August 2015

August 2015

  SUMMER SHOPPING 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_UrbanistBionic Beverages Everybody loves a cold drink in the summer heat, but not the crowded bars or waiting on busy bartenders. Thankfully, Molson and Shakr are making the bar experience more efficient and a bit more unique. MOLSON Molson, a popular Canadian beer, has partnered with Google and SmartBox to enhance its brand awareness in the most patriotic way possible. A branded Molson Global Beer Fridge, appearing in various public spaces in major global cities, allows pedestrians to pick up a free beer if they can say the brand’s famous slogan,  “I am Canadian”—but only if it’s in another language. The fridge can recognize six languages, from Mandarin to Hindi, not only highlighting Canadian multiculturalism, but also appearing with perfect timing for the celebration of Canadian independence. Beer brands are using large guerilla marketing campaigns to drive sales in retail. Here’s hoping Molson’s patriotic stand will have many raising a toast, and their wallets. SHAKR Bartending robot Shakr made a debut on the Royal Caribbean “smart cruise,” Anthem of the Seas last month. With the grace of the New York Theatre Ballet (seriously, the robots mimic the gestures of dancers) and the programming of MIT behind them, the robots are able to respond immediately to drink orders from a mobile app and then mix, shake, and serve your choice of poison in minutes—all without you having to vie for the attention of a human bartender. Mixers this smart could make a statement for branded events or promoting liquors. So next time you’re thinking about hosting a summer BBQ or making a splash at an event, consider a smart fridge or bionic bartender to assist.   Geo-applications That Hit Home Apple Reminders- Geo-specific applications have already changed the way we navigate, date, and order. What’s next? The latest innovations come from Apple and Swedish band John Moose. For those of you who have shared a living space, you know that delegating household errands can be tricky. Apple is developing a geo-fencing app to help remind your roommate about picking up toilet paper, soap, and even paying rent. You can place reminders at locations, setting them to appear on another person’s phone if they share their location via the app. It can even send them a route to specific stores. This not only holds users accountable, but increases foot traffic in the aisles of stores. Go miles for music- Geo-targeting is also starting to help craft music experiences. Swedish band John Moose wanted listeners to experience their spiritual music in a symbolic and exciting new way. To promote the new album’s release, the band encouraged listeners to literally take a hike. Only when geo-targeting confirmed that the user was indeed in the forest would they be permitted early access to download the pre-release. This is yet another example of how brands and retailers can deliver  innovative experiences. Brands and retailers are recognizing that geo-applications increase not only foot traffic, but brand awareness too. – Sophisticated Playtime Few things make us as nostalgic as toy stores. And, whether you were a plush toy addict or junior geologist, all of us have fond memories of our favorite childhood toys. Now playtime doesn’t have to stop when you grow up. S7 Airlines and Hamleys in Moscow are both taking us back to our childhood, and we couldn’t be more excited. HAMLEYS toy store- Hamleys toy store is transporting adults back to childhood by incorporating nostalgic triggers throughout its flagship Moscow location. A life-size Millennium Falcon, a go-cart track, and a 42-foot LEGO rocket are just some of the features intended to bring back fond memories. The toy store giant is hoping that this experience will provide an emotional tie between older shoppers and the retail space and even provide a play space and shopping trip for adults, their friends, and maybe even their children. S7 AIRLINES- S7 Airlines in Moscow is getting customers to put thinking to the test with the Imagination Machine. The company has partnered with the Copenhagen Institute of Design to create an interactive interface controlled by your mind. Participants were asked to don a brain-sensing helmet, imagine their dream destination, and then land a plane there using only their thoughts. If participants are successful in navigating to their dream destination, S7 Airlines will provide them with two round-trip tickets to that location, all thanks to their imaginations. Bringing out the inner child of consumers isn’t just thrilling, it’s smart. Whether it’s increased brand awareness or in-store foot traffic, both Hamleys and S7 Airlines are in the spotlight. – Sprint for Sales While buying a new phone offers promises of streamlined organization and exciting features, getting the phone to operate as you want isn’t so dreamy. Luckily, Sprint’s new service Direct 2 You can help you with any difficulties. Once customers have purchased a smartphone online, they can opt in to have it personally delivered to any location: home, office, coffee shop, bar, etc. A certified Sprint technician will arrive with your new purchase and assist you with a tutorial, setting the phone up and answering any questions you might have. While the service has been available in smaller cities, the carrier recently launched in four larger urban spaces: New York, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Direct 2 You helps Sprint tick off two huge competitive buckets: fast delivery and great customer service. Sounds good to us!     For more urban trends & insights, check out next month’s issue. Got questions? Email us at urbanist@integer.com or tweet @_The_Urbanist