Innovation That Matters

Innovations Shaping Retail Trends in 2021

Innovation Snapshot

Innovative ideas that are changing the retail landscape in light of the pandemic, as featured during Deloitte’s 2021 Retail Trends conference.

We all know that the world of retail has been drastically altered over the past year, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Springwise, however, we believe that this disruption has been a springboard for some of the most innovative ideas in retail out there.

Last week, as part of Deloitte’s annual Retail Trends presentation, some of these innovations were highlighted to showcase how new trends and disruption are changing the retail landscape.

You can watch the video presentation below and learn more about the innovations featured.

1. Experiential retail

Photo source: Freitag

More and more customers are demanding experience within the act of shopping. This shop, launched by Swiss brand Freitag, offers a build-your-own-bag experience in an interactive space named the Sweat-Yourself-Shop. The new Zurich ‘micro-factory’ allows customers to choose the individual tarpaulin panels for the main bag and the outer pocket, and watch them being cut and stitched together.

Photo source: Business Wire

Another interactive innovation is this holographic menu and pay point for safe, touchless food ordering, designed by Holo Industries. The company’s contactless touch systems ensure that no germs are transferred between customers and each menu takes orders via a hologram. Users push buttons as they would on a usual touchscreen, yet are interacting with a beam of light. With each push of a button, the hologram releases an audible confirmation that the interaction has been understood.

2. Net Zero retail

We all know that shopping green is more important than ever, and will be key to a retailer’s success in coming years,

Photo source: Vollebak

London-based clothing startup Vollebak has designed this compostable plant and pomegranate-based hoodie, which is made from eucalyptus trees and composts within eight weeks. The pulped eucalyptus and beech wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests, and the plant-based jumper achieves its mossy hue from being dyed with pomegranate peel. 

Photo source: Ocean Cleanup

These sunglasses are made from recovered ocean plastic, in a campaign organised by engineering environmental organisation, The Ocean Cleanup. The nonprofit is currently developing technology to extract plastic pollution from the oceans and rivers and to develop a circular economy for ocean rubbish to go “full circle from trash to treasure,” by creating and selling products made from the recovered plastic.

3. Relocalisation

With social distancing and lockdown rules affecting how we physically access our shops, many retailers are adapting to these new habits.

 Photo source: K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, a normal trip to the supermarket became increasingly difficult, with long queues outdoors and social distancing lines now part of the “norm.” In an attempt to provide a solution for the snaking queues, supermarket chain Lidl has launched a WhatsApp chatbot, with which customers can converse and find the quietest time to shop.

Photo source: John Longbottom

This east London brewery is providing pub-goers with the opportunity to recreate their favourite pub at home. The Walthamstow-based Signature Brew has launched “Pub in a Box”, which contains a mix of 330ml cans of core beers, a Signature Brew stem beer glass, some bar snacks accompany the beer, a beer mat, Spotify playlists curated by music journalists to complement each beer, and a music-themed pub quiz to make the whole experience feel more authentic. 

4. Digital by Design

As retail becomes more and more reliant on the digital world, it is no wonder than a lot of retailers and innovators are incorporating it into their business model.

Photo source: Zalando SE

This fashion e-tailer is using body scanning tech, that let customers see how exactly how they would look in any garment before they buy. Zalando hopes that incorporating the app into their platform could help reduce the rate of returns due to poor fit. 

Photo source: Streetify

Moreover, this virtual storefront platform allows you to build your own high-street of personalised retailers. Streetify is an e-commerce platform that launched in late March 2020, just in time to help businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

5. Tech innovations

As retail digitalises, it becomes more reliant on complex tech, which has been another key development in retail over the last year.

Photo source: Burberry

This retailer uses QR codes on in-store products to connect with shoppers’ digital lives. Once scanned on a smartphone, the codes reveal styling tips, points for unlocking exclusive content and additional information about the brand and its products.

Photo source: Suning

Chinese retailer Suning has launched what it claims is the first store in the world to combine live-streaming with offline shopping. The store, called “Qu guang guang”, allows customers to buy either in-store or online, and will feature in-store salespeople who will be simultaneously live-streaming.

Written By: Holly Hamilton