra has been receiving a significant amount of financial backing from various credit card giants, such as Visa, Mastercard, and digital payments company PayPal. According to reports, Facebook is seeking to receive as much as $1 billion in support for their cryptocurrency project. Is that enough to make a dent? Only time will tell! But if such large and influential companies like Visa and Mastercard are on board, then they almost certainly believe it will. What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below!

Bankruptcy Stores Provide Insight for Surviving in An Omni-Channel World?

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Bankruptcy is a dirty word to most people. It signifies failure and total loss, or rock bottom, as it were. But is it the end of the line? Does losing everything really mean that all is lost? Or is there a way back? Well, we already know that there are many people who have bounced back after going bankrupt, so surely it can work for retail giants? Perhaps with the right strategies, it is possible for post-bankruptcy stores to survive in a highly competitive, omni-channel world!

In this article, we’re going to look at the methods that Toys R Us (or Tru Kids) and Sears have been adopting, in order to re-establish themselves. Clearly, whatever they were doing in the past wasn’t working for them. Which is why they are now embracing the modern market and introducing new and innovative ways of delivering a retail experience to their audience.

Toys Were Us

Let’s start with Toys R Us, as you all know went into liquidation last year (2018). Their biggest failure was neglecting to embrace the online market quite as much as they should have. Yes, it is incredibly difficult to contend with the likes of Amazon, who are absolutely dominating the market. However, they could have been looking at other avenues of survival. Unfortunately, it took bankruptcy to prompt executives to start implementing genuine change. That said, there’s no good crying over spilled milk; all one can do is clean it up and pour another glass.

But hey! Everybody loves a good comeback story, and by the looks of it, Toys R Us could be bringing us exactly that. They’re re-inventing their brand as we know it, and the way that their stores function. Rather than the drab warehouses that they devolved into; Toys R Us stores will now be much more customer-centric with an emphasis on fun! Instead there will be open play areas where children and parents can interact and test new products; there will be designated spaces for various special events, including birthday parties. Their full business model hasn’t been mapped out just yet, but executives have let on that there will be some big changes, investing much more in their stores and local communities.

Sears Later

 

And then we have Sears Holdings, who also filed for bankruptcy in 2018. A difficult year for retail it seems, as the e-Commerce market continues to thrive exponentially. That said, these drastic measures that Toys R Us and Sears Holdings have been faced with, have inspired a new way of retailing! It has forced them to reinvent their approach, and to create an immersive experience that e-Commerce stores would never be able to achieve.

Similarly, to Toys R Us, Sears are now heavily focusing on in-store experiences. They’re building on intellectual property (brand name, house brands etc), and their strongest product categories, especially products that require hands on demonstrations (e.g., mattresses, TV’s, kitchen appliances).

Each store will include a “welcome” service desk, where customers can meet with Sears Home & Life experts to explore how new appliances would look in a full-scale kitchen, among other things. This is in an attempt to demonstrate that whilst shopping online certainly has its perks, there’s something irrefutably attractive about being able to hold a product in your hands before parting with your money. In addition to that, receiving face-to-face, expert advice from people who understand the products, offers far more insight than an FAQ ever could.

Conclusion

So, what does the next six to twelve months have in store for Toys R Us and Sears Holdings? Are we going to see a strong comeback for them both? Is this new, customer / store-centric approach the key to competing with e-Commerce giants such as Amazon? Only time will tell!

Brave New Beacons

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Imagine walking around your local supermarket, strolling past the frozen meats section and then receiving a message on your phone, offering you a coupon to get 10% off your next purchase on steak. Sounds amazing right?! Who wouldn’t want to receive free coupons? But wait a minute…how on earth did they know? Is somebody stalking you? Technically…yes!

Retail stores are now using small Bluetooth devices called beacons, which are designed to track your every move when walking through their store. The main purpose of this is to “improve the customer experience.” However, we all know that it’s an incredibly clever, yet irrefutably dubious scheme to push shoppers into making impulse purchases when being offered last-minute or “one-off” discounts.

