Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Urban Outfitters embraces the sharing economy, Jamie Oliver and British Steel collapse and Facebook is set to enter the world of cryptocurrency.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.


1. Urban Outfitters creates a new entity to rent clothes


It seems the sharing economy has made its made into the fashion world as clothing retailer Urban Outfitters revealed a new rental programme called Nuuly. The online subscription service, which will operate as a separate brand, will allow its consumers to borrow six clothing items a month for an $88 fee and will be available in the US this summer.

With customers wanting more variety and sustainable approaches, it was only a matter of time before global retailers such as Urban Outfitters announced a moved into the sharing landscape. It is positive to see a brand listening to its consumers and anticipating their behaviour. It is programmes like this which will help large retailers struggling on the high street, as it offers a new revenue stream, as well as a new way of building long-term loyalty.


2. Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and British Steel collapse


As awful as it is, this is almost becoming the norm. In the recent economic climate, times are changing. Companies and business models, which were once solid, have become outdated and customers want so much more from their experience, voting with their feet and wallets if businesses do not deliver exactly what they want.

This week – it was sad to see the collapse of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and British Steel. It’s a massive blow to the UK economy, with over 26,000 jobs at risk (1,000 in Jamie Oliver’s chains and 25,000 for British Steel). Time will only tell how these companies will manage the collapses.


3. Natwest increases its online offering


Natwest is trying to keep its finger on the pulse with the announcement of its new online experience. Customers will no longer have to enter their card details manually but instead be redirected to Natwest’s mobile app or online banking page at their online checkouts. The news follows Natwest’s trial of new fingerprint paying technology, earlier this year.

It’s important for Natwest to stay ahead of the banking disruption, however, if we look at the overall transformation within traditional banks, credit card firms, payment etc, the main focus is to digitise, rather than rethink banking completely. As customers start to value the experiences and services, banks need to of course increase their offering, but also think outside of the box as to not be further challenged from the likes of Apple, Monzo and soon to be Facebook.


4. Facebook to enter the world of cryptocurrency


Despite the ongoing disputes and privacy issues, Facebook is still making its mark as one of the biggest disruptors as it plans to launch its own cryptocurrency by 2020. The move will allow Facebook’s 2.4 billion users to exchange money into digital coins, known as GlobalCoin. The purchased coins will allow people to buy anything online, as well as transfer money without bank providing account details. Full plans are expected to be unveiled this summer, however, it is believed that Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has already met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

This is a prime example of a business, which is completely removed from a particular sector, seeing the capability and opportunity to disrupt and taking the leap. More companies need to be putting change and transformation at the top of their agenda, instead of it being a side of the desk activity, if they want to survive the next decade.


5. SpaceX orbiting broadband system


Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launched a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral to successfully position 60 Starlink satellites in the earth’s orbit. The satellites are the first of thousands expected to provide high-speed broadband connections to millions around the world. It seems the sky is no longer the limit for brands such as SpaceX and also OneWeb and Amazon, who are also working on satellite proposals. With entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk looking further afield for resources and capability, it’s an exciting time to see what is next in the pipeline.

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