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Consumer Products

Metail Finds Niche in the Virtual Fitting Room Market

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LONDON,UK — June 7, 2017.  With the growing relevance of online transactions, retailers are exploring new ways in which they can overcome the challenges associated with selling nondigital products, such as clothing or eyewear, without customers having physical access to products. VR,AR and immersive fitting-room technologies can provide information about how a product fits a particular customer in a novel way and mitigate the stress that the existing information gap generates in the retailer’s supply chain.

Most of us, occasionally, do have to risk a stress headache, by going to the shops to find that elusive “something to wear” for a big occasion. If you are 5’7, size 8 and have regulation length arms, you’re going to be fine on the high street, but it does get more complicated if you are a bit short or a bit tall, particularly, if you are so called “plus-size” and shopping online.

One of the great drawbacks of shopping for clothes online is what size to choose. It’s why so many people order clothes in different sizes just to send some of them back. Metail, an UK-based company developing an immersive ‘try it on’ online shopping experience which enables consumers to create a bespoke 3D model of themselves, has done some research on the scale of returns:

Key findings from the research: 

• Significant increase in orders placed by customers with access to Metail’s virtual reality technology: 8.4% uplift in conversion
• Significant increase in the actual order amount by customers with access to Metail’s technology: 22% increase in basket
• Significant reduction in returns from customers with access to Metail’s technology: 5.1% reduction in returns
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Tom Adeyoola, CEO and founder of Metail, said to BBC Radio:  “We created society where we are presented with the projected ideal of size and shape you should be, so we are compelled towards that sort of vanity sizing, therefore wanting to be  the size that we are aspired to rather than size we are.

And on the other side, in terms of the retail industry it’s hugely unsophisticated and in general – retail industry builds a sample what they determined think is an average and then everything off that is basically a straight line.

Which means as you get a variation in population if you are different from the average, the variation in size becomes increasingly further and further away from what you might be. So it becomes harder and harder problem to actually find stuff that works for you. ”

With an expanding team (including 10 PHDs) and over $20 million in funding, we see a future where the ‘MeModel’ is everyone’s trusted guide in online experiences involving your body.

“The direction we want to go in long term is that we want to eradicate the notion of size completely as being part of the decision making process in terms of when you buy clothes. Actually, buying clothing and finding stuff that will suit you should be about shape.

And if you can start to use the data that we are bring in to the clothing supply chain in terms of the size and shape of customers, this can help retailers rethink how they make clothes, to start making them in the right way and to match the customer demographic of
the customers they have ,” he said to BBC.

Source: Metail.com, Stanford.edu, BBC

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Amazon

Shopping trends: 72.1% of shoppers will turn to Amazon first this holiday season

Harry Suresh

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The holiday season is fast approaching and a new survey reveals insights into how shoppers will hunt for products and what trends retailers should be aware of in order to capitalize on the end of the year retail boom.

The study, commissioned by CPC Strategy and carried out by the independent research firm Survata, surveyed 1504 consumers to understand how they will shop in the fourth quarter of 2017, and specifically in regards to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.

Holiday Sales Look Encouraging

The general takeaway from the study found that end of year sales looks promising for retailers as more and more millennials are coming of age and willing to spend significantly more money during the holidays.

Among 18-24 year-olds, 23 percent said their spending will increase. On top of this, 79 percent of Baby Boomers — the biggest spending cohort during the holidays — said they would spend roughly the same this year.

Overall, 88 percent of shoppers plan to spend the same or more this year on gifts, meaning the staggering $658.3 billion spent last year will most likely be matched and probably even surpassed.

As for individual spending on gifts, 62.1 percent said they will spend $500 or less, with 30 percent spending $250-499. Over 26 percent will spend $500-1000 and 11.2 percent will spend more than $1000.

Shoppers are evenly divided on when they will hit the stores, whether online or brick-and-mortar, in search for gifts. One-third will start holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, another third will start on Thanksgiving weekend and the following Cyber Monday, and the final third will begin their shopping in December.

Similar to last year, December 17, also known as Super Saturday, is again expected to be the biggest holiday shopping day.

Amazon Leads the Pack

What shouldn’t surprise anyone is Amazon’s continued dominance in the retail marketplace.

Of the respondents, 72.1 percent said they would search for gifts on Amazon compared to just 60 percent who said they will look for gifts in-store at big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. An even lower number, 38.6 percent, said they will browse these big box retailer’s online stores.

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Women are much more likely to shop in-store at big box retailers (67%) while men were fine to do their holiday shopping online at Amazon (76%). Millennials heavily favored shopping online rather than in big box retailers.

And lastly, 46 percent of holiday shoppers will use specialty retailers who target their specific demographic to find gifts and products.