Yes, there are some great benefits to this technology. But we can’t help getting the feeling that it’s a little bit creepy. Of course, one could argue that it’s an invasion of your privacy. However, it can only really work if you allow it. For example, you’d have to sign up to a certain app, or allow your mobile phone to be tracked via Bluetooth. So, technically speaking, it’s not an invasion of your privacy, as you can simply turn it off. That said, these tech companies are very, very good at getting our data and using it for things that we’re not entirely aware of. So, in some ways, it almost certainly is an invasion of our privacy. In any case, it just doesn’t feel quite right…

You can’t deny the benefits

All that being said, as creepy as it is, when you really stop to think about it, provided that you’re not overly impulsive, or have anything to hide (i.e., a shoplifting habit), then why would you not want to receive free coupons and offers? If you don’t want to buy something, you’re under no obligation to do so. But of course, if you’re doing your weekly shop any way, then what’s the harm in saving some money whilst you’re at it?

Then there are the safety implications involved as well. Provided that you’re not entirely fussed about your privacy, being tracked could certainly make people feel safer. For example, if a friend or family member were to have gone missing, these tracking software’s would be incredibly useful to the authorities when trying to track them down.

 

Opt out if you want to!

Understandably, there is an awful lot of people who are concerned or angered by these Bluetooth beacons. However, it is important to remember that you really do not need to participate at all! Simply put your phone on Airplane mode or turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when you’re out and about, doing your shopping. Or of course, if you’re really worried about your privacy, trade your smart phone in for a standard flip-phone and be done with it!

The fact that we have the capacity to opt out, gives us very little room to complain about it. Yes, it’s a little bit creepy. But when you think about it, there are worse stalkers to be had! At least your local supermarket isn’t going to follow you home. Instead they’re harmlessly offering you a two-for-one on microwave meals. We can either embrace it or turn our phone’s off!

thai retail design firm

Whitespace Thanks Valued Clients in Celebration of 15th Anniversary

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Many moons ago, back in the spring of 2004, our founder registered Whitespace Ltd. With only 3 projects in hand, a fresh graduate named Prasert “Ton” Chaisittiroekkul, and a grand vision, they set to work in a 20m2 studio space at Bangkok Code, on Sathorn in Central Bangkok. It was an exciting time, though one that was equally as daunting. Through a winning combination of good luck, and hard work, the company began to experience significant success. 

Within a year, the company had grown from 2 fresh faces, to a staff of 15, moving into a larger studio. Then, by the 5-year mark they moved again, having grown to 30 staff, counting Apple and Honda Motorcycles as major clients. By this point, the founder of Whitespace Ltd had already grown the company beyond expectation. Now, as we mark our 15th anniversary, we are home to a proud and talented team of nearly 50 staff!

We’re incredibly pleased to say that we’ve worked on and completed projects across Thailand, in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. As we progress into the future and continue along this path of creative expression and mutual growth, we’re setting our sights on developing new business in China and throughout the US.

We’ve got you to thank 

Of course, whilst we do owe much of our success to ourselves, as our collective passion and hard work has certainly been the driving force behind it; we’d like to say a big thank you to all of our valued clients. Every single project that we have completed (no matter how small), has not only been an absolute pleasure, but a privilege as well. 

We work in an incredibly competitive industry, where trust & communication is almost as important as talent. As such, we’d like to thank you for putting your faith in us and choosing the team at Whitespace to assist you with your projects. 

To mark this celebration, we’d like to share a couple of quotes that capture that essence of Whitespace Ltd, and our company’s ethos.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

This one rings particularly true for us as it highlights the value in collaboration. This collaboration exceeds the way in which we work together as a team, but how we communicate with our clients’ when taking on a new project. When a client comes to us with an exciting idea, it is our job to take those ideas and bring them into actuality as best we can. It’s an exciting part of our creative process and one that leaves us with an immense feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”Napolean Hill

This quote is another which really captures the spirit of what we do. When a new client entrusts us with a project, it is in our best interest to ensure that we perform at our utmost capacity. The success and functionality of the spaces that we design, allows our clients to experience further success themselves. It’s that desire to help others succeed, which has been a vital factor in our own success. Without that shared mutual growth, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So, here’s to us!

Rising affluence in China fueling Innovative Fitness industry 

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The health & fitness industry has taken the world by storm in recent years, as more and more people are becoming conscious of how they look, and how fit they are. It’s a combination of vanity, fused with the desire to live a long, comfortable and healthy life. As such, gyms have been popping up around the globe, offering a wide variety of exciting classes for people to indulge in. This coupled with various mobile apps that offer diet plans, workouts, and pedometers (to mention a few), is really starting to (quite literally) shape the new generation. 

