WORK-LIFE BALANCE GOES HIGH-TECH

Remember going bonkers over parking to end up munching your breakfast in the front seat, and then spending 8 hours in a scruffy office and sprinting home to heat up that M&S ready meal? This week’s [retail bytes] will show you how smart parking, smart offices and smart ovens will make your life easier – thanks to a lil bit of help from our best friend, technology.

Fridge horrors via the Internet of Things: The Connected Fridge has finally arrived – this time kitted out with inside cameras that you can access remotely to check if you’ve still got milk in. It comes as a set, along with a Smart Oven, for those who want to put dinner on before leaving the office. John Lewis, the London department store, has gone to town with this new concept store, which serves those who like to be in two places in the same time – in the office pretending to work and at home, cooking. All of this is thanks to the rapid progress of the Internet of Things.

Park and run: For those who still like to pick up their milk and croissant on the High Street, the draconian parking laws make a simple shopping trip highly stressful. Over half of small shop owners in London have declared that high parking costs have a significant negative impact on their business. One of the mayoral candidates is offering a £20m fund to support a park-and-shop scheme in areas where over 3500 high street shops still remain closed. For key high street customers such as mums with young kids, this will be a solution worth voting for.

Employer of the month: Nike is committed to practicing what they preach as their HQ is getting a mega uplift. Combining more of a campus feel, with a light touch on the ‘corporate’ approach and more focus placed on innovation and learning, the new design looks fit for the 21st century. It certainly matches the brand’s approach to driving innovation through shoemaking. Lucky Nikeans!

Emerging fashion start-ups, rejoice: A £50k fund is now up for grabs at ASOS, as they launch a Dragon’s Den-like international competition for emerging fashion brands. The fashion e-com giant will select the most promising online brand and offer support for growth. Spread the word and tell all your friends running up-and-coming fashion start-ups to get their skates on and enter here (or come to The Retail Practice for a free slot to help with the application).

Make-up magic hits Covent Garden: Finally, we are very excited for Charlotte Tilbury, founder of the innovative make-up retailer, as they launch a new flagship concept store in Covent Garden. Charlotte, one of the most inspiring young brands and retail innovators of her generation, is on the short list for the Business Women of the Year award, sponsored by Veuve Clicquot – stay tuned, the winner will be announced on the 9th of May!