There are few things more uncomfortable than heatwaves in cities. Customers are already navigating crowded shopping strips and sales, and adding extreme weather makes browsing so much worse. Needless to say, anything that can make shopping easier is going to grab the public’s eye. Luckily, there are dozens of new innovations being introduced to urbanites. Additions to meals, faster deliveries, and useful technology are all playing a part in making retailers and services efficient and (dare we say it) exciting. Not only are consumers looking to relax and cool off— they’re looking to save time, stress less, and discover what stores have to offer. Who can blame them? The humidity and heat in urban areas rarely ramps up motivation. But don’t worry, sit back and unwind — The Urbanist has you covered.
Dig in, discover. @_The_Urbanist
ADD-ONS THAT MAKE THE MEAL
Some things are meant to go together: pizza and movies, beer and tacos, fried chicken and grease. YUM! Brands is delivering add-ons to food that aren’t just helpful, they’re driving sales. KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut have all introduced innovative accessories to their wings, quesadillas, and pepperoni slices.
KFC- Long gone are the days of vigorously washing and wiping fingers before using your phone. Customers in Germany were treated to a complementary Bluetooth keyboard, the “Tray-Typer” to save their phones from extra grease.
TACO BELL- Taco Bell is stepping up the casual dining game at a new Wicker Park location. The menu will now feature beer, wine, and mixed alcohol freezes. Taco Bell has already experimented with providing alcohol overseas but, so far, there are no plans to allow customers to raise a glass at other locations.
PIZZA HUT- Pizza boxes in Japan just got more sophisticated. The “pizza saver” (preventing the union of cheese and cardboard) contains a small lens that fits into the side of the box, allowing customers to project movies from a smartphone. Each box comes with a QR code prompting a free movie download.
All of these developments have brands raking in curious customers and sales.
A SMILE, A WINK, AND A PROMOTION?
Pictures speak louder than words, but what about emojis? The cute ideograms that have found a home in messaging services feature animals, faces, and symbols that can complement or even replace text all together. Retailers hadn’t been able to harness this popular social tool and translate it into the retail sphere — until now.
Old Navy has launched emoodji.com, a website that scans your designated social media account and pairs your favorite emoji with a beach holiday and some free flip-flops. Once participants have created a mood board featuring their dream holiday, they could be chosen to visit their destination in reality.
Using this communication feature to market retail won’t just help Old Navy connect with a wide variety of consumers, it’ll get them talking about it.
The woes of going to a cocktail party, a job interview, or even a wedding with a lackluster wardrobe have just gotten less stressful. Nordstrom, the high-end clothing retailer, is making a bid for consumers that will hand you your clothes on the same day.
Customers who shop online don’t have to wait for UPS, they can now pick up orders without entering a store or mall. Thanks to Nordstrom, you can simply pull up near the store, text or call a sales assistant, and wait while they run the order out to you.
Meanwhile, Macy’s is working with a third-party delivery system to deliver products within the same day and Amazon is leading the field with a record one-hour delivery time. This makes efficient delivery the new battlefront for retailers.
SAMPLING JUST GOT SIMPLER
Few things can be as overwhelming as choosing a good bottle of wine. In a bar, restaurant, or in the store, it’s easy to feel lost in obscure categories of red or white. Beringer Vineyards has developed one of the most inventive solutions to help customers make empowered decisions while avoiding alcohol content and strict times for sampling.
Based on insights from consumers, the brand has created a “Taste Station” to be located in the aisles of Kroger supermarkets in 20 states. Shoppers can sample three of Beringer Vineyard’s most popular wines, the Chardonnay, White Zinfadel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each will have a single-serving flavor strip that gives customers a taste, without the alcohol content.
Not only does this stop shoppers from feeling intimidated, it helps consumers feel confident and content with the bottle they pick up. Encouraging newcomers to branch out with their choice of wine has never seemed so smart, or delicious.
For more urban trends & insights, check out next month’s issue.
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