The transformation is noticeably kicking off in China at the moment. Whilst the global growth has been rising steadily for many years, the health & fitness industry in China has boomed exponentially. There are a number of influencing factors, however, it is the rise in Instagram and the social desire to “look good” for your online profile that is without question, the driving force behind the change. Health & fitness lovers are seeking experience. They’re looking to be a part of the next big thing, and it is this which has fueled the rapid growth of fitness centers, clothing brands, and personal trainers throughout China. 

It’s all going on! 

The wonderful thing is that more and more people in China are making time for themselves. They’re being supported by a broad network of health & fitness facilities that are popping up all over the country. One brand in particular “LeFit”, has a handy app which allows members to figure out a plan whilst they’re on the go. So, they can look at various classes that are going on in any one of their facilities, and they can plan their day around it. This means that if you’re on the other side of the city in a business meeting, rather than go to your usual workout spot, you’ll have instant access to a nearby facility without disrupting your day too much. This new and innovative way of operating is offering health & fitness freaks the opportunity to stay fit and healthy, without compromising their already, incredibly busy schedules. 

Other companies are opting for “staffless fitness pods” where members can sign in digitally and access fitness centers on the go with a simple click of a button. These innovations are making health & fitness significantly more accessible to the affluent members of society who are always in a hurry. 

The rapidly expanding sportswear market – a truly positive shift, or mass-consumerism dressed as social necessity? 

OK, so that’s a bit of a mouthful. The question that we’re asking is: is trading in designer handbags for what could arguably be over-priced running shoes a truly positive change? Or is it simply mass consumerism with a new, healthier looking face? 

At the end of the day, there is a good argument for both sides. The real question is however: does it really matter? Certainly, there are many companies who are going to profit immensely from the industries rise in popularity (as we’ll get to in a moment) but, if it means inspiring future generations to favour a truly positive and healthy lifestyle, then it is something that we should embrace regardless. 

To give you an idea of what we’re looking at: the sportwear market is set to be $43.10 billion by 2020 in China alone. Those figures are staggering, as that doesn’t include the current $6 billion gym & fitness industry as it stands (which is expected to grow rapidly as well). 

Now, whilst the luxury goods industry in China is still huge, it has slowed down in recent years as a result of the health & fitness industry. Yes, there is still a great deal of vanity involved in the change in direction, to more sports & fitness related attire. However, when coupled with the fact that more and more people are taking an active interest in their physical health, you can put the vanity factor down as a positive catalyst for healthy social change.  

You see, there are some who would contend that the desire to “look great” on social media and go to great lengths to adhere to a certain lifestyle is a negative thing. Yes, there are negative connotations involved, especially if you look at the mental health effects of social media in young women. However, when you consider the fact that this change is leading away from the seemingly unattainable life of immeasurable wealth & glamour and steering towards an increasingly accessible lifestyle of self-betterment, mindfulness and physical actualization; then there really is no contest. 

The natural choice 

Going back to the rise in mental health issues in relation to social media, and the immense pressure that is put on youngsters to “fit in” and “keep up with the Kardashian’s” as it were, it’s important to recognize a positive shift when it’s happening. 

Not only is social media largely responsible for the health & fitness craze, but it is also combating some of the mental health problems that it has helped to create in other areas. Today, there are more and more people talking about their mental health, and now they’re making changes to their lifestyle which is actively helping them to improve their state of mind. 

Simply put: embracing the health & fitness industry and pursuing a healthier, active lifestyle is “the natural choice,” and one that is invariably going to give way to a much healthier and happier society. All in all, it’s an exciting prospect and we’re interested to see what new tech & changes are introduced to the industry as it expands. Now, hit the floor and give me twenty! 

Showcase stores for Kickstarter products 

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There’s a new form of store on the Highstreet, but they’re not selling products, they’re selling start-ups’ exposure. You may or may not have heard of Kickstarter, but it’s a new platform which is dedicated to finding the latest and greatest products and putting them before the eyes of their potential audience. It’s about creating as much hype around the latest products, tech and gadgets, before they’re due to be released. 

In a recent announcement, Amazon has revealed that they will be teaming up with Kickstarter, in order to offer store space for these “pre-sale” start-ups, so that they can hit the ground running when it’s time to launch; to give them a “kickstart” of sorts. 

