Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Wormwood Scrubs Click & Collect beta test



                                                                                 HM Prisons,Youtube viaTomo news US

Karl Jensen, 27, the 'delivery-man' outside the jail, liasing by mobile, tied a bag containing drugs, a knife and a McMuffin sandwich to a fishing line that was pulled into a cell.

Karl will now have time to practice this version of click & collect from the inside, as he serves his new 2.5 year sentence...

P.S. For those not visiting via government transport, the sat-nav details are Du Cane Rd, London W12 0AE

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Dandy Lab - a merging of retail and technology


On your next store-visit to Spitalfields, why not try something really different by dropping into Dandy Lab, a new tech-enabled menswear store that stocks a small and exclusive selection of 'Made in Britain' cult brands?

NAMs will not be fooled by the superficial similarity to an innovative 'mens' outfitters that includes a selection of floppy handkerchiefs and crafted cuff-links appealing to the 'Dandy' elements of our nature.

The 'Lab' is where things get a bit more interesting. There's the 'Story Wall' - an interactive display allowing you to scan a product, which in turn activates a video with information that helps you get inside the tin, revealing details of its provenance, performance capabilities and the craftsman who produced it. The Story Wall, coupled with photographic analysis of your needs, helps you achieve that integrated look. In addition the technology gives you an insight into the story behind the products, the amount of work that went into its production and where your money goes. See more, including slideshow at Timeout

Finally, as you leave the store, you can share the results, including your photograph, with colleagues and buyers via social media, thereby adding to the productivity of your store visit...

Seriously, the Dandy Lab appears to be a genuine attempt to elevate shopping experience to new tech-enabled levels. They have set themselves high hurdle-rates by focusing on our most resistant gender...on the assumption that male-conversion will make the winning over of time-scarce savvy females a push-over...

I wonder...

Monday, 27 July 2015

Ikea has created the kitchen of 2025 — and there's no stove or refrigerator


Those of you putting the finishing touches to your 2025 trade strategies might benefit from a skim-through a recent Business Insider article that describes and illustrates Ikea's ideas on how the savvy consumer will manage food preparation in 10 years.

The article gives an overview and pics here, but if you really want to dig into the detail and methodology, best check the Concept Kitchen site.

This give details of
- Smart shelves with induction cooling replacing refrigerators
- Smart table with hidden induction coils to heat pots & pans, replacing the cooker
- Smart waste disposal to aid recycling

Over the top?
Perhaps, but what it could mean is more savvy buying and significantly less waste...
Add to this the increasing tendency for major grocery retailers to expand vertically into food processing to restore profitability, effectively withdrawing demand from the market.

In other words, branded food suppliers have ten years to anticipate and adapt to supply chain dreams that are fast becoming reality...

Why not try a what-if to explore how your encounters with the buyer will reflect the above developments in the coming years?  

Thursday, 4 June 2015

For the Maturing NAM - all your daily medication in one pack!

                                                                                                       Source: PillPack Inc. via Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, PillPack Inc have raised $50m to build a better online drugstore with a simple idea: dividing up customers’ pills by the time and date they should be taken.

Following its launch of the ‘daily’ service in February 2014, PillPack (see video here) has delivered over 1m packs by focusing on routine prescriptions and OTC products.

An obvious plus for an ageing population on an increasingly complex mix of medication, reaching new levels in convenience, and inevitable lock-in for satisfied users.

The issue for suppliers might be possible loss of the pack-to-patient connection

The only question is whether Walgreens-Boots and CVS can organise to replicate the service, cheaper…

Friday, 17 April 2015

Free Aldi bus for students' weekly shop

                                                                                                           pic: An Focal

Given the discounter’s primary audience-mix of students and senior citizens, and the likelihood that carefully managed long term loyalty will eventually bridge the generation-gap, this new initiative indicates the degree of Aldi’s determination to optimise its market share long term…

Currently operating at UCD, Trinity, Limerick, DCU, and Dundalk Institute of Technology, Aldi plans to serve all third level campuses by the end of 2015.

