2019 marked yet another eventful year for retail, seeing the sector navigate the dramatic shifts away from traditional high street retail models towards connected, vibrant and innovative ways of selling goods.
Throughout its inaugural year, Charged has tracked the most exciting developments from companies at the cutting edge of this change.
Here are our top five most read stories of the year, thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
In October with Black Friday and the vital holiday shopping season looming, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) voted by an overwhelming majority to take action, threatening the first national postal strike in a decade.
As fears mounted that the union would strike on Black Friday, new research from consulting firm BearingPoint warns that 8.5 million parcels would have to be handed to private carriers, costing them millions in higher postal fees.
According to BearingPoint’s partner Stuart Higgins, this is likely to have a “huge impact on the British Public”.
In September, just three months after it launched, Sainsbury’s scrapped the UK’s first ever cashierless grocery store admitting “not all our customers are ready for totally till-free” shopping.
The UK’s first till-free grocery store was launched in Holborn Circus in London back in April featuring no manned or self-service checkouts.
Sainsbury’s SmartShop Scan app allowed users to pick and scan items with their smartphone, adding them to a virtual basket before using the same app to pay for them.
Despite this many customers still wanted to pay by cash or card leading the supermarket to install one manned till and two self-service checkouts in the store.
In December McDonald’s announced the launch of its very own fashion range which it now sells through its very first ecommerce website.
Golden Arches Unlimited now sells a range of fashion items emblazoned with the fast food giant’s iconic “golden arches” logo, marking one of the world’s biggest brands entrance into the fashion retail market.
Though quantities of its winter range are understood to be limited, McDonald’s promises to restock merchandise and launch new ranges on a regular basis throughout the year.
In October Marks & Spencer became the latest retailer to offer customers the option to “buy now, pay later”.
Its chief executive Steve Rowe told an investor meeting that the UK’s largest clothing retailer was set to introduce a new payment scheme in a bid to modernise its struggling fashion business.
This “tactical action” was part of a continuing turnaround effort at the retailer, which crashed out of the FTSE 100 last month following seven years of falling fashion sales.
Despite its efforts, Rowe admitted that its fashion turnaround strategy was “18 months” behind schedule, with problems dogging its womenswear business leading to its clothing boss Jill McDonald being ousted in July.
In October GOAT said it was launching a new augmented reality “Try-On” feature, allowing shoppers to virtually try on its rare and exclusive shoes before committing to a purchase.
Its new Try-On feature allows GOAT’s 20 million users to see what some of the world’s most sought after trainers, including a range of the rarest Nike Dunks, Air Force 1s and unreleased samples, look like on their own feet.
The new AR functionality is available on the trainer resale giant’s app on iOS now via its homepage.