This means that the more successful start-ups that are featured in Kickstarter, whose products are most likely to take off, will be given store space and a “digital shopfront” where they can showcase their ideas to the world. This is a new and innovative way of driving & establishing sales before production has even began. This transcends the digital realm and is now taking on the form of physical showcase stores as well. 

What’s most interesting about this business model is that there is such a grand variety of different pre-products to learn about. They’re tucked away in various categories, such as “Always be Learning,” “Exquisite Objects,” “Inventing the Future,” and “Public Benefit,” to name a few. As such, you can expect to find only the most exciting and innovative items, so that you can be the first to get your hands on the next big thing! 

Are physical “showcase” stores the future of retail?  

Image by Amazon

Another interesting thing about this “Kickstarter” trend, is that there are now a number of physical stores opening across the globe that are specifically designed to showcase products, and nothing else. They’re not interested in selling products at all, but to sell “the idea” of a product, or the brand itself. Some great examples of this are We The People, in Singapore, and b8ta, in the US. They allow browsers to enter their store and to have a glimpse into the future! This is an interesting and irrefutably invaluable way of generating hype before a product is even released. 

When coupled with online shopping, could these physical showcase stores be the future of retail? Well, for certain industries there is a huge amount of potential. For example, we can see the tech industry benefiting greatly from adopting the physical “showcase” store format. But is it something that could really take off for clothing and attire for example? Perhaps its too early to know for sure. What thing is for certain: this is an exciting time for retail, given the lull that has happened in recent years due to the rise of e-Commerce business.

Conclusion 

Image by socialbarrel

It’s certainly interesting to see so much interest going into new innovations. This is making the global market more accessible to young innovators and inventors. It’s creating more confidence in those who have ideas that they wish to share but weren’t feeling quite confident enough in their ability to get things off the ground. With the likes of Amazon and Kickstarter offering custom product pages, a comprehensive marketing packages, and access to an established global fulfilment network; it’s safe to say that we’re going to see some incredible products in the near future. 

But of course, there are cons to everything. Is this level of pre-exposure, before products have even began sale, going to be a problem for other companies poaching ideas? If you are showcasing a new innovation in tech, long before you’re due to launch the product, it will give your competitors the opportunity to create something similar, with a twist. In any case, it seems to be working wonders in terms of getting new companies off the ground and putting these awesome products in front of the customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

CVS investing in dental services to compete with e-commerce giants (Orthodontists aren’t smiling about it)

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Amazon has long been dominating the digital shoppersphere, causing many an established company to panic. Business owners are scrabbling to find new and innovative ways to attract and retain new customers in the hopes that they can compete. Just as all of the other search engines have to contend with the reflex response: “Hold on a moment, I’ll Google it;” retailers have to try and overcome: “You’ll definitely be able to buy it on Amazon.” 

The fact is, as consumers, we like to keep things simple. That’s why mall complexes have always been so popular; the ability to do all of your shopping under one roof and then stop for a spot of lunch or a coffee is better than having to drive all over town. We like the convenience of it, and what could be more convenient than logging onto one incredibly easy to use website that sells everything that you could possibly ask for? That’s the keyword today: convenience. 

That is why in 2018, CVS Health made the decision to start offering delivery services on prescription drugs & other medication; in an attempt to keep up with the delivery giant, Amazon. This experimentation is continuing on into 2019, with a new transformation that has been causing quite a lot of controversy in the dental world. 

I’ll give you something to smile about 


image by CVS

The likes of CVS and Walgreens are now turning to offering services in stores in order to compete with other e-commerce giants. They’re certainly not the first to adopt this kind of approach. Take Nike for example: they’re embracing the bricks & mortar by attempting to revolutionize the way that retail works through implementing state-of-the-art technology in their stores. (Include link to previous Nike blog post) By offering a more personal service in their physical stores, they will be able to connect with their audience and drive more traffic through their business both physically & electronically. 

So, how does this apply to CVS and Walgreens? Well, rather than simply sticking to pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies, they will now be offering dental services in stores. Such services include discreet teeth straightening, a service which would otherwise only be available via your local orthodontist. As you can imagine, these new plans have not been so well received by orthodontists as their “bread & butter” services are going to be made more accessible, and likely more affordable too. 