“The bus service is completely free, anyone can hop on, you don’t have to live on campus at all, you just need to email the UL Aldi Bus Rep, book your spot and even if you don’t you can show up and if there are spaces available you can get on.  They have allocated stops for the bus so it’s safe, the students will be signed on by reps and they will make sure everyone is on again after they are finished their shopping.”

Aldi’s “University” page on its website features weekly promotions of healthy recipes and cooking guides, along with the cost of purchasing each meal, in a weekly shop of €34.

Not bad for the ‘foreign, downmarket, cut-price retailer’ that had the cheek to enter the state-of-art, up-market, big-space UK retail scene 25 years ago…

With an 8.1% share of the Irish market, Aldi have no plans for extending its bus-service to the UK, yet…

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Does Cadbury chocolate taste different in different countries?

Can international taste-harmonisation help?

The BBC have published a detailed study of consumer reaction to perceived differences - 37,000 petition signatures to boycott Hershey's! - in the versions of CDM as made in the UK and by Hershey's under licence in the US.

The article goes into a degree of detail that will prove compulsive to those in the 'candy' sector, but the key issues raised in terms of consumer expectation that global brands should taste the same in every country may have implications for brands in other categories.

For instance, NescafĂ© UK blend might seem weak to hard-core Mediterranean coffee users... 

Now whilst traditionally, such variations in local versions of brands might have been 'kept where they belong' by harmonising prices and terms, in a well-travelled world where every little helps, it might be necessary to find a way of harmonising taste..

Accordingly may we propose the use of Taste-corridors..?


In the 'worst-case' scenario, the brand owner decides that one taste will fit all and pulls all global variations 'down' (?) to a common formula, in which case it had better be good...

In the 'Recommended Scenario' the extreme versions are gradually merged into a corridor that provides sufficient variation to satisfy some needs, saves face in the marketing department, and probably goes unnoticed by the bulk of users...
...until you try....

Sunday, 15 February 2015

St Valentine’s Day passing of Nutella-man


Saturday saw the death of Italy’s richest man, Nutella billionaire Michele Ferrero (89).

His father Pietro’s great idea in the scarce post-war years was to create a chocolate-like sweet using cheaper hazelnuts, which were abundant in the countryside around Alba, instead of expensive cocoa.

He is alleged  to have been so excited at the discovery of the successful recipe that he woke up his wife at midnight - she was sleeping - and he made her taste it with spoons….

No record exists re what happened next (!), except to say that his idea resulted in a new blend where a kilo of so-called “pasta gianduja” cost the equivalent of 30 cents in today’s money compared with €1.50 for a kilo of chocolate.

Michele Ferrero’s privately-owned firm is now famous for Nutella spread, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Kinder eggs and Tic Tac sweets, turning over €8.1bn in 2013.

‘Never patronise a child,’
Ferrero’s greatest skill was knowing what children want, and never talking down to them, a strategy that anyone with savvy grandchildren will endorse…. Ferrero started in the family business when he was 20 and was leading it by 32, growing by undercutting the fine chocolates market with products that boasted “more milk, less chocolate”.

A simple idea, consistently applied and value that is obvious to all...

A template for re-newing Tesco?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The pop-up store that will allow you to pay with 'social currency' instead of cash

                                                                                                                                           pic: Velcro

According to The Daily Mail, the Velcro Brand Holiday Hackshop has declared Monday, December 15, its 'Social Currency Day,' when customers can pay for select items with 'retweets, posts and more' in which the brand is mentioned. The company is hoping to get more followers on social media sites by running a holiday pop-up shop in lower Manhattan where customers are encouraged to post about their experience.

Velcro missing a trick?
In the excitement of combining pop-up shopping with social media optimisation and despite illustrating 19 different uses of Velcro in POS, the company might have capitalised on the creative potential and reach of their new audience by building in incentives to think up additional ways of using the product and crowd-sourcing ideas via the network…

Other NAMs missing a trick?
Think beyond adhesion to the process operating here and its potential as a way of stretching scarce promotional monies for your brand.

