Which retailers are the most innovative in the business?
All the companies on Fast Company’s list of the 10 most innovative retailers of 2021 all found success during the pandemic helping deliver the “immersive, seamless experiences” increasingly demanded by consumers.
The top ten were:
- Shopify: As in-store shopping faced restrictions, Shopify’s tools enabled small shops to pivot to drive sales online and capitalize on demand for local purchases, alternative payment methods and shoppable ads on TikTok.
- Nike: The activewear giant shifted toward more direct engagement with customers by moving to end relationships with several wholesale retailers, including Belk, Dillard’s and Zappos, and bringing free workouts and other experiences to apps.
- Resonance: Resonance’s platform offers goods on-demand for brands from its factory in the Dominican Republic and ships directly to customers, eliminating the problems of being over- or under-inventoried.
- Depop: The resale marketplace for GenZ works like a social networking platform by enabling buyers to follow and interact with sellers.
- The Citizenry: The home foods retailer partners with global artisans to bring consumers ethically sourced, sustainable, premium home goods at an affordable price.
- Ulta Beauty: The beauty chain scaled up its GLAMlab during the pandemic to enable customers to do AI-powered virtual try-ons for hair, eyelashes and foundation matching.
- Italic: The membership model works directly with factories to make label-free versions of luxury items. For a $120 annual fee, members are able to purchase the items at cost.
- Carewell: Described as “the Amazon of home health products,” the marketplace for family caregivers stands out for its advice.
- Rebag: The luxury resale site has spent five years building Clair, an index that allows anybody to quickly appraise the market value of their bag. In 2020, the company debuted an AI-powered version.
- Canada Goose: The outerwear firm has outfitted some stores with Cold Rooms where customers can test coats in a small glass box surrounded by ice sculptures.
Other similar lists include:
- CI&T’s recently-released top 10 ranking of the most connected retailers, which included Nordstrom, Target, Home Depot, Staples, Walmart, Foot Locker, Gap, PetSmart, Bass Pro and REI;
- Boston Consulting’s 2020 list of the most innovative retail companies: Apple, Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Nike, Target, Adidas, Costco, JD.com and McDonald’s.
- The 10 most innovative retail companies of 2021 – Fast Company
- The Most Innovative Companies 2020 – Boston Consulting Group
- CI&T Releases Report Highlighting Top Connected Retailers During the Covid-19 Pandemic – CI&T
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which companies would land on your list of the most innovative in the retail space over the last year and why? Is there a common theme that drove innovation at retail during the pandemic?