Neil Cole, the award-winning branding pioneer, founder of the Iconix Brand Group changed the way people shop online when he founded Next Retail Concepts, where shoppers experienced an immersive experience online – and could actually feel like they are in the store. We’ve all shopped online – virtually the entire world understands how online shopping works and has probably had some experience doing so during the last two years with the COVID-19 pandemic. What not everyone has been able to enjoy, however, until recently is the immersive experience of feeling like you’re in the store and actively shopping while online.
As Neil R Cole explains, “Our proprietary technology transforms the traditional eCommerce landscape within our innovative platform to create exciting and engaging immersive shoppable experiences that tell a brand story. This is a dynamic new way to shop.”
Dynamic, indeed. Launching the platform originally with Fred Segal and Mastercard, the shopping experience premiered at 29Rooms in Los Angeles and enabled shoppers to browse the physical store at Fred Segal with features that are similar to Google’s Street View. A shopper uses her mouse to virtually enter the store and to navigate throughout the physical space to products that interest her. She can then click on those products for more details and, at times, even see a 360 degree view of the item.
Explaining how unique Next Retail Concepts is, Neil Cole said, “This experience engages the user on a deeper level and tells a better brand story. It’s like a virtual pop-up that you get to navigate yourself through to create a unique, personalized journey.”
The future of shopping has arrived – and it’s certainly looking exciting!
The Miami Beach Convention Center was hopping last week as participants swarmed to attend the Bitcoin 2022 Conference. With the pandemic dismissing any possible gathering the past two years, cryptocurrency fans made sure to take this opportunity to come out and make their presence known. Over 25,000 people were in attendance each day at the convention center, which was designed as a literal crypto universe. A giant moon hung from the ceiling, reminding attendees to always reach higher. A huge Mars replica couldn’t be missed just a little further away. A spreadsheet was passed around listing details about the many scheduled parties. Fog machines were activated and dance music blared. All the big names of the crypto world were in attendance, if not on stage speaking.
When Bitcoin was first released in 2009, conferences barely attracted more than a dozen attendees. There weren’t enough people willing to take Bitcoins that were being distributed for free. Now, the crypto coin and industry in general has multiplied immensely.
The excitement was clear and the fervor could be felt at the gathering in Miami. With the paramount hustle and bustle throughout the convention center, the energy was contagious. Through all the glitz, though, there was a clear focal point – a 40-foot volcano adorned with the Bitcoin 2022 logo, proudly displaying the ambitious future of crypto. Another impossible-to-miss site was a mechanical bull, again sending the message of a bright future. The lucky participant who rode it the longest was to be awarded a single Bitcoin.
Even before the convention ended, participants were already expressing anticipation for next year’s. Will future crypto gatherings outdo the glamour of Bitcoin 2022? We’ll have to wait to find out!
The Nobel Prize for Economics went to three US-based academics: Joshua D. Angrist, David Card, and Guido W. Imbens. Card earned his award for work on labor economics, while Angrist and Imbens contributed to the analysis of causal relationships.
Card, 65-years old, is a University of California-based professor of economics, while his partner, Angrist, is 61 and the Ford professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Imbens, the youngest of the three at 58, is based at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he is also a professor.
According to the Nobel Prize committee who chose the laureates, the three winners ” provided us with new insights about the labor market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments.”
The committee added that the approach the researchers took to exploring social questions had “revolutionized empirical research.”
Business leaders in Chicago want downtown full again. They say it’s safe, and the economy needs them. Getting people back to the office was the topic of a roundtable discussion with World Business Chicago and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago. They emphasized that the city needs those 600,000 that used to populate the downtown area.
“Even if you can work from home, and many have and have figured it out, think about the shops you walk by from the train to the bus to get to the office and how many of those people need us,” said David Casper, CEO, BMO Financial Group. “As a bank that promotes commerce, it’s a bit of our responsibility.”
Some companies are considering bringing their office workers back after Memorial Day. Others are continuing with a hybrid schedule and work towards more people in the office later in the year. One problem is that many workers don’t feel safe on public transportation.
One key piece of the puzzle of getting people back to the office is increased vaccination rates. Illinois has about a 35% vaccination rate, but with safety protocols in place and financial incentives, downtown workers are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than the state in general.
When 25-year-old entrepreneur Neil Hershman decided last year to open a flagship branch of Dippin’ Dots/Doc Popcorn in midtown Manhattan, he made the decision with a generous dose of nostalgia.
“I grew up like many others eating Dippin’ Dots exclusively at an amusement park or sports game,” Hershman told QSR Magazine, a journal covering the food service industry. “I wanted to bring that same experience to the millions of young adults and families traveling through Manhattan daily.”
Nostalgia aside, however, the decision to invest time and money in the city was a business call and a vote of confidence that the city’s economy will soon begin to bounce back from the downturn that accompanied the coronavirus last year.
The new store, which is scheduled to open in early April at 1 Madison Avenue, adjacent to Madison Square Park, is not the only indication that things are looking up for New York. The real estate sector, too, is showing more signs of vitality than it has in years.
“It is a reach to say the city’s property markets are roaring back,” the Financial Times reported in early March. “But the beast is certainly stirring. The first two months of 2021 have been the strongest opening to a year in Manhattan since 2015, the height of the market. February alone saw more new deals than any single month since May 2013.”
Even more significant, said the FT, is the fact that the economic growth appears to be led by wealthy New Yorkers eager to get back to museums, Broadway, sporting events, ballet performances and more.
“I’m optimistic on the eventual return of normalcy to New York City within the next 24 months,” concluded Neil Hershman.