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Period: March 12, 2018 to June 4, 2018
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Macy's Beauty Launches New Services To Improve The Shopper Experience

Macy's Beauty is aiming to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience online and in physical stores. For example, customers in some stores can use the YouCam Makeup magic mirror kiosks to try on makeup virtually, using selfies. Other aspects of the retailer’s drive include Beauty Playground, a program to keep its beauty advisors up to date on tips and products, and Macy’s Beauty Box, a $15 per month subscription service that provides samples and freebies. This is complemented by Macy’s Beauty’s new online campaign, the “Deeper Beauty”, aimed at helping women feel empowered and more confident. 

"Find Your Beautiful at Macy’s This Spring", Business Wire , April 17, 2018

China A Focus For Automated Store Innovation

China has become the focus for companies looking to automate the physical shopping experience. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com have all opened automated stores in the last few months, at the start of what they believe will be a large-scale rollout of personnel-free shops. The Chinese consumer's openness to high tech and willingness to try something new is expected to drive unprecedented growth of the retail industry in China as the country's 724 million mobile phone users increasingly accept mobile transactions. Improving internet connectivity and smartphone penetration are expected to boost sales even further, and retailers are also having to deal with labor pressures due to an aging population and the trend of millennials leaving retail to seek higher-paid work.

"Why Unmanned Stores Are About To Take Off In China's Retail Market", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018

Hyundai Launches AR Virtual Make Up Try-On Service

Hyundai Department Store launched an upgrade to its online mall in the form of a virtual make up try-on service powered by augmented reality (AR). The virtual service, offered via Meitu's Makeup Plus app, allows customers to try on more than 20 products across eight beauty brands without visiting a physical store, with plans to extend it to 20 brands. Hyundai said the AR approach is their way of differentiating themselves from other online retailers, which they said still focus on prices and delivery speed. Meitu's app has been downloaded more than 200-million times since its 2015 launch. 

"Beauty shopping gets AR upgrade", Korea JoongAng Daily, May 14, 2018

Polish Student Invents Edible Vegetarian Packaging Made From Kombucha

Edible packaging is becoming a reality with the creation of Scoby, the brainchild of Polish design student, Roza Janusz. With the potential to help reduce the use of plastic in packaging, Scoby is a vegetarian wrapping material made by mixing sugars and other organic substances with kombucha, a fermented drink produced with yeast, bacteria, and tea. During the process, the biocellulose membrane forms on the surface of the mixture and layers into a sheet-like material, similar to how an onion grows. With its long shelf life, Scoby can be used to wrap farmers' produce including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seeds. It can also be used to pack instant meals. Given Scoby's acidic PH level and mineral compounds, it can also be used by farmers as a natural fertilizer. While Scoby is not yet available in the market yet, Janusz said plans are in the pipeline to make this alternative packaging commercially available soon.  

"This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha", Fast Company Design, May 16, 2018

Companies, Organizations  

Asahi Introduces Transparent Café Latte Made With Espresso Extract

Asahi has launched a transparent “clear espresso and milk” café latte drink in Japan. Though Clear Latte is made with espresso extract, whey minerals from raw milk, and pure water, it contains no caffeine or fat, and is low calorie. Clear versions of traditional drinks are making a splash in Japan, and include clear yogurt, milk tea and iced tea beverages introduced by Suntory in 2017. It is expected that Asahi’s Clear Latte will debut in the U.S. “in the near future.”

"Asahi Releases a Clear Caffè Latte in Japan", Hypebeast, May 08, 2018

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