The future of the store [hint: it drives]

As Farfetch reveals that 9 out of 10 luxury fashion purchases are still made in-store (woops!) we take a look at how brands are innovating to merge the offline and online shopping experience.

The future of the store – is in your car?: Feel like you’re wasting time commuting? Would you rather watch a projection of the Burberry runway, or at least the latest episode of Bones? As driverless cars are shaping up into a real thing, Alibaba invests $18 million into WayRay to provide an AR display system for driverless cars. For now it can provide info on points of interest for your journey, speed and safety notices, but in fact it will soon be able to do a whole lot more. Shopping while commuting? Exciting.

Not so farfetched: Luxury fashion was unforgivably slow to the digital party but now you can’t keep luxe brands away from reinventing themselves! Farfetch is venturing into a ‘Store of the Future’ danger zone as it admits that 9 out of 10 of luxury purchases are still made in-store. To merge the online and offline experience, the brand is investing in new (shock-horror) face-to-face shopping experiences to be unveiled on 12th April in London. Rumour has it that features will include augmented reality and virtual fitting rooms. Can’t wait!

Caffeine rage: Coffee innovation isn’t for the faint-of-heart. Starbucks is one step forward and two steps back as it finds itself a victim of its own mobile phone ordering success. Coffee addicts can now pre-order coffee and collect it, which is a great idea! But if you think this means no more queues, you’re wrong. Starbucks has actually managed to double its queues as baristas simply can’t manage making coffees for both in-store and pre-order customers, causing chaos and caffeine rage. Starbucks is redesigning store layouts to fix the issue. Good luck with that.

Facebook the Snapchat thief: If you’re a Snapchat investor upset with a poor IPO, you may be even more upset soon. Facebook is shamelessly stealing from another Snapchat feature and has launched Messenger Day, a disappearing photo feature (sound familiar?). The new addition is a carbon copy of Snapchat and created a lot of mishaps amongst the unaware audience. You can bring Snapchat-like features to die-hard Facebook users but you can’t turn them into Snap-happy teens. Retailers are puzzled. Stay away.

Alexa, your love life advisor: Typing isn’t really a smart way to communicate with computers, particularly if you’re home late after a few beers. Alexa, the voice controlled interface for Amazon Echo, has you covered if you want to place a few bets on Sky Sports or partake in some tipsy Amazon shopping on Friday night after a long pub session. Not just for shopping,Alexa comes with ‘skills’ (little digital errands) such as reading you the daily news or perhaps updating you on the latest tech-centred pickup lines. Read about some of the most useful skills here. Alexa, where have you been all my life?

Don’t miss: Shaping a Creative Future – an innovation-themed event hosted by Prada’s Fondazione in Milan, bringing together innovation, arts and fashion practitioners to discuss how we can improve sustainability for creative practices. A must. 20th-21st March 2017.