Go even further and think amplification of message, in the way that some major retailers optimised their dismantling of Sunday trading legislation, all those years ago.

As a reminder of the method, say a branch in Neasden decided to open on a single Sunday in breach of the legislation, and were promptly brought to court and fined £10k. The resulting media coverage was invariably worth in excess of £250k, advertising their role as ‘champions of the people’…

The authorities eventually saw the wisdom of acknowledging real-world consumer need by allowing 24/7 trading… 

Monday, 6 October 2014

3D printing - coming to a category near you?

                                                                                                  Hershey chocolate pic Technabob

TechRepublic have identified 10 companies using 3D printing in ground-breaking ways. Whilst six of the companies deal in engineering and allied fields, four innovators could present challenges in FMCG categories…

  • Nike: The Nike Vapor Laser Talon, was designed for players running the 40 yard dash on football turf in the 2014 Super Bowl.
  • Hasbro: In February, Hasbro announced a partnership with 3D Systems to “co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing of toys for children and their families later this year.”
  • Hershey's has partnered with 3D Systems to make a special 3D printer for making chocolate
  • MakieLab: London-based MakieLab offers the ability to design your own Makie doll with MakieLab, which 3D prints 10 inch flexible fashion dolls from thermoplastic, allowing a choice of all of the features of the doll: face, eyes, jaw, smile, hair, and more

Still in doubt?
McKinsey analysts project that total 3D printed economic worth will be around USD$230-550bn per year by 2025, of which USD$100-300bn will be direct consumer products, such as toys.

Finally, see No 10 on the list:
Matter.io is a company that is making it easier to make, download, and share designs by embedding the files into websites so users can download and customise the designs…..

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Primark introduce budget Nail & Brow bars into stores


According to Retail Gazette, Primark are teaming with recently launched nail and brow studio Love Beauty, and aim to provide accessible expertise at 50% off high street prices.

A Love Beauty brow and nail bar was launched in Primark Manchester on 15th September and will roll-out to Primark Liverpool on 22nd September, followed by Dublin on the 29th and then nationwide.

Primark’s expansion has been burgeoning in recent years, what with concessions now running through Selfridges, stock selling through ASOS and plans to enter the US market next year

Time to check out what Primark have done to the clothing category, and factor Primark Love Beauty into your mix?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Something for the weekend: Optimising price-pints via the 99 pack of beer!




                                                                                                 Youtube clip via Jake BC

Austin brewers Anytimeale website says it all: “It’s not only real, it’s an amazing deal: ninety-nine beers for $99. That’s 82 pounds of craft beer! Over seven feet of crisp, flavorful Peacemaker!”

Given the Amazonian logistics issues re getting the pack home from the store, perhaps there might even be an alternative route to consumer via some online provider?

Have another long weekend from the NamNews Team!
(Hat tip to Mike Anthony for the pointer to the Adweek article)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Medium is the Message? (or, using a garbage-truck to re-invent a toothbrush)

                                                 Pic:  via Lars Poulsen, Birgitte Kold Ingwersen, & Eduard Hoogendijk

Marshall McLuhan caused us all comprehension-headaches in the 60’s (the bit I do remember…!) when he introduced his idea: The Medium is the Message, in his ground-breaking work, Understanding Media 

Nothing beats going back to the original (great explanation here), but essentially McLuhan was saying that we tend to focus on the obvious. When we create an idea, its main properties are obvious, but following its application, our in-use experience should cause us to look backwards and realise that we perhaps missed a trick at the time…or we did not anticipate the effect our invention would have on users, in terms of elevating their expectations..

For instance, the creators of the above truck advert were simply combining the physical characteristics of the Oral-B brush and the garbage-truck in a brilliant stroke of insight and execution.

