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Reinventing the mall, busting jargon users & incentivising product lifespan

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Learn how Citadium is reinventing the shopping experience for younger consumers, why IKEA is looking to increase product lifespans, and how jargon is used as a smokescreen for competence. 
Reinventing the mall, busting jargon users & incentivising product lifespan

Global Perspectives is your regular round-up of the best marketing ideas and insights to inform and inspire. Here’s what’s grabbed my attention this week…

New business models in retail

There is no doubt that traditional retail needs to evolve or die. Innovative business models that tap into the mega trends of ethical supply chains, sustainability and personalised products/services will be the long term winners. (Of course there will be discount box shifters but it will increasingly be a race to the bottom, always living on the razor’s edge of a recession.)

Here are three examples of retailers who are innovating right now…

1. IKEA innovate on their business model

Not new but slightly revamped are the experiments that IKEA are doing. Realizing that customers want things that last they are looking at ways to increase product lifespans including repair services. (Paywall but this reddit link goes direct to the story.) They are also trying furniture as a service which not only offers customers flexibility but enables them to manage the entire product lifecycle from production to disposal (or ideally recycle).

2. Citadium go mass niche

Citadium is another company which is innovating. In this case it’s mostly low-tech. They understand that for younger audiences they want an environment that feels comfortable, that the “mall” is a place to meet and hangout. And if they feel they own the space, they will keep coming back – with friends.

Citadium exclusively focuses on a younger audience stocking more than 250 brands across streetwear and skatewear. The store is also home to retro arcades machines, table football tables, a selfie machine and gumball machines.

It’s not about them coming into the store to buy every time. It’s about them coming into the store. Period. This is why Citadium also runs a programme of amazing events such as DJ and live band performances and fashion shows in the store. Even the vending machines feel like they belong to the customers, not the company, as they’re covered in stickers for brands, bands and all sorts.

Citadium isn’t a company that tells customers to stay back and not touch anything. It is creating its own model for serving customers. So, while it’s got a more traditional click-and-collect desk, it also has a space for customisation so customers can make their purchases their own.

3. Walgreens invest in AI

Artificial Intelligence is now having a critical impact on retail, but large retailers have remained hesitant about how best to deploy the technology most effectively. Walgreens however have just made a big bet that it is the future.

Trialling in 50 Chicago stores, Walgreens’ cooler doors use sensors to detect and therefore collect all kinds of information from customers. The doors detect what’s been purchased and tell employees in real-time what inventory needs to be updated. The doors can also display ads based on different specific variations such as time of day or outside temperature (Think icecream!), and even peoples gender and age.

The technology has already led to higher sales so are now being rolled out across 2500 more stores in the US. It shows the value of personalisation and context-sensitive advertising in retail, which we expect to see grow in the future.

Big tech regulation

We’ve discussed before why we believe big tech needs regulation but this article from the New Yorker is one of the best long reads on why. It focuses on Facebook and why it will never be able to fix itself but the same principles apply to a much wider set of tech companies. Always fascinating to get an insider’s perspective.

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Jargon is used to compensate for lack of knowledge

NINE separate pieces of research have come to the same conclusion: people that use Jargon do so to cover their lack of knowledge. From writing dissertations, to work meetings, to copywriting it seems universal that the less you know the more BS you spout.

On a related note you may have noticed our recent release of the best articles from copy guru Herschell Gordon Lewis. He often wrote about copy that was full of Jargon so these are worth reviewing. This quick read from GMA contributor Drayton Bird makes the jargon in copywriting point well.


What have you been reading this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Craig Hanna
Author: Craig Hanna
Managing Editor at GMA |

Craig Hanna is part owner and regular contributor to the GMA. He is also a product manager at Acquia for Site Studio, a low-code platform for building and managing enterprise websites in Drupal 8 (Craig was a co-founder of what was known as Cohesion before its acquisition by Acquia). Previously Craig established the training and consultancy business at www.econsultancy,com (Now part of Centaur Plc) and was responsible for the launch of their US office..

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