Meeting high-demand and adapting with the times 

image by CVS

Whilst orthodontists are certainly going to experience a significant hit with the likes of CVS and Walgreens offering similar services in their stores, if they embrace the challenge and find new ways to make their services more attractive, they shouldn’t be too hard pushed to survive. They must innovate, just like CVS and Walgreens have had to. 

The fact is, in this modern-Instaworthy world, everyone is after that straight, white smile. As such, the global dentist’s market is set to increase to a whopping $18.4 billion by 2025. Teeth whitening alone is a $5.5 billion industry as it is. CVS and Walgreens have recognized this and made the incredibly shrewd decision to offer such services in a most personalized and convenient manner. This is the future: ease, convenience, and affordability. 

It’s not just scary, but expensive too! 

image by CVS

Another important thing to recognize is that many people shy away from going to the dentist because they’re afraid. It’s not just about the bill that they’ll get at the end of the interaction, but the fear of going in in the first place. Now, with CVS Health, an established and trusted brand, we’re likely to see a significant rise in people seeking out dental care. As they’ve said in a recent statement: “CVS Health and SmileDirectClub are aligned in the mission to put the customer at the center of their care by providing easier access to more affordable, more convenient health solutions with proven outcomes.” 

How modern hoteliers can connect with the elusive, enigmatic Millennial

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The world of hospitality is evolving, what with the rise of Air BNB and hoteliers being faced with the ever-increasing challenge of attracting the younger generations. But what is it that the elusive & enigmatic Millennial desires in a hotel? And what can hotelier’s do to modernise their establishment without neglecting to cater for older generations? 

To quote Greenberg: ““If we attract young people, old people will show up. But if you build a hotel for old people, young people never show up.” This is the challenge that hoteliers face, one of the dangers being too wrapped up in catering to a given generation, rather than a certain type of mentality. 

So, how can you go about creating a hotel which attracts people of all ages? Simply put, you have to try really hard, to not try very hard. And just in-case you’re wondering what on earth that means, you have to be authentic without “trying to be”. Yea, these Millennials are a complicated bunch! 

Six ways to woo a younger audience 


In this post, we’re going to explore ways in which hoteliers can attract a younger audience without losing the interest of older generations. Let’s take a look…

1 – You’ve got to be “Insta-Worthy” 

Ugh, yes! More techno-jargon for you. But what does it mean to be Insta-worthy? In a nutshell: your hotel has to be interesting enough to post on Instagram. This means that you need to be bold in your design and the way in which you incorporate artwork into your hotel. Gone are the days where you can simply hang a beautiful landscape; today, the art has to be a part of the landscape! 

That said, can art really help your business succeed? If you look at the way art affects the brain, you’ll better understand the way in which it influences consumer behavior. This is why more and more hoteliers are embracing artwork for hotels. 

You have to create a space which is entirely unique, where visitors can take selfies with their friends and share it on social media. It might sound like an awful lot of work, but if done correctly, this can have an incredibly positive effect on your hotel’s popularity. If you want to succeed in this modern internet age, then you need to have a strong online presence. 

2 – Connect your guests with local, hidden treasures 


Never has the concierge been more important than it is today in a hotel environment. It’s no longer just about offering recommendations. You need to be well-connected with all of the local hotspots, but the hidden treasures as well. Modern guests want to experience the authenticity of the location that they’re in! They want to see “the real” world and it’s your job to introduce them. 

This could be in the form of offering local tours, or even inviting local chef’s and artists to perform at your establishment on the regular. Millennial guests love being apart of something exclusive, so mix it up and give them something to engage with. 

3 – Embrace technology and go high-tech 

The future is now and if you want to attract the modern millennial then you need to embrace technology. This goes far beyond simply offering free Wi-Fi in your hotel. You should look to creating an in-house mobile application which not only unlocks their hotel room but connects them with absolutely everything going on inside the establishment. What’s on the menu? Is there anything going on? What time is the shuttle?

Guests should essentially be able to spend a week in the hotel without having to speak to anyone if they so desire. You could even provide a digital chat room of sorts where guests can mingle and meet with one another! 

There’s no limitation to what you can achieve with technology in your hotel. Be creative but try not to over-do it. You wouldn’t want to scare the older generation off because they can’t figure out how to get into their hotel room! 

4 – Go all out on room service 

Millennials love room service! It’s as simple as that. So, you should invest a lot of time and effort into revamping your room service menu and the way in which it is delivered. 

