Lovefone: Outside the (Phone) Box

New Atlas: “A smartphone and tablet repair outfit has found a fitting way to breathe new life into the UK’s iconic red telephone boxes. Lovefone is converting the underused booths into the kind of mobile phone repair shop that should probably be avoided by those with a fear of enclosed spaces. Each one will sport workbenches, charging stations and free Wi-Fi.”

“Lovefone is exploring yet another approach. The Lovefonebox takes the firm’s device repair services out of its shop premises and into the 1-sq m (10.8-sq ft) units across London and beyond … Lovefone staff are being rotated across the firm’s lab, shop and phone boxes every three days to provide variety in their roles and to minimize the potential for phone box ‘claustrophobia.’ The rotation also aids the firm’s approach to formal and informal learning for staff.”

“The first Lovefonebox opened last week in the Greenwich area of London, with another eight already planned across the city. Lovefone’s aim is to open around 37 locations in London over the next 18 months, as well as to offer franchise opportunities elsewhere in the UK.”

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Cool Beans: America’s New Favorite Snack?

Christian Science Monitor: “Once relegated to the canned food aisle and the far reaches of the salad bar, the bean suddenly is becoming a star. These days, it’s popping up in the most unexpected places: in pasta and chips, and even as a centerpiece of dishes at the world’s best restaurants. And it’s no wonder, considering beans are packed with protein and a plethora of other nutrients, say nutrition experts. They’re also inexpensive and among the most environmentally benign agricultural crops.”

“Last year in the United States, sales of pulses – which are the seeds of legumes that are used as food, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans – grew by 8 percent. By comparison, sales of meat grew by 3 percent. Global demand is also rising, especially for foods with green or yellow split peas and coral-colored lentils, reports market researcher Mintel.”

“Pepsi has launched a bean chip under its Tostitos brand, as has General Mills, under its Food Should Taste Good brand. The Good Bean chips are now available at many conventional grocers, including Costco. Its sales doubled in 2015 and are expected to do the same this year, says the company. Even 7-Eleven has signed on to carry the chips.”

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Home Depot: Stores Are Fulfilling

The Wall Street Journal: “About 42% of Home Depot’s online orders and almost 90% of its online returns for the second quarter were handled by its stores, executives said this week as they announced a 9.3% increase in net profit to $2.4 billion, on a 6.6% increase in revenue.”

“Many in the retail industry believe fulfilling online orders from physical stores can be provide store owners an advantage over online competitors like Amazon.com Inc., allowing brick-and-mortar shops to serve as both showrooms and well-located mini-distribution centers.”

“Home Depot says it is aided in part by its existing delivery service, which previously only served in-store customers, and its investment into new order management software. Online purchases can now be delivered from more than 700 stores, faster and with shorter scheduled-delivery windows than previously possible.”

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Quote of the Day: Dick Johnson

“The facts are that most of the basketball shoes that we sell never see a basketball court. Most of the running shoes that we sell never see the roads or the trail or the track. They just look really good, and they’re part of the sneaker culture that we really support.” – Dick Johnson, CEO of Foot Locker, reporting that second-quarter sales at existing Foot Locker stores rose 4.7%, via The Wall Street Journal.

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Cupping: The Next Big Olympic Sport?

FiveThirtyEight: “For the past two weeks, people at the Olympics have been losing their minds trying to collect yellow and blue plastic souvenir cups that feature the silhouetted athletes of each sport. The cups are sold only with the official Olympics beer — Skol — though many collectors are just dumping out the beer or paying full price (13 reais, or about $4) for an empty cup, several vendors confirmed.”

“But although the cups, which are an advertising product for the beer, have been hugely popular, there is little in the way of official information from the company about the collectibles, which has led to the curious situation of visitors trying to complete a set of some indeterminate number.”

“The confusion comes in part because no official marketing materials were released by Ambev, the South American distributor of Skol, stating the number of cups or how best to collect them. But the mystery has only fueled fascination, making the frenzy around the cups more happy accident than calculated guerrilla marketing.”

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Under Armour Rocks Around Its Clock

The Street: “Under Armour (UA) has bet big on connected fitness by acquiring an array of app makers and unveiling a suite of new hardware devices, and it wants visitors to its newest retail store (at World Trade Center, NYC) to be aware of that huge wager … the showstopper was a gigantic digital clock hanging from the wall that tracks people signing up to the company’s fitness apps such as MapMyFitness in real-time. At the time of our visit Tuesday afternoon, the clock read that Under Armour had over 179 million users to its connected fitness apps, up from about 175 million exiting the second quarter.”

“Earlier this year, Under Armour debuted its ‘Healthbox’, which is box that contains a fitness tracker called the UA Band, a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled scale called the UA Scale and the UA Heart Rate, which is a strap that fits around your chest to measure heart rate. Healthbox is one of the first sections the consumer sees when walking into the World Trade Center location. The connected fitness segment represents about 2.1% of Under Armour’s sales. Sales so far this year for the business have surged 91% to $42 million.”

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Busted: Simons Immortalizes Its Shoppers

The Globe and Mail: “As many ponder retail’s future, Quebec-based brand Simons is pushing the boundaries of what a bricks-and-mortar space can offer … Simons is hosting 3-D scanning and printing booths in its stores in an effort to immortalize customers; the project will culminate in some 1,500 busts that will be showcased in 2019 at Simons’s forthcoming Yorkdale location in Toronto.”

Douglas Coupland, the artist behind the project, comments: “I think if you want to succeed in any kind of retail store, it has to have a touch of Christmas morning to it. There has to be that feeling of, ‘Ooh! What will I find at the bottom of the stairs?’ That’s the sort of magic that retailers really need to stoke the fires with.”

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Pop-Up Shops Help Malls Compete

The Wall Street Journal: “Mall landlords are turning to short-term retailers known as ‘pop-up stores’ to attract shoppers and boost revenue as department stores and other tenants struggle to combat the growth of online commerce … Pop-up stores that introduce local brands, perform demos and offer shoppers an elite selection of products or allow them to interact directly with designers can help drive traffic to other tenants.”

“One big potential category: online retailers that don’t yet have a substantial bricks-and-mortar presence … For other retailers, a temporary space is also a way for established brands to offer new services. Auto maker Audi AG introduced Audi on demand in a San Francisco pop-up store. The service lets customers book Audi coupes, sedans, SUVs and convertibles by the day and have them delivered within the city limits.”

“In Westfield San Francisco Centre, the owner set apart the entire fourth level for pop-up shops, events and co-working space. The mall, which houses Bloomingdale’s and retailers such as Burberry and Kate Spade, said this ‘Bespoke’ project had seen success at appealing to shoppers seeking alternative experiences at malls and businesses looking to test to their prototypes.”

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The ‘Give’ Registry Embraces Survivors

Slate: “The Give Registry is a brilliant new gift registry and ad campaign from Australian department store chain Myer and agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne that uses the model of a wedding gift registry to provide linens, cookware, dishes, and other household basics to domestic violence survivors.”

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