Rock on retail

This week’s [retail bytes] dives back into good old bricks and mortar stores, hi-tech wearables and must-have gadgets for all you retail aficionados and selfie lovers out there.

Dazzling in Dubai: Apple has opened a spectacular store in Dubai that harmoniously merges locally-inspired architecture with traditional Apple branding. Bricks and mortar stores will be alive and well as long as the Cupertino masters are still on their global domination mission. The outside of the Apple store looks like a smooth spaceship, with geometrical ornaments adorning the walls in line with what would be expected in that part of the world. Angela Ahrendts was her charismatic self, glowing with pride at the opening, doing the meet and greet and leading a team able to serve customers in 26 languages. Diversity is good for business, as Apple sales are on the increase worldwide. Way to go!

Elle Dècor meets Alessi designAlessi and Elle Décor have joined forces in Milan to create a surprisingly delicious pop-up store for Elle Décor. A quirky mix of stunning design and new technology, the outlet is a short trip into the future of retail. At the entrance, the visitor is provided with a specially designed e-reader that can be used to gather information about homeware products. The list creates a customised moodboard, enhanced by the Augmented Reality experience. Nice work, with AR provided by Sayduck Studio. Read more about the amazing store here.

Marlene Glows in amazing 3D LED extravaganzaMarlene Dietrich was the original wearables designer, having created a dress that never got made… till now. Fashion company Swarovski and ElektroCouture have commissioned Anja Dragan (Iris Van Herpen’s apprentice) to create a version of the original design, now appropriately named Marlene Glows. It’s a triumph of 3D printing, laser cutting and LED extravaganza, creating a mesmeric fashion art piece. Divine.

The retail geek must-have: To help us to share these new and lovely retail stores and catwalk experiences, we were looking for a good 360 camera. 360Fly is a new camera that misses nothing. You can attach it to a bike helmet Go Pro-style, or simply hold it to record 360 degrees, and then make a VR viewing piece from the footage. It has a first-person POV mode as well as 360 and will be ready to share in 90 seconds. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the price if you need to share feedback from a store visit, update your boss on the progress on a new store design or simply show new pop-ups to your marketing team. Handy.

Alexa, take a selfie: Hate selfie sticks? Amazon Echo has now introduced a new option for taking selfies from a few metres away, which style selfie fans will find handy. Just say “Alexa, take a picture” or “Alexa, take a video”. There is no screen on your Echo device to admire the effect, but you’ll be able to see the photo straight on your phone. Although the quality is not brilliant, the voice control is solid and is clear enough to take a pic of your new outfit to share with friends or just see how big your bum looks in those new jeans. A keeper.

New shows: Black Mirror fan? Then head to London from the 3rd of June, not just to take advantage of the Brexit-broken pound and low-cost luxuries but also to visit the new Barbican exhibition that will put visitors in the middle of a Black Mirror episode. The future is near.