Many hotels are moving away from the traditional open tray method and have instead, opted for “eco-friendly” take-out packaging. This gives your guests the unique opportunity of either enjoying their food in their room or order it to go. 

You should also pay close attention to how much variety you have available. You will need a vast and delicious vegan / vegetarian menu. This will go down incredibly well, as opposed to offering one or two options. Additionally, you may want to offer 24-hour room service.  Millennials love their late-night feasts! 

5 – Be conscious of your environment 

First No Single-Use Plastic Hotel Launch in Asia, image by Akyra Sukhumvit Bangkok

Little things like going paperless can go an incredibly long way towards attracting more Millennials to your establishment. It’s about adopting a conscious approach in everything that you do and striving to reduce your carbon footprint. Today, people are more impressed with the conscious than they are the lavish. So, worry less about going big, and more about going green! 

Additionally, it helps to show your support for local charities. Having an involvement with your community is another way of inspiring younger guests to associate with your brand. But of course, don’t do it because you feel that you must; do it because you want to! 

6 – Create an attractive & social lobby environment 

image by http://igsmag.com/features/reimagining-the-hotel-lobby-as-a-vibrant-social-hub/

A hotel lobby should be so much more than just a waiting area for guests leaving and arriving. Instead, the most successful establishments of today are creating stunning social environments where their guests can interact with one another. Or alternatively, a space where they can sit and catch up with some emails, enjoying free WiFi, drinks & snacks. 

This goes back to embracing artwork in your hotel. The more unique the space, the more success you’ll experience with attracting younger guests. Many hotels are creating libraries within their lobby areas as well. Let it be open! Let it be unique! Let it be bold, bright and beautiful! That is the key to connecting with the younger generations. 

Nike by Melrose is a laboratory blurring the boundary between online and offline retail

By | retail | No Comments

For many years’ experts have been swearing by the “fact” that retail is not long for this world, due to the ever-exponential rise in e-Commerce shopping. In this digital era more people are doing their shopping online and finding even less reason to venture to the “bricks & mortar” stores. With Nike by Melrose, that could be about to change rather dramatically.

What is Nike by Melrose?

It’s exactly what it sounds like; Nike by Melrose is a physical retail location that’s opening on July 12th at Melrose Avenue in West Los Angeles. But what is it that separates this new store from your average retail store? Why does this one location have the potential to shake up the world of online & offline retail? Let’s find out…

The store has been tailored specifically to the buying habits of local Nike customers

Since its inception in 1964, Nike has been setting trends and leading the way in the sporting attire industry. Today, that trend setting continues, taking the form of a new high-tech store. Using the analytical data from the online buying habits of their customers, Nike has designed a store which is specifically tailored to the customers living in Western Los Angeles. This means that the items that they have in stock will be significantly more likely to sell as it’s precisely what their customers will be looking for. (if blue is trending, then plenty of blue will be stocked) This evolution in offline retail will transform the overall experience making it even more attractive for Nike fans to buy offline by entering their store.

In addition to their stock being influenced by what is trending, and the current buying habits of their local customers; much of their stock will refresh every two weeks. So, 25% of its foot-ware will be changed out, bringing in new and popular items. Some of the items will be entirely unique to that specific store, giving customers all the more reason to come in and get their hands on a limited style.

In-store best sellers

Another exciting feature that the store will have to offer is a backlog of bestselling items in stock. So, rather than stocking seasonal items only, there will be 365 favourites in-store for Nike fans to choose from!

Unique, high-tech features

But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, there are many new and innovative features that make Nike by Melrose an attractive spot to offline consumers.

Reserve pick-up lockers

The store will feature high-tech lockers where Nike members can reserve new clothing and shoes to try on without any purchase having to be made. This gives customers a unique opportunity to come into the store and find precisely what they’re looking for without wasting any time.

Nike Expert sessions

The store will also feature a treadmill where Nike members can trial various sneakers and sports attire before making their purchase. They will be accompanied by a Nike Expert who will advise them on which items are best suited to their needs and desires. Combining excellent taste, unparalleled style, and an in-depth knowledge of Nike’s vast range of sporting equipment, members will be able to find the perfect get-up for them.

