RETAIL HEATS UP
Summer and the city never mix too well. With the unbearable heat and no beach or pool immediately in sight, urbanites are forced to seek refuge in air-conditioned stores. Increased foot traffic offers a welcome addition to these stores. But keeping shoppers from heading to other cooler venues can pose a problem. Which is why retailers are further embracing the digital world to keep the shopping experience seamless with virtual dressing rooms and mobile checkout. Stores are also trying to set themselves apart through experiential offerings by adding amenities that shoppers would seek elsewhere for like coffee or snacks. With countless stores and the heat on the rise, the Urbanist will have a very productive season.
Dig in, discover. @_The_Urbanist
A New Twist On Dining
“Depth, not breadth” is a mentality that no longer applies exclusively to specialty stores and boutiques. Restaurants in New York are now taking this approach to heart as well. Mini-menu restaurants are popping up everywhere—a grilled cheese shop in Midtown, a PB&J eatery in Greenwich Village, both mac n’ cheese and French fries havens in the East Village—and now, a restaurant in the Flatiron District’s Eataly that caters to Nutella lovers. Though only one food type is served, adventurous eaters need not worry. With the ability to customize the same food with endless sauce, meat, or topping options, diners will be able to enjoy something new every time they visit. The curiosity and buzz associated with these places also draws a large Instagram and Twitter loving crowd, leaving the food niches with no shortage of customers—or publicity. In the future, we might see other brands take advantage of this unique customer-engagement method and develop strong brand-restaurant collaborations similar to the one already in place between Nutella and Eataly.
Payment—Right in the Palm Of Your Hand
The embarrassing days of holding up a long checkout line while you scour your bag in search of your wallet might very soon be gone. At Lund University in Sweden, students are working to expedite the checkout-payment process. Instead of using traditional forms of payment, consumers need only use the one thing they’ll never forget: their own hand. By placing a hand on a Quixter infrared pad and entering the last four digits of their phone number, buyers are identified through their unique vein patterns and can then automatically charge the card associated with their phone number. In addition to a speedier experience for shoppers, this technology will benefit stores and supermarkets that are able use the draw of a shorter checkout line to push more sales.
Mini Bar Delivers
Far beyond the days of just delivery pizza, services such as Seamless and Insomnia have made the delivery of virtually any food or dessert accessible—and now, Minibar has extended the convenience of home delivery to accommodate your alcohol needs. Available for delivery in NYC for a minimum of $25 and the Hamptons for a minimum of $100, this service allows of-age customers to go online and order all of their party essentials: anything from beer and ping-pong balls to cocktail mixes and ice. By making party shopping an easier and potentially more frequent affair, Minibar is sure to benefit customers and alcohol distributors alike.
Install Ads in Twitter’s Future
Twitter has long been using its home feed as a platform for advertising, promoting brands and apps through promotion tweets. Now the social media app has announced that it will begin adding in-ad app purchases to its tweets, where it will not only promote apps like Spotify, but will allow Twitter users to actually purchase the app through the tweet. Twitter also provides feedback on followers to the app, such as their location and popular tags and tweets, thereby allowing apps to better target purchasers. The success of these ads could leave app-driven businesses with a completely new–and extremely accurate—way to reach their target audiences.
For more urban trends & insights, check out next month’s issue.
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