However, if I read McLuhan correctly, this end result could cause us to look backwards at the original design of the Braun toothbrush, a breakthrough at the time, and realise that we had simply ‘motorised a toothbrush’…i.e. like making the hair of a broom rotate for increased efficiency in terms of moving dirt.

But the truck-idea causes us to see what is missing in the original design, the idea of somehow sucking up the dirt in addition to cleansing…

In other words, is there some way of sucking up displaced residue, instead of spitting the result into the hand-basin…?

Time for the Braun Oral-B guys to get in touch with Mr Dyson, or the patent-office, fast?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Coffee-break: Argentina - Germany Guardian Brick-by-Brick replay...



Source: The Guardian here

Amazon ponders Netflix-like service for ebooks

According to a Reuters' report, Amazon is considering a new e-book subscription service called "Kindle Unlimited," that aims to replicate popular video-streaming models for the digital books market.

An Amazon test-page spotted by tech blog Gigaom but since taken down, touted a service that for $9.99 a month, would grant unlimited access to more than 600,000 titles

More than enough insight for pro-active NAMs to think through and anticipate another breakthrough disruption by Amazon..?

In other words, in a spare moment, think about the most needs-based and boat-rocking innovation that could possibly be made in your category and conduct a what-if on Amazon finding a way...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

‘Share your meal’ – for NAM foodies everywhere

Given the 24/7 nature of the ‘day-job’, busy NAMs may not feel like cooking an evening meal, or even eating out?

Shareyourmeal has identified 75,000 home cooks across the world that are prepared to share meals with people that don’t have time to cook for themselves. The cooks prepare meals in their homes, and share them at cost with customers, living in the neighbourhood.

In other words, NAMs can now find out what meals their neighbours are sharing, reduce food waste and meet new people!

Launched in the Netherlands in 2012, the idea has caught on to the extent that Ahold have kicked off trials at an Albert Heijn outlet in Amsterdam, in conjunction with Shareyourmeal.

More details as part of a larger agenda within the sharing-economy via a Ted-talk by the founders here.

When you register on the website, you will automatically receive e-mails listing all the meals in your neighbourhood. Or you can check out the website to see which meals are on offer near you.

Incidentally, for UK NAMs that feel this might be a ‘foreign’ idea for use abroad, www.shareyourmeal.net already lists local consumer-cooks and their customers availing of the service in the UK...

Seriously, albeit little acorns thus far, the idea obviously taps into a felt-need reflecting these unprecedented times - like discounters/pound shops? - and is unlikely to simply fade away should the good times roll…

Time for food service suppliers - and innovative retailers, including Amazon (!) -  to find a way in, before this new marketplace discovers that it can survive, and even  thrive, independently…?

Friday, 20 June 2014

NAM’s power-loss elimination at vital moments?

                                                                                              pic: Daily Star
The world’s first pair of wireless mobile-charging trousers will be unveiled on Tuesday as part of a new collaboration between British fashion designer Adrien Sauvage and Microsoft.

The trousers, described as a “wearable chino” by Mr Sauvage, have been fitted with a wireless charging plate from the Nokia DC-50, dismantled and reassembled within one of the front pockets of the trousers.

As you know, wireless-charging technology utilises induction charging via an electromagnetic field to transfer electricity between two objects. The charging pocket uses energy, sent through an inductive coupling to the phone, which then uses the energy to charge the phone battery.

Priced at over £200 a pair, the trousers will obviously appeal to NAMs that need to be switched on at all times.

However, the combination of an induction-charge (rather than a hard-wire connection) in such close proximity to even more vital equipment, may cause risk-averse NAMs to settle for more traditional methods of maintaining their mobility…

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Westfield's Giant touch-screens to simplify shopping, outside the store…


A mere stepping stone to giant touch-screens...
                                                                                                                                  Pics: Westfield Labs

Following on from the launch of Digital Storefronts, Westfield Labs, the digital division of Westfield shopping centres have developed 7-foot tall, ultra-high definition (4k) touch-screens that allow visitors to discover new products offered by retailers at the shopping centre in real time.