SwooshText delivery 

Another fantastic feature that Nike by Melrose is offering is the “drive-thru” pick-up experience using SwooshText. Simply put, Nike members can place their order using the Nike mobile app and pick-up their items immediately in the parking area behind the store. This is perfect for people in a hurry! So, if you’ve got a game of squash planned with a new client in the evening and you want to look your best then you can pick-up some new sports equipment immediately.

It’s an interesting test which is worth following

Nike have referred to their new Melrose store as being a “laboratory” of sorts. It’s a test shop which is subject to change over the coming months. As it stands the store will be 50-50 with male and female attire. That said, depending on the analytical data that they gather, it could well go either way. It’s all about reacting to what the local customer wants and then delivering exactly that.

It’s an interesting test and one which is entirely worth following. It will be great to see how this shapes offline retail and whether or not a new wave of high-tech stores can breath a new lease of life into what is thought to be a dying industry.

 

Image by https://news.nike.com/news/nike-by-melrose-store-los-angeleswww.facebook.com/CentralPhuketFanpage/photos/a.448977178629707/853513224842765/?type=3&theater

Smart Diapers: The internet of things is just getting started, kids

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Just when you think that nothing else can surprise you, you learn that Huggies are launching a new brand of “smart diaper” which uses a Bluetooth disk to notify parents when their babies have a “number one” or “number two”. Now, as farfetched and unnecessary as that might sound in the beginning, there are actually a number of practical benefits that can come from embracing such technology. That said, how well are these items going to apply in the wider market? Many families struggle as it is with the cost of diapers without having to pay what could be up to three or five times as much as they currently do. 

In this article we’re going to take a quick look at smart diapers and how  the “internet of things” is affecting consumer electronic retailers in an ever-connected world. 

Does everything need to be connected to our smart phones? 

IOT or the “internet of things” is the implementation of internet connectivity into everyday items such as electronic mirrors, AI toothbrushes and in this case: “smart diapers”. In many cases this connectivity offers real, useful enhancements. But does everything need to be connected to our smart phones? Do consumers really want to spend an additional $200 dollars on a toothbrush because it allegedly helps us clean our teeth more effectively? 

Well, whether we want it or not, there will be an ever-increasing tsunami of IOT products swamping the market over the coming years. There’s a tech-war of sorts which has companies scrabbling to produce the “next big thing”, or the “life-altering technological advancement” which is going to simplify our day-to-day even further. Again, in many cases this has a lot of benefits. For the most part however, it’s filling our homes with overly expensive and unnecessarily complicated “stuff”. 

The smart diaper: a pompous novelty or sophisticated improvement? 

Image by https://sites.google.com/site/phukutthailand/home/attractions

>image by https://www.cnet.com/news/the-smart-diaper-has-entered-the-building-at-ces-2019/

Again, whilst the smart diaper might sound like a complete waste of time, there are some features which can bring irrefutable benefits to parents. For example, being notified of when your baby has gone to the toilet during the night will allow parents to respond faster and refresh their diaper as soon as possible. This is particularly useful for parents whose babies are suffering from nappy rash. It can also be preventative with urinary tract infections and other loo-related irritants.

image by http://www.goodmonit.com

Then again, is it going to give new parents more to worry about? Do we really need all of this data on how often our babies and peeing or pooing? Are they going too often or not enough? Perhaps we’re not feeing them properly? It might seem like a little too much, but as the technology becomes more readily accessible to families of all incomes, such technology could work wonders in keeping our babies healthier and happier. 

In addition to that, these enhancements can and will improve the quality of care given to the elderly in assisted living facilities. There are many elderly care homes which are understaffed and might not be able to get around to checking on every resident as promptly as they’d like. However, with a simple notification via Bluetooth, it could offer care workers invaluable insight into who needs their adult diapers or “pads” changing. This can only bolster the overall quality of care and overall happiness of the elderly living through their twilight years. 

We’re just getting started 

image by http://www.goodmonit.com

The future is here, and consumer electronics retailers should be ready for the unexpected. Again, the smart diaper may or may not have come as a surprise to you, but you should be ready for things to get even weirder! Just look at how far we have come since the industrial revolution. We never expected to be flying internationally, let alone sending robots into space. So, it’s fair to say that a portable coffee maker / personal assistant robot combo might be closer than you think! 

