Retailers are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), new payment technologies and robotics, new research suggests.
Retail Insider’s Digital Retail Innovations Report 2019, conducted in partnership with Webloyalty, looks at the top 60 global technology breakthroughs in the retail industry over the past year.
This year’s list includes major players like Amazon, Walmart, John Lewis/Waitrose and Burberry, as well as smaller tech firms such as NearMeNow and ShopAppy, which tap into a demand for links to local traders. There are also innovations in robotics, including farming robots at Waitrose and delivery bots from Pizza Hut.
Amazon dominates the list, with four innovations in the top 10 for its utilisation of AI, voice recognition and cutting-edge logistics. Amazon’s pioneering, checkout-free grocery store Amazon Go was named the digital retail innovation of 2019, up from second place last year.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry takes this year’s second place for its innovative use of Instagram’s shopping feature. The new checkout element means that consumers can buy directly through Instagram without leaving the platform when they spot an item they want on the feed.
Sustainability is another notable trend, with 15% of retailers applying technology in innovative ways to help the environment. Costa Coffee, for example, has created a reusable coffee cup with built-in contactless payment technology.
“Changing commercial environments, emerging technologies and consumer power are having a clear impact on the pace of change,” commented Ben Stirling, managing director of Webloyalty Northern Europe.
“Despite store closures, business failures, job losses and tough seasonal performances, retailers are focusing on digital innovation to achieve a competitive edge by delivering unprecedented value, convenience and a personalised experience, by thinking innovatively about the technologies which exist today.”
All innovations featured in the Digital Retail Innovations report have one thing in common, and that’s connectivity. To learn more about how businesses in a variety of sectors are preparing for the next wave of connectivity, download your free copy of Osborne Clarke’s Next-generation connectivity report.