The digitally-driven retail innovations of 2021 taking the industry by storm

Launching the annual Digital Retail Innovations 2021 report

We are delighted to be sponsoring Retail Insider’s Digital Retail Innovations report 2021, taking an in-depth look at the Top 60 Retail innovations of the year, including the likes of IKEA Studio, Too Good To Go and Amazon One.

With COVID-19 causing major disruption to the retail industry, many businesses suffered as there was a visible decrease in foot traffic in physical stores. This however sparked the need for a strong digital presence and many retailers have successfully adapted to the changing environment with forward-thinking solutions.

The very difficult circumstances over the past year have undoubtedly fuelled much innovation by retailers. Faced with uncertainty, changed working practices, and growing numbers of customers moving online, retailers have sought out digital solutions and implemented them with incredible speed and agility. Let’s hope this progressive mindset continues into the future.

Glynn Davis, Founder, Retail Insider

This year, we saw the introduction of more unmanned and cashier-less stores, enabling seamless shopping experiences using technology such as Amazon One palm payments, allowing shoppers to simply enter stores and purchase items all with the tap of their palm. Hudson Travel’s Just Walk Out store could be the wave of the future in airports, as the test store lets shoppers walk in and out with their items, simply by tapping a card.

A subject becoming more prominent with time is sustainability and the protection of the planet’s ecosystem through recyclable materials. It’s a question of when and not if as we are seeing more innovative ideas to reduce waste across the globe. Ranking high in our Top 60 Innovations list is food waste app, Too Good to Go. The Copenhagen-based company has partnered with an impressive number of convenience stores in 2021, leading to a 500% increase in the number of items saved. Tesco follows suit, trialling the Loop platform which will enable containers to be collected from consumers before being cleaned, refilled and re-used.

It was however the autonomous aspect of everyday living which sees a number of organisations make the list. Amazon features with its key in-garage grocery delivery, delivering shopping and goods straight to customers’ garages. Royal Mail entered the drone delivery sphere with its automated aerial vehicles making deliveries across the UK, and Ted Baker took shopping to a new level as customers were able to watch live broadcasts of items on offer and shop directly from there.

To see how these retailers ranked, and to find out more about the exciting retail innovations going on in 2021, download the full report here.

It’s great to be involved again with the report and I love the level of innovation seen across the 8 years that we have been working together. This year feels like the strongest yet and no one would begrudge retail had they doubled down on innovation dealing with the Covid pandemic. However, this year we’ve seen even greater innovation dealing with global problems such as climate change whilst also solving those closer to a retailers home, looking at payments, deliveries (and returns) and automation.

Richard Piper, Business Development Director, Webloyalty

With a number of retailers turning to digital innovation to combat the downfall of in-person shopping, these solutions for 2021 are set to be just the beginning of how consumers will be interacting with retailers. We look forward to seeing how businesses further adapt to the new hyper-connected world in the future.

Download the Digital Retail Innovations 2021 report to reveal the full list here.