It is with great pleasure that we can announce the launch of the latest ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations’ report for 2021 (sponsored by Webloyalty). If Covid-19 was the major driver of innovation in 2020 then 2021 was the year when retailers welcomed people back into shops and hospitality but tried to make everything as easy as possible for them. As a result we can see a major trend in payment solutions from bill paying in restaurants to ‘just walk out’ shops while forward thinking delivery solutions including drones, robots and click & collect pods also feature heavily.
The ever expanding range of smart vending machines (think Kellogg’s partnership with Chowbotics, Tossed Speedy Greens or Alchemista’s lockers) and the use of blockchain technology (Cult Beauty’s work with Provenance, Nike’s Cryptokicks or the Aura luxury consortium) was also notable in this year’s set of innovations.
Well-represented sectors include many of the supermarkets who continue to set the bar with their test stores featuring multiple new ideas in one place and a constant stream of new ideas around fulfilment and fashion where we received entries on sustainability from Zalando’s shop by value, online charity aggregator shop Thriftify, HURR Collective’s expansion of its rental services and the digital ID scheme from YNAP.
The world of gaming made its first appearance in the report courtesy of a Roblox project with Gucci – no doubt the first of many to follow – while there were several app entries focused on healthy eating, sustainability and dietary requirements (Smash, Evocco and Ocado’s tie-in with Foodmaestro), which continues to be a rich seam of innovation.
However, some hangovers from the first wave of Covid-19 still remain in the popularity of features that help consumers shop without crowds as seen in the nominations from Grocery Neighbour and Lidl’s Best Time To Shop or the increasing popularity of digital try on schemes.
For the first time in several years the mighty Amazon was knocked off the top spot by IKEA, which took first place for its IKEA Studio app that allows users to design a whole room using the LiDAR sensors in their iPhones. Having said that, Amazon still figured prominently with entries in the Top 60 for its Grocery Stores, Amazon One palm payments and Amazon Key in–garage grocery delivery.
Fundamental to the integrity of the report is the Advisory Panel drawn from all sectors of retail who collectively rank the innovations based on a set of criteria. This independence and robust methodology provides Retail Insider’s Digital Retail Innovations report with the credibility to ensure it is seen as a valuable resource.
This year’s panel comprised (in alphabetical order): Tugce Bulut, founder & CEO – Streetbees; Jamie Crummie, co-founder – Too Good to Go; Blair Freebairn, founder – Geolytix; Miya Knights, global content strategist at Poq; Daniel Lucht, global research director – Research Farm; Jim Mann, director of acquisitions – Thrasio; Martin Newman, founder – The Customer First Group; Steve Robinson, non-executive director and consultant; Dr Nadia Shouraboura, non-executive director – Ocado; and Paul Wilkinson, senior product manager for Alexa Shopping – Amazon.
The full report can be read by clicking on the link below:
Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider