Giving startups a storefront

Most startups' products are only available for purchase online. At first glance, you might think that's no big deal, because, hey, it's almost 2018 and everyone knows no one shops in-store anymore. Except they do. Especially when they're looking at brands and products they've never purchased before and want to see, touch, and try before committing. 

The problem is, brick and motor stores (pop-up or permanent) are expensive and startups just don't have the capital (yet) to afford it. Until now . . . 

Simon has launched the first-ever scalable retail space, called The Edit, intended to be a rotating store from for startups to give costumers a first-hand experience with their brand and products. Simon will even work with startups to execute everything they need for a fully working retail space, including module fixtures, digital media display, and even brand ambassador staffing. 

The first (of hopefully many) is located at The Roosevelt Field Mall and will feature startup brands from beauty to food such as Skinnydip London, Winky Lux, Jars by Dani and more. 

While it's always great to see a big business, like a National chain of malls, help out the little guys, this move also greatly benefits Simon as they look for ways to make malls relevant to the mall-adversed Millennials and Gen Z'ers.

Spotify uses data for laughs and inspiration

Typically, your Spotify listening experience is a personal and private one. After all, you''d never want anyone to know you listened to every Chipmunk's Christmas song made over 86 times so far this holiday season. Or what songs are on your "Dedicated to my crush" playlist. Or, you know, the fact that you even have a playlist for that to begin with.

Well, Spotify is outting your weird listening habits (anonymously, thankfully) in the form of humorous global billboards meant to inspire users' 2018 resolutions.

This is a perfect example of how brands can use their endless amounts of consumer data in fun and creative ways their customers will enjoy . . .  far more than creepy and annoying ad re-targeting.

A workout for the modern woman

Sometimes by finding a niche market, we really expose an under-serviced segment of consumers.  According to the CDC, there are nearly 4 million babies born each year. At one time, pregnant women were thought to be delicate flowers that had to "take it easy." But that stereotype is long gone. Now being pregnant doesn't have to completely change your lifestyle. You can work, go to the gym, party (sans alcohol), swim, it's all good.

And sure, there are lots of prenatal yoga classes, but sometimes you just need to work up a sweat. Enter FPC, a new gym that has created challenging classes designed for pregnant woman who want to move.

FPC saw this under-served audience and is now on the forefront of changing the workout experience for millions of women.

Nike app gets personal

Nike already has an extensive offering of apps delivering a variety experiences for a variety of needs. There's an app for sneaker lovers, an app for runners, an app that tracks key metrics to ensure optimal training levels, not to mention apps for a number of Nike's athletes. 

Nike is now offering NikePlus Unlocks, an app that uses a users buying history, activities, and feedback to curate personalized recommendations. Users can also talk to an expert at any time. So if you are running your first marathon, NikePlus Unlocks connects you with a seasoned marathon runner who can advise a user on the proper gear and more. 

Nike continues to find ways to enhance not just their customer's experience, but their lives by helping them to be their best. It's creating interactions like NikePlus Unlocks that continues to make them less of an apparel brand and more of a lifestyle coach. 

NFC enabled packaging hits the shelves

In this industry, NFC, or Near Field Communication technology, is a common topic. Many times you hear about retailers outfitting stores to reach consumers at specific points in their shopping journey, or using NFC tech for mobile wallets. But now Indola is introducing products with NFC tags in the packaging that consumers can use to access product information, branded tutorials and new techniques. Shampoo is no longer just shampoo, it's also the portal to more engagement, and a much better shopping experience.  

Coke for the holidays

Calling all Coca-Cola fans! It's a tradition in England for the Holiday Coke truck to drive around, while calling out 'Holidays Are Coming' and handing out free product. But this year, to build even more excitement, Coke is giving fans a chance to win the ultimate Coke-xperience...a night in a fully decked out Coca-Cola sleeper truck. By adding new ornaments (the sleepover) to the tree (the truck), Coke is reinventing it's holiday tradition into a more immersive experience.  

Move over Alexa, Jim is here

Voice commands are all the rage these days. You can order things, play music, ask questions and so forth. But one thing she can’t she can’ do is pour you a drink. This is where “Jim” comes in.

Created by Jim Beam and Agency Olson Engage, “Jim” is the first-ever artificially intelligent decanter. You can ask him life’s most pressing questions and he will answer, but his specialty is pouring you the perfect shot of Jim Beam, as well as encouraging you to drink it.

It won’t replace Amazon Echo and Google Home, but it sure can deliver a more "interesting" experience. Now you will never drink alone with “Jim” at your side.
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