New Concepts in Retail: Key Factors Driving Successful Innovation

June 2021

Retailers’ constant experimentation with new concepts and formats helps lay the groundwork for the industry’s future. For this reason, Euromonitor profiles the most innovative concepts in retailing each year. While today some of the winning concepts over the past five years represent the future of retail, others have inevitably failed. This report puts a spotlight on 12 of the key new retail concepts from the past and examines the factors that have determined their success or failure.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Six key factors determine success or failure

Addressing a relevant market opportunity, at the right time, with a good understanding of the competitive environment, and managing to reach a wide enough target audience that would allow a new concept to evolve, while maintaining positive cashflow, is a great balancing act. Execution is key, and it is often necessary to fail before finding the path to success.

Embracing digital is essential for success

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to a dramatic increase in customer traffic through digital channels. Commercial or purpose-driven, a retailer’s quest to provide the perfect digital shopping experience must now include an enhanced presence via mobile and apps, and a frictionless customer journey.

Technology is at the core of the development of new concepts

Technology is reshaping retailing. In-store shopping is becoming a seamless experience, allowing for greater personalisation and even a completely contactless or automated journey. Online, new technologies allow increased efficiency and added-value at lower costs, with potential to scale fast in new product categories or geographies.

Insert innovation into omnichannel

Retailers need to integrate omnichannel offerings and continuously innovate to keep up with customers’ needs. Offline extensions of online shopping, better in-store feel to online experiences, and diverse delivery options are all features that need to be integrated to preserve the swift and seamless shopping journey across all channels.

COVID-19 is mostly accelerating already existing trends

The pandemic revealed already present weaknesses and accelerated pre-existing trends in the industry. The crisis proved to be fertile ground for new concepts, as well as being a great incubator of innovation. E-commerce, last-mile and digital concepts benefited most, sustainability maintained its importance, while other concepts were impacted more negatively by the restrictions the industry had to face.

The special 2020 edition of Emerging Global Retail Concepts Competition
Six key factors determine success in emerging retail concepts
Sustainability, convenience and omnichannel drive innovation
Online grocery is rapidly moving into the mainstream
Case Study 1: Picnic’s model is tackling grocery’s biggest problem, cost
Case Study 2: Honestbee initially attracted a high number of partnerships
Case Study 2: Honestbee failed to understand the Hong Kong market
As market conditions evolve, new retail models emerge
Case Study 3: HomeRefill offers consumers a new level of convenience
Case Study 3: HomeRefill to benefit from gains in auto-replenishment
Case Study 4: Pointy successfully leverages the value of physical locations
Case Study 4: Following a two-year partnership, Google acquires Pointy
Consumers are becoming more aware of the choices they make
Case Study 5: Too Good To Go, a global platform to fight food waste
Case Study 5: Too Good To Go, entrepreneurial approach to sustainability
Case Study 6: ReUse aimed to bring new life to old furniture
Case Study 6: ReUse failed to build enough momentum
Convenience is a moving target for retailers
Case Study 7: E.Leclerc Relais, pedestrian click-and-collect points
Case Study 7: E.Leclerc Relais will benefit from high urban density
Case Study 8: Coolomat, cold chain solution in food and drinks delivery
Case Study 8: Coolomat lost to stronger competition
The transformation of bricks-and-mortar stores to smart stores
Case Study 9: Amazon Go, a completely frictionless shopping experience
Case Study 9: Amazon Go forces other retailers to accelerate innovation
Case Study 10: Roadster Go, zero staff assistance and quick self-checkout
Case Study 10: Roadster Go failed due to overlooking the consumer
The boom in e-commerce spurs innovation in last-mile delivery
Case Study 11: Rappi, born to revolutionise home delivery in Colombia
Case Study 11: Rappi aspires to become Latin America’s super app
Case Study 12: Miinto trialled two-hour delivery for online apparel orders
Case Study 12: Miinto pivoted due to low customer interest
Post-COVID-19, omnichannel will drive retail recovery
The pandemic has accelerated key trends that were already in motion (1)
The pandemic has accelerated key trends that were already in motion (2)
Lessons from the past helping retailers today
Strategies for success


Retail is the sale of new and used goods to consumers from a business for personal or household consumption from retail outlets, kiosks, market stalls, vending, direct selling and e-commerce. Retail is the aggregation of Retail Offline and Retail E-Commerce. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts. Also excludes fuel sales, foodservice sales, rental transactions, and wholesale sales (e.g. Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retail also excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, i.e. retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer that is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retail.

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