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  1. Mental.

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  2. Ebay pop-up shop in Covent Garden

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    Over the past few days a rather strange container-type shop has appeared in Covent Garden. The Ebay pop-up shop showcases the new technologies that the company has launched this year, including augmented reality and apps which allow you to photograph a fabric and then search Ebay’s database for garments made from the same material. Ebay (as I was told by their Marketing Manager) now has 17 million unique visitors every month, the same number as the total amount of shoppers visiting Oxford Street on a monthly basis. Also, the company has shifted from selling secondhand goods from individuals to companies selling new products. Presently the sales ratio is 70% new products sold at a fixed price and 30% peer- to-peer selling. Sales on mobile channels account for just under 50% of all products bought.

     
  3. Seoul Searching

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    One of our design teams has just got back from a research trip to Seoul, South Korea, and has put together a photographic review of the best bits.This is just a snapshot; we're still wading through the 1,000+ photos taken during the two-day trip. The city is crammed full of design inspiration and exciting retail – well worth a visit.

    Check out the highlights! (5.6 MB)

     
  4. Fitting rooms: what’s the future?

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    With the rise of online shopping, is the fitting room dead in the water?

    Although online fashion sales are on the rise, a survey by Drapers shows that product returns are still relatively high. As shopping channels merge, the fitting room remains one of the key decision points in a customer's journey. The more effective and enjoyable the experience is at this crucial point, the more chance a retailer has to convert 'trying on' into a purchase. Those stores that aren’t delivering in this area will be left behind; customers are now expecting more. Flattering lighting, a comfortable atmosphere, helpful staff and even details like temperature can add up to a big difference on the bottom line. Larger cubicles feel less claustrophobic and promote a feeling of calm, while more fitting rooms reduce wait times. The aim is to ensure that there are no barriers to committing to the purchase.
     
    For Swedish fashion brand Lindex we brought fitting rooms to the centre of the space, putting service at the heart of the offer and keeping it very much part of the shopping journey, rather than relegating it to a remote area behind the scenes. The fitting room space is also an opportunity to communicate brand personality – with our work for Mr Price in South Africa, the brand’s tone of voice comes though in fun messages on the doors. For Primark however, the challenge is simply too many customers, so we created messaging that talks about trying on at home and returns policies in an effort to take some of the pressure away. 

    What is clear is that technology is vital to help at this key stage...

    As part of our new concept for Oasis, iPads were put into fitting room cubicles to enable browsing other product and asking for assistance, while in the lobby area there are iPads with Oasis’ website plus unrestricted internet access, to keep bored partners entertained and again reduce barriers to purchase. Staff are also equipped with iPads which allow them to quickly access product online and also check stock at the store they are in, as well as local stores and online levels. These devices can also take payment, making a seamless customer experience without the queues. Taking this further, the new Burberry store in Regent Street features mirrors that recognise the product you are trying on and provide rich content, including the story of the garment, catwalk videos and complementary products you may like. This gives a feeling that you are buying into more than just the item, that you are buying a piece of the brand itself.

    What about other technologies?

    Interactive mirrors that use augmented reality are still in their infancy, technology-wise. The decision to use technology needs to be for the right reasons and should enhance the experience. Browsing the extended range of choices for a garment you have taken into the fitting room and being able to push a button and have your choice brought to you is possibly a more compelling use of technology than the current AR solutions which can feel clunky and cold. That doesn’t mean that this won’t change over time, we just haven’t seen the technology demonstrate a compelling argument just yet. Adidas NEO, a new brand for young fast fashion, uses social mirrors connecting through Facebook and Twitter to allow customers to gain feedback from friends, which can be another valuable tool in capturing the sale, certainly in the younger categories. Selfridges’ new Women’s Designer Galleries has a different take, allowing the customer to photograph and even video herself in different outfits and play these back simultaneously, giving unrivalled ability for comparison. These can then be emailed to herself or a friend for the final nod of approval. Technology will certainly be a standard feature in years to come, as prices become more affordable, customers become more tech savvy and developments like AR become emotive and warm.

    So...

    The perfect fitting room is a place of sanctuary where you are not hurried and the atmosphere is calm. Staff are on-hand but not intrusive, technology is supportive but not pushing product at you. Lighting is flattering – soft and from the front, not spotlights from the ceiling. The room is spacious, mirrors are generous, and there is a rear view angled mirror. Doors are more contemporary and more easily maintained than curtain, and a small seat is a nice addition, both practical and a place to show some brand expression. The look and feel depends completely on the brand, but getting these underlying values right it makes a big difference.

     
  5. Don’t stop mo now…

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    …we’re having such a good time, we’re having a ball.

    But we’d have an even better time if we could get some more donations! A BIG thank you to those that have already donated, but with only two days left we know we can raise more! Please lend us your support and sponsor us. Funds raised are for the charities Prostate Cancer UK and the Institute of Cancer Research and all donations, no matter how small, are very much appreciated.

    Cheers!

    D&P Mo’s
    uk.movember.com

     
  6. The Infamous Garden Chair

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    Bert Loeschner’s hands-on project about the ‘Infamous Garden Chair’ and its role in design culture. The demonstration between both subject and object, these chairs are sometimes functional, sometimes not.

    www.designboom.com

     
  7. Lazerwood

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    Taking the idea of a wooden keyboard one step further, Lazerwood have created individual wooden keys which fit perfectly with the sleek design of your Macbook Pro. Compatible with all unibody Macbook Pros and available in both walnut and cherry, all you need are some nimble fingers and a bit of patience when adding this mod to each and every key but, if you like wood, the results are stunning. If after all that work you decide you don’t like the results, removal is possible without damage to the original keyboard.

    Available now from their online store for $40 (approx. £25).