High grade images rotate on the screens, and visitors are able to approach and engage with the displays with the touch of a finger. By scrolling, zooming and rotating through the retailer curated collections, visitors can find shopping inspiration and even display a map of exactly where individual products are found in the shopping centre so they can go experience them first-hand.

Currently available on level 2 in the common area of the new Premium Fashion District of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.

A giant leap for Westfield, and a small step ahead of Amazon*,  for the moment.....

* See 'Aggressive' Amazon a real threat to retail – says Westfield’s chief digital officer today in London here

Friday, 9 May 2014

NIVEA Child-minder App


The app that helps you locate your kids on the beach via a sunscreen print-ad cutout bracelet.

This app is a tool for you to monitor your kid’s location, designed by Nivea Brazil and their agency FCB. Detach the bracelet from the NIVEA SUN Kids print on Revista Veja (04/23/2014 edition), download this app and use the Bluetooth 4.0 technology to monitor who is using the bracelet up to a distance of approximately 30 meters.

You can set an alarm to sound at the distance you define, within an approximate range.
See the clip here

A no-brainer for beaches everywhere, but why stop at beach-applications when kids need watching 24/7...

Friday, 25 April 2014

Amazon Prime Pantry virtually boxes its way into the supermarket ring...



The new service allows Prime loyalty club members fill up to a 45-pound virtual box with four cubic feet of groceries and get it shipped for a flat rate of $5.99, offering users an expanded selection of items that they usually pick up in grocery stores.

To help you stay within that weight limit, a virtual Amazon cardboard box will show you how much room is left, filling the box as you order. While you could easily fill a Prime Pantry box with your favourite treats, the programme is especially attractive for customers who want to stock up on heavier and bulkier items that don't usually ship free of charge.

Prime Pantry seems designed to help Amazon solve the problem of customers who need smaller items that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to ship. It would potentially eliminate a need to go to the local grocery store, though a spokeswoman said delivery is only guaranteed within four days.


Although the new US service obviously poses a threat to traditional grocers and will no doubt be fast-forwarded in terms of delivery times and roll-out, the real innovation appears to be the virtual box that fills as you shop, and measures purchases by weight & volume, rather than price....

Another breakthrough for Amazing Amazon, or at least a worthwhile watch?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ocado - the real 'backstory' to a home delivery service

According to Graeme Burton of Computing, in discarding the idea of off-the-shelf software from the start, the development of bespoke software has taken Ocado into cutting-edge research into robotics, artificial systems, machine learning, simulation and more, as it bids to perfect its systems – and, potentially, to turn the fruits of this research into a platform that it can use to expand or offer as products or services in their own right.

“We are building an end-to-end platform that starts with the customer placing their order on a web shop or mobile and ends in their order arriving in a one-hour delivery slot at the kitchen table,” says Ocado’s technology director, Paul Clarke.

In other words, there’s much more to Ocado than just vans and warehouses, and it isn’t just implementing technology – it’s inventing it.

The deal they signed with Morrisons [in July 2013] was intended as the first of many. There won’t be other grocery ones in the UK because it’s exclusive, but in other territories and in non-food they say they can and will do others. In fact, work is also under way to “re-platform” Ocado’s non-warehouse technology for the cloud so that it can be rolled out to others, either elsewhere in the world or in the UK for non-supermarket applications.

In addition the vision systems that Ocado has been developing will enable its robots to be able to identify different goods, classify them and deal with them appropriately, all along the supply chain.

See more detail here

Given the above rate of innovation, it may be worthwhile for suppliers to embark on a deeper level of partnership with Ocado, not only to optimise current use of home delivery, but in order to anticipate the potential of the technology and its application both home and abroad…

In other words, an opportunity to help your colleagues in other countries share in Ocado’s leading edge applications, at all levels…