Asia Pacific Property Awards recognizes Whitespace Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall Design 

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When one thinks about Thailand, there are several things that spring to mind: a colourful nightlife, the incredible food, and miles of white sand beaches, to name a few. But the most prominent image of all is the rich and authentic cultural tapestry for which the Kingdom of Thailand has been built upon. You envisage the grand, golden statues and the charming floating markets, illuminated by a thousand hanging lanterns…Beautiful. 

So, when the team at Whitespace were tasked with designing the Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall, we knew that we had our work cut out for us! How do we create a space that functions as a luxurious food hall, appeals to an international audience, and honours the authenticity of Thailand’s marvelous culture? These are just a few of the questions that we had to both ask and find answers for. Fortunately, through our customer-centric creative process we were able to navigate our way towards an award-winning design! 

The Asia Pacific Property Awards has recognized Whitespace for what we have achieved, which as only further added to the immense satisfaction that we have gained from taking part in such a prestigious project. 

A little bit about Phuket 

Image by https://sites.google.com/site/phukutthailand/home/attractions

 

Phuket is a large province in the Southern region of Thailand, featuring the large island of Phuket (Thailand’s largest in fact). It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world at the moment, and with good reason. It lies off the West Coast of Thailand, resting in the Andaman ocean. There you can find some of the most spectacular beaches in Thailand, with golden-white sands that softly enshroud your feet in warmth, and crystal turquoise waters that maintain the perfect temperature all year-round. In addition to that, visitors find themselves in awe of the mountains that cover the island in plush blanket of emerald green. 

Phuket is fairly close to the province of Krabi, which is a central hub for tourists exploring the Southern Islands. Additionally, it has its own airport, making it easily accessible to anyone travelling through who’d like to experience one of the finest destinations in South-East Asia. 

The Island of Phuket features a number of luxurious amenities, including a wealth of premium shopping malls. This is why we decided to give the Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall more of a contemporary spin on their culture; to embrace the modernization of “Western”, air-conditioned shopping malls, whilst fusing it with the glorious and colourful intricacies of traditional Thai design.  

The idea was that you can travel to any major city in the world if you want to experience a luxurious shopping mall. Today, they’re ten a penny. That is what inspired us to give Central Phuket Floresta its own authentic charm. 

Everything that you could possibly want, all under one roof 

Image by www.facebook.com/CentralPhuketFanpage/photos/a.448977178629707/853513224842765/?type=3&theater

 

For expatriates living in Thailand, embracing the local cuisine is easy! Afterall, the food is world-renowned for being irrefutably delicious. That said, any Westerner who has lived in Thailand for a year or more will understand what its like to crave a bit of home. This is why large international food-halls are so important. 

In the Central Phuket Floresta food hall, you’ll be able to find everything that you could possible want, all under one roof. There are fresh bakeries, mouth-watering deli counters, vibrant vegetable stalls, and so much more. 

Simply put; as wonderful as it is to explore the authentic food-markets in Thailand, sometimes you need to indulge in Croissants, fresh cheese and a refreshing, air-conditioned space. Well, Floresta can provide you with all of that and more, whilst staying true to the vibrant cultural tapestry that international visitors have come to explore. 

  • The Dining Zone: World-class dishes expertly prepared by seasoned chefs. 
  • The Cheese Room: Boasting more than 300 different cheeses from all over the globe! 
  • The Fruit & Veg Zone: There you’ll find organic, locally farmed produce as well as various offerings from other countries. 
  • The Grocery Zone: With over 45,000 snacks from 15 different countries, you’ll be certain to find what you’re craving. 
  • The Bakery Zone: Fresh and delicious European-styled baked goods. 
  • The Meat Zone: Premium, mouth-watering meats from the finest sources. 
  • The Seafood Zone: Fresh, locally sourced seafood, expertly prepared for your convenience. 
  • The Drink Zone: Freshly squeezed smoothies and juices. Mmm! 
  • The Health & Beauty Zone: For all of your self-care and grooming requirements. 
  • The Take Home Zone: Succulent take-out food from 27 famous street outlets. 
  • The Thai Favourites: Of course, no food-hall would be complete without the finest selection of Thai favourites! 

 

Conclusion 

Of course, this is just a snapshot of the Central Phuket Floresta! We can only do it so much justice, as it really is something that you have to experience for yourself. Should you ever find yourself heading to the Southern provinces of Thailand, be sure to pay Phuket a visit! 

If you’d like to speak to us about a project that you have in mind, then please feel free to contact us today. We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting projects to sink our teeth into. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!