Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Agile Innovation Update. This month we’re looking at the impact of the Twitter’s new polling feature, Mastercard’s movements in the wearable payment technology space and Starbucks’ new experiential concept store and more.

Twitter rolls out polling feature to all users

Thanks to a new feature introduced last week, Twitter users can now set up and respond to polls on the social network. With just two options and running for only 24 hours, the polls are very simplistic and are unlikely to set the world of market research alight. But could they provide a means for brands to quickly reach followers to gain an initial read on certain issues? We’ve decided to put the new feature to the test and see how it compares to Google Consumer Surveys by asking the same simple question on both platforms. Take part in our Twitter poll and we’ll share our experiences of using both tools with you on our blog later in the week.

Mastercard is on a mission to transform anything into a wearable payment device

Last month we reported that Visa was exploring the future of wearable payment devices with Central Saint Martins. Mastercard has now gone a step further, having launched a programme to support corporate partners – as diverse as car manufacturers to smart jewelry makers – in transforming any object into a wearable payment device. This looks to be part of a move to tap into a growing trend towards using wearable devices for payment and money management, which is particularly prevalent amongst millennials: according to new research, almost half of 18 – 30 year olds have banked on a wearable device.

Brand experience is at the heart of Starbucks’ new concept store

Coffee giant Starbucks has opened a new experiential concept store in London. The store offers a range of unique blends and brewing methods, as well as an evening menu featuring platters, wine and beer. The store also features ‘coffee masters’ equipped with iPads to make ordering and payment more convenient. Starbucks hopes the store will “immerse customers in the world of coffee” and in this way, taps into a key consumer need identified in our research into the future of retail. For many consumers, offline shopping is all about the experience and they want retail outlets to offer unique, personal and immersive experiences to meet this need.

Fightback against Apple Pay begins

Last week JP Morgan Chase and Co announced the launch of its own Apple Pay rival called ChasePay. It will work in a similar way to the Apple service, allowing customers with Chase credit, debit and prepaid cards – that’s 94 million people – to make transactions in-store with a smartphone. JP Morgan looks to be willing to sacrifice initial profits to help it gain market share quickly, currently charging participating merchants lower transaction fees than it does for payment by credit or debit cards. And it looks to be paying off: the Merchant Customer Exchange, a group including the US’s largest retailer: Wal-Mart, has already signed up to accept ChasePay. Will we soon see other banks pursuing similar strategies to gain a foothold in the mobile payments market?

Sainsbury’s reimagines in-store shopping with new app

Sainsbury’s is piloting a new app, which will enable users to scan their shopping lists and then direct them to the appropriate items in store using mapping technology. The app is part of a broader push to overhaul the design and layout of its stores by testing new innovations in 6 stores. In this way, Sainsbury’s is taking agile approach to innovation – using the stores to test and gain feedback on new services, before rolling the most successful out more widely.

Automotive brands suffer in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal

Last week Volkswagen reported its first quarterly loss for 15 years. The €6.7bn cost of dealing with its emissions scandal has left the brand with a €2.52bn pre-tax loss for the quarter. But according to new research by Which? it’s not only Volkswagen that has been affected by the scandal: 80% of consumers believe that more automotive manufacturers will soon be implicated. With the emissions scandal having had such a damaging impact, what can the industry do to regain public trust?