Low Prices Rule the Day

When asked what the main driving force is behind which brand or retailer a holiday shopper choices for purchasing gifts, the overall price was far and away the most important factor. The next highest was brand quality, at 16.2 percent.

As echoed in other studies, the youngest generation surveyed (18-24 year-olds), were far less price conscious, with 23 percent emphasizing brand quality and 10 percent valuing friend or family recommendations (both the highest of any age group).

The oldest generation in the study, 55-64, favored product selection as the second most important factor behind price.

In addition to low prices, the survey found that “fast and free shipping isn’t just optional — it’s now the baseline for retailers.”

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Holiday shoppers also frequently used their phones to check prices while searching for products in-store — only 28 percent didn’t check the online cost. Of these price wary consumers, 32 percent checked a product’s price on Amazon before committing to a purchase, followed by Google (23%) and the retailer’s website (10.1%).

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Consumer Products

Apple granted patent for convertible headphone earcups

Harry Suresh

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Today Apple has been granted a patent that would allow it to manufacture headphones with circumaural to supra-aural convertible earcups.

According to the patent application named “Circumaural to supra-aural convertible headphone earcups “, Apple’s latest invention improves on conventional headphones by providing headphone earcups that can be converted between over the ear (e.g., supra-aural) and around the ear (e.g., circumaural) configurations, and any size in between. For example, the earcup may have an expandable cushion or telescoping ring connected to a frame system similar to a Hoberman Sphere.

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“Supra-aural headphones have earpads that are smaller than those of circumaural headphones and press on the user’s ears, instead of the head. Supra-aural headphones are therefore typically smaller than circumaural headphones and may be more suitable for daily use and travel. Because the earpads of supra-aural headphones can rest on the user’s ears, however, they can become uncomfortable after a period of time and achieve less sound attenuation than circumaural headphones,” reads the document published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday.

 

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Patents don’t always turn into products and it’s unclear if Apple plans to implement the new headphone design into upcoming devices.

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Consumer Products

5 Niche Product Packaging Trends to Elevate Your Brand

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August 9, 2017 — Packaging is a critical aspect of the marketing offer, with many implications for the multi-sensory customer experience. It can affect attention, comprehension of value, perception of product functionality, and also consumption, with important consequences for consumer experience and response. Thus, while it was once viewed as being useful only for product preservation and logistics, package design has evolved into a key marketing tool.

In the ever competitive retail marketplace, it’s important to get a leg up on the competition; and creative niche product packaging is an effective way to separate your products from the pack.

Here are 5 current trends in product packaging that can help boost your brand:

1. Eco-friendly Product Packaging

As more and more people become eco-conscious every year, it provides brands an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the crowded marketplace by turning aspects of their business eco-friendly. Not only does this build brand reputation, but it also performs a social good.
La Tour Cafe, a Hawaiian fast casual restaurant chain, achieved this goal recently by switching to wheat straw containers — a 100 percent renewable resource — for both dining in and takeout.

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Another example of eco-friendly product packaging is Brooklyn-based Neighbors Allied for Good Growth’s Shareware program. The program currently has two partner restaurants that allow customers to opt-in to receiving reusable containers when ordering take out at no extra cost. The customers can then return the containers at their convenience and receive a coupon.

2. Seasonal-themed Product Packaging

People’s moods often change with the season, and taking advantage of this through niche product packaging is a great way to draw eyes to your product. A great example of this comes from Korean beauty brand Etude House who recently added a line of lip tints packaged in popular summer treats like popsicles, ice cream, and fruits.
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3. Product Packaging for the Social Media Generation

The most seductive target market for many brands is young adults, but brand marketing towards the younger generations can often feel forced and contrived. Offshoot Beer Co. recently found an excellent way to use niche product packaging to capitalize on Millennials love for photo sharing on social media. The brewer launched a new beer called “Fashionably Late” that featured a pair of sunglasses designed onto the side of the can, letting drinkers hold it up to their face for a photo-op while wearing beer shades.

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4. Bring Art to Your Product

A simple and very accessible niche product packaging tactic is to make your products stand out with the help of artists. Temper and Candela both hired creative agencies to design abstract art packaging for their chocolate products.
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And LIFEWTR, a premium bottled water brand, features artwork from emerging female artists on their bottles — a great way to build brand awareness by giving oft-overlooked female artists a spotlight.
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5. Convenient Product Packaging

It is definitely true that we all live busy lives. So any product packaging that can alleviate stress or inconvenience has a huge advantage over its competitors. One brand that nailed this is Northern California’s Salt Points. The liquor brand launched a pre-mixed Moscow Mule in a can. Instead of consumers having to go out of their way to a bar to drink one, Salt Points brought it to store shelves giving shoppers the ability to drink it on the go.
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