Retail Insider is proud to launch its Digital Innovations Report 2019 (sponsored by Webloyalty) this week with an event involving two special guest speakers: Paul Hornby of Matalan, and Nick Thomas founder of Built.

Guests from high street retailers, online operators and tech companies plus several members of the report’s Advisory Panel heard Paul run through his time at Shop Direct before discussing the plans he has for Matalan while Nick highlighted how he developed the online business at The Works and created Built to disrupt the traditional DIY/business merchants’ model.

Nick Thomas (l) and Paul Hornby

 

All attendees enjoyed a tutored wine tasting during the evening, which was held at Bedale’s in Spitalfields on the edge of the City of London. All guests received copies of the report, which again showed how much retail is at the cutting edge of technological advancement.

The report lists the Top 60 digitally-driven retail innovations of the past year as judged by an international advisory panel. This year’s list included as always huge players like Amazon (which took four of the places, again proving it is the innovation powerhouse to beat) as well as Walmart, John Lewis/Waitrose and Burberry.

But along with the big companies sit much smaller tech firms like Too Good To Go and Good Food Talks who are in the list for their pioneering food waste reduction tie-ups with larger retailers and help for the visually impaired, and NearMeNow and ShopAppy, which both tap into a desire to link the consumer to local traders.

Trends in this year’s report included robots in several guises such as the farming robots at Waitrose, delivery bots from Pizza Hut and autonomous vehicles at Kroger while sustainability initiatives also featured heavily with Karma’s smart fridge, Ubamarkets’s plastic sensor and Tesco’s waste-free shopping plans all scoring highly among judges.

Convenience in different forms of payment also remained a focus with the inclusion of MishiPay , artificial intelligence shopping carts, and Sainsbury’s scan & go developments. Innovations which allow for ever more personalisation when purchasing also placed well, for example SpecSavers frame-styler, Modiface’s virtual nail salon and Olay’s skin advisor.

Retail Insider would like to thank Webloyalty for its sponsorship of the report and for making the launch evening possible. Huge thanks also to guest speakers Paul and Nick for contributing their insights.

Richard Piper of Webloyalty addresses the guests

Download the report: Digital Innovations Report 2019

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider